Frends is a Finnish integration platform developed startup-like with the support of a global investment firm, Triton. CEO of Frends and HiQ Finland, Jukka Rautio, is a former entrepreneur and a private investor who believes that ambitious growth goals are realistic to achieve.
Rautio ended up at HiQ in 2008 after having sold his own business to the company. A few years later, he acquired the Frends integration platform for HiQ.
"Frends has been my greatest buy so far," Rautio grins.
According to Rautio, digitalization requires real-time data in all processes. With multiple data sources, it is more efficient and safe to connect them to one integration platform. As a result, the data can be controlled in a unified view. Similarly, entire business processes can be automated with different techniques.
Jukka estimates that the hybrid integration platform is globally the best: the most developer-friendly, simple and business-oriented. According to him, this is not merely a sales pitch as the product is being constantly developed with the help of Gartner analyst cooperation and global benchmarking. Frends ranks highest in Gartner's survey.
"Globally, we win 90% of iPaaS bids, which I am extremely proud of. We constantly follow how we position in the market and develop our product together with our clients," Rautio says.
Rautio says that by 2025 Frends aims to be the market leader in Scandinavia and the top three integration platforms in Europe.
"At the moment, the direction is excellent. Both organic growth and company acquisitions support our unique growth story."
On top of an excellent product Frends' competitiveness is based on solid delivery capability in the Nordics, Poland, and the Middle-Europe. The growth requires a flexible support service, which enables almost any kind of implementation. Along with direct sales, the fast international growth is fostered by efficient partner sales, in which the main focus is first on Nordics and Europe and then the rest of the world.
"We have amazing employees, content customers, and a global partner network, which is growing as we speak. What matters most is finding the right people you genuinely want to do something meaningful with and succeed together. I have learned from experience that business needs to be as close to people as possible," Rautio says.
The numbers speak for themselves. Frends has doubled its sales in a year. Moreover, the partner sales have already doubled by mid-March 2022. A similar pace can be seen in recruiting, too.
"We started 2021 with 90 people, and now Frends already has nearly 200 employees. Merely from January to February 2022, we have hired twenty people. With the current growth pace, we will need about 70 people more by the end of this year."
Rautio says that no matter how negatively the coronavirus pandemic has affected everything else, it has actually fostered the international growth of Frends.
"We wouldn't have grown so rapidly without the boost created by remote work. For example, in China, CEOs tend to meet up on Sundays. What would have been a flight and a late dinner can now be replaced with a Teams meeting."
For Jukka, the workdays are already very long.
"Less traveling has spared a lot of hours and energy – in addition, the effect on the environment is only positive."