Håkan Ludvigson is the Founder And CEO Of Eliq. He graduated from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship and has a background in electrical engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship.
As a 19 year-old, his first start-up was social network Substream (now closed) then industrial sensor company Acosense (Spotlight Stock Exchange: ACOS). Leading Eliq as CEO, Håkan is passionate about positioning Eliq to revolutionise digital engagement in the utilities industry.
Without his CEO hat, Håkan writes electronic music and unplugs his electronic equipment when not in use.
Eliq provides customer engagement software to utilities, allowing them to grow their customer relationship by increased engagement. Our aims are threefold: enable energy suppliers to engage with their customers via real-time personalised information communications; to reduce energy waste by helping households understand their consumption, and by extension, help consumers manage their energy costs.
Eliq provides the opportunity for energy utilities to offer their customers a mobile app that provides insights to manage their energy. By providing a fully digitalised customer experience beyond a traditional energy bill, energy suppliers can build connections and make a difference in customer loyalty.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Håkan says:
Hire people with a Growth Mindset.
This was part of the plan all along – we wanted to go far enough to have some strong proof points on the long term benefits for the utility companies before we went out fundraising, and achieve a certain size and growth rate. At the end of the day, the investors that came on board we had originally met through industry conferences. These are investors who know our space deeply.
Read on to know more about Håkan Ludvigson and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background and What motivated you to get started with your company?
Håkan Ludvigson: My background is in starting tech/software businesses. I started in the music/social media space in 2004 and did an Industry 4.0/analytics company called Acosense after that. Since 2010, I’ve been in the home energy space, determined to change how we use energy in our homes. It’sIt’s a real passion for all 5 of the founders – we believe that we can use data and behavioral science to fundamentally change how we think about energy and make it super easy to take steps towards making your home reach net-zero.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Håkan Ludvigson: Eliq provides utility companies with intelligent apps that help their customers better manage their energy usage. It’sIt’s a pure software product and is served up to utility companies as a white-label product.
We ran another business before, called Exibea, a B2C product to track and understand energy usage in your home. We shipped nearly 100 thousand devices over 5 years. Still, We ultimately realized that the road to 100 million people would not go through a hardware product or electronics retailers but rather through smart meters and utility companies. That revelation paved the way for what is today the fast-growing SaaS-company Eliq.
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Håkan Ludvigson: We’ve raised €9Mn; the most recent round was €5Mn this year from energy tech VCs Inven Capital and Contrarian Ventures.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fundraising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far, and how did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Håkan Ludvigson: This was part of the plan all along – we wanted to go far enough to have some strong proof points on the long term benefits for the utility companies before we went out fundraising, and achieve a certain size and growth rate. At the end of the day, the investors that came on board we had originally met through industry conferences. These are investors who know our space deeply.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fundraising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Håkan Ludvigson: If we had known about Covid, we probably would have started a little sooner or later, as the spring this year was somewhat disruptive for the fundraising process.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Håkan Ludvigson: We’re growing the team significantly right now in Europe – the next big thing is to sign up more utility companies and roll the product out to as many users as possible. The long term goal is to make a meaningful impact on humanity’s path to a fossil-free future. The next milestone is 10 million homes, and after that is 100, we’ll go from there.
How have you attracted users, and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
Håkan Ludvigson: Many of our customers approach us as an expert in the field. For utilities, Eliq represents a new kind of way to engage and deliver value to consumers. Many of our customers started their journey through word of mouth in the industry.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup, and why?
Håkan Ludvigson: Zoom has been great for us – we’re running webinars that have become very popular, so that’s something we’ll continue to build on.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Håkan Ludvigson: In my view, startups are too absorbed with their technology and features. We should be talking more about outcomes, and by outcomes, I mean true outcomes like “reduce cost of X” or “grow revenue per customer,” not metrics or features.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Håkan Ludvigson: We are focussing on Europe for now, mostly by having a regional presence. The Energy industry is quite fragmented, and we need to have knowledgeable salespeople who understand each market.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Håkan Ludvigson: A common mistake is spreading yourself too thin or jumping on any opportunities that come your way.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Håkan Ludvigson: Fortunately, our industry hasn’t been that badly hit, and as a company already operating in multiple sites, the WFH situation hasn’t meant much of a change.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Håkan Ludvigson: It is very common to have a lack of focus and getting ready to scale up before hitting product-market-fit.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Håkan Ludvigson: Hire people with a Growth Mindset.
What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
Håkan Ludvigson: I can’t attribute any books to changing my life directly, but The Startup Owner’sOwner’s Manual was a favorite for a long time. Steve Blank is such a delightful guy too. Measure What Matters by John Doerr would be another classic. If I’d recommend one that’s probably a useful read for early-stage founders, I would say Angel by Jason Calacanis (his podcasts are super too).
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
Håkan Ludvigson: Being surrounded by such amazing people that we have on our team helps tremendously.
What are the top three life lessons that you want your (future) sons and daughters to know?
Håkan Ludvigson: I don’t feel ready to start handing out life-lessons just yet, but if there’s something I’ve learned, it’s that if you do meaningful things in your life with people that give you energy, you’re on a good path.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Håkan Ludvigson: I’ll have a think. Ask me again in 10 years. 😉
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