“Switzerland is one of the best places for technological innovation”
Interview with Cris Grossmann, Co-founder and CEO of Beekeeper
Who are you?
I’m Cris Grossmann, Co-founder and CEO of Beekeeper. I’m a chemical engineer by training, but these days it’s people and not molecules that I try to bring together.
How do you do that?
Beekeeper is where tech meets people. Our vision is to digitize the non-desk workforce within organizations around the world. We typically work with companies with a considerable number of non-desk workers that often don’t have corporate email addresses. There are so many apps, operational systems, and communications platforms that clutter the corporate landscape. Beekeeper simplifies workflows by integrating multiple operating platforms within one secure and intuitive environment that everyone in the organization can easily access, even if they aren’t given corporate email addresses or company devices.
Using technology, we optimize human interaction by enabling two-way communication so management can also receive messages from employees in an engaging way. This promotes a culture of connectedness that allows everyone to operate as one and helps every single employee realize how they fit into the organization.
How much funding have you raised and did you find your investors in Switzerland or abroad?
So far we have raised $13M. Our ambition has been always to build a global company. investors come from Germany, London, Switzerland and Silicon Valley.
How did you experience the fundraising process?
The interest in what we are doing as an organization has been overwhelming, not only from investors but even more importantly from the market. The anticipated growth in the Workstream Collaboration segment within technology has created sizeable opportunities for both emerging and established vendors. Gartner is anticipating that end-user spending on workstream collaboration (WSC) was estimated at $171 million for 2016 and will grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 96% to reach $4.931 billion. This makes fundraising easier.
If you could start the company all over again, would you startup in Switzerland?
I would. The Swiss government’s investments in exceptional education establishments like ETH and EPFL has created an environment where ideas and innovation thrive. While I have great appreciation for Silicon Valley, I believe Switzerland is one of the best places in the world for technological innovation. Coupled with the access to private equity, family offices, VC’s, and angel investors as well as initiatives like the Pro Zukunftsfonds Schweiz Foundation that are working to increase the availability of growth capital, Switzerland is a great starting point and I would do it all over again.
What are your plans for the future?
As the Beekeeper platform evolves, our clients are constantly finding new uses for the platform which has inspired a number of new features and integrations with other operational systems. The new marketplace that has been created through our innovation will help us scale rapidly. To accommodate the anticipated growth, we are scaling our teams in San Francisco, London, and Berlin, in addition to some major partnerships that will be announced in the coming months.
How many employees does Beekeeper have?
Currently, Beekeeper employs 60 people, and we’re fastly growing towards 100+ for next year (2018).