CELEBRATING A SUCCESSFUL TWO YEARS
A START-UP STORY
What happens when two M&A lawyers stop promising careers at Plesner Law Firm in favor of full-time entrepreneurship? When the catering and 24/7 IT-support are replaced with being your own coach, cook and bookkeeper? Two years ago, we took the big leap and started Blue Data Management. It has been two hectic years – to say the least. Now, we can see that our hard work has paid off and we are proud to have a team of 10 people servicing everything from start-ups to C20 companies.
Setting up the business
1 January 2014, we left the comforts of a leading law firm to do something that no one else had done before – we started a data room consultancy firm. We thought our services would practically sell themselves as we had no real competitors and would offer a product that was highly needed. We also thought that the practicalities of starting up a business would be as easy as ABC. On both accounts, we became much wiser.
Coming from the full service platform at the law firm, we were surprised how much work it takes to set up a business – even with our legal experience. However, no legal training can prepare you for endless hours with inept tele company supporters or the finer details and practicalities of the Danish VAT system.
When not dealing with practicalities, we used our time acquiring the knowledge needed to become real “data room experts” – in order to effectively bridge the gap between IT providers and legal advisors.
When we were finally ready to sell our services, we approached the private equity funds, as we had already worked with the decision-makers and because these players are frequent data room users, this was a natural first stop. However, a few pitches in, we became dreadfully aware of what was going to be our main challenge when selling. When selling services in the small pond of Copenhagen M&A, your name and network are way more important than the pricing or quality of your work. As one said: “It is more important for me to be on good terms with my professional network than to go with the better solution”. We kept meeting the same rejection: “We would love to use your services – can you deliver them as a subcontractor to the law firm I normally use?”
A new strategy
Clearly, we needed a new strategy. We needed to get a track record before we could get the private equity funds on-board. But how do get that record? For the lack of better, we randomly started to approach practically all companies with the hope of hitting the next sales target at some point. Needless to say, it was tedious, time consuming and took loads of effort that we could have spent developing on the product. However, the +50 sales speeches in a few months taught us a lot about selling and it slowly paid off. We learned how to approach people as a small company. And, from the second half of 2014, we started selling projects. Yet still not enough to pay salaries but we had a taste of the success to come.
Fast growing team
Despite the tough start, we kept believing in Blue Data Management and got our first two employees in 2014. That number has now grown to a total of ten people at the start of 2016, including engineers and programmers that develop new technical solutions to the benefit of us and our customers. Also, one of the biggest Plesner talents in recent years, Alexander Irschenberger, joined us as a new partner – a testimony to our success and hard work during the first two years.
Have we succeeded?
Yes! We have managed to establish a new business in the conservative and almost impenetrable legal market. We have been assisting large Nasdaq-listed companies, the earliest of start-ups, investment bankers in Africa and much more. From M&A-processes for giants such as Carlsberg and NKT to day-to-day business for LAKRIDS by Johan Bülow.
Are we at the top? No! We are truly proud of our development, but there is a lot of hard work ahead – even harder than before because now we know that it is possible. We aim to do even better to meet the sky-high expectations from our customers, collaborators and – undoubtedly the most demanding – ourselves. Our growth has to continue – both in terms of market position and customers. We already work with the most significant players within the Danish M&A pond (including two of the biggest law firms) and in 2016 we plan to get a lot more on-board. Last but not least, we still have a lot of ideas to come and our business will never stop developing.
Looking back, it has been hard yet more rewarding than anything that we have ever done before. We are loving the life as full-time entrepreneurs– even without the catering!
Blue Data Management is trading under:
Blue Data Management ApS
Big Blue Data ApS
Big Blue Data Management ApS
Company registration: 25 60 86 90
Ravnsborggade 8B, 5th floor
2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
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