“Danish society is on the forefront of digital transformation”: Interview with Keepit’s co-founder Frederik Schouboe

Frederik Schouboe and Morten Felsvang, co-founders of Keepit

Copenhagen-based startup Keepit provides cloud data protection services, integration with Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Salesforce and Google G Suite. The company, founded in 2007, recently closed a Series A funding of €25 million with growth investor One Peak.

We met co-founder Frederik Schouboe for an interview on cloud, funding, scaling and the pandemic – things we know you’re looking to know about.

Frederik, let me start by thanking you for joining us for this interview. Going straight to the point, Keepit is in the XaaS (Everything as a Service) space. How do you see the growth of that space in the future?

According to Gartner, the market will spend €1.1 trillion in IT just to support the shift to the cloud, with the public cloud service market to reach €522 billion by 2023. As a result of this spend into digital transformation, by 2025 companies will deploy and install more than 520 million apps, a significant increase from the current 100 million apps that have been deployed and installed over the last 40 years.

According to IDC, all these apps will be responsible for generating 3 times more data reaching a total of 143 Zetabytes by 2024.

This puts companies in a position where they are re-thinking their entire IT Infrastructure, including the data management side – which is where Keepit sits. Our expectations are that the market for SaaS data management represents a €10 billion opportunity with a constant 30% growth year over year.

Your business model involves different players, how does it look like to be in the centre of an ecosystem?

We at Keepit have a clear strategy of becoming more a data management platform where vendors and partners at large develop new integrations to serve several purposes. New SaaS Applications’ vendors can easily enjoy the open API of Keepit and implement their own connectors, helping their customers get the important 3rd party data protection service on a platform, where customers can consolidate all their SaaS application data management and archiving.

Furthermore, we believe that other system integrators and data analytical companies will be able to integrate into the open Keepit platform to perform deep analysis of customer data. Customers will benefit from not having to burden their important collaboration and CRM systems, instead offloading this type of value deriving work to the secondary data storage of Keepit.

Ultimately, we believe that Keepit will become a platform of trust, delivering resilient and tamper-proof storage through blockchain algorithms, advanced discovery solutions, compliance, data life cycle management and archiving, which we call ‘trust-as-a-service’.

You started in Copenhagen and are growing internationally. How this experience been, and what advice can you give to our readers looking to scale up there?

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and over the last 10 years has developed into an innovation hub of new, disruptive technologies and as such represents a very attractive place to scale globally from.

Danish society is on the forefront of digital transformation and adoption of new technologies. This has proven to be a very important aspect of our scaling of the business without having to move to alternative locations. Today it is no longer necessary to be headquartered in Silicon Valley, as Denmark has access to capital, talent and a great community with a high level of work life balance.

Any particular way Copenhagen helped you thrive?

We have been enjoying the generous support from the government through the Danish Growth Fund, which has helped with risk capital in the early phases of our journey. The government’s help and support for new companies showing promising results is an important aspect of scaling.

You just landed €25 million in funding. Can you describe us the process, how long it took and how the pandemic affected the deal?

The deal was conducted 99% online during the worst phases of the pandemic. The process time was not affected by the pandemic and took around 4 months in total to conclude, which we don’t see as lengthy. We were also lucky that our business was not negatively impacted by the pandemic. We were already set-up to work 100% remotely and the market we serve did not experience a decline or change due to the pandemic.

As a cloud services provider, how did you feel the impact of the pandemic?

We work in digital transformation and because the pandemic has made the adoption of cloud-based solutions a priority, we have only seen our market accelerate. Look at the adoption of online meeting tools, like Microsoft Teams, which has been phenomenal and had positively impacted our business.

Which markets are most important for your international expansion and why?

At current we see 3 important regions to serve, Europe, the US and Australia. These are highly adoptive markets of new cloud-based technologies and will remain so for a long time to come. However, we also service the global market through partnerships with strong, recognized partners across the globe.

You and Morten met in high-school. Does a long-term relationship weigh in positively in entrepreneurship?

Yes, we have a great deal of trust between each other and therefore we can accelerate the decision process significantly. I can only recommend there are more people in a startup, but there has to be a high degree of consensus-seeking to make it work. If you do not agree, the worst you can do is fight. There will be ups and downs in partnerships, but make the agreements simple, trust each other and focus on the opportunity ahead instead of the disagreements.