Have you ever wonder how did our company get started? Our Founder and CEO of Clerk.io, Hans-Kristian Bjerregaard, has taken some time to answer all our questions. Do you want to know what he told us?
How did you get interested in E-commerce?
As my very first student job, I got to work at Unisport, which is an online football retailer. There was a small team at that time. I think I was hire number 4 or 5 on the e-commerce team.
I worked at Unisport for 5 years, quite close with the CEO. I worked as a technical guy. I got the website running. And I got to see how the company grew through those 5 years. I saw the challenges you got when running an online company, and especially when growing it internationally.
How did you get the idea for Clerk.io?
While at UniSport, I came across a recommendation engine. They had bought one and I was so fascinated by the fact that you could actually predict stuff from data. But also, it was hard to use. This was 10 or 15 years ago, so it was hard to use and it only yielded good results for two or three percent of our product catalog. For the remaining 98 percent of a product catalog, we had to implement manual rules.
For me, it was the fascination that you could take this technology and improve conversions and results, but I thought to myself I could do this better. This could be done better.
How did the company get started?
Basically, it started out as a purely technical challenge for myself. It was just something I did in my spare time. I was just trying to figure out how could I solve this problem for Unisport.
I worked on that until I solved it. And I realized that I had something really unique. I have solved not only a problem for Unisport but a fundamental problem for many other online retailers within the algorithms I developed.
I wrote Filip at Unisport, their CEO at the time and I said: "I might have a solution for this problem that you're struggling with". We tested it out. And the split test against the old system, I think, my system beat it with around 140 percent in added revenue for recommendations.Then, of course, the firm wanted to buy it. And that is why I had to go to go home and create a company.
How did Clerk.io evolve?
Suddenly, I had a company. There was no plan for Clerk to be this big company that is today. I've just had something that worked and I created a company, and it was just basically taken from there. I thought ok, who's the next customer? who's the next person I know? and then just take it step by step, and slowly we grew.
In the beginning, we took it really slowly to perfect everything and it was around 2014, when we really have perfected what we did and that we started hiring people and growing, expanding to external markets. It's just been a lot of fun, a lot of hard work from there, but I think that's really the core of Clerk. The way we have grown and the reason the company as it is has been that it didn't start with a business plan, it started with the product that solved the problem and the rest follow.
How many customers do you have now?
Oh, we have a couple of 1000 so that is a bit more than the one we started with.
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Hope to see you soon!