“Life is too short for bad red wine.” Jens Toppenberg Co-founder and CEO of Cloudfarms
I had a very good position in Oracle, and it is a great company, and we had a great time. It was a very safe and secure job and so why did I quit my job to build a software that manages pigs? Because when you are turning forty you start asking yourself some questions, like what are you doing with your life, and people deal with this in different ways, but for me, it was time to start my own business.
After working for a company like Oracle for sixteen years it was time to do something different with my life, to do something for myself. And yes, when you are employed, and you have a stable income, your ups and downs are not very extreme, but when you have your own company you are either up or you are down. So every day can feel like a challenge but, at the same time, you have this feeling like you are free to conquer the world.
I am originally from Denmark but I moved to Slovakia fourteen years ago and I lived there for eleven years. While I was there I met a lot of danish pig farmers, the most predominant foreign investors in Slovakia are Danish pork producers and, I could see that there was a big need for modern software for pig management.
So, together with my co-founder Gregor, we created Cloudfarms. It is like an ERP system for pig farmers and, after we launched six years ago, today we are in thirty-five countries around the world, from Australia to Europe. Our main goal, in the beginning, was that the company would be self-sustaining as fast as possible, we didn’t want to spend time looking for venture capital. For us, it was important to start selling the subscriptions and getting the money to further build the company, and we were successful in doing that.
One of the biggest challenges was understanding how to beat the competition. How do you make a solution that will beat another one that has been around for thirty years? The solution was really about spending time with our customers, talking to them, understanding their needs. I spent so much time driving around Europe to meet these farmers and we would listen to them. We developed the features they needed, the agility of the software platform in our case was so important. We had to implement the things our potential customer required quickly, so they would change to using our platform.
When we came to Barcelona I was looking for an office but I’m a social person and I wanted a place I could go to and find a great atmosphere and be part of a bigger community. The friendly environment here in Talent Garden Barcelona was the perfect fit, being able to talk with the members, exchange ideas and get inspired by each other is something I look forward to a lot.