Founder Spotlight: Mikko Alasaarela
TechShake had chance to interview Mikko Alasaarela, who is the Founder and CEO of Inbot, an artificial intelligence startup for business growth. Before Inbot, Mikko has founded 6 startups in various areas of technology with 3 exits.
Mikko was born in Finland, and has lived and built startups in Helsinki, London, San Francisco and currently in Berlin. He speaks in conferences about Artificial Intelligence and Emotionally Intelligent algorithms. Mikko is an influencer in artificial intelligence and a regular speaker at AI and blockchain events and conferences.
1. What is Inbot Ambassador?
Inbot Ambassador is a global community of 55,000 members in 161 countries who help businesses get introduced to customers. We make it easy for companies to enter international markets and grow without ever having to spam or cold call a customer.
People Graph AI is a technology that finds the best person to make an introduction to each decision maker. It currently covers 7 million people.
After launching the community with cash based rewards in 2017 and growing to a 6-figure revenue rate, we decided to tokenize our rewards system to make the incentives more emotionally intelligent and to be able to grow the community and business faster. After announcing our move to InToken cryptocurrency based rewards, our community growth has accelerated significantly.
2. What is your background? How did you find the business opportunity? Any story?
I have founded 6 companies before Inbot with 3 exits. We analyzed the massive growth of marketing automation software, and came to conclusion that most marketing automation ended up being spam that eroded trust with customers. We wanted to build a better way to scale businesses from a position of trust.
3. What are your and Inbot Ambassador's current challenges?
We are a small team trying to cope with massive growth. When under a lot of pressure, you realize that one can't do everything, and that you will have to pass a lot of good opportunities to win in the best ones.
4. What brought you to be entrepreneur?
Both of my parents were academics. My father founded a few startups on the side of his professor work, so I grew up to appreciate both science and startups. At 18, I set myself a goal of founding at least 10 startup during my lifetime.
5. What kind of things do new founders waste time on?
Creating long term plans before having tested product/market fit. The first phase of company creation should be all about discovering an unfulfilled need that can be solved with a minimum viable product with a reasonable effort.
6. Is it more important to move fast or perfect your product?
This depends completely on the type of product being developed. If you want to have a competitive edge with barriers of entry, you will need to put more effort on perfecting the product.
If you want to grow fast early, then you will have to accept a less differentiated and less competitive product, and execute on the business side to cover for the gaps in differentiation.
7. What's the hardest decision you made as Founder of Inbot?
Laying off 40% of our team to survive the redevelopment cycle after finding out the first version of our People Graph AI engine had a fatal flaw and that we had to redevelop the whole thing from scratch.
8. Is there anything you wish you'd known when you first started?
Who you partner/work with early on has a huge impact on your future success.
Interested in Inbot?