Christian Nicolai Thiesen, CEO & Founder at Cuttles on how they empower dreamers and entrepreneurs to develop ideas and build startups.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: Pretty good, actually. Here in Denmark, we are fortunate enough to be sheltered from the worst of the pandemic. There is still an ongoing partial lockdown, but infection rates are relatively low, and as long as we stick to the health requirements, we can get on with our lives without too much worry. We definitely feel lucky to be in this situation, compared to how COVID has affected others around the world.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Cuttles.
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: Back in 2018, I had just quit my job as a CTO in another startup I co-founded in Copenhagen, Denmark. I worked really hard for those couple of years and found I was in need of a change. I moved to Lisboa, Portugal, in search of new inspiration, motivation and a great idea to throw myself into. It was there where one idea started to flicker in my mind; a place for all people to bring ideas to life. An inspiring place free of heavy business language that provides the tools and knowledge you need to build a business.
That’s how the Cuttles idea was born. Since then, I moved back to Copenhagen and gathered a small team that works tirelessly on designing and building a great startup tool that makes it fun, inspiring, and motivating for anyone to build and expand a business.
How does Cuttles innovate?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: We’re a small SaaS startup offering a web application for early-stage startups that has the necessary startup tools and in-app guides to help them build, understand and grow their startups. They can create their business plan, pitches, budgets, teams, and roadmaps and get help through all aspects of the planning process and with presenting their startups to stakeholders and potential investors.
We believe that building a business shouldn’t have to be difficult. As long as you’re willing to put in some hard work, you shouldn’t let technical business terminology stop you from a great idea that can potentially solve the next big real-world problems. When we did our research about what kind of business builder products were out there, we quickly realized there was a huge gap in the market for simplicity, usability and design. That’s how we innovate; empowering dreamers and entrepreneurs around the world by simplifying the business building and expanding process.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: With Cuttles being a digital product, we are lucky enough to experience growth during the pandemic. People have been spending more time at home and online due to global lockdowns. It has meant people have had more time to think about what is important to them and have had more time online to do their research. We have had some of our customers writing to us saying they have finally put a long-standing idea into action after coming across Cuttles. It’s great to see that during a time of darkness, we are able to provide much-needed light to our customers and help them realize their dreams.
At Cuttles, we haven’t actually existed in a world before Corona. We launched the application in March 2020. I would argue that the beginning and first big wave and lockdown for Corona last year did add positively to the growth of our customers due to our digital nature, but this second round of Corona, has been a bit more shaky, as startups and entrepreneurs are getting more and more nervous about their future, the economy and investors are more conservative with their funding. I believe it is 72% of funding processes that had been massively disrupted due to Corona, with three out of four investors pulling back their investments. According to Startup Genome, 74% of startups have had to cut salaries, hours or completely terminate their staff in the last year.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: As an early-stage startup, there are numerous difficult choices we have to make regularly. Fortunately for us, not many of those decisions have been due to the pandemic. In terms of our team, we expanded from 2 when we launched in March last year to 5 currently. To be able to experience growth during a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work the team has been putting in during these times. We plan to add an additional 2 team members onboard this year.
Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: We rely on a number of different digital tools and resources to keep the wheels in motion. One of the best tools that have helped the team maximize efficiency is Notion. We use it as our collaboration tool where we can all work together on tasks in a functional and aesthetically pleasing platform. When it comes to communication, we use Slack. We use Hubspot as our CRM platform, which has given us all the tools and integrations we need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. The most recent addition that has been really useful is Loom, an app that allows us to easily create simple tutorials and in-app guides.
Your final thoughts?
Christian Nicolai Thiesen: The world needs innovative ideas and motivated people to bring them to life. No matter their experience level and no matter what they want to build, we aim to help them create something that both investors and their team will love. We are here to solve real-world problems together.