The Oslo Business Forum has interviewed our founder and CEO, Henrik Müller-Hansen as part of its ‘Those who built the new Norway’ podcast series.
The podcast can be downloaded on iTunes
Introduction to the podcast
Whilst on a family holiday in Portugal in 2006, Henrik Müller-Hansen read an article titled ‘Printing for Peanuts; making the world’s highest profit margins’. Shortly thereafter, he founded Gelato and a Norwegian growth story was born.
The idea was simple; to use cloud-based software to enable international companies to print marketing materials around the world in a radically more efficient way. Without owning a single printing machine, the company grew rapidly and by 2016 had a turnover of more than NOK 335 million.
But it wasn’t easy.
“(In the beginning) I was incredibly pressured physically and mentally. It went so far that when my wife bought a coffee latte, I accused her of being financially irresponsible” says Henrik.
It was then that he realized that Gelato needed outside investment, and he quickly secured it.
The investors offered a lot more than just monetary resources.
"I think many entrepreneurs believe they know it all, but I believe you need complementary resources… when you take onboard investors, it's important to ensure that they complement you in the areas that you are not as good in.”
Having secured investment in 2010, Henrik freed up time, which he then spent developing the business.
"What we’ve built is software that connects printers, which we do not own, all over the world. For example, Lufthansa Cargo may use these printers when they roll out a global marketing campaign. That way, they can print locally and distribute locally.”
Reducing transport needs by 90 percent
The transport sector represents more than 20 percent of all carbon emissions globally, which also plays a big part in the Gelato value proposition.
"When we work with Sapa for example, which has begun to roll out the Gelato platform, we share a common vision. It's about reducing the overall print volume by 50 percent and transport distances by 90 percent within a two-year period” says Henrik.
As for Norway?
According to Henrik, the infrastructure in Norway is hard to compare to the 30 other countries in which Gelato operates.
“The infrastructure you have access to as a start-up in Norway is completely unique in terms of technology, transportation, taxes and laws.
"If you were to compare how long it takes to establish a company in Norway with any other market, I think the infrastructure here represents a great place to create a global company.”