Templafy documents the best way to keep firms on brand

7 May 2018

Templafy co-founder Christian Lund. Image: Templafy

Our Start-up of the Week is Copenhagen-based Templafy, which has solved the problem of document anarchy to ensure consistency across all of a company’s documents, presentations and emails.

“Every day, employees create millions of business documents, presentations and emails,” said Templafy chief product officer and co-founder Christian Lund.

“Unfortunately, not everyone uses the latest brand standards and it can be difficult to find ways to hold everyone accountable, so enterprises end up with little to no control over this imperative part of their internal and external communications. This is what we at Templafy call ‘document anarchy’.

‘We tripled our year-on-year revenue in 2017 and plan to stay on a very ambitious growth track in 2018 and the years to come’

“To mitigate this problem, we created Templafy. By automating compliance in business documents company-wide, and streamlining document creation and template management, Templafy successfully eliminates wasted administrative time, allowing employees to create on-brand documents more efficiently.”

The market

Lund explained that Templafy targets thousands of enterprises across the Americas, EMEA and APAC.

“We span many industries and have customers across all sectors. However, companies within the legal, accounting, finance and professional service industries seem to benefit the greatest from our solution since documents are a vital part of the product or delivery itself.

“It’s estimated that the document template management industry is projected to surpass $6bn by 2024.”

The founders

Lund’s background is in political science, but he has spent most of his professional life in between sales, marketing and commercial product development.

“In my early days, I was a cold-calling sales rep at a newspaper. This stepping stone in my career actually continues to play a big role, allowing me to help the Templafy sales teams navigate enterprise sales in today’s competitive market.”

His co-founder and Templafy CTO, Henrik Printzlau, has a technical business background as a consultant and software developer.

“He has practically lived on Microsoft Office since the first version came out in 1991, and we’ve been business partners since 2004,” Lund explained.

“Before Templafy, we built a successful template management software and consulting company, SkabelonDesign, which is still operative today.

“This business venture gave us the insight and know-how that remains a cornerstone in Templafy’s ambition to grow its position as a leading enterprise SaaS template management platform.”

The technology

Templafy provides access to individually curated templates and assets, just when and where the user needs them.

Though managed and deployed from the cloud, Templafy follows the users wherever they go and integrates deeply into the tools they already use to create business documents, presentations and emails.

When using Templafy’s platform, filtered templates and assets are displayed to the user. As documents are created, they are dynamically personalised with personal and company data. Templafy also automatically provides access to contextualised best-practice content and assets that help finalise the document fast and in line with the brand standards.

“Picking up where you left off is easy, too,” Lund explained. “Even after a few months, if the user reopens the document, Templafy automatically checks for updates to help the user quickly get back on track.”

Lund said he believes that the company that comes out on top in the enterprise SaaS template management and document automation space will also claim a central position in the enterprise SaaS ecosystem.

“For instance, if you’re the service that a majority of employees use and prefer to access and process business documents, then, by default, you’ll also be the one ‘inviting everyone else to the party’ when third-party resources or tools are necessary to build business documents. Think the Salesforce of document creation and template management.

“We are already largely doing this by integrating many of the best enterprise SaaS platforms into our own, but our ultimate goal is to claim this spot to help hundreds of millions of enterprise users more quickly create better business documents.”

Breaking into the magic circle

The company has been achieving its objectives with characteristic consistency.

“Since launching our product in October 2014, we’ve won enterprise clients across all continents, including three of the Big Four accounting firms, several Magic Circle law firms and many other global brands from almost all sectors.

“We tripled our year-on-year revenue in 2017 and plan to stay on a very ambitious growth track in 2018 and the years to come.

“In February, we announced our B round led by Insight Venture Partners, which took our total amount of raised investor capital to $25m. Although we’re not currently actively seeking investment, we continue to build strong relationships with leading investors as we expect investor capital to play a significant role in the realisation of our ambitions.”

But, despite the milestones, it wasn’t as easy as it may appear, and challenges were manifold.

“Where do I start? It surely hasn’t been easy selling to large enterprises as a young SaaS start-up while cloud reluctance continues to live on, and governmental compliance regulation like GDPR adds more layers of complexities.

“The same thing goes for building your team while competing with lots of other high-quality start-ups for the best talent.

“However, at the end of the day, we’re no worse off than any other start-up. All of our mistakes have taught us a great deal, and it’s these mistakes that help us learn what works and what doesn’t, challenging us to continuously make the next iteration stronger, faster and more user-friendly.”

Validate by metrics

Lund said the start-up scene in Europe is on fire.

“I love the start-up scene for its innovative spirit, enthusiasm and drive. It’s a fun and inspiring place to be for sure and, in many ways, it’s shaping the business landscape for the future.

“I also love the trending tendency that more and more traditionally non-recruitable talent is now attracted to start-ups because, for them, it’s a better alternative to working at a big corporation.

“However, one thing that I don’t like is that a good start-up story continues to revolve around who’s raised the most money, rather than who’s building a strong business around a real problem.”

His advice for fellow founders is to iterate and validate.

“Constantly iterate on all key business drivers, not just the product, and start to harvest and analyse data from day one. The more you can support your decisions by valid metrics, the faster you can grow your business and with less risk. At the same time, stay curious and have fun!”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years