Mikkel Svanes company started about five years ago with three founders in a small loft in Copenhagen, Denmark. Now Zendesk has 350 employees, offices on several continents and more than 100,000 users.
You need to constantly keep pushing. You need to constantly move, said Svane, CEO of the company, now based in San Francisco. Zendesk says it makes beautifully simple customer-service software used by 25,000 businesses, including Microsoft, Disney, Ikea and Sears.
The Idaho Technology Councils Software Alliance brought in Svane as the keynote speaker Wednesday for develop.idaho, the alliances third annual conference for software developers. Nearly 400 developers, designers, entrepreneurs and students gathered at Boise State Universitys Stueckle Sky Center to explore the motivation, methods and business models to Find Your Platform.
Svane said bringing in money to fuel growth was a key to Zendesks development, but success and an established presence can endanger the spirit a company starts with.
All of a sudden you realize ... we are the guys we wanted to disrupt, he said. So the company has to disrupt itself.
A focus throughout the half-day conference was ease of access through mobile applications and cloud computing.
Prospective customers arent best reached via their laptops or desktop computers, said Grant Shirk, senior enterprise marketing manager of box.com. Instead, those people are absorbed by their smartphones or tablets.
We can choose the platforms that let us take advantage of the trends, said Shirk, whose company provides collaboration tools to more than 150,000 companies worldwide.
Boise attorney Brad Frazer of Hawley Troxell offered a session on Idahos Cloud Services Clarification Act, just passed by the Legislature. The bottom line, he said, is that if you have a software business and use cloud services, you can make a good case that you should not have to collect and remit sales tax or pay user tax.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447. This is a corrected version of this story. An earlier version misstated Mikkel Svane's last name.