Talking the future of video conferencing and the ‘Norwegian Silicon Valley’ with Neat Founder Simen Teigre
In our latest interview, Business Leader chatted with Simen Teigre, the Founder of videoconferencing platform Neat, about the future of the company and the ‘Norwegian Silicon Valley’.
Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you’ve gone from picking strawberries to running a successful company like Neat?
I have worked in the technology industry for many years now, working for the likes of Tandberg, Cisco and Pexip. One of my most fundamental roles was as a consultant at McKinsey. There, I was exposed to many C-suite professionals from multiple industries, where I met the executives of leading organisations who taught me the leadership skills an entrepreneur needs to start their own business.
Before even founding a business, I spent a lot of time building experience in a leadership role at Tandberg, where I got to work across multiple departments – from product to channels, to finance. Pivoting my responsibilities gave me an insight into all aspects of a communications company, which naturally led to founding Pexip, and eventually launching Neat – right before the Covid-19 pandemic.
What effect has the pandemic had on Neat?
Remote and hybrid working arrangements are an integral part of our business and what products we offer, so fortunately we have been on a positive trajectory. We’ve had the good fortune to grow our business significantly during the pandemic, adding over 200 employees (most of them remotely) and launching several new products and experiences.
Has US President Joe Biden’s use of Neat been a useful endorsement for the company?
It definitely hasn’t harmed mentioning it when we’re consulting prospective customers!
Can you tell us a bit about the ‘Norwegian Silicon Valley’ and the kinds of companies currently emerging from it?
The ‘Norwegian Silicon Valley’ has a growing reputation for developing some of the most successful start-ups in the video conferencing industry, including the likes of Neat, Acano and Pexip. Norway’s technological base really took off when Tandberg burst onto the scene and became the first video conferencing company in Scandinavia. I was able to personally witness the transformative effect of the Norwegian Silicon Valley, otherwise known as Video Valley, during my time at Tandberg as I watched the company turn into a market leader within the industry that would eventually be acquired by Cisco.
The great thing about Video Valley is that it is made up of some of the best and brightest minds in technology and engineering, which has created a fantastic environment for innovation and development. This meant that when we started Neat, we had some of the finest people in the world within close proximity.
What technology do you expect to see emerging in workplaces in 2022?
The meeting movement continues in 2022. We’re going to see more technological solutions come to the market for hybrid and remote working setups. The investment in this technology is allowing businesses to better the professional wellbeing of their workforce by allowing for a better work-life balance, and monitoring user wellness in the product’s environment.
With Neat nearing ‘unicorn’ status, what are the plans for the company this year, particularly in the UK?
There remains a huge appetite among companies in the UK for video conferencing services, and our business is growing as a result of this demand. We opened our London Bank office in February 2022, which acts as a location for the team and customers to immerse themselves in the Neat experience. Currently, we’ve partnered with Zoom and Microsoft Teams to launch Neat into the domain, but we don’t want to stop there. We will continue to innovate on our products to develop the features that customers need to enjoy the best possible video experience.