We caught up with Johnny Warström, CEO and co-founder of interactive presentation platform Mentimeter. We discussed how the company was started, what makes Mentimeter different and what is in store for Mentimeter in the future. We also discussed what Johnny Warström has learnt from founding a company after developing an application to create presentations with real-time feedback.
Why was Mentimeter Founded?
After growing increasingly frustrated at the inefficiency of meetings in our everyday jobs, three friends and I decided to build a simple tool to help make meetings more engaging and less boring. After the tool was becoming increasingly popular amongst our friends and colleagues, we realised that we were on to something, and we managed to secure a small investment which allowed us to get our company off the ground quickly. Now 6 years later, we have reached a truly global status, with more than 130 million users, including some of the largest companies in the world such as Microsoft, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and JP Morgan.
What makes Mentimeter different?
Mentimeter is an interactive presentation platform which allows you to answer polls, ask questions, give opinions or simply participate in a fun quiz competition. Our online tool, which already counts over 130 million users across more than 160 countries, is relied upon by speakers at lectures, corporate events, workshops, and other formal or informal meeting situations, to truly interact and engage with their audiences in real-time.
A key aspect of the platform is that it allows presenters to collate the opinions and feedback of their audiences anonymously. This allows the more introverted members of the audience to have a voice and take part in the presentation, therefore making it much more interactive, engaging and inclusive for everyone involved.
There’s no doubt that we have transformed the way presentations and meetings have traditionally been held, by turning a passive audience into active contributors, giving everyone the possibility to make their voices heard, and ultimately, making meetings more efficient and data-driven.
What have you learnt from Mentimeter?
The single most important aspect of any business is its culture, and focusing on fostering a positive workplace culture is fundamental to the overall growth and productivity of a company, in my opinion. At Mentimeter, our culture-driven approach is what allowed us to grow so quickly. Since 2015, we have expanded from 5 to over 100 employees, and during that time, only 2 people have left.
Something fairly unique that I have implemented in favour of fostering an innovative culture in the workplace has been to relocate our entire company from our hometown, Stockholm, to another country for one month every year, during which the whole team works in, and explores, a brand new city. Since this initiative started, it has no doubt helped improve our team-spirit and foster a more creative workplace. In fact, one of the most popular features of Mentimeter’s platform, which are interactive ‘quizzes’, was developed whilst we had temporarily relocated to San Francisco in 2016. By getting our employees to work together, live together, and experience new and exciting places and cultures together, we have managed to develop high levels of trust unobtainable through traditional corporate exercises.
On a broader level, what I have learnt over the years is that the key to our success as a company has been our product-first approach, making sure we had a high quality product before investing too many resources in other departments, such as sales or marketing. At the end of the day, we are solving a very human problem of improving interaction, which is why our customers love the product.
What are the plans for Mentimeter in the future?
Mentimeter is already the market leader of the fast-growing Audience Engagement Platform (AEP) sector, and our growth over the past year has been quite remarkable. In particular, we have seen huge leaps in customers from India, Brazil, and significantly, the United States; our largest overall market. US user growth has increased by 122% since January, and continued to spike during the summer months (typically a ‘quieter’ period). This growth was pinned to the fact that customers old and new across the world realised that the Mentimeter platform was crucial to keeping staff feel engaged, involved and connected during endless virtual meetings in lockdown.
At the same time, far too many people are still experiencing poor and inefficient meetings, and what I like to call “death by powerpoint”. So our goal is to build on this exponential growth and reach 500 million users by 2023, a goal which we are well on track to achieve.