We spoke with Christian Lawaetz Halvorsen, CTO and co-founder of Valuer. Hailing from Denmark, Christian joined Valuer in 2017, leading the engineering team and overseeing the technical components of Valuer’s platform. He has an MSc in Engineering, Product Development and Innovation from the University of Southern Denmark and has helped build the company from the ground up, and last year Valuer listed on the Nordic Nasdaq, raising nearly 100 million DKK (£11 million).
Valuer (www.valuer.ai) is the Copenhagen-based, AI-driven platform revolutionising the way businesses obtain information crucial to their strategising and decision-making. Enhancing the development of corporations, accelerators, and venture funds (as well as companies researching a sector), Valuer’s advanced AI algorithms enable users to navigate the innovation ecosystem by discovering emerging trends and identifying new market opportunities.
Tell us about Valuer and how the idea for the company came about.
The majority of initiatives for innovation are usually derived from a combination of events, accelerators and networking. This is a manual and network-driven process which has now become outdated in a world spearheaded by digital solutions and data. Valuer was initially conceived to bring startups and corporations together on a single platform by utilising industry experts as catalysts to facilitate new partnerships
We wanted to build a platform to connect stakeholders in the space of innovation, benefiting everyone involved. Startups get access to funding, collaboration and markets; while corporations are exposed to new ideas, innovations and the foresight to avoid disruption; even these industry experts would get similar benefits based on their profiles and needs.
Our initial conception of what Valuer would be was, therefore, more focused on the network effect that could be achieved with the stakeholders involved, with the idea of an AI database and infrastructure to support these interactions evolving from our original vision.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
A major challenge we faced early on, as many platforms do, was engaging suitable startups and industry experts for the platform. It turned out that the network effect was difficult to kickstart, without the proof of concept and a demonstrably immediate value for startups and catalysts. Despite these hurdles, we found our customer’s target corporations were quickly very interested. This evidenced that there was a real corporate gap, which our ability to access previously inaccessible innovation for our clients could fill.
While the corporations were willing to pay and adopt our solution early on, the MVP delivered required a lot of manual work and polish to provide the output that our customers were looking for. Our output ended up being based on an order-by-order system, and when a delivery was made, the receiver needed time to process and adopt the findings, which often took longer than the initial concept of a subscription model.
Throughout this stage of our development, we started building the foundations for an infrastructure that could source, store, process and identify relevant companies, which ended up being crucial for the advancement we have since made.
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How has the company evolved over the last year?
We had to restructure our product to become a fully scalable platform and interface. This resulted in a new app release in September, giving users the option to experience our product upfront, before paying for our services. We opened up the data infrastructure for users through the app and updated the services to support real-time interactions at scale. We also readjusted our subscriptions and platform features to provide lower and customised entry points for use, which enabled different use cases and price plans to adopt and use our solution in their organisation. The product became a pull solution, instead of the push delivery model that previously caused inefficient frictions.
What can we expect to see from Valuer in the future?
Valuer currently operates across many different sectors globally. Our main focus is currently on cyber security, energy, healthcare, biotech, and financial services; however, our service is driven largely by our customers and their needs. We recognise our future lies in many more areas of innovation and are always looking into other data points. We intend to expand our offering and continue to enhance the quality and quantity of our data to support our customers in selecting their next path for innovation.
The idea of a multi-sided platform is not gone and might be explored again on the basis of our database, infrastructure and the findings arising from within the data we collect. New “product” lines focusing on other entities than startups are at high focus currently, with several promising solutions being right around the corner, most of which can easily be adapted and run on our microservice infrastructure and flexible customer-centric product.