Meet Simen Kjellberg, CPO at Connected Products Platform: Kezzler

Tell us about Kezzler and what inspired its creation?


It all began with a tragedy—a fatal plane crash outside Denmark in 1989, which was caused by counterfeit bolts that failed dramatically below their expected strength. When our founder, Magnar Løken, learned about this, he was deeply moved by the needless loss of life from such a preventable issue. The accident and the counterfeit bolts were the catalyst for Kezzler.

Magnar, who had a background in cryptology, was determined that nothing like that would ever happen again. He envisioned a system that could authenticate products and trace them back to their origins without the need to store the codes, leveraging digitisation and serialisation technology way ahead of its time in 2001.

Today, Kezzler’s technology forms the backbone of the Kezzler Connected Products Platform. Each product is assigned a unique code, which allows it to be traced right back to its source and confirms its authenticity. This system is designed to be secure, infinitely scalable, and especially suited for high-volume products. Our platform has broad applications across various industries, providing a robust solution to counteract fraud and enhance safety. 

Product Digitization: Print, Pack and Activate - Kezzler


How did you get involved in the business?


I saw this job advert that asked four poignant questions. I can’t remember them word for word now but it was along the lines of ‘do you like start-ups’, ‘do you like IoT’, and about company culture and it simply spoke to me. It was 2016 and I had been enjoying a successful time working for Zenitel in product design and management across some highly regulated industries.

I was incredibly loyal to that company but what really appealed to me was Kezzler’s dedication to innovation, especially in the IoT and digital twin space. The prospect of influencing not just design but also product direction was too compelling and I joined the business. In addition, the opportunity to draw upon my expertise in an innovative business that was starting to scale up, headquartered in Norway, with a global reach, resonated with my career aspirations. 


What makes Kezzler unique?


I believe what makes Kezzler exceptional lies within our company culture and the innovative technology we harness. Despite operating in a fast-paced environment, we maintain a remarkably low employee turnover, and look after people extremely well. We treat our team like family. This nurturing approach, paired with our groundbreaking solutions in serialisation technology for product authentication and traceability, sets us apart.

Our in-house development team’s focus on scalability and performance underscores our commitment to excellence, distinguishing us in a highly competitive market. When you look at our heritage you can see that we see the developments now taking place and meeting those as a marathon, not a sprint. That ethos runs throughout the business.

How has the company evolved over the past few years?


Legislation in sectors like tobacco and pharmaceuticals played to our strengths for many years, allowing us to secure influential clients such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, to name a few. But more recently the applications of our technology have expanded thanks to other technologies maturing, such as smartphones with built-in QR code readers, and an increase in regulatory and industry demands across other markets. 

We’ve reached a moment where adoption of these technologies has enabled us to put our technology into the hands of organisations striving to get a better understanding of their operations and now meet strict regulatory requirements. For example, those smartphones with their built-in QR code readers came into their own during the COVID-19 pandemic but what it has critically enabled is a further acceleration of consumer engagement with digital product verification, aligning perfectly with our vision and technological offerings. Bizarrely COVID-19 was a game changer and quickly educated consumers on how to operate this piece of technology at a scale unimaginable before the pandemic.

The emergence of the EU’s Digital Product Passport (DPP) initiative represents a significant time for Kezzler, aligning with our founder’s original vision. While our early focus was on ensuring product authenticity and safety, recent years have expanded our vision to include sustainability. The unique digital IDs we provide for products will play a pivotal role in circular business models and better inform consumer choices. Our pioneering work in standards like GS1, and the impending broad adoption of DPP across Europe, suggests a future where Kezzler’s technologies become integral to global supply chains and product lifecycles. We’re at the cusp of seeing our foundational efforts manifest on a global scale, setting a new industry standard that I believe will spark change well beyond the EU.