‘If I were to start up another business tomorrow, I’d contact Korys without a second thought’
According to Jonas Corné, CEO of Greenbyte, the greatest contribution Korys made to his green technology company’s success story was helping to build rock-solid foundations for further growth. “As a highly ambitious co-founder, you don’t always have the patience to do the groundwork. You want to push ahead and, consequently, run the risk of skipping some steps. Establishing the right priorities at each stage of the growth process isn’t always easy. That’s why I’m glad we partnered with an investor like Korys. They wanted to understand our business and our market inside out and approached every discussion in a constructive and respectful way.”
‘We felt straight away that Korys was seeking a genuine, close-knit partnership and would also continue to support us further down the line’
Jonas Corné, Greenbyte’s CEO.
Small but global from day one
Strangely enough, renewable energy wasn’t what primarily motivated you to set up Greenbyte, was it? “No, it wasn’t,” says Jonas Corné. “When we launched Greenbyte back in 2010, climate wasn’t the hot topic it is today. Like my friends and co-founders, I had always been interested in technology and entrepreneurship. While we were at university, we started a consulting firm together but soon realised that consulting is very difficult to scale up into a big business. We were very ambitious and besides that, I also love the challenge of a struggle: the idea that you should keep on trying, always seeking to do better, taking all the ups and downs in your stride. So, in parallel, we tried to develop more product-oriented businesses. A key lesson we learned straight away was that starting many businesses at the same time is no easy matter. One of the consulting projects we worked on was to consolidate data for a wind power developer. We had a feeling that wind power would grow and that more developers would need the little piece of software we had developed. So we decided to go all out for wind power and started Greenbyte. One big advantage, which we weren’t aware of at the time, was that wind power development is pretty much the same worldwide. Greenbyte became a company with clients around the globe almost from day one. That was great, because our domestic Swedish market is tiny.”
Strong corporate culture
Greenbyte got off to a flying start, with its software enabling wind power companies all over the world to monitor, analyse, plan and manage renewable energy portfolios of any size. “Our product became a success. We built a great team and knew that we could realise our growth potential by extending our services beyond wind power to solar power. But we were also aware that we couldn’t do it alone anymore, so in 2016 we started looking for external capital.
“You may well ask why a Swedish company ended up choosing a Belgian family office. Although their business valuation was lower than others we obtained at the time, we sensed from our very first meeting with Korys that they were the best choice for us. They really wanted to understand what we were trying to do, and we also felt they were seeking a genuine, close-knit partnership and would continue to support us further down the line. Korys had the patience to help build the rock-solid foundations for our further growth. One thing that surprised me was that they place so much importance on the human factor; it’s not something you automatically expect from an investor. We now have a very strong corporate culture with highly motivated and loyal employees, and Korys definitely played a part in achieving that. Whenever an employee survey was conducted, for instance, we might spend an entire board meeting analysing it. And those efforts have paid off, as we manage to attract and retain exceptional talent. What’s more, the fact that our employees wanted to join us in investing in the business is the best proof that they believe in the future just as much as we do.
‘One thing that surprised me was that Korys places so much importance on the human factor; it’s not something you automatically expect from an investor’ Jonas Corné, Greenbyte’s CEO
“But we also learned a lot from the way Korys dealt with me as CEO and with the rest of the management team: we had a great deal of decision-making power but sometimes hesitated to actually take the plunge. The people from Korys made it clear to us that we had to decide, because it’s better to make a decision than to wait and see. We certainly didn’t always share the same opinion (laughs), but our discussions were always constructive, showing respect for each other and for our relationship. I really appreciated that.”
Technology can save the climate
In the meantime, the issue of climate change is more pressing than ever before. “Everyone agrees that drastic action is needed, but people are quite simply reluctant to change. I firmly believe that technology can help us save the climate without us having to drastically change our lives. If I had to name an example, it would be Elon Musk, who is living proof that you can really make a difference with a tech company. Korys also believes very strongly in the Energy Transition and actively invests in it, which was one of the reasons why we teamed up with them in the first place. I’m still very happy with that decision and also know that they will continue to follow our progress. Now that they’ve exited our partnership and we’ve decided to join forces with the US-based company Power Factors, we know that Greenbyte is up for the challenge: our ambitions are sky-high, but we’re ready and primed for the next step.”