June 14, 2023

From Zero To A Hundred Million: CEO's Astonishing Story - Antti Nivala | BCL #293

Antti Nivala is Founder and Chief Executive Officer at M-Files and also serves as Chairman of the Board. Antti conceived the vision of M-Files and continues to lead the direction and development of the company and the product. Antti has grown the enterprise SaaS company to become a global leader in information management, earning recognition as one of the world’s most innovative technology companies by leading industry analyst firms, including Gartner, Forrester, and Nucleus Research. A trusted partner to thousands of customers in 100 countries, M-Files now has more than 500 employees and 11 offices across the globe. Under Antti's leadership, M-Files secured growth investments of over $150 million, helping the company deliver new innovations in product development, AI and the company's cloud platform. Antti has been named both Software Entrepreneur of the Year and CTO of the Year in Finland, and Executive of the Year for the BIG Awards for Business in North America.

Antti:Be prepared for a lot of surprises and lot of challenges and have the grit tojust push through. Like, If you're just like giving it a try. I think you'redoomed to fail. Yeah.  


Julian:Hey everyone. This is Julian with Behind Company Lines. Today we'reinterviewing Antti Nivala founder and CEO of M-Files. M-Files is a globalleader in information management. Antti, I'm so excited to chat with you, notonly because of, of your experience in information management, but also howlong you've been running the company and what have you seen in terms of thetransitions you've.

Spent, 20 plusyears running the company in particular, excited to, to kind of dive into thedifferent growth stages that you in particular have had to go through as afounder and what the organizations look like. So I'm sure there's a wealth ofknowledge in the experience. But before we get into, what you've been a part ofand what you've grown at M-Files.

What was theinspiration or was the catalyst of starting the company in the first?  

Antti:Well, I got to this business basically thanks to my father's business. I wasactually at school still when I started developing software as a. As a hobbyand was constantly looking for, she's like, how could I be useful?

How could I putthis? Yeah. Hobby into, into use. So I my father ran a architecturalengineering business and one thing they needed clearly was a better way tomanage all the documents and other information in those engineering projects.So, That's what I set out to develop.  

Julian:Yeah. And, and what particular were they using before? Was it just like, wasthere even a Google Drive? Was there just a local kind of folder witheverything in this as you ask?  

Antti:Since this was basically before, Google Drive even existed, so this was. Thiswas around something like 2000, between 2000 and 2005. So, even before the kindof the, the actual like cloud systems.

So it was justnetwork share drives and some clunky kind of legacy document managementsystems, which were not fun to use. So I. I may be at that point representedthe, the newer generation, the new newer kind of thinking. So I wanted them tohave something better than that. And that's that's what I  

Julian:wanted to create.

Yeah. And I'm sointerested to not only learn kind of what made you stumble upon, workingwithin, within data management system. But what in particular were othercompanies doing at that time that were, say, had a high volume ofdocumentation, companies that had more resources. What did you kind of uncoverthrough that process of learning?

Okay. I'm sureother companies are having a large amount of data or large amount of documentsthey need organized. Some are doing it well. What were those companies doing atthat time? Was everything built in house? Were they using a third party? Whatwas it?  

Antti:Probably some in-house systems too, but there were these legacy players likeDocumentum or, or some others, which were basically more like, kind of likearchival systems.

Mm-hmm. So it wasvery manual and cumbersome in the sense that the engineers created the designsor, or drafted the documents. And then there were filing instructions like howthey should file those drawings into the. Document management system, likeDocumento More or some of the OpenText products.

Yeah. And Yeah, it,it was definitely not easy for the users and it was also not very smart from aninformation management or organizing point of view because those systemsbasically replicated the physical world. So took these kind of like operatingcabinets into the electronic work and didn't really.

Bring anything newinto the thinking of how to, how to manage information.  

Julian:Yeah. And how much do you think that siloed, getting things accomplished withinan organization or completing a project or identifying, I think about, say evenbig pharmaceutical companies who, more recently had a better management systemso that they can actually.

Identify pastresearch that they've done on something already similar, like how much latencyor how much of a silo was not only archiving that information, but thenactually grabbing at it and pulling from it and distracting, the pieces thatyou needed to, when did that become more of a reality to what it is today?

Antti:Yeah, it, it, it was terrible and frankly, it's still a pretty horrible realityin, in many companies. So, people don't necessarily realize that not. That manycompanies are in a good situation with their document and other informationmanagement. Yeah, even, even today, it's very typical for knowledge workerseven today to feel that they don't necessarily have a kind of like self-serviceability to.

Access theinformation they need to complete their work if it's not something they createdpersonally. So if, if, if they don't exactly like know, like that's where I putit they, they might feel like it's easier for them to recreate the informationor, or contact a colleague to give it like, like the, the systems.

Are not serving theknowledge work as well.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah.  

And thinking aboutkind of the whole ecosystem around documentation, when does it really, hit afounder or a company when things get kind of outta hand, where you know,resources are starting to get mismanaged or misorganized or really out ofplace?

I can even thinkabout, my company currently. I can see our Google Drive really expanding and,and thankfully we're not something that, inputs a lot of data. But I can see atsome point, needing something that is more sophisticated. When do you find thatmost companies need it, but when do you think they most recognize it?

Antti:Yeah, yeah. And I've been through all those stages myself. Cause like we, westarted as a, one person, 10 person company, and then grew to 105 hundredemployees. So I think I can reflect on that. I, I, I, I think it. Starts tobecome a need at around 10 people, but then when you are at hundred.

Employees like you,like, I think everybody recognizes that this is no longer working based on theGoogle Drive or other, other kind of a folder for hierarchy basis. So that'swhy I feel that for files the sweet spot for, for customers who we provide oursolution to is is maybe kind of, above hundred employees.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And when, when you kind of go through this, process of integrationwith these partners, with your experience also, growing your own company, whereis their current state and, and what is really needed to implement? Is it asystem? Is it a person? Like how much is needed kind of to collaborate andactually get things in a way that's not only well, organized, but also,efficiently accessible.

Antti:Yeah. The kind of the, the lightweight or basic level tools like Google Driveor SharePoint or others, those, the, the advantage of those basic systems isthat kind of like you don't need any preparation, starting to use for them.Mm-hmm. But then that will hit you at some point. So when, when you kind ofupgrade to the to the next level system like MFAs, then it will take somepreparation of thinking.

Of things like whatare the key business concepts that you manage or you work with in yourbusiness? Like if you are maybe a tax advisor, you think of. Okay, so I workwith clients, I have engagements. Mm-hmm. Maybe I'm dealing with a specificarea of tax law. And these become what we call then metadata, so kind of thebusiness context and yeah, it's typically maybe from a few days to a few weeksof working with the customer, kind of like modeling their business concepts andunderstanding how Yeah.

Information shouldbe managed ideally in relation to those business courses. Yeah. That sets, thatcreates the foundation of, of the kind of the real Beneficial informationmanagement that it can be when things really work.  


And, and thinkingabout just like, when, when do founders, obviously this, this helps with, withyour product, I'm sure, but like when, when do founders start feeling thesignals that Okay, things are starting to be mismanaged without, having to divedeep and Okay.

Have a whole.Whether it's like meeting about it or, adding resources to reorganize orredistribute or, doing it as a company. When, when, when do they typicallystart seeing that, okay, documents are really getting mismanaged? Is it, whenthey're working with clients on certain projects?

Is, are thingsmissing and are things out of context? Where do you see most founders come into where they need a product like yours? What were those signals that theywere, seeing that, that they needed to alleviate?  

Antti: Ithink everybody kind of sees a gradual deterioration in terms of productivitywhen they don't manage information well.

But what maybe mostobviously hits them at some point is the risk of non-compliance, like realizingthat we deal with inform important sensitive. Client information, and we haveno way of guaranteeing that we wouldn't be maybe leaking the information or, orsomehow breaching the, the agreements we have with our our clients.

So, the complianceanalyst quite often then the trigger when when organizations start looking atthe next. Next level approach to the management.  

Julian:Yeah. How much of, you know that whole process of, staying compliance, stayingsecure, how much of that has taken an, a large portion of the resources withinyour company?

Did you expect thatto be such a huge kind of investment as a founder working on, documentmanagement and access to document? Did you think you'd have to have such arobust kind of, Secure, organized department to kind of protect all the datayour clients have? Or did you start building with that in mind?

Antti:Yeah, it's it's been a surprise to me. I, I, I don't think we created MFAoriginally for. That level of rigid compliance. Cuz as a founder of a smallbusiness and kind of developing it, I, I didn't realize myself how stringentrequirements customers and, and regulators have in terms of compliance, butworking with.

Pharmaceuticalcustomers and defense sector customers. It has become very clear to us thatthose companies deal with a high level of regulation and requirements from theoutside and they have no other option but to, to, to comply. And it's a hugebusiness risk if they risk being non-compliant.

So over time we.Have truly developed M-Files to be a very robust system in, in terms of gettingto those those compliance requirements. So, yeah, it's, it's definitely one ofthe, one of the selling points and strengths of the platform today. Yeah. But Ididn't expect that originally.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.  

As a founder,thinking about, where your product is today from, where it was, how similar andhow different is, what M-Files is today versus when you first, began thecompany and, and started working with your few batch of clients.

What, what'schanged in that process?  

Antti:Yeah, I think the essence of what we do has remained the same. But obviously wedo it in a much bigger scale now. So we started by serving perhaps more of thesmb types of customers, teams of 10 to a hundred employees, and have grown.Then as our team has grown to 500 and more employees.

And the. Productcapabilities have grown. Now it's much more typical that we deal with, let'ssay, mid-market to enterprise customers with thousands or even tens ofthousands of employees. And that's a, that's a different ball game, all kindsof different requirements. But the essence of. Managing documents and documentcentric workflows and processes for the, for the customers.

I think the, thecore ideas are the same.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting.  

I was thinkingabout, I was listening to the audio book for the hard thing about hard thingsand, and you, you listened to, I'm not sure if you've, you've read the bookbefore or listened to it, but it, it discusses all these.

Different externalpressures that, the found Ben Horowitz had to go through during his journey andhow the product had to either shift and or they had to deliver on outcomes.Being that, you've been on this journey so long, shares a story of, of where,you had an external pressure act, had some external force that, kind ofmotivated or, or initiated your company to innovate, and what was the result ofthat?

That kind ofexternal pressure. Does something come to mind?

Antti:Yeah, may maybe Overall I would say that we have we have learned learned todeal with and, and deal better with very diverse customer requirements thatkind of pull the company and the product team. To so many different directions,and it took perhaps more time than it should have taken to realize that we justcannot be or try to be something for everybody.

Cause that's justnot gonna give us the level of specialization and depth in, in doing somethingreally, really well. So in the last five years or so, we have been much morelet's say intentional about who are our ideal customers and what's the use casethat we want to serve best, and that that's helped take some pressure off.

Me and the, theproduct teams in kind of like it. We have a filter when, when we have thesedifferent requirements pulling us in, in all those directions, we can. We canfilter and say that we, we understand how, how, how to prioritize.  

Julian:Yeah. And did you prioritize based on, who your best customers were or whichcustomers you felt had the most expansion potential?

Antti:Yeah, it's perhaps a combination always of like, okay, so there's markettraction, but in our case, there was market traction in so many differentindustries and verticals. Yeah. That's kind of like, that made the decisionhard. It's kind of a great problem to have that your, your platform can solve aneeds in, in so many different cases.

But then we triedto understand ourselves that. Where is the value, the biggest? And we kind ofunderstood that that M-Files can offer the highest value for companies whoreally generate their revenue from working on information. So yeah, it's greatto have companies who maybe, maybe build Buildings or, or manufacture, yeah.

Machinery, others.But to those companies, there are lots of, there are information managementneeds, but it's not the core revenue generating aspect of their business. Butwhen we deal with knowledge workers professional services, financial services,you are really dealing with the core. Of the businesses and that's, that'swhere we are taking info currently.

Julian:Yeah, and,  

and based on,what's successful in the market and, other players that come out who are reallygood at, whether it's Google and you, you can, or Google Scholar for instance,and really sophisticated search engine or even universities have their owninternally.

Or there's aplethora of different examples. But you know what? Do you kind of model afteror look towards or try to kind of innovate in comparison to when you thinkabout, okay, how can I make this information seamless for these individuals tonot only store this data, but you know, access it?

Because it's, it'schallenging if you don't have the right, labeling, you don't have the right,kind of search engine or algorithms, willing to kind of feature your content.What in particular kind of helps guide you into how you create that kind of,Modern or even newer, future kind of user experience.

Antti:The core idea of files has always been that we manage information by what it israther than where it's stored, which means that we kind of, when we organizethings, we, we talk about metadata and not about the folder structure. So kindof like we, we try to remind ourselves of that core, so it doesn't reallymatter which surge engine technology or database technology or storagetechnology we use.

We always try toget the. Best. But we look for the, for the best that can help us build thiskind of a next kind of the next level of abstraction that the end users wouldnever have to think about. The question of where, like, is it in this system orthis silo? Is it in the cloud or is it on premises?

Is it in my emailor is it in my document management system? We try to take away that question.And then Okay. Yeah, we do use all those technologies you mentioned and, andmore and more of AI too in the now and in the, in the future to just stay trueto that mission of mission of making the knowledge workers life easier.


Describe to the audience in a little bit morecontext, what's been exciting about the growth you've seen in the past, any,any kind of core reflections that you, you kind of utilize to motivate you tomove you forward, but also what's exciting about today's traction and, andwhere you see the company going in the future.

Antti:Yeah, it's, it's been a long journey for me already as a, as a, as a founderand for us as a business, but very excited about us having recently exceeded ahundred million in a new recurring revenue, which is a great milestone for aSaaS business to, to reach. That's kind of like, I, I'd say it's kind of oneinflection point for us in, in becoming Kind of a mature SaaS company, althoughwe do intend to continue growing for, for for sure.

But yeah, for, forme personally, that's, that's an achievement I'm, I'm proud about. And as Ithink back of all the, all the difficulties we've had on them on the, on thejourney, it's really rewarding to be to be in this position today.  


What would you say,whether it's external, internal, some of the biggest risks that your companyfaces today?

Antti:Yeah. I, I, I think we have found our area in the markets. I'm not so worriedabout, let's say competition or something like dramatically changing that. It'sperhaps we are as, as we are growing and as, as founders know, the companytends to, maybe there's the risk of the company kind of becoming slower andslower.

Mm-hmm. Innovationas it grows. And that's something we need to fight against to kind of keep thislevel of, of being able to be ahead of competition and be able to take the,take the latest technologies into use. Like when I look at our bigger compcompetitors, those legacy companies, I, I don't expect them to come out with alot of innovations.

Cause I, I, I, Isee how slow they've become and I, I don't want to become  

Julian:like that.  

Yeah, yeah.  

If everything goeswell, what's the long-term vision for the company?  

Antti: Ithink falls as an independent company can go really far. So, I think we have alot of great future options ahead of us.

But I think it'sfair to say that now that we are above a hundred million in, in ARR and, andcontinue to grow, if we were so at the verge of becoming profitable or justgetting the sometime in the future there could be an I P O not quite yet. Ithink we need to become Quite a lot bigger before.

That's, that'ssensible. But I, I, I think as an independent company could grow reallybig.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Well, it, I,  

I love this nextsection I'll call my founder FAQs. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid firequestions cause I, I want to get some more perspectives from you before we getout here. So, first question I'd love to ask is what's particularly hard aboutyour job day to day?

Antti:For me as the founder who's. Done so many of the details for, so, for such along time. I think the continues to be hard to just let. The leaders do theirjob and not, not interfere.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.  

Thinking about,kind of, your concern about the larger organization becoming Florida Innovateskind of the inverse of, of every graph when you think about scaling yourcompanies.

But what kind ofsystems or philosophies or culture have you put in place to hopefully, mitigatethe risk of that or even create an organization who innovates first ratherthan, you know who, who creates processes and procedures that kind of stiflethat type of growth? What have you put in place?

Antti:Yeah. I think it starts from the guiding principles or values that we have.It's for us, it's make it happen, help others and love customers, andespecially that make it happen. Principle is one of those that hates like,let's not go behind a process or bureaucracy or, or the reasons why we can'tdo, let's just.

Let's just do it.There are things like kind of like setting up small teams to, to experimentwith things. But I, yeah, I mean that's, that's part of our job now as we leadthe growth that how do we make sure that we enable innovation to, to stillhappen rapidly? There's so many things that can. Kill that speed.  


I think about, asfounders kind of go through this journey, they become kind of, the, the Azureone founders and the 10 to, and, and they continue to expand and you know thatduring that experience you get further and further away from the team andthink.

About, how you canimpact them, if, is there a certain, obviously you'd love to spend time witheveryone, but is there a certain kind of group of people that are super crucialto the success of the business that, you wish you could have spent a little bitmore time?

Whether it'sdeveloping them or spending time, during their day to day, any group kind ofstand out who are just ultimately crucial to building a successful techcompany?  

Antti:That's a great question. And to me it's the sales teams and Product team and,and I don't want to sound like other teams wouldn't be hugely important, but Ithink they're kind of like staying in touch with also the, the field teams in,in both of those.

Yeah. Kind of likesome, somewhere there is the wisdom of what we need to continue doing in orderto to be successful in the market.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. It's like the direct feedback, right? That's, that's where it'scoming from. Whether it's from the clients or customers or from who's using theproduct, the current customers that you have, and.

Yeah, I, I totallyunderstand ha having to wanting to spend time to, to maybe even change morequickly or more rapidly or make adjustments. How do you do that when yourorganization has, not all these tiers of managers, people who really, you know,support and impact the success of your business.

But you know, themore people to talk to, it's just harder to make change What? What have you, isthere a system in place? Do you keep a close touch with your managers? How doyou keep that kind of kind of close watch to what's happening, on the frontlines?  

Antti:Yeah. We, we try to have a pretty systematic way of having regular meetings at,let's say each level of the organization and then visiting each other'smeetings.

So obviously I runmy own leadership team meetings, but also then visiting department levelmeetings. And I also try to do more than 10 one-to-one calls with. Frankly,randomly with employees across the organization every every month or quarterjust like that, that's, that's, that's fun because then you hear the, hear thetruth and it's not filtered by them, by the manage managers.

Julian:yeah, yeah.  

Thinking about thefunding landscape, just taking a step back and, and thinking overall withintech, what was pretty advantageous about, when you funded at that time? Versus,what the funding environment is today. Do you reflect on, the timing of, ofwhen you know, M-Files, whether it was raised money or scaled or, movedcapital.

What, what's,what's changed in that environment? Do you reflect at all on the timing of, ofwhen you did kind of raise money and, and scale your company?  

Antti:Yeah, we've gone through a couple of very different phases. First of all, youmay not realize that we spent more than five years in bootstrapped mode beforewe raised our first funding round.

So we, we did getto about 10 million in revenue without any external funding, and that I wouldattribute maybe more, mostly to the fact that, yeah, when we started thefunding. Like it's available today, just wasn't available for, for companieslike us especially in Europe. At that time we raised our series A in 2013,series B in 2016.

And then the, thelatest one, series C, which was more substantial in size, about 80 million U SD that was in January 21. So those have been in, in those stages. We be, we'vebeen definitely growth oriented and have, I, I I'd say have enjoyed a lot ofinterest from the investor community. So it's been I, I don't think it was hardto raise that money, but I'm also happy that we didn't happen to raise at thevery top of the peak of the hype or anything like that, cuz that can also be,be quite difficult.

Then when thingsturn turn in the other direction, like, like, like has happened. So I, I, Ithink we've frankly also been somewhat lucky to raise money at. Times where,it's been available, but it's not been available at ridiculous terms.  

Julian:Yeah, what, what was, at the different stages where you did raise money, whatwere the different priorities?

Was it, scaling,certain teams? Was it, buying certain companies to actually add onto yourproduct line? What in particular did you, see was necessary and where did youdeploy that capital? At each stage?  

Antti:Yeah. For us the biggest use probably in each of those funding rounds has beenthe expansion of our go-to market.

So, as we are aEuropean originating company, we've had to invest quite a lot to, first of allget to the US market. So scaling the sales and marketing teams outside ofEurope getting that foothold in in the us also growing and leadership team. Tobe truly international and, and let's say half US based Those.

I, I, I, I wouldsay that we've used most of the funding for go-to-market scalability, someacquisitions and some obviously acceleration of product development. Butgo-to-market has been the key.  


What, what did yousay is something, I, launching another company or other countries obviouslyhas, somewhat of a playbook, right?

Whether you, hire aconsultant who works locally in that environment, who gives you all this datathat you need to deploy, or you do it yourself, you have your own team thatthat does it. What is something that is, say, less? Considered during thisprocess of, scaling into another, another country that most founders just don'texpect when going, and, trying to, try out different markets in in other areas.

Antti: Yeah,I, I would argue that there's no playbook. Like, it's like, it's just such aunique experience that, that you kind of only, only realize when you, when youdo it, and, and I'm afraid that even if I tried to then, help others tounderstand what kind of challenges they face. It's like really difficult tobelieve what kind of differences and and challenges you'll face.

So maybe the bestis just to say that kind of like, be prepared for a lot of surprises and lot ofchallenges and kind of like have the grit to just push through. Like, like,like you can't just like, do it a little bit. Like you have to be really.Strong with your conviction of entering a market. If you're, if you're justlike giving, giving it a try.

I think you'redoomed to fail. Yeah. But if you are, if you don't accept failure, I, I mean,sometimes you probably need to accept failure. It's not smart to, to not, notaccept failure. But that's, that's where founders just need to get it tried.That, when you, when you will. Push through, even though it's like super hard.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. , what's helped you do it for so long? I mean, I, I, I, obviously,I think most founders can say they just can't imagine doing anything differentbecause it's, it's just so ingrained in either your nature to, to pursue thisproject out. But, but obviously it's challenging, and it takes a lot of, likeyou said, grit takes a lot of, emotional energy.

How, how have youovercome, those challenges along with all the other business obstacles.  

Antti:Yeah, for person, personally for me, there have always been kind of differentset of challenges for every year, and I've actually had. Various roles alongthe journey. I, I was the CEO for the early years.

Then for about 10years, I led the product department, had another person run the company as aceo. Then I've returned to the CEO role. I've relocated from Europe to to Texasin, in, in the us. And we are achieving these different milestones like the ahundred millionaire mark recently. So it's kind of like this.

It's, it's beenexciting every year and the next year is going to be different. Yeah. Andagain, like now, perhaps the market has changed and there's a higherwillingness to see also profitability in, in SaaS companies. So, Yet anotherset of challenges and I, I think, is a company that can do really well in thismarket environment.

So, I, I, I, yeah,I think I'll continue as long as it, it's keeps as exciting as it's been sofar.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.

What, what do you think is one quality aboutyourself that allows, whether it's curiosity, whether it's, an inability toquit, what is something that you think has helped kind of, push you to not onlybuild a company from, zero to now a hundred million in, in ar, but for as longas you have, is, is there any kind of innate ability that you kind of, you'relike, ah, I think this is probably what's helped me, pursue this insanely forso long.

Antti:Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. I probably a certain level of like crazy deter justbeing overly determined to just get there. Yeah. Regardless of the obstacles.But also I think as, as I think back I, I probably have been quite good at thenalso adapting to the different needs of the company.

Cause they are verydifferent at 10 person and a hundred person and, and 500 plus persons. So I. I,I, I hope I've been pretty good at that kind of like adaptation. Yeah. And, andthat has, that has  


Yeah. Yeah. Antti,and I know we're coming to the close of the show here, but

I always love to ask this next questionbecause I love how founders extract knowledge out of anything that they ingest,whether it's books or people.

What has had alasting impact on you as an entrepreneur?

Antti:One of the early business books I read is Jim Collins Good to Great. And Ithink that kind of continues to be somehow like both of, of like what kind of aleader you would want to be, but also like what are the lasting. Values youbuild into the company?

I, I, I, I thinkthat has had the greatest influence. Yeah.

Julian:And, and what, what is that in particular? Is there any like, message in therethat, that you still hold or anything that influence in your current company?Any particular value? Yeah, anything at all that, that was more specific?  

Antti:Yeah, I think there are two concepts there that I am continue to remember verywell.

And first of themis the, I think it's called Hedgehog hedge Hodge Hedgehog concept in English. Iread it in, in in another language. And that's about like the three things youneed to focus on to build a lasting business. And just things like, like youhave to continue working on something you are really passionate, passionateabout.

Yeah. And somethingwhere you can be the best in the world, but also something that actually.Impacts the, the profits and the revenue of the company. So kind of likelooking for that kind of a triangle of those three things need to be true.That's one. The other one is about leadership and kind of what's What's anideal kind of a leader, and there's this kind of a level five leader typedescribed there, which I, I, that's my ideal of type of leadership.

Yeah. And that'swhat I'd like  

Julian:to be.  

Love that. I lovethat. Antti. It's been such a pleasure. Not only going through kind of thejourney of the company, but also the technology and the space and, obviouslyyou mentioned some AI bits. So before we, trail off out of this episode,  

what particularadvances in, in the current technology that, that other companies are workingon, do you feel particularly excited about on how it could be impactful?

In, in M-Files. Andnot only ha has it been, but also Yeah. What do you think it's gonna allow M-Filesto become?  

Antti:Very easy to see how search will or finding information will be revolutionized,looking forward to, to applying. That research, those, those innovations ininto our platform too.

I'm also veryinterested to just see that with the whole. Concept of how we interact withsoftware. Kind of the UI concepts like will we change from a graphical userinterface into some sort of text or chat type of a user interface Also forthese concept business business things like document management.

That's not entirelyclear to me, but that's, that's something we really need to figure out.  


And have you everthought about, how, how crypto and kind of NFTs kind of that whole kind ofblockchain tracking validation, does that, ever come into mind? Or is thatstill a concept that still needs to be fleshed out a little bit more before youintegrate something like that?

Antti:Yeah. We, we have actually looked at that quite a lot in, in the past yearsand, and maybe a little bit to my surprise, It hasn't really found a very clearapplication in what we do. I don't know if we just don't see it or if it's justnot really what's needed. There. There are some clear things about like, liketraceability and like validation or authenticity or integrity.

But yeah, it's it,it has had less influence on, on the types of platforms that we build that Iwould have except cryptographic of course, like security related things. Butif, if we think of these let's say ledger types of things and blockchain typesof things. Yeah. It's been Interesting that it hasn't changed more.

Julian:Yeah. In our, yeah. Yeah, it did. Yeah. I always, I like to ask that questionjust because those are, great for SEO traffic on the show, but also more sojust because they're such, interesting, innovative, recent technologies that alot of companies think about. It's exciting to hear that, companies like yours,even at the scale you are at, are still kind of.

Experimenting withthings that are out there listening to, the news on different pieces oftechnology and how they're integrating. But last little bit, I know we'recoming to the end of the show and right before we give you a chance to give usyour plugs and where to find and support you, is there any question I didn'task you that I should have anything left on the table today?

Antti:Yeah. Yeah, I'm not sure. I think it's, it's been a, it's been a great, greatdiscussion and covered quite a lot of the long journey that we've had.  

Julian:Amazing Antti. Well, it's been such a pleasure not only going through yourjourney, but also the company and, and talking about, not only your business,but also the grander startup market, and tech in particular.

Been such apleasure having you on this show. I hope you enjoyed yourself and thank youagain for being on Behind Company Lines last bit. Is, where can we find you?Where can we be fans? Where, what's your Twitter? What's your LinkedIn? Wherecan we connect with you as, as as fans, but also maybe even as, founders andinvestors who are interested in, learning from you and listening to you.

Antti:Yeah. Obviously the company Page at m-files.com is where you will find me andI, I think I'm most active in. LinkedIn, so feel free to reach out to, to mebased on my name, Antti Nivala, they're happy to, happy to talk more.  

Julian:Amazing. Thank you so much for being on the show, Antti.  

Antti:Thanks, Julian.

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