Alok Alström

Growing And Scaling An Ondemand Gig Business With Alok Alström

Last Updated on October 8, 2020

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Tell Us About Yourself And Your Background!

I grew up in the suburbs of Uppsala in Sweden. I first took on a management role at the age of 20, when I moved to Stockholm and became the General Manager of the biggest youth organization in Sweden. After that I started studying at Stockholm School of Economics. Once I completed my Masters, I joined the Boston Consulting Group and worked there for 4 years and then joined Bisnode. It was not until 2015 that I had my first experience of working in a startup, when I became General Manager of Uber in Sweden.

Tell Us About Your Company! How Did You Start It? Why Did You Start It?

My time as General Manager at Uber Sweden gave me the inspiration for Appjobs. I realized that the revolutionizing invention behind Uber wasn’t only about getting people from A to B by the push of a button. The idea focuses on how people who want work could almost “stream” work to their smartphones on demand.

The core idea behind Appjobs is simple. It was to match people who want flexible opportunities with the available opportunities in their city. Our mission is to empower everyone to play a role in the labor market through organizing personalized flexible job opportunities, tools, resources and support. People have become disconnected and lack power in the labour market: we want to restore the power balance and be the support system to gig workers.

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

We got our first customers through agencies, who help platforms with recruitment.
Today we have over 1.6 million members and around 100 customers paying for our service to get gig workers working on their platform.

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

You could say we have two types of customers. On one hand we have our members, people searching for gig jobs, and can sign up for free to our platform. They mostly find Appjobs through google , marketing and social channels.

On the other hand we have the gig platforms, the paying customers who we acquire through our sales team. We always try to be agile to the needs of the platforms and try to develop new services for them as they need more complete recruitment funnels as they grow.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

People often say you need to find your marketplace fit before launching. I don’t think that’s always the case. I believe you need to make people feel comfortable in starting to produce the product. I usually say that the first draft should be a ten second sketch, then you can move forward with a ten minute and thereafter the 10 hour sketch. In that way you can get feedback along the way, and know when to throw an idea before you’ve put 10 hours working on a draft. To have a work style like that, is almost all about trust among the team members, and to rather start working on one bad idea, than no idea at all. To start developing things is the best way to reach your first thousand users or dollars.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

Since this is my first time as a co-founder of a company I’ve learned a lot during these three years. The most important things I’ve learned is the challenges of being the one in charge, and having to inspire and lead the team during critical times, not the least during this unexpected spring. During these times I’ve really learned the importance of being humble when doing new things and taking advice from people both internally and externally. During the Spring I’ve also taken a lot of advice from people with longer experience who have been through big changes before.

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

Probably getting to know my co-founder Bertan. I didn’t know him from before so it was like love at first sight but over the phone. I flew down from Stockholm to meet him in Katowice between Christmas and New Years in 2016 and we talked for hours. It’s a really cool feeling when you find chemistry with someone. And I’m glad we did. It was the first step to getting us to where we are.

What Are Your Favorite Books?

I prefer reading poetry in my spare time which can be both fiction and non-fiction. My absolute favorite poem is called ‘The Invitation’.

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

Do you like bad ideas? Me too! Bad can be turned into good. And besides, there is usually something even worse than “bad”. The “Status quo”. A “bad idea” is at least an “idea”, implying that it has some level of intelligence behind it when it was thought up. “Status quo” on the other hand is often the result of multiple coinciding processes and not really anyone’s idea at all.

So we need bad ideas. Because they provoke. Because they can be improved. Because they are the embryos to the really great ideas. Great ideas are by definition rare, which means that few embryos survive. But we can help more of them do so.

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