I met the team at Clara in November 2009, they were 6 guys had an interesting idea and they were figuring out how to make a business out of that idea. They had solved the Language problem and had create a seamless way to suck a lot of unstructured text, tag and mash it with user information, analyze sentiment using the Crimson hexagon Artificial Intelligence Algorithm, do fantastic pivots on the data because of the granularity of the meta data behind the data structure and present it beautifully in an intuitive user interface. We invested in them in May 2010, by that time they had launched a product called Vaktarinn.is (Monitor in Icelandic) for the Icelandic market to monitor all digital media, twitter posts, facebook comments, blog posts and community forums. The product was to test the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and they were successful, they quickly started getting corporate customers like Toyota Iceland, Microsoft Iceland and Coca cola Iceland and all the major Icelandic banks who wanted to monitor their Public Relationship image and Brand image. They currently have over 70 customers in Iceland in this product segment However, the original business idea was to go after the online communities associated with Gaming companies.
Having CCP Games in our backyard was very helpful they worked very closely with CCP to develop their flagship product Clara Insight which basically took the entire infrastructure and ran a software as a service business where their customers just gives them access to their closed web forum and the meta data associated with their customers. They have had CCP Games as their customer for the past 14 months in addition to them they have added Sony and Square Enix (both are Fortune 500 companies!). They are in discussion with all the top 10 gaming companies in the world.
They grew the team to 12, established a presence in San Francisco and have been slowing growing the customer base in Iceland for the PR and Media monitoring solution. They have achieved all this in a matter of 18 months. This is just to emphasise the fact that one can build viable businesses in a short period of time and get to the growth stage in 12 to 18 months, they have done it when the whole world has been going to doom and gloom here in Iceland according to Michael Lewis in his book Boomerang. This is for a company that I know a lot about but I have met other companies that are being built as you read this. I believe there is lot more to the Icelandic Startup Scene than what meets the eye!