David Brudö is a husband and proud father of two. Apart from that, he’s also the CEO and Co-founder of Remente, an app for personal and organisational development, set to democratise mental wellbeing. In his interview with CEO Today, David discusses the benefits of office meditation.
What first inspired Remente, and how did you turn your idea into the product it is today?
My entrepreneurial career started long before my work with Remente. Some years ago, I found myself on the verge of burning out, and I learned the hard way that unless you entered into the healthcare system, there was a significant lack of support. What I needed was not medical care, but a tool that prevented me from burning out, by helping me maintain focus, create meaning, and find balance in life.
When meeting some really smart people that had similar experiences and ideas, we quickly realised that the issue we needed to address was not only impacting individuals, but also businesses, and society as a whole. Shortly after, we began developing the product. After a long period of trial and error, as well as a continuous dialogue with our users, we ended up with the product that we have today; a tool that helps individuals and businesses maintain a healthy work-life balance, while increasing personal and professional performance.
Has Remente’s growth to date exceeded your initial hopes and expectations? If so, how did you accomplish this?
While our original idea for this business came about some years back, it is only in the last couple of years that the market has caught up and started to really acknowledge the issues that we address, so in that sense, no.
However, our expectations have certainly been exceeded when it comes to the growth and momentum that we’re currently seeing, and the feedback that we get from our users. It’s a surreal feeling knowing that we sit in Gothenburg, a small Swedish city, building a product that manages to impact someone in a hugely positive way on the other side of the globe. That was our ambition from day one, but to see it actually work kind of blew our minds.
How does Remente compare to any other businesses you’ve founded/worked for?
The key drive for running our company is not necessarily the business aspect of it, but rather the true passion that we have for our mission to democratise mental wellbeing.
My team and I built this solution for ourselves and our loved ones, because it was something that we truly needed. Many start-ups use the cliché mission of “wanting to make the world a better place” with little substance behind it. In our case, we are building a business based on improving the lives of individuals, and we see proof that it works, so perhaps we are making the world a little bit better, albeit at a very small scale.
What practices do you maintain in order to promote mental wellbeing for you and your employees?
Something that we do and that I would highly recommend to other businesses is to regularly meditate together in the office. This is nothing complicated but a short session during which we all come together to sit in silence and focus on our breathing.
We have also implemented R.O.W.E, which stands for “Result Oriented Workplace Environment”. The idea is that as long as you achieve results you are free to manage your time in a way that works for you. Work-life balance is important and allowing our employees to work from home, leave early to pick up their kids, or schedule their workouts during “traditional working hours” has had no negative effect on our performance.
What is it like to be an entrepreneur and start a business in Sweden?
As a small country, Sweden on its own is a comparatively restricted market. However, this is not a bad thing, but forces companies to think globally from the start. This mind set, combined with a large talent pool and high level of innovation, has made Sweden very capable of developing world-class products. The Swedish tradition of building global business concepts – with companies such as IKEA, Spotify, and Skype leading the way – has always been a great inspiration for new generations of entrepreneurs.
Starting a business in Sweden is generally quite easy, and there are some support structures in place to help with the process. However, while Swedish politicians are keen to advertise Sweden as an entrepreneurial nation, the entrepreneurial spirit is somewhat taken for granted, and there is definitely more that can be done.
Compared to other nations, Sweden could become a lot better at supporting its start-ups, especially during the early stages. In order to turn our global ambitions into actual competition, we need even more resources and an even better ecosystem that can match this valuable mind set. To summarise; Sweden has the track record, ability and mentality to build great businesses, but the systems to support this, need to improve and expand.
What should other countries take away from Sweden’s leadership success?
In general, we do have a flat hierarchical leadership structure and we tend to give employees a lot of freedom to operate. This has created a culture focused around what is right, rather than who is right. When this works, employees become more engaged, independent and take more initiatives, meaning that leaders can spend less time micromanaging, and more time on being strategic and coaching their employees, thus helping the business grow.