A passion for start-ups and revolutionary technology
With an extreme passion for building start-ups and a unique insight and ability to utilize new technology, Torben Frigaard has since 1999 stood in the vanguard of a range of companies whose new technology has revolutionized traditional industries – Including Permission Marketing, media and the accounting profession.
Torben Frigaard’s insight and skill in selecting the right employee teams to work with has resulted in both effective turnarounds and the rollout of major digital initiatives and international launches which have led to several successful sales and exits.
Growth companies in the Nordic countries
Today, Torben Frigaard Rasmussen is Special Operating Director for the private equity fund HgCapital, which acquired e-conomic in 2013. At HgCapital he leads the fund’s drive to identify growth companies in the Nordic market.
Torben Frigaard will partly make his own investments and partly, in close cooperation with HgCapital, identify new and suitable investment opportunities within the fields of B2B software, green tech and more. With its Nordic ventures, HgCapital has invested more than 1 billion euro via two funds, Mercury and HG7. Investments will typically be ventured with IT focused companies which have proven potential in the market.
Effective turnaround at Retail Internet:
Torben Frigaard entered the fray in earnest for the first time with the Lars Kolind company, Retail Internet, where he conducted a major turnaround in the wake of the first dotcom bubble. With a good deal of common sense and sharp business acumen, he built a company offering products that the market was actually ready to buy.
“From being a small start-up in 2001, Retail Internet grew to be the Nordic region’s largest provider of customized advertising via email and text message. Applying new technology and a thorough understanding of consumer behavior on the internet, Retail Internet revolutionised the way consumers received advertising offers. The old, familiar coupon catalogs were consigned to the boneyard, and instead everything was channeled online via email and cellphone.”
Retail Internet’s international network was built up through effective partnerships, and both small and large databases proved to be important playing partners for the company. Advertisers saw the great advantages that result oriented agreements with Retail Internet delivered because clicks, leads and actions give instant return for advertisers.
The company expanded from 4 employees in 2001 to 70 in 2006 and from zero turnover to 10 million euros in the same period.
Retail Internet was part of the portfolio of Bankinvest and, according to plan, was successfully sold to the French stock market listed company Come & Stay in 2006.
With this acquisition the French former competitor gained access to Retail Internet’s dominant position in the online marketing of advertising campaigns in Scandinavia, Great Britain, the Benelux countries, Germany and China.
Thereby becoming the largest provider of electronic ads via email and text message in Europe, with around 120 employees in 12 countries worldwide. Torben Frigaard Rasmussen remained at the helm of the company until 2008.
e-conomic revolutionized the accounting profession
Following the decisive turnaround of Retail Internet, Torben Frigaard was headhunted to take over as board chairman of the Danish company, e-conomic, which was poised to undertake a significant digital and international venture. Torben Frigaard was, however, quickly promoted from his post on the board to take on the role of CEO.
When Torben Frigaard assumed the leadership of e-conomic in 2008, it was a small, Copenhagen based business with 40 employees, 15,000 customers and a turnover of 31 million DKK. Today, e-conomic international a/s is among the world’s leading providers of cloud-based accounting systems for the SME market. Currently, e-conomic has more than 200,000 users worldwide and expects to achieve a turnover of approx. 150 million DKK in 2014
With e-conomic, Torben Frigaard revolutionized the accounting profession and provided accountants with brand new collaboration opportunities to rationalize and streamline business processes significantly, empowering them to serve clients at any time of day, regardless of location. Through close contact with clients they can sell more consulting services and always remain up to speed with clients’ needs.
At the same time, e-conomic gives SMEs valuable new insight into their own businesses by making accounts management simple, intuitive and easily accessible. With e-conomic’s cloud-based subscription model, smaller companies no longer need to invest in licenses, maintenance, upgrades, servers and day to day operation.
Effective online strategy
“The business model is built on a strategy that is almost 100 per cent online, making e-conomic extremely competitive in the market. Reliable support and a high level of service are centrally important for clients’ perception of e-conomic and the firm’s ability to offer support as quickly as possible. Communicating 24/7 in nine different languages through wikis, blogs, YouTube and webinars.
Through value-based leadership, Torben Frigaard has created one of the most modern workplaces in Denmark. He is spoken of as an inspiring leader who intuitively knows how to cultivate a growth company like e-conomic to its optimum potential. At e-conomic you get a glimpse of the future of corporate culture. There is a wonderful “can-do” culture rarely seen outside of Silicon Valley, and a unique passion for customer service drives the employees.
In 2013, e-conomic was sold to the English private equity fund, HgCapital, in one of the largest cash acquisitions in IT industry history in Denmark. The sale was timed to coincide with an international growth strategy which required capital, knowledge and networks to boost both organic growth and growth through a range of acquisitions domestically and internationally.
In 2014 Torben Frigaard Rasmussen accepted an offer from HgCapital to become Special Operating Director. However, he retains his association with the company in the role of Special Advisor and shareholder.
Focus on core segment at Visiolink
The transition to new digital payment platforms such as tablets and smartphones is taking place at full speed for media companies all across Europe. As consumers become increasingly digitized and new newspaper readers join the news wave, media companies need to establish as firm a foothold as possible on future digital payment platforms.
As chairman of the Danish company Visiolink from 2007-2013, Torben Frigaard, in close cooperation with the management team, successfully executed a turnaround and set a clear course towards maintaining focus on media companies as the core segment.
Market leader in Northern Europe
“This led to Visiolink becoming an international company whose more than 500 newspaper titles make it a market leader in digital news solutions for European media companies. Visiolink advises media companies and designs, produces and delivers digital solutions for e-pages, tablets and smartphones. Today, Visiolink is the market leader in Northern Europe.”
Visiolink’s software has been critically influential on consumer’s remodeled and digitized access to news channels. Visiolink’s software integrates directly with media companies’ existing editorial workflow and ensures smooth and fully automated content production.
“The company has a single-minded focus on the development of digital newspaper solutions as its core business, and this strategic choice is crucial to success in an industry that is still unsure of the earnings potential of digital platforms.”
The technology is based on SaaS (Software as a Service), which allows Visiolink to offer media companies a scalable solution, with Visiolink taking responsibility for all operation and maintenance. A financially advantageous solution on a subscription basis.
The company has in recent years experienced significant growth rates and Visiolink currently has 50 employees and a turnover of more than 50 million DKK. The company was sold by MBO in 2013.
Torben Frigaard chairs the boards of:
MIR / Umbraco A/S
esoft A / S, Kofoed & Co.
Vinens Verden A / S and Worldticket A / S.
He is also a board member of Fyens Stiftstidende as well as Den Fynske Bladfond, besides that he is member of the Advisory board of the Danish National Growth Fund/Vækstfonden.