Cros­sing Bor­ders

In­ter­vi­ew with Gre­ger Ha­ge­lin, Key­flow By So­fia Chowd­hu­ry

Odalisque - - Artwork By Sammy Slabbinck Written By Michaela Myh -

From back­flips in sun­ny Ca­li to buil­ding one of the world’s le­a­ding brands in stre­et fashion, to ma­king a he­ad-first deep di­ve in­to the world of mo­bi­le te­ch­no­lo­gy with the newly-laun­ched app Key­flow, Gre­ger Ha­ge­lin is not on­ly sketching the fu­tu­re of event com­mu­ni­ca­tion, he is taking over the world. sc: How did your jour­ney as an ent­re­pre­neur be­gin? gh: I ca­me to Swe­den af­ter spen­ding 3 ye­ars in Ca­li­for­nia ska­te­boar­ding. I was sup­po­sed to go to uni­ver­si­ty af­ter “wasting 3 ye­ars”. Then one of my L.A. fri­ends who had a ska­te­board com­pa­ny asked if I was in­te­res­ted to sell their pro­ducts in Swe­den. I sa­id yes and opened the com­pa­ny BAM, had my of­fice in the kit­chen of my apart­ment in Sol­len­tu­na. It was sup­po­sed to be a short jour­ney, but it was a gre­at way to be ab­le to keep ska­te­boar­ding, build it up in Swe­den and at the sa­me ti­me ma­ke so­me mo­ney do­ing it. Then I opened up G-spot with Pon­tus Karls­son. sc: Would you say that your pre­vious ska­te ye­ars have had an im­pact on your ent­re­pre­neurs­hip? ml: I guess, a lot. As a ska­te­boar­der you have to ta­ke risks. You have to find new ways of do­ing things, and we did it to­get­her with pe­op­le we liked. That’s the way I do bu­si­ness. In both bu­si­ness and ska­te­boar­ding you som ti­mes fall, but you need to get up and try again. sc: What was spen­ding your te­e­nage ye­ars in the US li­ke? ml: I grew up in a pret­ty grey and po­or part of the Stock­holm suburbs in the la­te 70s with the Swe­dish “Jan­te Law” do­mi­na­ting. Coming to sun­ny and open Ca­li­for­nia as an 18-ye­ar-old, spen­ding the ti­me with pe­op­le you li­ke, ska­te­boar­ding, sur­fing and me­e­ting girls – it was a dream. I al­so worked eve­ry week­end at Mc­do­nald’s and as a con­struc­tion wor­ker the who­le sum­mer to sa­ve the mo­ney be­fo­re I went to Ca­li­for­nia. So it felt that I worked my ass off to be ab­le to go to the land of my dreams. sc: You are one of the foun­ders of WESC back in 1999. What are the most im­por­tant things that you le­ar­ned from the 13 ye­ars at WESC? ml: When we started we were 5 fri­ends and we had a com­mon go­al – to be the best stre­et fashion com­pa­ny in the world. So the first thing is to set up a go­al and ma­ke su­re eve­ry­o­ne you work with has the sa­me go­al, and ma­ke su­re no one tri­es to change that. Se­cond thing is that you need to work hard, but you need to have fun at the sa­me ti­me – ot­her­wi­se you won’t last long. Espe­ci­al­ly if you work 12-15 hours a day and tra­vel 200 days a ye­ar.third thing, you need to work with pe­op­le that gi­ve you ener­gy, rat­her than taking ener­gy. Most im­por­tant­ly is that you have to sur­round your­self with gre­at pe­op­le, becau­se you can’t do eve­ryt­hing your­self. I al­ways says that you won’t be bet­ter than the pe­op­le you sur­round your­self with, but they need to be pe­op­le with the sa­me agen­da. You need to work with pe­op­le who wants what’s good for you and vice ver­sa. That’s what I le­ar­ned! sc: Why did

you start wor­king with Key­flow? ml: To ma­ke a long sto­ry short, Ste­fan Ehrnst, who is one of my part­ners at Key­flow to­day, started Key­flow as a guest list sy­stem when he worked at WESC. He was my as­si­stant 11 ye­ars back and our first employee at WESC. At WESC we did ma­ny gre­at events, but becau­se we al­ways had pro­blems with the guest lists we used Key­flow. When I left my po­si­tion as a CEO at WESC, two ye­ars ago, Ste­fan and I started to di­scuss what we could do with Key­flow. It had run in­to a de­ad end as a guest list sy­ that ti­me I’d al­so re­ad a study about night­li­fe ha­ving a bunch of the sa­me pro­blems no mat­ter whe­re in the world they ope­ra­te. Then I sa­id [to Ste­fan], if we build a sy­stem that can sol­ve the pro­blems and we ta­ke it to next le­vel, I will be re­a­dy to ta­ke the ro­le as a CEO and al­so in­vest mo­re mo­ney. We started to talk to pe­op­le who knew mo­re than we did about buil­ding what we wan­ted to build, so we le­ar­ned a lot. We then put to­get­her a group of pe­op­le and we all in­ve­sted in this so that we could ta­ke it to next le­vel. And he­re we are. Re­a­dy to ta­ke it to next le­ What is your re­la­tions­hip to tech? ml: From the beginning, not mo­re than an ave­rage guy. But af­ter a ye­ar buil­ding Key­flow I know what we need to ma­ke su­re we build the best sy­stem for nightclubs! Tech is a strange word. To be ab­le to do what we want to do, you need all kind of te­ch­ni­ci­ans. They are all spe­ci­a­lists in their spe­ci­fic area, and you need to know who you want on your team. May­be it was good that I didn’t know mo­re. We had the big pictu­re and we did know what we wan­ted to ac­hi­e­ve and didn’t see all the ob­stacles. But in the end, again, it is about the team. Gre­at pe­op­le wor­king to­get­her. sc: Why do you think a tool li­ke Key­flow is nee­ded? ml: We li­ve in a new ti­me. Eve­ryt­hing will change! Look at Uber, at how banks ope­ra­te, how we in­te­ract with each ot­her. It’s all mo­ving to­wards ef­fi­ci­ent so­lu­tions with help of te­ch­no­lo­gy. Nightclubs have seen ma­jor changes with en­ter­tain­ment, ser­vice and their of­fe­rings to the pub­lic. At Key­flow we aim to simp­li­fy the in­te­rac­tions between clubs and guests, of­fe­ring a gre­at tool for both parts, and do it on an in­ter­na­tio­nal le­vel. We al­so aim to ta­ke the stress away from the ma­na­ge­ment at nightclubs. Look at the mu­sic in­du­stry, they had it all. They had the ar­tists, they had the mu­sic rights, were part­ners with the ar­tist ma­na­ge­ments and they had the dis­tri­bu­tion. But they for­got one thing – the custo­mers wan­ted to buy mu­sic on the In­ter­net. Com­pa­ni­es li­ke Spo­ti­fy saw the gap in the mar­ket and un­der­stood the con­su­mer. The mu­sic in­du­stry didn’t see or didn’t sup­port it from the beginning, but now it’s an eve­ryday re­a­li­ty. It’s so­me­ti­mes the sa­me in the nightclub in­du­stry. It’s pret­ty hard to stop te­ch­no­lo­gy. sc: Tell us about your prou­dest mo­ments in li­fe, per­so­nal­ly and pro­fes­sio­nal­ly. ml: Ooh, that’s hard! Of cour­se, be­ing a dad. Proud to be a good fa­mily father. Proud that I have been mar­ri­ed for 20 ye­ars with the sa­me part­ner. That’s pret­ty hard the­se days, and it’s not al­ways ea­sy, but it’s worth it. Coming to L.A. when I was 18. I re­mem­ber fly­ing in over L.A. thin­king “it’s okay if the pla­ne cras­hes now becau­se I have ful­fil­led my dream”. Then star­ting WESC with my fri­ends and taking it to whe­re we took it; we made it in the US. Then I was proud to leave WESC and ta­ke on a new ad­ven­tu­re with Key­flow. I have the sa­me feeling with Key­flow that we had with WESC in the beginning and when we went to What is the am­bi­tion of Key­flow? ml: Be­come the world le­a­der in Glo­bal VIP Guest Tran­sac­tions! We aim to have the best so­lu­tions for both the nightclubs and the guests when tho­se worlds go di­gi­tal. Then have a fan­tastic jour­ney. sc: What in­spires you? ml: A good book, na­tu­re, ci­ti­es, tra­ve­ling, ar­chi­tectu­re. Just to be alo­ne on a pla­ne. But in the end, me­e­tings are good – fan­tastic pe­op­le who sha­re! I used to say that you can have a fan­tastic day becau­se you met so­me­o­ne who inspired you, and at the sa­me ti­me, so­me­o­ne can ru­in the day by just be­ing an ass­ho­le, but you need to be strong enough to ta­ke in the good and keep the bad out. sc: How ma­ny apps do you have on your pho­ne? Which ones do you use on a daily ba­sis? ml: May­be 40-50. SAS, Ex­pe­dia, Spo­ti­fy, Key­flow, daily news­pa­pers, etc. sc: Is Key­flow for eve­ry­o­ne? ml: Ab­so­lu­tely. The plat­form has re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry op­tions to gi­ve spe­ci­al pri­vi­le­ges to VIP guests, all con­trol­led by the ow­ners and ma­na­gers of each club, but al­so the glo­bal reach for “re­gu­lar” guests. It is de­fi­ni­tely so­met­hing for eve­ry ty­pe of club and custo­ Tell us how it works! ml: Th­ree apps work to­get­her in synchro­ni­zed fashion. The glo­bal mar­ke­ting plat­form direct­ly con­nects the venue with the guest. This ena­bles new in­te­rac­tions. But re­al­ly, the best way to find out is just to down­lo­ad it: www.key­ For guests, he­re are so­me key positive at­tri­bu­tes: So­ci­al – the ab­i­li­ty to in­vi­te and buy ad­mis­sion and ta­bles for you and your fri­ends. Plan ahe­ad – the ab­i­li­ty to secu­re your spot by buy­ing ahe­ad of ti­me. Tra­vels – find and get in to gre­at clubs when tra­ve­ling. VIP Cards – be awar­ded VIP cards to clubs that know you as a gre­at guest! The ab­i­li­ty to put your­self on the list af­ter get­ting the ac­k­now­ledg­ment from the club. Key­flow is the on­ly sy­stem in the world of­fe­ring this. sc: What is the next step for Key­flow? ml: We just laun­ched. So the next step is to work our plan. We have been me­e­ting clubs all over Eu­ro­pe, the US and al­so in Bra­zil over the last ye­ar. I’m at the mo­ment in Asia me­e­ting with clubs in Hong Kong, Macau, Sing­a­po­re and Ba­li. We are cur­rent­ly on board with ama­zing clubs in Eu­ro­pe. Next month it’s the US! We have the ma­jo­ri­ty of the ci­ti­es in the EU. It’s so incre­dib­ly fun to con­nect night­li­fe around the world! Re­mem­ber this is just the start. We been focu­sing on the tech si­de, but now we will build a sa­les team, mar­ke­ting team and open up a US of­fice this fall. When we work, we learn and do it bet­ter and bet­ter, day by day!

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