The most important question to ask while scaling up with Peter Holten Mühlmann, Trustpilot
On the latest episode of the SaaS Revolution Show, Alex talks with Peter Holten Mühlmann, CEO of Trustpilot, an online review community. Peter offers practical wisdom such as when is the right time to go international, how to fundraise and what is the question every CEO needs to be answering as a company scales.
Trustpilot’s story began ten years ago in Copenhagen when Peter decided all companies with online presence deserved to show they have happy customers through reviews and ratings. It stemmed from his own experience with an eCommerce venture that eventually lost traction because people had no way of knowing whether it was trustworthy and not operated by a bunch of college kids in a basement (which it was but that is not the point).
Peter initially had a very naive idea how he was going to build an Internet company and what his business model would be. Get on the front page of every paper in Denmark, become viral and make money from AdWords.
After this business model earned €4 to the company, Peter figured he had to find a better way. Hundreds of cold calls and asks for people to review every site they had ever used later, Trustpilot began to gather momentum.
The experience taught Peter, a self-professed introvert with slightly obsessive personality, how to sell and what customers care the most for in a product.
After two years he found the right freemium business model. Trustpilot began conquering the industry market by market, while Peter fundraised the big money he would need to bring Trustpilot global. The company first worked to build a successful presence in Europe before approaching the US market. To date, it has raised $143 million.
Approaching unicorn status, the company operates from 7 offices around the world, but Copenhagen is still its main HQ with New York and London employing some of the C-level executives. Trustpilot has grown to over 600 people. The reviews that companies showcase are seen 2 billion times each month.
In the interview, Peter talks at length that the key to scaling successfully is maintaining personal balance throughout the journey and relentlessly answering the pivotal question Why we exist as a company to everyone around.
Listen to learn:
- How to fundraise as a European company
- How to know when to go international
- How to outsource scaling to all your employees
- How to remain sane on the journey of scaling a SaaS company