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| 3 mins

An Enlightening Interview with Freespee's CTO Niklas Malmgren

"It took three years behind the wheel of a taxi to realise I wanted a career in tech."


3 May 2018, Danielle de La Bastide

Freespee’s CTO Niklas Malmgren recently moved from his position as VP of engineering to CTO; we had a few questions for Niklas regarding his new role and vision for Freespee!


Where and how did you get your start in the tech space?

Niklas: I’ve always been a computer enthusiast, but it took three years behind the wheel of a taxi to realise I wanted a career in tech. I got my  break and learned the trade at online payments company Klarna. I worked there from 2011 to 2016, and it was an amazing journey both personally and professionally. The company grew from 400 to 1400 employees during this period. I started as a developer and ended up a manager.

Do you think driving a taxi helped with how you understand consumer communication?

Niklas: Maybe. You do need to be able to communicate with a wide range of people as a taxi driver; I had conversations with everyone, from bums to billionaires.

How has Freespee’s technology grown since your first day there?

Niklas: I’m proud of the significant improvements the team has made to the tech stack since I joined Freespee. We’ve created a new framework for segments and workflows, and we’ve built a great, scalable software architecture for Freespee Talk, our consumer communication software. We have some of the best tech talent in Uppsala [Sweden], and everyone is really focused on crafting sustainable, stable solutions.

How does VP of Engineering compare and contrast with CTO?

Niklas: I’ve had to learn to delegate! Adding Product to my list of responsibilities has meant more focus on strategies and processes. And recruitment. We have so many open positions right now.

How tuned in to consumer communication do Freespee squads need to be?

Niklas: We want to be the experts in how consumers and our clients/companies want to communicate, so these are essential skills for every employee. But the good thing is that customer communication is something everyone can relate to. As consumers, all of us have bad and good experiences from trying to communicate with companies.

What is in the tech stack and what are you currently up to?

Niklas: We’re currently learning more about how our clients want to communicate with their consumers, as we’re putting the finishing touches on our new product, Freespee Talk.  Together with our contextual routing, Freespee Talk will revolutionise the way consumers, and companies connect.

Would you say contextual routing is the rockstar of our system?

Niklas: Contextual routing is definitely a killer feature. It’s extremely powerful, and it has made it so much easier to explain to friends and family exactly how Freespee simplifies communication. But it’s a budding rock star. It will become immensely more powerful, useful, and intelligent down the line. Wait and see!

Tell us about trends you’re noticing in the cloud telephony eco-system?

Niklas: Voice bots is a hot topic at the moment. Used wisely it can have an immensely positive impact on consumer experience. Used mindlessly it will significantly degrade the experience. Knowing when to connect you to voice bot and when to connect to a human is essential. Do they only want to know opening hours or something more complicated? Does a bot better solve a more straightforward question? It will be a better consumer experience if we can connect you to a bot straight away instead of waiting in a queue. Anything that improves consumer experience by saving time and money is a win-win. The focus on consumer experience will continue to grow, especially combined with leveraging the data that’s available.

What should potential clients know about our API?

Niklas: We have really versatile and powerful API that allows you not only to fetch data but to do just about anything with your account. Handle campaigns, retrieve phone numbers. It’s used by some of Europe’s largest online marketplaces.

Can you share your plans for the future of our platform?

Niklas: You’re going to see us finding new ways of making our customer’s data truly useful to them. And we will continue improving the consumer experience by launching our first consumer-facing widget. On the tech side, as Freespee is expanding, we will put a lot effort into ensuring an even more scalable platform.

What are the challenges facing our industry?

Niklas: Right now, it’s definitely regulations. We have made considerable investments making sure we respect the new EU data protection legislation, GDPR, and we are right now putting the finishing touches on our platform to ensure full compliance.

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