“Our developers work better in Bali than in Copenhagen”
Mads Bonde and his team created Labster, which offers experience in a virtual lab used for teaching and learning life sciences. The young Danish entrepreneur chose to leave Europe for an exotic location: Bali!
TECHNOLOGIST Your team of 35 is spread among Denmark, Ukraine, Switzerland and Bali. Why so many different countries?
MADS BONDE When we launched our start-up in Copenhagen, we wanted to work with the most competent people possible. The truth is that you can’t find and bring together the best employees in a single location. We began working with consultants based in Ukraine. They were really good, so we decided to hire them to help launch the product. We also recruited brilliant engineers in Switzerland, which is why we have an office there.
TECHNOLOGIST What brought you to Bali?
MADS BONDE The reasons are totally different. We thought that setting up a unit in Bali would help us attract the best employees on the market. The sun, the beach, the clear blue water. It’s an exceptional environment, and working in Bali is a real pleasure. The other advantage is that the cost of living is really low. The employees are highly motivated when they’re here.
TECHNOLOGIST But aren’t they always surfing or drinking cocktails on the beach?
MADS BONDE No, quite the opposite. Everyone thinks our programmers can’t work seriously in the tropics. Yes, our offices are in villas on the seaside. But actually we work more efficiently than in Europe. Since everything is so cheap, they have help with everyday tasks. Our employees don’t go shopping, don’t clean and don’t cook. They save all that time, and can spend it working.
TECHNOLOGIST Are there any disadvantages?
MADS BONDE Bali is far from Europe. We have to travel often and over long distances. And that can sometimes create problems.
TECHNOLOGIST Especially in managing tasks?
MADS BONDE We don’t micro-manage because we think it’s the worst way to manage a start-up. Everyone at the company has very clear goals, and we can monitor an employee’s progress online. Everything usually goes very well.
TECHNOLOGIST Why did you decide to have your headquarters in Copenhagen?
MADS BONDE Start-ups benefit from tax advantages, and we received government grants. The legal framework applicable to companies is also particularly flexible.
Interview by Clément Bürge