All-in-One Tool For The
Smoothest Virtual Workshops
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi everyone, I’m Jakob Knutzen, co-founder & CEO of Butter.
Butter 🧈 is an all-in-one tool for the smoothest virtual workshops. We want to make online workshops as delightful and interactive as humanly possible — and feel 10x more energy-filled than one currently does!
Our company was born global from Day 1.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
I’m Danish, however my studies and my career have made me a truly global citizen, having lived and worked in a number of countries around the world.
I did my MSc in Finance & Strategic Management at Copenhagen Business School and whilst completing my academic journey in Denmark, I was fortunate to spend time in Vienna and Texas, and later at the Royal Danish Embassy of Denmark in Beijing.
My professional career kick-started at Bain & Company, where I spent 3.5 years. But I craved (foreign!) adventure and had to scratch the startup itch. So when I got the opportunity to move to South East Asia to build a digital marketing agency in Indonesia (Lion & Lion), I took it! It worked out rather well, us building the team to ~50 people in Jakarta and finally selling the company to a Japanese player.
What I truly wanted was to build a tech company though, and in late 2018, after returning home from Asia, I made the jump into founding StreamCrux – a game streaming startup. Adam Wan and Chris Holm-Hansen, who would later become co-founders in Butter, joined StreamCrux as well – but we sadly had to shut down in early 2020, failing to find Product Market Fit.
All three of us felt that we wanted another go, together. And having built StreamCrux as a fully remote company, we felt remote work was an interesting area to explore!
Then COVID hit and the world, overnight, had to transform its ways with which people connected, interacted and collaborated.
The three of us, Adam, Chris and I, set up RemoteCamp – where we did workshops to help companies that had been forced remotely by COVID on best practices for remote work.
That’s when it hit us: facilitating remote workshops is DIFFICULT! Personally, I’ve done 100s of physical workshops – but remote workshops were especially tough for two reasons: 1) the technical overload to the facilitator is immense (sending out links, opening up breakouts, etc.) and 2) generating energy is super difficult.
Fast-forward to May 2020, we set out building Butter in order to support facilitators globally in both setting up workshops, running them, and capturing the work to distribute afterwards.
We wanted to create a tool that is delightful, vibrant and helps make the world a smaller place – even when it comes to online collaboration.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
Numerous ones – but the toughest was keeping a constant laser focus on what we wanted to build and who we wanted to build it for.
Butter is currently used for meetings, education, webinars, and a number of other things than workshops – and although we love having people use Butter, we have to keep our target use case and users in mind all the time. Otherwise, we’ll end up serving everyone and no-one.
Butter can fill a place in the market that is absolutely huge – but to a large extent ignored by the mainstream tools.
Who is your target market?
We’re targeting workshops – or complex, collaborative sessions with a clear outcome. Workshops are a lot of things and range from HR training and strategy sessions to brainstorms and product design sprints.We are building Butter for the facilitators of these workshops – with a current focus on independent consultants/facilitators, small to medium sized advisory businesses (agencies, consultancies), and training organisations.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
We focus on growing Butter through two main avenues: Product Led Growth and Community.
When it comes to PLG, Butter is inherently a viral product – everyone that has a Butter workshop will be exposed to the product and a certain percentage will sign up.
For the community, we’re already fortunate enough to have a large number of advocates and Butter users – we’ll be leaning even more into this in the future and build a true community around Butter.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
Building a product like Butter requires feedback from relevant users – hence the main focus of both attracting and retaining users has been to get feedback!
For attracting users, we’re big fans of Paul Graham’s mantra of doing things that don’t scale, hence our early growth came from myself and several of my colleagues reaching out to facilitators and interviewing them about their difficulties of doing online workshops – in Butter! A certain share liked the product and picked it up.
For retaining users, we focus very heavily on a high touch service and have been helping several of our users in planning their workshops on Butter, alongside supporting anyone that might have technical issues very quickly!
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Culture has been important to us since day 1. Within the first 6 months, we spent time defining the first cut on our values, which we’ve been using to guide our talent acquisition.
These four values are:
Be bold and adventurous
We believe that nothing good comes from simply copying what other folks are doing. To truly build the future experience of complex meetings, you need to think radically differently – and we celebrate that kind of thinking at Butter!
Make the world smaller
We want to work with the best people – regardless of where they live in the world, what their background is or what their beliefs are. We believe that by building a team of diverse individuals, we’ll build a product that by its nature is truly global!
We NEVER take ourselves too seriously, and we believe that is for the better! A few silly vibes make the workplace a much nicer place – and honestly we just can’t help ourselves… We also have way too many butter based puns…
Open minded and open hearted
We want even the newest of employees or the freshest of interns to feel comfortable to state their thoughts and opinions. Great ideas and insights can come from anywhere, and we want to encourage this!
We’re now spending time to transform these into operating principles and ensure that they live and breathe in the company’s day-to-day operations.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
Butter! But on top of that, we use a variety of tools that ensure our smooth operation. Starting from The Org to track our new joiners and building our organisation chart, Mixpanel for analytics and status reporting, Airtable for recruiting activities to Notion for documentation, and many more.
The joy of being a young company is that we move fast to try different things, and as we are a group of curious people, there are always suggestions on improvement and streamlining – and that we do fast.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
It’s all about the people – get a set of great people together, give them direction – and watch the magic happen!
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Building something and seeing users react to it (hopefully with enthusiasm!). Amazing to hear how Butter has changed how many of our users facilitate workshops!
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Probably the extreme uncertainty. Already spent over 1 year on a business that we had to close down, after I invested over €100k.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Most recently I have started reading Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer’s acclaimed No Rules Rules. I find it fascinating and packed with just SO MUCH GOOD AND INTERESTING STUFF. For example Netflix’s unlimited vacation policy in relation to how leadership must role models this in order to create the trust-based environment that should make everyone feel safe.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
When people say workshop, they think Butter!
All jokes aside, our plans for the future are definitely something we think about a lot at Butter. We strive to keep true to our mission, stand by the focus we have set for ourselves, not losing sight of the audience we are building for.
While we get there, we hope to make the platform even more of a ‘full workshop flow’ that includes more of a planning part, has a full pre-workshop space for participants, built out post-workshop experience, etc. And for this, we are now doubling down on making the ‘during’ part as smooth as butter.