Interview with Francisco Antonio Andreasson CEO at Gaddr
Francisco Antonio Andreasson is a 23-year old tech entrepreneur from Sweden, whose app GADDR is now gathering momentum and popularity. Francisco was adopted from Colombia when he was 2 years old, he started his first consulting company at the age of 13. Ten years down the road, he is a promising young entrepreneur. His company GADDR was accepted in the STING Accelerator program in Stockholm, helping the start-up grow from the initial stages to a full-fledged company. The value of the program has included expertise and access to a valuable network of coaches and investors.
Francisco Antonio Andreasson:
Passion. Everything that I have done before, everything that I am doing now, and want to do in the future revolves around my passions. I am passionate about change, and that has been my driving force. I learned from when I was very young that I could use IT to create cool things for other people around me. And that industry in general is tremendously important. I wanted to learn more about tech and that has been my guiding line in freelancing and my entrepreneurial journey.
You were 13 years old when you started your first company. How did that happen?
Well, I started coding and designing when I was 10 years old. I made some small apps for the computer – a small calculator or a basic video player. Then I decided that I could help companies with my IT skills. After school I looked in the newspapers to see the companies’ advertisements. As soon as I saw a bad one, I wrote down the company’s name, googled them and gave them a call. I did the same with their websites as well – scouted out the poorly designed ones. I told firms I could make much better versions. Of course, it was hard for them to trust a 13-year-old. But I got some projects out of it. I was not a very popular kid at school so this was basically all I had growing up. It was me, my computer, and fiddling around with coding.
Did you have a vision at that time where you were going with this IT consulting?
Yes, I wanted to change the world. I read about Steve Jobs and other entrepreneurs. And I really looked up to them, but not because they were cool and hip, but because they worked so hard and sacrificed so much! I still find it cool that people like Elon Musk (inventor of PayPal and TESLA cars) sacrifice so much to get where they want! There are many people in the world who are very successful without sacrificing a lot, which is not that impressive.
So when you say you want to change the world – in what way do you want to change it?
Being in IT and the Tech industry in general, it is hard not to look at any problem in the world and think that it is solvable through tech. For example, I want to be a part of creating an Artificial Intelligence that can solve all the problems that we, humans, are spending years and years in trying to figure out! If we spend years and years in building that AI, it will solve the problems in five minutes! Just think about it! For example, we know that this is how DNA works, and this is how we can create the perfect nanobot to help us solve this and that disease. So this is what I want to be involved in in the long term – AI and VR. I tend to not talk too much about it but I am certain that all those cool things that we talk about now, will be reality in 50 years! Like having a perfect virtual simulation of reality. We are slowly building a matrix now, something that will be a parallel real world, indistinguishable from the real world that we have now! I do believe in it.
You are 23 years old now. What happened between your consulting company at the age of 13 and now?
During my early consulting period, I did a lot of things. I worked not only with websites and SEO but also with video, and ran projects on business strategy. After that I took degrees in International Marketing and Sales, and Systems Science at Gothenburg University. Then I studied Business Intelligence Development in Stockholm. I had the idea about GADDR at university and that is why I dropped out.
So how did you come up with GADDR?
First I can explain that GADDR is a platform that allows to put all your social media profiles in one place. I came up with the idea because I thought it was so obvious. Every time you meet someone new, at an event or a party, there is always the problem of: “Where should I add you? What is you name on LinkedIn or Instagram?” And then you start searching for each other and it takes so much time! So I thought, it should not be like this. You should not spend so much time trying to find each other on the internet!
Yes, true, but there are so many people that want to be found. There are so many people who are millionaires just by being on YouTube or Vine. They want to be found and to have lots of great followers. We are rapidly coming to an era where online persona is more important than ever! And the internet is very very young. It has been around for 25 years, which is nothing. So if you look at the hundreds of future years forward, people will not remember the time when they could not even find each other online! What the internet is now will be completely unrecognizable from what the internet will be in 50 years.
So GADDR will help me put all my social media profiles in one place? Can I post from my GADDR profile to all the four social platforms that I have – FB, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter?
You will have a universal profile in terms of a profile that you can give out. You cannot post to all four from there. But once I have your GADDR profile, I can find your other four. You can also decide what is public and what is private in your profile.
Do you have a fully functioning version of the app right now?
We have a fully functioning version now but in the beginning of September we will release a new version which we are very excited about! We have been working very hard on it and it will be a huge improvement from what is out right now. I cannot tell you everything about the new version but there will be a lot more to do with the GADDR profile. You will be able to use the GADDR app much more often. And it will solve the problem with a much bigger ease.
The first few weeks we got several thousands organic users, without promoting or marketing the app. For me, right now, the numbers are not that important though. It is more important to see who is signing up. We have MAX hamburgers for example (a big Swedish hamburger chain) signing up, international music artists, as well as the Social Media manager of a big Swedish bank, who has signed up and has a GADDR link on their website. And that is quite exciting for us!
What is your goal? How many users do you want to get?
We would like to get millions of users, because we can – we are very traction friendly. There are very few start-ups that have this traction (user growth) possibility. When people use GADDR they want to be found easier, they want to promote themselves, interact and communicate more with others. And the more they interact using their GADDR profile, the more people see the value in GADDR, and want to join.
Sounds cool. You have a co-founder of GADDR as well, can you tell me more about that?
Yes, I spent many months developing the app by myself and then I started looking for a co-founder to help me develop it. I am a developer myself, and I know that having more talented developers is one of the key assets. I met Daniel a year ago and we work really well together! I could not have found a better co-founder! As soon as he understood the concept he thought it was really amazing. He has also left his university studies now to focus full time on GADDR. Everyone we talk to about GADDR is excited and thinks it is so clever! Which motivates us to work even harder on it!
You were part of the STING Accelerator, which I can imagine helped you tremendously. Do you have investors now and how do you talk to potential ones?
Yes, we have private investors putting in more money into the company and we are trying to raise even more money this autumn. Especially now that we will have more traction. We have more angel investors than venture capitalists. When I talk to investors I say that it is a tremendous problem that we are solving and that no one has managed to solve it so far. And we are one of the hardest working teams in Sweden! We truly believe that we are solving a global problem. There are many cool, passionate apps out there but not many of them have the potential to truly scale globally.
If you could point out one person that would love GADDR, who would that be?
A 19-year-old woman who is a video blogger and wants to have many many followers.
Francisco 1994 in Colombia
You were adopted from Colombia when you were 2 years old. Has this fact influenced you in a certain way?
Yes, it has. When I was growing up I learned more details about my adoption from my Swedish parents. The details that I learned made me understand why I have so much to give.
What are the details?
My biological mother was a 14-year-old prostitute in Cartagena, living on the streets. She had me, but could not take care of me, so she left me with some family. They were a truly awful family – a lot of drugs for example and they neglected me. It came to a point where I almost died of malnutrition and was hospitalized. Then my Swedish family came and adopted me. So I got this amazing chance to grow up in the suburbs in Sweden with a great family and I cannot just sit around and watch The Simpsons all day! I realized that I cannot just be here, I have to use this chance in life and do something meaningful with it! If I had stayed in Colombia, I would probably be dead now or working with drugs. So it has not even occurred to me to just be a slacker! It was not the core reason why I started being driven but it is an extra push. I want to always feel that I am doing something extraordinary. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Sometimes it feels like I am not doing enough. Even though I am doing a lot of things and I put enormous amount of time into everything that I am passionate about.
What is your advice for people who have a great start-up idea but they do not know where to start or meet obstacles?
My advice is: Just do it!
It is so much easier than you think it is! The actual, doing part of the idea is easy, the succeeding part is hard. Everyone wants to succeed. The perseverance is hard too. Doing it is easy.
One of my biggest weaknesses for example is that I am always in such a rush. I always want things to be much more further ahead than they are. Like I said, I put a lot of pressure on myself and that can be destructive sometimes. Having my team is a comforting feeling. It takes some burden off my shoulders. So my other advice is: work hard but be easy on yourself.