He joined the team a month into the global pandemic. Homecomer Andreas Björnberg got a somewhat different start at his new position as Vice President of Product Management at Ekkono. With his background as a developer focusing on computer graphics, Andreas has spent most of his last 23 years at a Gothenburg based tech company, doing software development tools for visualization and digital maps. Returning to his hometown Varberg with a huge experience in product management, he looks forward to bringing his expertise into the scaling phase of Ekkono.
Andreas Björnberg catching the Swedish West Coast wind in Varberg
Andreas Björnberg grew up in Varberg. Belonging to the first home computer generation, he used his computers in the 80’s to program rather than play. He studied at Halmstad University what in the 90’s could be translated into today’s discipline of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics. During the last year on his Master’s program, Andreas ended up in a position as research assistant at the university.
Embedded Software Development Kit
Eager to get out in reality, Andreas searched for jobs in the field of computer graphics and got a match at a consulting company in Gothenburg specialized in developing software for visualization and digital maps. They were just in the phase of developing a new product and Andreas got right into conceptualizing a Software Development Kit (SDK) for embedding digital maps onboard helicopters, vehicles and ships. Andreas found himself not only enjoying developing the 3D computer graphics part of the software, but also doing demos to customers, receiving their feedback and developing the product to meet their needs.
– At that time I didn’t know there was an established discipline called product management, but I realized what I did on a daily basis was crucial to close the gap between the product and the market. I spent more and more time on creating the best product possible, close to the customer, says Andreas Björnberg.
The company in Gothenburg was in a growing phase and Andreas worked with the establishment of a product management department and joined the management team. During his last years with the company he worked as CTO, managing research and development.
Genuine Knowledge and Technology
Varberg is a small city, especially when it comes to tech, and Andreas knew Ekkono’s CEO Jon from before. He had been following Ekkono’s journey from start and when they bumped into each other and Jon told him about their plans for starting a product management department to scale, Andreas decided it was time to jump into a new adventure. He joined Ekkono in the beginning of May of 2020, only a month after the world was hit by a global pandemic, but didn’t affect his work. Getting to know the already existing SDK and setting up a scaling strategy became his main focus.
– I was very impressed by what Jon told me when he convinced me to join the Ekkono team, and I am even more excited now, after a few months in my position. The technology itself is groundbreaking and the genuine knowledge based on research is something I have never seen before. Adding to that, the applications and use cases for AI on the edge are endless.
Andreas became comfortable in his new role from the start, diving right into Ekkono’s technology and SDK. He was happy to see that Ekkono is one of the few companies that actually has developed their own machine learning and AI technology from scratch.
– It is simply a unique product that has been designed to be easy to use from the beginning. It makes my job both easier and more fun, when I can pick up a well-functioning product and scale it up, based on what the customers demand. It suits me very well.
State-of-the Art Edge Machine Learning
AI, and specifically machine learning, is definitely one of the most interesting and promising fields in the tech industry, according to Andreas. When many companies choose to be consultants, using technology from others, Ekkono takes on a different role in developing a state-of-the art product by running machine learning on the device. The focus is on the basic technology and from there the Ekkono team develops further, according to customer needs. This is a whole new game plan and the possibilities of applications are endless. Another vital factor for Andreas to join Ekkono was that the founders are experienced in building this type of company.
– It is a mix of getting the privilege to work with such an exciting product and being part of a team that knows how to do this. Both Jon and the other founders have been in the hot air of running a startup, creating it to a successful company, with all that comes with it. They have the contacts, know what the customers need and also know how and when to raise capital. This is the watershed that will grow Ekkono into a successful company!
Edge Machine Learning for Smart Products
On the question where Andreas sees Ekkono in the future, he is convinced that Ekkono’s edge machine learning will be a de facto standard for making connected things smart. That is the vision, and it is reachable. Ekkono will also be a global company with representatives all over the world. But Andreas will most likely stay in his hometown.
– I have spent so much time travelling to the office in Gothenburg, to meet customers, or to participate in different trade shows all over Europe. The Covid pandemic has definitely changed the way we work and I am so happy I joined a team that has been working remotely from the beginning. None of the founders are even in the same city, so not meeting in person every day is not an issue. However, I look forward to seeing everyone at some point in the near future. In Varberg or somewhere else. Ekkono has definitely succeeded in recruiting a top notch team, says Andreas Björnberg.