1.11.2013 | Annika Standertskjöld-Nordenstam

Qnware Oy is an IT startup from Finland founded by Kati and Antti. Qnstar is a modern, intelligent and easy to deploy Travel and Expense Claim Application.

We are proud to say that we helped them with R&D.

Check out their interesting story from the business idea to a complete SaaS product. Including excellent tips for IT startups.

Background information

Tell about who you are, your work experience and background knowledge

Qnware

We are Kati and Antti from Qnware Oy. We are experts in the field of financial management and business processes and we are the entrepreneurs of Qnware Oy. We have work experience from financial management, process consulting, business systems and from application development projects.

What is Qnware?

Qnware Oy is the creator of Qnstar, a travel and expense claim application.

Qnware is a company that focuses in software development and demanding finance and business process consulting and development projects.

Tell us more about Qnstar and how it can help customers?

Qnstar is an intelligent travel and expense claim application delivered as a Windows Azure cloud service. The traveler can manage his travel expenses either with his smartphone or with the Qnstar web-application. With the smartphone he takes pictures of the receipts and counts the traveled kilometers. The daily allowances are automatically calculated.

Preparing travel and expense claims is often time-consuming and traditionally it is a burden, not only for the traveler, but also for the superiors and finance department. The Qnstar travel expense system enhances the process of counting travel expenses, giving the traveler tools to manage it with ease and even in a fun way. At the same time Qnstar enhances the process all the way to the accounting systems records. Most Finnish companies deal with travel expenses manually. There is a significant need for improving the process.

In the development of the application the ease of implementing the system for a company has been taken into account. We promise that implementation of Qnstar is a successful IT project.

Why did you end up starting your own company and developing your own product?

We started Qnware Oy in 2011 and our goal was to do what we wanted do and were good at. Without compromises, bureaucracy or mediocre performance. We focus on our own thing and we do it like no other.

We wanted our own product, because over time we have seen both IT projects that have failed and ineffective financial management processes from close up. Things can be done so much better. Qnstar tackles these identified problems.

What is the vision of Qnware Oy?

To offer our customers the best possible travel and expense management system and unsurpassed consulting. We believe that our excellent performance help us grow and internationalize.

Qnstar - R&D project

What kind of technology selections did you make in the beginning of the project and why? (Why .NET and Azure, why WP8 first?)

We wanted to make a clear selection in technology. From the beginning it was clear to us that the selection would be based on Microsoft solutions. We believe in the ecosystem of Microsoft. Additionally Microsoft provides startup companies with concrete support with for example the Bizspark program. We also believe that the ongoing development of Azure will support our own business.

At what point did you decide to take in an application developer partner and why?

From the beginning we have had a clear vision on the specifications for the software. That is why we took an application developer partner early in the process. We think it’s important to take in a partner in time. In the best situation, having a sparring partner gives you significant benefits, and you can test the co-operation with limited risk.

What was the role and responsibility of Kompozure in the R&D project?

The responsibility of Kompozure was both in the technical architecture and application development. Additionally Kompozure was sparring a lot: from graphic design to the business model. Kompozure also significantly helped in finding other partners.

Was finding and choosing the right partner an easy thing?

Finding and choosing the right partner was difficult. We started with another partner, who later turned out to be a completely wrong choice. We realized our mistake within a reasonable time.

After having met Sakari and Jarno from Kompozure, we understood what finding the right partner meant. We were quickly at the same wavelength and they had a good sense of proportion.

How did cooperation with Kompozure during the project work and why? (time schedule, cooperation, communication, response to problems, budget)

Kompozure has been the right partner for us. Their whole development team has done a great job. The original schedule has been on time, and after Kompozure came in to the picture, our budget has also been on track.

Straightforwardness, expert knowledge of our own industry and a forward-looking attitude are some of our values. Our values also include a touch of a childlike enthusiasm to change the world with your own doing. We saw these same values in Kompozure. We highly appreciate the openness, expertise and the focus on the results that Kompozure has. Kompozure also showed interest in our business and from the beginning they have had the wish to understand our business process. We communicate with Kompozure as we do with our own employees.

What three tips would you give to a company that start developing their own application and base their business on it?

  1. View outsourcing of a development team in the same way as recruiting. Get to the skin and talk with the experts of the team. You will quickly see if your worlds meet. Trust your instincts about being on the same wavelength.
  2. Choose a partner of the right size. Make sure that the values of the companies meet and that both parties are important to each other. Think about what the motivation to help you is for the partner and for one individual. When you impact the motivation, you will get results.
  3. Sell, sell and sell. These could also be the three tips. Don’t get stuck in the development of the product, instead tell about your product to everyone and make a lot of activities. Start the selling process as early as possible and invest in the development of selling.

Your situation at the moment

What’s up with Qnware and Qnstar at the moment?

The growth of Qnware is controlled and we are working with interesting projects. Qnstar has received a great reception. It’s really great that we have completed a world-class product. It’s both fun and challenging to take the business forward with Qnstar.

How does the autumn continue from here?

Autumn goes on with active selling and development. We’re building the organization and we will recruit new talents for sales and consulting. With Kompozure we’re making a plan together for next year.

To read more about Qnware and Qnstar, go to the website