The story of ShiftX
Working as consultants in design and tech agencies in Norway for several years, Nikolai Strandskogen, Eigil Sagafos, and Kjetil Jortveit found that the client's story often repeated itself. The client would start a new project they needed external help solving, inviting consultants in.
The onboarding process would start, and the consultants would want to get the full picture of today’s as-is status. How are these processes connected? Who’s is responsible for what? What systems are involved? How and where do we measure success?
Very often would the answers only exist in fragments, in the different departments of the client. Just getting the people of these departments together in the same room to map out the real picture of today’s as-is status of their interconnected processes would give immediate value to the client.
Where can we cut costs? What can we solve more efficiently? How can we teach this to the rest of the company? What touchpoints do we need to improve? These workshops were always full of energy and enthusiasm. There had to be a simpler way to get there quicker?
The birth of ShiftX
Nikolai, Kjetil, and Eigil started interviewing companies, organizations and government agencies across Norway to determine the real pains and how these could be solved.
What could be a quicker way to get a better picture of the as-is and to-be scenarios in different processes and workflows? Many of them were already doing exercises and workshops with post-its and paper, but almost all of them lacked a single source of truth – a place they could all go to to get the full and true picture of how this and this process was supposed to be executed today.
Most of the existing, common tools use BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation). This is often a notation too complicated to use for the everyday employee. That gave Eigil, Nikolai, and Kjetil the idea of a new tool, a process visualizing tool so user-friendly, every employee could start using it without any training.
ShiftX was founded on May 14th, 2018 as we set out to challenge the status quo on how organizations visualize, communicate and collaborate to improve their operations. The concept of "visualizing and communicating" how an organization works is still not easy in any way. For larger enterprises, it usually consists of a combination of EA (Enterprise Architecture), BPM (Business Process Modeling), QA (Quality Assurance), textual procedures, and wikis. Simultaneously, a lot of the actual know-how is spread out across numerous tools used by teams and different individuals. Some could be Word, PowerPoint, Excel, charting tools, and the like. The founders believed there should be a way for "all" employees to continually work together to document and improve the business in a simple and fun way. The founder's first mission was this:
"Employees should feel that work is more rewarding because of ShiftX, and ShiftX should transparently aid in creating a better collaborative environment within the business."
Building the company
Nikolai took the role of Chief Executive Officer, Eigil as Chief Technical Officer, and Kjetil as Chief Growth Officer. They started making a prototype of the tool and having meetings with progressive Norwegian companies that wanted to join the journey and be the first users of ShiftX.
In 2019, Thomas Notland was hired as the company’s Head of UX and Design, and shortly thereafter, Jarand Millett joined as Tech Lead.
About a year later, in 2020, ShiftX closed a $1,9 million pre-seed round led by Alliance Venture. They were joined by Skagerak Maturo, Evan Weaver (one of Twitter’s first employees) of Fauna Inc, and serial entrepreneur Ståle Løvbukten.