“We are on a growth journey”

Danish entrepreneur ANDREAS STRAARUP heads the Business Development at Nodes, an app development agency with offices in Germany and across Europe.

Are there any technological developments that will have a particular influence on your business development?
As new frameworks, languages and technologies take off, companies from all sectors need to start thinking if they will affect their business. From a business development point of view, if one of these factors is going to make a significant change then there is a very good business opportunity there.

Which principals, management tools or methods have you found useful for your work?
I think that changing the way we work at the company, shifting from waterfall to more agile methods, with processes like five-day sprints has made a massive impact on the delivery to our clients. That combined with working in crossfunctional teams, with different skillsets being present, has been a game changer. So much specialty knowledge from working closely together has speeded things up. We execute fast.

What was the last business achievement of you and your team that still makes you proud?
During the last year we have succeeded in opening four new offices around Europe. That means we have grown our awesome app development teams in Manchester, Berlin, Prague and in Amsterdam. We are on a steep growth journey, and seeing those offices come to life and buzz with creativity makes me very proud.

Which characteristic do you value most in your employees?
That would be their passion. Not just passion about their work, but their passion around making great solutions together with their colleagues. I guess that mindset is a positive legacy from our years as a start-up. We are one team, and that makes for a fantastic environment.

How many people work for your company in Germany and worldwide?
Do you expect this number to change? We have a small and growing team in Germany right now, but that is certainly going to grow in the coming months and years. Worldwide, we have about 100 people in our other European offices and a further 1200 at our parent company Monstar Lab.

Apart from Hamburg, which are your three favourite cities worldwide?
My three favorite cities apart from Hamburg are London, Singapore and Lucca in Italy.

How was 2018 for your company and what do you expect for the future? Is there one main objective you want to reach with your team in the next twelve months?
Well, for a start, 2017 was great, as we received a chunk of investment from Monstar Lab, which has helped our rapid growth throughout Europe. 2018 has all been about growth and expanding our client base and office locations. So far in 2018 we have opened offices in Berlin and Prague.

When you host business partners from abroad where do you go with them?
When I host business partners from abroad I take them to Volksparkstadion to watch a game with Hamburger Sportverein. HSV is my favourite club in Germany, and the atmosphere is just amazing even though the club has been struggling for too many years now. The club, the stadium and the fans are just a great experience for anyone visiting Hamburg.

How do you recruit the right people? Has your approach been changed by the expectations of the new generation?
Recruiting at Nodes has throughout the years become more and more easy throughout the years. This is because we have invested heavily in new frameworks with technology. So basically we have access to large communities, and that is a great advantage compared to the other companies that I have been a part of before.

Your job is very time-consuming … what is your idea of a perfect weekend without work?
The perfect weekend for me is a weekend spent together with my wife and two sons; we enjoy walking, taking long trips and seeing where we end up. This is a nice way to relax and discover new areas of the city.

If you have friends visiting you in Hamburg: Where do you like to take them?
Walking around Lake Alster and along the Elbe River is something we like to do when friends are visiting, and sometimes also St. Pauli and Planten un Blomen park.

What’s your favourite spot in Hamburg?
My favourite spot in Hamburg is around Lake Alster. The place is such a beautiful oasis in the city, and I have spent many weekends strolling around it with my family.

Do you expect growth for your company and is this expected business development accompanied by a higher or lower demand for employees? What does this mean for the Hamburg site?
We obviously expect growth, but you have to work towards that by bringing on high quality employees and strong leadership. This has already taken off in Germany, and so we expect to need skilled employees from all disciplines for our German operation.

Where do you consider home?
I have travelled a lot over the last few years, and there have been many places I have called home, but I would say that home is where my family is: it’s not the place, but the people that define home.

The digital entrepreneur is Business Development Manager and Country Manager UK and The Netherlands for Nodes, one of the leading app development agencies with offices across Europe. Nodes is part of the Monstar Lab Group. After gaining a degree in economics from Copenhagen University and taking part in numerous executive programmes, Straarup co-founded Presidents Institute, a leading executive development company.