What is your background and why did you start 5miles?
“I worked at ABN AMRO for seven years doing mergers and acquisitions, spending hours roaming around in Excel. I noticed customers and colleagues struggling with the same problems. When I met my partner Sjoerd, I was instantly charmed by his idea of challenging people in 5 minutes every day and helping people learn new skills. That is really a passion we share: helping people grow. We started in 2015, and things went fast from there.”
What does your team look like now?
“The team consist of sixteen people, including Sjoerd and me. He is the guy with ideas; he worked as a strategic consultant for eight years and never stopped looking for ways to improve. We spend our time working in the Netherlands, but besides Amsterdam we have offices in Paris and Kampala, Uganda. We have eight different nationalities on our team.”
When did you know this idea was viable?
“When —a week after launching 5miles— a big Dutch healthcare provider showed interest and became a customer: Achmea. That’s the kind of recognition you’re after. Naturally, we ourselves were convinced of our concept, but its viability is only confirmed when your idea is put into practice.”
Do you have any competition? What do you consider 5miles’ distinguishing quality?
“I got the same question during a pitch at the Accenture Innovation Awards in October. The answer remains the same: No. Even now, only at 5miles can you gain and directly apply useful and practical knowledge in Excel and PowerPoint in less than five minutes. And the challenges are based on examples from your personal, every-day work. I would like to add we are currently also focusing our attention on other common tools, besides VBA, Excel and PowerPoint. Tools such as Outlook, SAS, SAP, Think-Cell, and PowerBI.”
What’s the most remarkable user experience thus far?
“I remember when we just got started: a user called us to ask for the challenge we had forgotten to send her that day. That’s how we can see our challenges are really becoming addictive. Some users have compared us to the sudokus people solve in their daily newspaper.”
What kind of opportunities does 5miles offer marketers?
“The opportunity to have a clear overview in a world that is overflowing with data. For example, having a clear view on prospects and customer needs is important. Also, we are very successful because we offer challenges every day that are relevant and appealing to our target audience. Our success proves that content is king. It’s the same with Netflix: if they offer content that people want to see, people will continue watching.”
What is your revenue model?
“5miles works with SaaS, or, rather, LaaS: learning as a service. We focus our attention on big corporates by means of yearly licenses, i.e. b2b. The price varies because of the custom-made approach that is needed for these internationally oriented organizations.”
What did your participation in the AIA17 do for your business?
“Participating was a lot of fun. It gives the team a positive impulse. Our pitch got us in contact with the jury members, which has opened up all kinds of interesting doors. It’s remarkable that we are looking for ways to help customers together with Accenture.”
Anything interesting on the horizon?
“Currently we are adapting our model to the large number of demand we are receiving from organizations. This is necessary if we want to be able to keep helping everybody. Also, it is important to keep investing in our learning technology and the trainings we are offering.”
At what point will you be satisfied?
“Cool, yeah — this is a very important question. Of course, we set clear goals when starting out with 5miles. Being a successful company has been important. At the same time, we realize it is important to really enjoy our journey. Personally, I get a lot of energy being surrounded by my team and our partners. I try to take things one step at a time, slowly improving.”