The surprising success of Seven Peaks Software

When we started Seven Peaks in 2014, we did not have any big plans on building a big company. Our focus was on building a good development team to support our Norwegian partner Apphuset and their Norwegian clients.
– Jostein Aksnes

Seven Peaks Software is a Norwegian-owned international software and design agency in Bangkok established in 2014.

Seven Peaks Software is a story of how a trio of Norwegian software engineer entrepreneurs went from starting a software developing company in Bergen Norway to establishing a fast-growing international software and design agency in Bangkok. As most stories go, the success of the company seemed unlikely had you asked CEO Jostein Aksnes 10 years ago when he first came to Thailand as an expat. He went from not wanting to come to Thailand at all, to not wanting to leave, when the Norwegian company he worked for, wanted him to move back.

Seven Peaks Software today has a staff of 65 professionals and the company recently moved into a new office space in The PARQ on the corner of Ratchadapisek and Rama 4 with room for 50 percent more.

From Bergen to Bangkok

Jostein Aksnes, grew up in Bergen, Norway, surrounded by mountains and fjords, and never saw himself living in Asia. That was until he was stationed in Thailand by the Norwegian company Vizrt. Life in the far east suited him and after around three years in Bangkok, he found himself not wanting to leave. It was also around that time Roy Ivar Moe, an old university classmate from Bergen and co-founder of Apphuset came to Bangkok and that became the start of Seven Peaks Software in Bangkok. Jostein Aksnes and Roy Ivar Moe started Seven Peaks as a production company in 2014 and brought on board with them Levi Fasmer, who managed the Norwegian entity Apphuset, as a partner.

With a passion for software engineering and mobile technology, the Norwegian trio set out with a goal of serving exclusively Norwegian clients with high-quality, cost-efficient outsourced software development from their office in Bangkok. From there, Seven Peaks expanded its services towards UI/UX designs, an area with rapid demand growth, by bringing Andy Watts, Head of Design on as partner. The company also expanded into offering web development, cloud solutions, and quality assurance. All in addition to native mobile application services.

Bridging cultural differences

Seven Peaks Software has come a long way throughout the seven years the company has been operating and their executive management now consists of four. Jostein Aksnes CEO and Founder, Roy Ivar Moe, CTO and Founder, Leif Åsmund Mørk, Head of Software Engineering & Partner and Andy Watts, Head of Design & Partner. The company has in that timespan found success in the Asian market as well. The road to serving customers from the Thai business world, however, seemed improbable according to Jostein Aksnes when he reflects on the early stages of the company:

When we started Seven Peaks in 2014, we did not have any big plans on building a big company. Our focus was on building a good development team to support our Norwegian partner Apphuset and their Norwegian clients. ”

But demand in Thailand proved to be strong and Seven Peaks Software has been driven by organic growth. Working across two locations with such cultural differences has however meant that the company has had to adjust in several areas.

Seven Peaks Software proudly offers high-quality services with a constant focus on improving their process to ensure the quality and efficiency of their service and in Norway, this trust is something you start with. In Thailand however, potential new clients don’t always see that and there you start with no trust as you have to build it first.

There are also other differences in customers from Norway and Thailand with the key difference being, where the two countries are from a technical standpoint. Thailand has not been a pioneer in computer and mobile technology and the country is a bit behind digital transformation in many industries. In Norway, businesses prefer the flexibility of a cloud solution for their computer systems but it is more difficult to persuade Thai company management to opt for that same solution. As the term ‘cloud’ indicates, the solution is based on an on-demand end-to-end service accessed via the internet and through another provider’s shared cloud computing infrastructure and not located in a computer located in the office of the  company as traditionally seen in Thailand. Many companies in Asia seek agile development but their organizations are usually not ready for it. Jostein Aksnes explains:

“Many software projects in southeast Asia are run in a very old-fashioned way based on waterfall methodology. We find ourselves needing to convince them of the benefits of running software projects in a lean and agile way with rapid development and shorter iterations.”

However many Thai companies are now going through a digital transformation where cloud providers are an important element and this is an area where Seven Peaks Software can help businesses in Asia.

Through mainly repeat business, referrals, and inbound requests, Seven Peaks Software has managed to step into the Asian market and establish collaborations with leading management enterprises and this has brought the company several big enterprise projects.

Seven Peaks Software now brings in over 50 percent of its revenue from Thai customers and that is a celebrated milestone in the company’s story. The growth has also inspired Seven Peaks to look at how the company can expand into other Asian regions as much like their growth elsewhere, business in Southeast Asia has also increased organically. The company has recently landed a project in Kuala Lumpur and is also working on projects for companies in Singapore and Hong Kong.

New location – ready for more growth 

What started with a trio from Norway has grown into a team of over 65 industry professionals from 17 different countries and the company has recently moved into their brand new office space to fit their large team. A modern open office space on the seventh floor of the recently-opened commercial development ‘The PARQ’ on the corner of Rama 4 and Ratchadaphisek Road in central Bangkok. The new office has an impressive view of Benjakitti Park. According to Jostein Aksnes, the vision was to be based at a more recognizable building in a space that could accommodate up to 100 employees, which is the next goal team capacity vise for Seven Peaks:

“The office helps us stand out. We wanted a place that would impress clients and match our branding. We wanted an office where people would be happy to come to work every day. The move ended up being a part of rebranding who we are both internally and externally.”

As well as a new and stylish office space, Seven Peaks has also taken on the task of rebranding their logo and incorporating their Norwegian roots combined with the history of Thailand into the design. With consideration of where Seven Peaks Software is in the world and where they want to be, the new logo matches those elements and represents a concept called ‘opposing symmetry’ within the logo. The concept means the coming-together of multiple cultures and multiple languages and having a focal point in the center of the logo so that everything converges into one nice, central element. The meaning and concept of the logo draw similarities to the core foundation that seven Peaks is built on and prove that foundation is key for Seven Peaks Software’s rapid growth in Asia.

“Seven Peaks Software is founded by software engineers, and we are proud to say we are an engineering first company.”

This acts as the introduction to Seven Peaks Software and it is clear that engineering is the core of the business and what formed the company originally. Today, Seven Peaks Software has grown into being one of the leading design and development agencies in Bangkok combining Nordic software standards with computer and mobile solutions and the company has established itself as a trusted technology partner amongst many well-established enterprise clients in Thailand and around the world. Seven Peaks has, along with the company’s growth, made sure that a strong and solid foundation was in place to handle the extra work. With a growing team of experienced employees, proper strategies, additional exposure, and the upscale of a local team of Thai designers and project managers, Seven Peaks finds itself reaching the peak with its software solutions in Bangkok. 

About Mette Larsen

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