Started in the Bay Area by Lars Thorup in late 2010, ZeaLake is the American continuation of the Danish company, BestBrains, which he founded in his native Denmark 10 years ago. His motivation for starting a company in the U.S.A. and specifically in the Silicon Valley was the practical experience that he had gained from working with software development companies and investors in Denmark.
The Agile origin
The Dot Com Bubble of 2001 affected software development worldwide. Many companies closed or laid-off workers, and software developers in particular were affected by the economic turmoil. The message for surviving businesses at the time and a message that is still true today is: “Be better than the competition in order to survive”. Out of challenging times came opportunity and it was at this time that Lars Thorup founded his software consulting firm in Denmark, BestBrains, teaching Agile Management Principles. The time was ripe for the software industry to be more nimble, efficient and looking to gain markets by shortening their release cycles.
For the next ten years BestBrains consulted successfully with various companies in a variety of businesses from software development companies to energy companies and venture capital firms. In the same period, the self-funded company had an average growth rate of 40% per year and now has 14 employees. Its growth led to engagements with international companies as well.
The American venture
In May of 2010 a client of BestBrains in Denmark started to move to New York. Having international expansion ideas of his own Lars Thorup ran his business concept past a former employer with established U.S. operations. His client’s excitement for his business concept confirmed the rationality of the decision and Lars moved to Silicon Valley.
From Lars’ perspective the market parallels between 2000 and 2010 were obvious; the same uncertain economic environment offered the same sense of adventure and opportunity. “The situation did not scare me; the market continues to require more efficient companies and the U.S. market has a greater need and wider use for my company’s offerings”, Lars says. It is this sense of fearlessness and love of a business challenge that characterizes Lars’ entrepreneurial spirit. The love of the start-up environment, the speed of getting to the right place in the market while being agile, nimble and efficient enough to adapt to market changes – blazing new trails; this is the fascination and excitement of Zealake in the U.S.
The name “ZeaLake” is pronounced “zee lake”. It is the English version of the name of a lake in the area of Denmark that Lars came from. The Danish name “Sjælsø” originally means “the lake of souls”. We think our Danish roots have contributed to ZeaLake’s basic principle of honesty and fair sharing of value.