QlikTech, a Swedish soul, based in Radnor

Posted: November 05, 2013

Qlik Technologies Inc., better known as QlikTech, has been on a roll lately, adding customers worldwide from its Radnor headquarters. QlikTech has also been winning kudos in the tech community for its easy-to-use data analytics software.

Even so, Lars Björk, 51, wasn't having his best day recently.

QlikTech's chief executive had just returned from a 10-day bicycle trip in Africa with the founder of HopeHIV, a charity that helps African children orphaned by AIDS. The ride was great. The flu he picked up on the plane home was not.

Worse, Björk had spent all morning allaying investors' fears after the company's stock had fallen 18 percent in one day, due to a mismatch between analysts' expectations and third-quarter results, announced a day earlier.

Question: How's it going?

Answer: It's a frustrating day because it doesn't correlate with what we see in the market. Deal sizes are growing, people are more willing to engage in large engagements with us, both partners and customers. We are developing a new platform tool that's being received well, and this is more a bump in the road.

Q: Your company isn't involved, but your line of work, Big Data, is in the news now with massive amounts of cellphone, search, and social-media data being collected and analyzed by the National Security Agency. Your perspective?

A: When we do work for clients that have very critical data, we don't want to touch it. If we work with the data, we do it on your devices, on your premises, and then we leave. We are very clear about that.

Q: Does it worry you?

A: I think it's a very, very scary world. How much of this is happening that we don't know about? Now we've seen the tip of an iceberg, here with WikiLeaks and the NSA.

Q: Well, this is all very cloak-and-dagger. What are the normal uses for your product?

A: Take Nemours [Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, in Delaware]. We are used to helping surgeons to display historical information on surgeries when they are about to do that same type of surgery. They can look at trends, leanings, X-rays, techniques, materials.

Q: You say QlikTech is a global company headquartered in Radnor and founded in Sweden with a Swedish soul. Elaborate.

A: In that part of the world, there's consensus-driven decisions, bringing the individual . . . into the . . . process rather than being handed a decision afterward.

Q: How do you inculcate Swedish soul in your staff?

A: Everyone who joins the company, in whatever position, has to go to Qlik Academy in Lund [Sweden].

Q: That's for new hires. What about your global workforce?

A: We go to some nice place [yearly]. This year we're going to the Dominican Republic in January.

Q: Nice, but pricey. Have you gotten any pushback from Wall Street on this?

A: Very limited. You have to ask yourself, "What's the alternative if all these people needed to meet once a year anyhow?" You could say, "They don't need to meet." OK, what do I lose then in the efficiency in the organization?

Quick hits

Q: Speaking of Swedish, do you like Swedish Fish?

A: No.

Q: Do they even eat those red gummy candies in Sweden?

A: Yes, but they aren't called Swedish Fish in Sweden, they're just called Fish. I like high-end dark chocolate.

Q: You grew up in Sweden. Miss the food?

A: I'm not a person who spends much time thinking about what I miss. I like international cuisines. Some of those Swedish dishes, I get at home from my wife - real good Swedish meatballs. If we want to have pickled herring, we can go to Ikea and get it.


Title: Chief executive, Qlik Technologies Inc., since 2007.

Homes: Devon, and Sweden.

Family: Wife, Carina Weiss-Björk; children, Max, 21, Elliot, 19.

Diplomas: Lund University, Sweden, master's, business; Technical College of Helsingborg, engineering.

Resumé: Chief financial officer at several European companies.


Headquarters: Radnor.

R&D location: Lund, Sweden.

Business: Business intelligence, data analysis software.

Product name: QlikView.

Ownership: Publicly traded.

Ticker: QLIK.

Friday's close: $25.03, down 1.15%.

Revenue: $388.5 million (2012), $104.1 million (Q3).

Net profits: $3.8 million (2012), $3 million (Q3, 2013).

Employees: 1,600 worldwide, 200 in Radnor.


Lars Björk on being coached



215-854-2769 @JaneVonBergen

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