Talking tech: Interview with Mikael da Costa, CEO of Leadoo

June 2020
Read time: 5 minutes


We sat down with Mikael da Costa, CEO of Leadoo Marketing Technologies, a “human-centric” SaaS that converts passive website visitors into qualified leads. We talked about how to prepare for international expansion and the value of putting people first.


Leadoo Marketing Technologies began in Finland in 2018 with just five employees and an idea about transforming the marketing leads business. In 2020, it operates in four countries with nearly 70 employees, demonstrating that its “human-centric SaaS” approach works effectively.

We sat down with CEO Mikael da Costa to learn about the company’s meteoric rise to success and his advice for learning as you go…

What does Leadoo do for businesses?

Going 10 years back, all that most companies were doing was just putting up websites and tracking visitors. Now, companies realise that they shouldn't only track the number of website visitors, but they actually need to track the conversions as well. They see that not only do they need to invest enough money into bringing people to the site and generating valuable content, they also need to spend money to help convert these visitors into leads. That’s what Leadoo helps companies do.

We do so by creating different types of interactive content, which plays a key role in transforming passive website visitors into active ones, converting them into sales and using them to find new leads.

What companies or sectors do you work with, and why are you unique?

We work with any company that has a website and wants to sell something! We offer competitive ROI investment. On average, we are able to increase our customers’ conversion rates from 30% to 70% for £599, essentially meaning that any company that invests more than £1,000 in marketing per month should have positive ROI from using Leadoo.


About Leadoo

Industry: Marketing & Advertising
HQ: Helsinki, Southern Finland
Ownership: Privately Held
Size: 51-200 employees
Sub-sector: Marketing, Advertising & PR

Why does Leadoo characterise itself as “human-centric SaaS”?

From my point of view, most of the software that is sold nowadays is billed purely as a software, not as service. What that means is that there’s a culture – particularly in places such as Silicon Valley in the US – where companies are more focused on having software than having employees. There’s a negative light on having people. After existing in the software industry for 10 years, most companies just offer the software and put the responsibility of the service on the customer.

Conversely, Leadoo is sold to companies as a combination of software and a service. We don't just give clients a software package and hope that they get the most out of it - we actually work together with the client throughout the whole life cycle of the customer relationship. When a client signs up with us, we basically help the client with building the bots. It’s worked well for us to be human-centric.  

What inspired the international development of the business?

When we started our internationalisation, we understood that we could not continue to work only in Finland - the same need for our product would be elsewhere as well. Once we understood where the need was, we took clear steps in that direction.  We first tried out the solution in Sweden, then we decided to give it a try in London. Due to that success, we now have an office in Estonia and Spain as well and opening a new location to the Netherlands.

What were the challenges of expanding internationally?

I think the biggest challenges have been on the bureaucracy side. Understanding all the different legislation, labour laws and the accounting protocols that need to be set up in each location is difficult. Of course, that’s when it’s good to work with consultants and hiring the right people. Luckily, we haven’t had any issues in finding talent. Figuring out the sales models hasn't been that hard, either! Of course, each culture can be different, but that's something that we have been able to navigate, thankfully.

What advice would you give another tech business or founder looking to expand internationally?

Many people may not agree with this view, but I believe in just taking the first step. Make the bold move, go to the new location, and do whatever is necessary. From my point of view, too many companies spend far too long in preparing and thinking everything through.

The truth is that most of the plans we had made ourselves changed in the face of the truth of the situation once we arrived.

"The faster you go, the faster you will find the eway to succeed in a new market. Speed of execution is quite strong in our company DNA."

From my point of view, spending a lot of time just thinking and trying to prepare might just cause additional cost and slowness later down the line. I think the right approach is about being more adaptable, flexible and moving with speed.

You should expect challenges, but when you face them, just focus immediately on solving them and not looking back too much. Don’t wonder what could have been differently – when you’re trying new things, you just need to put the effort in and see what happens.  

Where do you see the business going, particularly in light of current world events?

We’ve thankfully managed to weather Coronavirus relatively well. What I think is happening is that most companies are realising their sales are mainly digital at the minute, which is advantageous for us.

For example, we've seen our clients double the amount of leads that they get with us – and I doubt that’s because companies are doubling their marketing budgets right now. I highly suspect that even if they have decreased their marketing efforts, the number of leads and conversions have become higher because we’re now all online. I think with the world being how it is now, in the future, more and more companies will require businesses like Leadoo to support them in generating those sales-qualified leads.

Looking for further insight into business development? Email us to find out more at [email protected].

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