Interview date: 22 April 2014
Ævi Introduction Icelandic
It all began when Sveinn’s (the CEO / Founder) brother unexpectedly passed away in 2000. He then in 2009, was faced with a life changing event where he himself was faced with the potential of leaving his loved ones behind at the age of 24. Sveinn had a brain tumor. In those moments when looking at the future, if he wasn’t there to share his children and wife’s life journey’s; he wanted to be able to leave something behind for them. Thankfully, life allowed him to recover from this, and it shaped his future and all of us. And so began Aevi, the platform to share your memories and your stories with your loved ones. It’s a time capsule using the best of, and easy to use, technology to record your messages to those it’s intended for.
1. Name: Stefanía Sigurðóttir & Sveinn Kristjánsson
2. Email address: stefania [at] aevi.is
3. Phone number: +345 845 0244
4. Your title in the company: CMO & CEO (respectively as per 1. above)
5. Company Name: Aevi ehf. / www.aevi.is
6. Industry: Technology / Social
7. Company years in operation: Incorporated June 2012
8. Type of company: Private Limited companies (“Einkahlutafélag” (ehf)
9. How many employees does your company have: 4
10. Annual turnover: Approx. 20M ISK
11. Description of company: Online autobiographical tool to store your memories.
12. Company Mission: To allow everyone to tell their story
13. Description of social / environmental mission: Preservation of human beings: a memory bank for generations to come.
14. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise? Yes in a sense
15. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises? Someone or a company that gives more back to society than they take from society.
Questions related to the definition
16. Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents?
Currently not, but considering to apply to become a B-Corp, if they incorporate in the USA and it is in alignment with their future investor plans.
17. Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?
Currently a small amount of income from their premium package. They have opened the platform for Icelanders to register for free. They are in the process of looking to expand to US.
When they are in the position to do this, also depending on future developments with potential investors, they will look at the feasibility of incorporating this as part of their policy.
At their core they are a social enterprise, but due to the pressures of the current investment market they have been hard pressed to remain true to their original intentions as most investors require an aggressive growth and profit sharing company.
18. Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much?
As above, there is no profit as yet, all funds have been reinvested back into the business to allow for growth and interests of the company.
19. Is your company autonomous of state? Yes
20. Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?
The 2 main shareholders, Stefania and Sveinn, both are social entrepreneurs at heart. As such their interests in the company are socially governed.
21. Is your company accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders)
They are aligned with these principles but their website doesn’t reflect the in-depth accountability of financials etc. as of yet.
22. Who are you clients / focus group?
Mainly parents and women from the age of 30 to 60 years old.
23. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (eg. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.)
Number of freemium users, number of premium users and number of engaged users.
24. As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products/services (e.g. assisted 1,000 people access to health care they won’t have otherwise).
Assisted people to share their story online and preserve for future generations.
(Actual numbers were not given, but available.)
Social enterprise sector
25. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member?Yes
26. What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?
Interested in creating a group of like-minded individuals to share ideas and thoughts in the field.
Education to investors on the reality of social enterprises and how they can make a return on their investment.
After the business has been going for 2.5 years they have only had Arion Banki belive in them and assist through grants. They were part of the 2012 Startup Reykjavik round where they initially got in contact with Arion Banki, Einar Gunnar.
27. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?
I would like to see people more focused to include social thinking in their entrepreneurship. Especially we would like to see more established companies take on the lead role to become social enterprises.
28. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?
Tamiko (premature clothing)
Einar Gunnar from Arion Banki/startup Reykjavik
The climate of the current start-up community and investors view social companies as something that cannot generate the return they are interested in. They view it as a ‘side project’ and not something to be taken seriously as a sustainable and income generating business. There is a clear division in their minds between capitalistic ideals and social/environmental causes, and in their minds the 2 shouldn’t meet.
Stefania and Sveinn have had challenges to keep to their ideals and principles of a social mission. They have been on occasion dissuade from following these principles for a business model that is more profit driven rather than purpose driven.
They are looking for investors in the USA that will take their company to the next level. They plan on moving there in the summer to move the company to the next level. They are looking for the ‘right’ investor. This may be the deciding factor if they will register as a B-Corp. They would like to ideally have both: but the funds are currently the deciding factor to take the company to the next growth stage it requires.
Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.by