It all started out as an entry for an ideation competition at the Stockholm School of Economics, where Mai-Li Hammargren studied. Three years later, Mai-Li sports a Mutewatch on her wrist and uses it to help her manage her time as CEO of the company. “I decided to found Mutewatch together with Oscar and Gustav because I saw a great interest in the product after I presented it at the competition”, says Mai-Li, who remembers considering the worst case scenario as being that she would learn more about entrepreneurship.
Amongst other things, Mai-Li manages sales contacts, works with distributors, marketing and manages investor relations, “all to allow the rest of the team to focus on what they each do best”. “My role is to facilitate for others- we bring Mutewatch to the market as a team and I try to help everyone work in a common direction”.
Mutewatch has taken Mai-Li to all corners of the world; she recounts her trips to Dubai, Hong Kong and Las Vegas as only some of her most interesting. “I love getting to know new places”- one of Mai-Li’s dreams is to head to Costa Rica and learn how to surf. With all the travelling for work, Mai-Li still considers her apartment in Stockholm as her favorite place to be- “it’s always good to be home for a couple days”.
The moments when the whole Mutewatch team is together are the favorite times of the working day for Oscar. “I think to myself- ‘Wow, this is for real. We have employees who work for the company we founded.’”, says Oscar Ritzén Praglowski, CTO and co-founder of Mutewatch. He teamed up with Mai-Li after being introduced to her by the teacher of an entrepreneurship class he was taking. “It was exciting to try something new and I looked forward to building an actual product, working on it from start to finish”.
With a background in product development studies at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Oscar joined the team to initiate the work of designing and producing the actual watch. For a long period, his focus was to get the final version of the product out on the market. Now that Mutewatches are being produced and shipped worldwide on a rolling basis, his focus has moved to optimizing a number of different processes within the company, may it be improving logistics or developing the web shop. On a daily basis, he also helps out with support for both customers and retailers.
Oscar’s passion for building and creating has always been with him; no matter if it regarded computer programming and playing with Lego as a kid, or cooking and photography as it is today. “If I had more time, I’d also be out travelling more”, adds Oscar, who apart from hoping to go back to the Mutewatch factory in Taipei, dreams about seeing the nature of the Caribbean or going to Costa Rica.
Joakim Dal, CFO at Mutewatch, has an impressive resume having worked at EQT and Morgan Stanley. He's now keeping the finances in order while also making sure that manufacturing and shipments runs smoothly.
Besides bicycling to work regardless of what weather Stockholm may present, Joakim enjoys running the occasional marathon.
Have we taken care of the new batch of invoices? Are things running smoothly in the factory in Guangzhou? What does our budget for this quarter look like?
Not to worry- before you even ask the question, Gustav is already on it. CFO and co-founder Gustav Hammargren has been a part of the Mutewatch team since the very start and handles the majority of all administrative tasks within the team. “The biggest challenge has been learning everything about bookkeeping, budgeting and tax returns from scratch”, explains Gustav, who has a background in law studies.
Being a tech-geek you’ll find a multitude of gadgets and more in Gustav’s home, amongst which he is most proud of his sound system. “I won’t buy the latest gadget though; I like to plan my purchases well in advance”. Gustav’s knack for cost-cutting and planning runs through his private life to his work- “I am always very mindful of where we are spending money and how we can keep costs to a minimum”.
If you don’t find Gustav in the office late in the evening- “I’m definitely not a morning person!”- he is most likely in his hometown of Uppsala or enjoying a ride on his motorcycle. A couple times per year, Gustav will abandon his love for gadgets and head out into nature instead, spending time off in the countryside of Småland. “That’s where I can take it easy and relax, disconnecting myself from work and things back home.”
It all started when Johan Thelander, Chief of Engineering, responded to an ad for a competition that the Mutewatch team had posted at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology where he was studying. “The competition was about building your own clock or watch and presenting the product to the Mutewatch team.” Johan simply photographed some of the clocks he had built at home and submitted them for judging. Soon after, he joined the team.
At Mutewatch, Johan gets the chance to combine his interest in clocks with his passion for building and creating. Over the past three years, Johan has developed the watch that is now being mass produced in factories in Taipei and Hong Kong. “We started out by building a prototype for the sales team to use, whereupon we developed the real watch as it is today. Nowadays my focus lies on quality checks and improving our production processes”, explains Johan, as he describes his journey with Mutewatch.
Johan’s creativity and keen sense of imagination shines through his work and private life. He speaks about clocks that he has made at home as gifts for family members and describes how he makes good use of the alarm clock- that he invented and built on his own- that feels his body weight and only stops ringing once he gets out of bed. When not building clocks, Stockholm-born Johan enjoys travelling. “I’d love to go back to Thailand and take a couple more diving courses”.