Ten years ago, working from anywhere, anytime we wanted, seemed like an impossibility. We didn’t have many enablers to let us execute tasks and collaborate with colleagues outside the office. But today, thanks to fast technology adoption around the world, we are able to make the dream come true. While remote work is still not for everyone, the trend is developing.
Nick Martin is a Danish-born entrepreneur living in Bali. His typical day starts with looking at the rice field outside his window, followed by a quick swim in the pool of where he lives and works; a co-living and co-working space in Gianyar called Livit. Martin doesn’t spend much time commuting between home and office like most people do. But when he does go out, he heads straight to the beach and works from there.
To be able to work from a paradise island is a dream for many. But for Martin, it’s a reality. Martin’s entrepreneurship journey is not an ordinary one. He is the co-founder and CEO of Magloft, an online software-as-a-service startup that helps independent publishers create fully branded magazines on iOS, Android, desktop and web apps. He had to come a long way before setting up shop in Bali.
Martin’s first venture that he can remember, he admits, likely resembled more of a pyramid scheme than an actual business. As a youngster, he got interested in the idea of an email chain letter, but it wasn’t long before he realized the idea wasn’t sound.
“I was a bit naive, always open, always willing to take risks and try stuff”, he says. With this in mind, Martin’s experimentalist mentality, coupled with an aptitude for the internet, led him to build over a hundred small and medium-sized websites since then. In one capacity or another, Martin has developed e-businesses for clients around the world, ranging from affiliate marketing portals to members-only websites, and everything in between.
Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and Computer Science from Copenhagen Business School, and a master’s degree in Computer Games Design. After graduating, he started a career as a business analyst at a local bank in Copenhagen. Then, after working for five years at the bank, Martin saw that the job got very repetitive and it was time to do something radical about it.
“It was a great job, with amazing colleagues and everything was good. I had the nice salary, a ton of benefits, a car, and an apartment – those things were all there,” he tells Indonesia Expat.
“But at the end of the day, I knew that the nine-to-five wasn’t for me. Although I was having a great time, I knew that wasn’t my future.”
At the same time, his friend introduced him to Project Getaway organized by Livit, formerly known as Contenga. It is a 30-day programme for entrepreneurs to work together on different projects in Bali. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Martin to start his life-changing journey. He initially applied for a job in the company and quickly heard back from Livit’s founder with an invitation to visit the island. It was in 2011 when he finally stepped off the plane in Bali and found what he had been looking for.
Two years later, the idea of building Magloft was born when Martin wanted to create a digital magazine on iOS for his business. The problem was, he had no clue about how iOS worked and later found out that the tools available to create a digital magazine were extremely expensive or technically challenging back then. He soon met his co-founder and CTO, and together they built the company which now has six full-time team members. Today, Magloft serves high-profile clients such as Yahoo and Prudential, among others.
Magloft will soon launch new service called blog2app, which will empower bloggers to convert their blogs to native apps. Martin says that putting blogs into native apps is better than the status quo in three separate ways. First, native apps enable push notifications which have proven to increase reader engagement. Second, native apps load content instantly, which prevents the readers from abandoning the site because they have waited too long. Lastly, native advertisements inside apps can’t be blocked (which is attractive to advertisers) and also offer a better experience.
The company has partnered up with Prudential to build an enterprise solution that aims to improve its internal communications across Southeast Asia. “Prudential used to send PDFs by email and had no clue if anyone was reading or liking them, but now with their own internal app, they can see exactly what issues are being read, the number of page views, time spent in issues, page likes, and more. With this information, the company can send feedback to the editorial team,” he says.
Martin says that Magloft’s main target users are bloggers, publishers, agencies and enterprises. The good news is that the company offers completely free native apps for independent bloggers. “For traditional publishers, we offer the most affordable and still competitive solution for transitioning them from print to digital. For agencies, we offer a unique opportunity to take advantage of the blood, sweat and tears we have poured into our digital publishing solution, by implementing app publishing as part of their portfolio,” he adds.
Apart from already having big clients on board, Magloft has won awards, including third place in the Seedstars World Pitch Competition and The Red Herring Top 100 Asia 2016. The company has been actively participating in startup events across Indonesia, including the Tech in Asia Jakarta Bootstrap Alley tour in November.
Martin is proud that he could build a solid and sustainable business without any external investment. The fact that he and his team can do the work without the demanding hype of living in a big city is also important, he believes. “I can choose whenever I want to go on vacation – that’s the right kind of freedom for me,” he says. Martin’s lifestyle has given him more excitement to look forward to in life. He mentions that as much as he liked his previous job, he wouldn’t be willing to come in earlier or stay late in the office. But now, the job is part of his life.
Martin works at least 12 hours a day, yet he does it all in a nine-house luxurious villa, where people go for a vacation. So for Nick Martin, Magloft is essentially like being a permanent holiday.