Many of you know that I started my career in sales.  Therefore, I have a special connection with the sales people of the world.  Antti Rikkinen, our third entrepreneur in the Neal’s Running Start program, is the founder of Zero Keyboard, and his company is setting out to make life easier for the hard-working, never-sleeping people in sales.

Zero Keyboard is a mobile app that allows people to enter data to Salesforce without typing. The user simply answers a ready-made set of questions with gestures, pictures and voice recording.  Then Zero Keyboard turns everything into readable explicit information in Salesforce.  If in my days as a sales rep, I could have simply spoke information into my phone and had all my CRM information completed, I would have probably closed more deals because of the saved time dealing with paperwork and data entry.  Moreover, everyone on my team would have had more comprehensive information about my customer interactions.  Filling out forms on the road is a real pain for sales people, so I saw the appeal of Zero Keyboard right away.

While this is Antti’s first time as a co-founder of a company, he is no stranger to putting himself out there, so to speak.  If you live in Finland, you might recognize him from the TV mini-series Toisen kanssa.  In addition to running a software company, Antti is also an actor in Finland, which probably makes him a fantastic sales person as well.  We will be filming most of the Neal’s Running Start program, and we’re lucky enough to already have a star who is camera-ready.  This should be fun!

Antti is from Helsinki where there has been an emerging tech start-up scene recently.  In fact, we have two entrepreneurs from Helsinki in this program.  I will be looking for Antti to expand his knowledge and experience beyond sales while he’s here.  I understand a little bit about that, so I’m looking forward to guiding him along that growth path.

For Antti, this is an opportunity to make important connections in Silicon Valley, including a partnership or alliance with Salesforce.

“Our product is obviously built to serve the Salesforce community,” said Antti.  “This opportunity to be so close to the heart of the tech industry, including the Salesforce headquarters, is important to our company.  I plan to make the most of the experience and pursue connections at Salesforce and beyond while I’m in San Francisco, and Neal’s expertise in my market brings a tremendous learning opportunity.”

Welcome, Antti! Twitter: @rikkinen


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