Finding meaningfulness in entrepreneurship
From our blog / Article
Leveraging experiences from corporate career helped Jani to pivot to a new meaningful career path as an entrepreneur.
This is the first part of co-founder stories:
- Finding meaningfulness in entrepreneurship – Jani Kallio
- Curiosity leads an entrepreneurial path – Mikaela Nyman
What path to choose to make career the most meaningful?
In 2019 Jani Kallio, the current CEO and co-founder of cyber security consultancy Fraktal, found himself at a decision point. What path should he choose to make his career the most meaningful?
By that time Jani had 25 years of cyber security career behind and about the same ahead in the future. He had held many roles in international corporations and rotated in different roles in various countries. Recently, he had been driving an international expansion project in London for his company at that time, and it was time for him to move back home. His return to Finland represented a certain turning point for his career.
“It was a good time to think about how I could leverage all the things that I had learned during my career so far. I was also thinking about what is it I really want to do,” Jani says.
In corporations, there is always someone who directs one’s work. Roles and careers are affected by the immediate supervisors’ or managers’ abilities to identify and nurture different individuals’ ambitions. Jani had had both good and bad experiences, and done well in the corporate environment. Now, he felt that the next step on his corporate career would have been likely to take him further from customers, who he was passionate about working with.
“In the field of cyber security, experienced people typically come to meet two options. Either you focus on being a deep expert or become a spokes parrot to evangelise the wonders of cyber security. It didn’t feel natural for me to become the talking head, and I wanted to keep my hands in the dirt and work with customers,” Jani explains.
The start of entrepreneurship
Furthermore, going through his Aalto Executive MBA program ignited a spark in business management. Jani had a growing feeling that he wanted to take full responsibility for his successes and failures. Entrepreneurship started to feel like the best opportunity for this and to realise his vision of having another meaningful twenty years at work.
“It became clear to me that I want to do work that matters. It is not a given. In very few places does it come true that you are genuinely doing meaningful things every moment. For me, building my own company seemed like the best way to implement meaningful professional development,” he says.
In July 2019, Jani officially became an entrepreneur and co-founded Fraktal with his partners Marko Buuri and Tuomo Makkonen. They built the company upon the philosophy of cyber positivity they deeply believed and found meaningfulness in. Later, the new approach has proven itself relevant as Fraktal has succeeded in creating positive traction in the cyber security space. Through their ability to offer tailored services to meet customers’ out-of-the-box needs, Jani feels that they are changing the way cyber security is taken care of in various businesses.
“Companies in the industry have not always been listening to their customers. It has been great to see that we are able to produce completely new types of services and gain positive feedback for it. Genuinely listening to customers and tailoring services to them appears as a very high NPS. I think we have only one customer who has requested a service catalogue,” Jani adds amused.
Jani sees that his background as a cyber security expert in a large company is an advantage on his entrepreneurial path. He may feel himself as an atypical entrepreneur as he became entrepreneur only later in his career. However, his unique strength as an entrepreneur is a combination of team leadership, business management and cyber security expertise. Jani also sees that his background as an expert has helped him in his current CEO role. Because he knows the company’s domain thoroughly, it is easier to steer the company to the direction that best serves customers and the company’s purpose of cyber positivity.
Trust is all in all
With a friendly tone in his voice, Jani says the mix of skills and personalities in their founding team is an undeniable success factor. The founders work closely with each other and have a safe connection to discuss everything together. Trust is all in all.
“My co-founders Marko and Tuomo are essential for me and the company. It’s a cliché that it’s good to have different personalities and skills in a team. But yes, that is so true. Mutual trust is also a self-evident requirement, but not all founders need or should be the same. It’s good to be able to challenge each other’s’ thinking,” Jani says proudly.
Then finally, when asking Jani about how he feels about entrepreneurship and how it has been, he smiles seemingly happy and says:
“Being an entrepreneur has been the best time for me professionally. We had a lot of dreams and goals, and many of them have already come true. I feel I have found the meaningfulness I wished to find at work.”
This is the first part of co-founder stories. Stay tuned for more!
About the Author
Riikka drives investments and development at Fusion Ecosystem. She has management consulting background in the tech industry, and in her current role she drives co-founding, funding and entrepreneurial growth support in the ecosystem. Besides her work, Riikka pursues a PhD in business agility and risk management at the University of Tampere.
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