Martina Klingvall: An Epitome of Impactful Leadership

Martina Klingvall | Founder & CEO | Telness
Martina Klingvall | Founder & CEO | Telness

“Disruption is a necessity quite like tilling the land. It brings fresh perspective to ideas that lose relevance with time!”

Everyone has heard of mobile telephony which in most cases remain the preserve of individual service providers covering, in most cases, entire countries or parts thereof. Very few cover the entire globe. The service in most cases are a mix of analogue and digital transmission with a steady push towards digitalization owning to better quality of service at reduced costs. This has been the scenario in the mobile-phone industry in most countries from the time the service came about.

In the late 90s came the first wave of disrupters, the Mobile virtual network operator or MVNOs who in most cases were extensions to existing mobile operators having bought the latter’s services in bulk at competitive rates. These they sold ahead to consumers with or without their own customer-support systems.

With most networks going digital in the mid to late 2000s, a new form of disruption has come about. MVNOs working with multiple mobile operators providing services over digitized networks and in some cases like Telness, even with their own digital exchanges. It is in these times that Martina Klingvall Holmstrom, an engineer by profession found employment and a calling.

Spending quality time with Sweden’s largest mobile phone operators, she did what most disrupters do in their initial years: Learn the ‘HOW’ of building customer centric telecom operations using digitization and the latest in technology that identify gaps to provide newer services to discerning clients looking for varied service offerings.

The Foundations

The year was 2016 when Martina took a clean break from employment to start Telness which today, with an experience of half-a-decade, has its fair share of clients.

While Telness’ core business is that of selling mobile subscriptions like any other MVNO, it has added to its services with a cloud-based PBX Switchboard. But the service that brought Telness right under the arc-lights with all the attendant accolades is the development of a unique cloud-based telecom platform that has enabled the automation and digitalization of customer-experience journeys, both internal and end-customer, right from purchasing its service to support tickets.

Within the platform what remains outstanding is the 100% self-service and online sales to both consumer and B2B brands. In all, these have created benchmarks on how to succeed in a competitive market. Going beyond pricing, where Telness really scores over competition is its 100% digital service offerings that remains ultra-fast to accesses, and which additionally has its own dedicated customer-support team known to respond to customer enquiries in less than a minute.

According to Martina, people perceive the telecom sector as having loads of monotonous, repetitive and trivial tasks which call for constant monitoring taking away valuable time and resources from client needs and attention.

Such a situation made it the perfect ground for the introduction of newer disruptive technologies that help automate core tasks to reduce time and pain points. In return, what one gets is the time and energy to concentrate on things that make a business customer-centric including gauging client needs accurately, be it in terms of services or pricing. In fact, it is precisely this strategy of Telness right from the time of its inception that gives it its decisive strategic edge over competition, be it from MNOs or other MVNOs.

So effective has been this strategy of ‘controlled disruption’ that since its launch in 2017, Telness has onboarded thousands of customers making it a leader in the field with the highest number of happy customers in Sweden on Trustpilot. In doing so, Telness has proven to the world that its tech platform while making organizations lean in terms of costs, enables better business operations in a scalable and efficient manner that constantly takes care of the customers’ needs. It has made the field of telecom simple, hassle free and digital.

Exhibiting Distinction

In these years, Telness has succeeded in going from an interesting idea to be an appreciated mobile operator that has set new standards in the market. Going forward Telness is now utilizing its unique platform to drive global telecom innovations by offering it as a SaaS to international operators that enables them to digitalize their services for the future.

The field of telecom is one that is characterized by the presence of challenges at every step. So how did Telness, a relative newbie take care of these and remain ahead of the curve? Simply by utilizing the uniqueness of its existing platform while remaining focussed to customer experiences and needs! In this it is helped immensely by its SaaS solution that has the potential to help international operators transform and accelerate their business, instead of witnessing their legacy slowly but surely decelerating their capability to innovate.

Redefining Empowerment

Martina and Telness are young in every sense. Add to that her being a woman. How did she manage to be where she is? She credits that to her ability to network with inspiring people who show others the range of possibilities. Being with them rubs off she says. It leaves one feeling inspirational, genuine and curious with the understanding that one’s vulnerabilities are not necessarily weaknesses but essentially strengths.

Being an entrepreneur of a sizable and respectable organization, she is quite correctly placed to bring positive change for other aspiring female entrepreneurs. At Telness, this translates into a number of steps including their admitted stand towards maintaining gender equality.

Be it of employees across departments, members of the Board or Management, a 50:50 parity must be maintained wherever possible. “We have had an active principle that we want an equal company. This means that we sometimes must have a man or a woman as the next recruitment for certain positions. At times it has been challenging to find female developers, they are fewer, but they are out there! You have to find ways to attract them and then an equal corporate culture is important,” says Martina.

A true newbie with the experience of a lifetime that has come about rather early in her life, Martina realizes the worth of remaining agile. In the field of telecom, that translates into the ability to embrace the latest in technology at the speed of light- precisely what she plans to do in the future. On the ground what it means is that her unique platform shall find increasing acceptance among international telecom operators which shall enable them to digitalize into the future and stay ahead of competition!