First part of the story of Bo and Kristina, leaders and founders of Viking Software.
Long before there was a Viking Software, there were Bo and Kristina—high school sweethearts and later a married couple with three children, each with their own career path ahead of them. While Bo chose a technical route, one that we still see him on after 30 years of unchanged enthusiasm, Kristina took a path that perfectly aligned with her lifelong passion for human well-being and became a kindergarten teacher.
For Kristina, however, it became clear that a career in education was not the right long-term fit for her. “At that time, there was a top-down push for more regulation and, frankly, more bureaucracy,” Kristina recalls. “It required a lot of resources, which I had to pull away from time spent with the children, and I just grew tired and frustrated at having to spend my time writing reports instead of actually doing meaningful educational work.” She was therefore open to a career change when Bo presented an exciting opportunity.
While Bo still loved his profession, he had, through various positions in different companies, developed a dream of becoming his own boss. So, motivated from a job at a larger company focusing on Qt development, he launched his first company, Thorsen Consulting, in 2004. For a couple of years, the company performed brilliantly and even had a few consultants on board. “One day, one of my employees approached me, saying that I was too stressed,” Bo shares. “He noticed that I had a lot on my plate and was concerned for me. I had to agree with him, so that evening I asked Kristina if she would like to take over all the administrative duties.” And thus began the collaboration between Mr. and Mrs. Thorsen when Kristina agreed to become the office manager for Thorsen Consulting.
However, it wasn’t long before the partnership had to take a break: In 2008, the financial crisis hit, abruptly halting collaborations with some key American clients, and Thorsen Consulting went bankrupt. Bo took on some freelance work to make ends meet, while Kristina returned temporarily to her teaching job.
But the dream of being self-employed was not dead, and after the short hiatus, the couple started a new company named Fionia Software. But as Bo explains, “I didn’t feel like I had the drive anymore to move forward. We did get a few decent projects, and we even hired someone part-time. But we weren’t really getting anywhere, and I didn’t want to be in it alone.” So in 2013, they accepted an offer from a major Qt development house to start a European division for them.
Having bosses again reminded Bo and Kristina why they initially wanted to be self-employed. They missed the flexibility and decision-making power, and although they felt more financially secure, they also felt restricted. They had a conversation with their superior, who was gracious enough to release them from the non-compete clause in their contract, which would have prevented them from working with Qt for an extended period.
Rather than reviving one of their old businesses, they chose to start fresh and founded Viking Software in 2014. It began modestly, with Bo taking on a few freelance contracts as the company’s sole developer at the time. One of these freelance contracts was with Leica Geosystems in Odense. When Leica Geosystems needed help with a larger project, they turned to Viking Software. This led to the hiring of additional developers in 2015, shaping Viking Software into the development house we know today.