NOISE interviews: Nalden – co-founder of WeTransfer

NOISE caught up with Dutch blogger and co-founder of WeTransfer, Nalden. Here's what he had to say about some stuff.

WeTransfer is a free service which allows users to move their files (up to 2gb) simply and with the help of their gorgeous wallpapers, in a way that’s pretty pleasing to the eye. Co-founded in 2009 by Nalden, we thought we’d give you lot a bit of a treat and talk to the man himself about how he got started and see what tips he had to offer budding entrepreneurs. 

A picture of a man

How did the idea for WeTransfer come about?
It was born out of necessity to easily send large files without the hassle of signing up for an account. This was 4 years ago and we’re still trying to make our service easier to use without interrupting the user experience.
(image right: Nalden, co-founder of WeTransfer)

There are lots of file transfer services – what makes you stand out from the rest? 
Apart from the simplicity, we put discovery in the heart of our service. While people upload or download files, we show big & beautiful full-screen images that inspire people or make them excited to learn more. Most of them are ads, but a lot is editorial work from the creative community that we like to promote for free.

How have you, as a company, grown since inception? 
But of course. We’ve grown into a still relatively small team of 21 people. And we’re still growing. We’re now serving 50 million people who use our service every month, so we have to keep going right?!

When things get a bit tough do you reach for the cake, whiskey, stroke a cat or all 3?
Mostly it’s a combination of it all. In Dutch we say; slecht gaan.

A group of people on a balconyWhat was the hardest part of starting out and how did you overcome it?
The first challenge was to scale without taking the service down. Uptime is everything. Then it’s about people. People make the difference. Sometimes you have to let people go in order to move forward. What I’ve learned is that almost every time, your gut-feeling is the best advisor.
(image left: The WeTransfer team at Cannes)

Is there anything you know now, that you wish you knew then?
If I knew that people would like to pay for a premium service as WeTransfer Plus from the get go, I wouldn’t start involving advertising.

In the epic war that has spanned centuries, one must reign notorious – cats or dogs?
Dogs. They are loyal. Cats scare the shit out of people. They always sneak up to you and shit.

You’ve got some pretty massive clients advertising on We Transfer, was it difficult to get the big boys to take notice?
It took a while though. However, having the best CTR on the web (with an average of 2%) obviously helps. Then again, it’s a combination of it all. We have reach, a full screen canvas that results in a shitload of clicks and impressions. So, it’s kind of a no brainer…

A car with a WeTransfer logo on itThese days, especially with technology, everything moves so quickly – do you think there will always be a need for your service?
There will always be a need to easily send data, yes. If this will be embedded in other services or a single purpose app we’ll only find out over time. However, we are definitely thinking that with the level of trust people have in WeTransfer, we will be a leading authority here.
(image right: A WeTransfer car in Cannes)

What’s your favourite Michael Jackson song and of course, why? We’re a bit partial to Billy Jean but James, our junior editor, thinks Earth Song is the greatest tune ever created.
I like Smooth Criminal. The combination of Quincy Jones and Michael is a match made in heaven. The music video made me a bigger fan. The anti-gravity lean of Mike is epic. And it was the theme song of Moonwalker. Gotta love that flick!

If you had to give a single piece of advice to a creative trying to start a new business, what would it be?
Keep going, even if people tell you otherwise. Entrepreneurs are fools, because they are foolish enough to keep going. 

How can creatives, like NOISE artists, use We Transfer and what’s so useful about it?
I guess WeTransfer Plus allows them to customise their own account, which is cool. They can also email us at editorial@wetransfer.com where we curate artworks to highlight on wetransfer.com

For more on WeTransfer and how you can use it, visit the website here 

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