Intact’s Early Days: Idealism and Euphoria
What was the initial spark that ignited Intact 20 years ago?
We all worked for the same company in the food industry and were shocked by the increasingly occurring food safety scandals. Our shared passion for improving the safety of our food system rallied us to take the matter into our own hands. Making the world a little better was the right thing to do, and using technology to do it was the logical route.
What followed was an exciting journey. Standard technology wasn’t as advanced as we would have liked, and the internet was still in its early phase. We held our initial meetings at the only local pub that had internet access (laughs).
What was the motivation for founding Intact?
Several things contributed to our ultimate decision to start Intact. The intention was to make the world a better place. That mission, combined with the excitement of starting your own company as a young person, made launching Intact an obvious choice. And the outcome didn’t disappoint – Intact took me on the most exciting journey of my life.
What were the greatest challenges of Intact’s early years?
There were constant highs and lows in the beginning. Often the low points were the most instructive moments (laughs). For me, the biggest hurdle was stabilizing after the initial excitement.
After launching with our first successful customers, we were faced with the challenge of expanding for lasting growth. Initial projects are usually mastered with 200% commitment and full of enthusiasm – whatever the cost. At a certain point, you have to shift to create a more sustainable system.
As an entrepreneur, we had to answer the following questions: Who are we? Should we expand the team? How do we want to define Intact? How can we share the corporate responsibilities? Many startups fail at this critical point. I am very grateful that we successfully managed the initial establishment and growth.
Did you envision how successful Intact would become?
Intact always dreamed big (laughs). To be honest, it could just as well have gone wrong. Our mix of youthful euphoria, well-structured work, and the right timing proved to be a recipe for success.
Change and Challenges
What are the most significant changes Intact has gone through recently?
The most significant change was our clear dedication to focus on our strengths and core products. And secondly, our collaboration with IMCAP starting in 2018. The resulting professionalization and structuring took Intact to the next level, which we still benefit from every day.
How has working at Intact changed over the last few years?
Global collaboration has become more accessible thanks to increasing digitization. Cloud-based collaboration and communication tools have improved considerably in recent years, enabling us to survive the pandemic lockdown challenges unscathed. The new remote workflow was a shock and a significant challenge for the IT department. Luckily, our existing digital setup made the transition feasible.
What challenges are the audit and certification industry currently facing?
Actually, the same issues that led us to found the company twenty years ago are still at play: Process digitalization and improving integrity. Unfortunately, many industry members still have not digitalized parts or even the majority of their operations. The pandemic made this reality painfully clear.
Digitalization not only creates efficiency and transparency but, above all, integrity. Digital and technological solutions have the potential to provide greater security and fairness leading to improved integrity. We are still on the same mission we’ve had for 20 years – use technology to make the world a little bit better.
20 Years of Intact – A Résumé
If you could start over, would you do anything differently?
It all happened as it had to happen, and that’s a good thing. A dedicated group of young people sat together in a basement and turned their dreams into reality. We struggled, hired the right people, cooperated, innovated, and remained humble. It worked well for us. This is precisely the kind of approach that I would advise all young founders to take: have a dream, stand up for it, be humble, work together, and believe in your established goals.
What are your favorite memories from the 20 years of Intact?
One of them was the commissioning of the first ECERT product. The project helped us prove our skills, brought in an abundance of new business, and created the foundation for today’s Intact Platform.
And, of course, the annual company Christmas party is a favorite (laughs).
What are your wishes for the future?
I hope we continue to prosper and never lose our cohesion in the process. We must keep up the Intact spirit alive – it’s what makes us successful.
In the near term, I am looking forward to the end of the pandemic when we’re allowed to enjoy an after-work beer and play darts together (laughs).
Want to learn more?
Do you want to learn more about our thoughts on the current developments of the industry? Make sure to follow Intact on LinkedIn for news, updates and takes on current events.
If you are interested in one of our products or want to exchange thoughts, you can set up a meeting with us – we look forward to hearing from you.