Today it is UNIwise’s official 4 years’ birthday and a lot has happened since the founding of the company in 2012. WISEflow is now used as exam software for schools and universities in several countries around Europe, and more than 750.000 students have so far submitted their exams through WISEflow. However, as with most startups the journey has been bumpy.
Back in 2010 our founders worked at Aarhus University in managing positions. Here they experienced a student demand to bring and use their own computers for exams. At that time, no technology was yet available that could prevent cheating and plagiarism in digital exams. Aarhus University therefore applied and received funding from the Danish Government to investigate the potential of digitizing exams and assessments. As part of the project a group of student programmers started building WISEflow and in just two years more than 10 % of the university’s exams were digitized.
In a short amount of time WISEflow had become very successful and our founders decided to buy the commercial rights in order to offer the solution to other universities and institutions. In 2012 UNIwise was therefore officially launched as a company, and shortly after the first Norwegian university and a small Danish private school started using WISEflow.
Persistence overcome resistance
What all started well and seemed like a successful launch, soon proved to be more difficult than expected. UNIwise had counted on Aarhus University as the first major client, but when the task was put out to tender as a joint tender between Aarhus University and 4 other Danish universities, UNIwise lost.
The whole team consisting of the founders and the former key student programmers had invested in the company, but after 1,5 years, the money was running low, and UNIwise had to leave their office, when the landlord went bankrupt. Without money to spend on a new business address, the team found an old, closed property without heating and internet. During the winter everyone wore gloves and hats inside while working, and the platform was managed through an iPhone as Wi-Fi hotspot. But no one ever lost faith in WISEflow and everyone agreed to cut salary by half.
Despite the adversity UNIwise therefore kept going, which turned out to be a great decision. Only a few months after the loss of the first tender, the Danish university colleges were won in another tender, and from then on more and more institutions joined WISEflow. Right from the start the strategy has been to digitize exams in Denmark, then Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. With WISEflow currently being used in Scandinavia, in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany the strategy has proven itself successful so far. We look forward to more exciting experiences, continued growth and hopefully many birthdays to come.