Jorn Lyseggan is a serial entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and founder of Meltwater as well as the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, popularly referred to as MEST.
Jorn started off his career as a research scientist in artificial intelligence and machine learning at the Norwegian Computing Centre, but decided to leave to start up his own ideas. He launched his first business, an internet consulting business, in 1995. This he sold off in 1997 to EUnet International.
He joined Mogul as CEO in 1998 and led the company before selling it in 1999 to Optosoft. He thereafter served as CEO of Mogul Group AB, leading it to its IPO in 2000.
With a $15,000 investment, Jorn launched Meltwater in his home country, Norway, in 2001, and the company has gone on to become a formidable force in the B2B media intelligence space.
The company initially started off as Magenta News, which analysed online news in real time. The company experienced a meteoric rise, so much so that within two years it had raked in $2 million in revenue without outside funding.
It later went on and changed its name to Meltwater News and moved its headquarters to San Francisco in the mid 2000s.
As of 2017, the company currently boasts over 1,500 employees located in 55 offices spread across six continents and more than 30,000 clients worldwide.
Jorn believes in the empowerment of the future generation of entrepreneurs and this inspired his founding of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a pan-African institute which serves as an incubator for African entrepreneurs as well as a seed fund and training platform, in a bid to empower tech entrepreneurs and startups coming out of Africa in 2008.
Speaking on his philanthropic efforts, Jorn said during a locally organised TEDTalk in 2017 that his philanthropic journey has been nothing short of accidental, alluding this to some experiences he went through while growing up.
“I have never been a tree hugger, and I’ve never been on a mission to save the planet. But over the years, I accidentally found myself becoming an accidental philanthropist, “he said.
MEST, which has its headquarters in Accra, Ghana, has a presence in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast.
MEST was, in 2015, recognised by Fast Company as one of the 10 Most Innovative Organisations in Africa.
He also launched SHACK15 in 2016, as the world’s first data science hub, where promising and leading data science startups can come together to meet, collaborate, and innovate.
In 2017, Jorn released his first book, Outside Insight: Navigating a World Drowning in Data, which predicts the emergence of a new software category that will leverage insights gleaned from the vast amount of external information available on the web to help corporate leaders in their corporate decision-making.
Speaking with Forbes on what inspired the book, he highlighted the importance of data in today’s world in the decision-making process.
He said, “External data is one of the biggest blind spots in executive decision making today.” That’s because external information contains so much forward-looking information. If your competitors are hiring, and your customers are changing their behaviour, those are external forces influencing your future performance, and it can be found in online ‘breadcrumbs’ and external data.”
Jorn was awarded “The Europa Hall of Fame Award” at the Europas Awards 2016, a gathering where Europe’s most progressive and forward-thinking tech companies are celebrated.
He was also named No. 5 in Digest Africa’s “Top 50 Most Influential People in the African Startup Ecosystem” for his mentorship and investment in MEST.