Swedish startup Nebulr is creating solutions for digital problems

Nebulr founder and CEO Iman Pouya

Iman Pouya was finishing up his PhD in computational biology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in late 2015. Pouya realized academia wasn’t the right setting for him after some eye-opening conversations with his professor.

“I had a bunch of ideas, but realized that academia was not the optimal environment for them,” Pouya told me in a collaboration room at United Spaces Stockholm.

Pouya left that doctoral research program in late 2015, and has since founded four tech startups, including HomeMaker, BrightLabs and Voxo. The programmer also started Nebulr in early 2021, which focuses on providing digital products for businesses.

“It’s like the best MBA [Master of Business Administration] you can have; build a business, make some money out of it, and then build a bigger business,” Pouya said. “You learn a lot along the way.”

Iman Pouya and colleagues in The Nebulr office at United Spaces Stockholm.

There are several people who work alongside Pouya at Nebulr, including one Ukrainian who works remotely from Ukraine. The company also has a handful of open positions.

Nebulr’s goal is releasing a new product to market every six months, with all of the work done internally.

Digital products to fix the business universe issues

Their first product was NorthWhistle, software which helps workers report legitimate concerns about the organizations that employ them. It allows anonymous reporting to enable transparent dialogue in organizations.

“There are a lot of things happening in the regulatory space, especially in terms of giving a lot of rights to the individuals,” Pouya said. “So that was the first product that we built, because we could identify the good in it.”

Nebulr’s newest product is NBlocks, which is an API toolbox to help developers speed up their development. The product includes frontend and backend support for both B2C and B2B services.

Pouya says they don’t just want to make the product available for developers, but also for people who don’t know programming.

“You shouldn’t know all the technical lingo to start building advanced things,” Pouya said. “Let’s build better tools for everyone so they can build apps.”

Pouya said that’s their long-term vision for the NBlocks product; removing the technical complexity from the process and lowering the entry barrier.

“Just give them the right tool and they’re going to start creating”

“There’s a lot of discussion going on where people say that you need to educate more coders. That’s going to take too long, it’s impossible,” Pouya said. “We will always need more coders, and we will always have orders of magnitudes less coders than we want.”

The European Commission says more than 70 percent of businesses say the lack of staff with adequate digital skills is an obstacle to investment. It has initiatives to educate more people in computing and digital literacy over the next decade, and is investing €249 million in digital technologies and cybersecurity.

Pouya said that more needs to be done to be tackle this problem, and Nebulr is aiming to be part of the solution.

“If you just say you’re going to educate people, it takes a long time, maybe we’re going to see within one or two generations,” Pouya said.

He says they’re trying to complement the education solution by giving people better tools, like nBlocks.

“So they can do it because people are tech savvy,” Pouya said. “They are not necessarily coders, but they are tech savvy. Just give them the right tool and they’re going to start creating.”

Nebulr plans on finishing phase one of their plan between 2025 and 2027.

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