DIREC TECH TALK

How do we create more successes like Humio?

The sale of Humio for billions of dollars has generated many headlines about the Danish entrepreneurial business recently. They all ask the same question: How do we bring Danish world-class research into play and develop more Danish tech successes? Thomas Riisgaard Hansen, Managing Director of DIREC, asked Humio’s founder and CTO Kresten Krab Thorup.

Thomas Riisgaard Hansen, Managing Director of DIREC, asked Humio’s founder and CTO Kresten Krab Thorup.

Watch the interview here:


When asked how we get more successes like Humio, Kresten Krab Thorup answers clearly:

“You need to think big from the start. Someone has to be the best, so why not you? If you can get some venture capital, then it is all about speeding up, getting things developed and released to the customers. As a founder, obviously you are selling out of your business, but you do it to speed things up.”

Collaboration with research environments could also be an interesting way forward, and when researchers and businesses work together, they should think of their joint idea as a bet:

“Think of it as a bet. Is your idea viable? If you have the impetus to do it yourself in the best possible way, you can get really far. And at the same time, it attracts various interesting profiles to your company. And it is the company that can execute. That is what we have succeeded in doing.”

In short, Humio enables insight into massive amounts of log data, which is often spread out on many different servers in the cloud. With Humio’s system, businesses can see what is happening to their servers and see log data in real time. Today, the system is used by large businesses such as Microsoft and Bloomberg.

Kresten Krab Thorup is a computer scientist from Aarhus University and is one of the co-founders of the IT company, Trifork. He founded Humio in 2016 with two former Trifork colleagues, Christian Hvitved and Geeta Schmidt. They started Humio because they saw a gap in the market for a solution that could handle analysis of large amounts of log data.

They developed a prototype and started out with 4-5 employees in the first year. Starting up has especially required a technical understanding of how to use the hardware in the best possible way and an understanding of cloud technology, explains Kresten Krab Thorup:

“Cloud has become a novel architectural constraint. Today, it is not the physical hardware that controls performance and what can be done. It is the price of a service. It is a direct input to the architecture. It is much cheaper to store in the cloud than on a regular hard drive, and if you can make it run at peak performance, it will be much cheaper. Understanding it is extremely important”.

Humio has chosen to create their own database. This is the very key to their technology. But you become more successful by bringing together diverse skills to create a solid business:

“It requires a whole ecosystem of diverse skills, including front and back-end developers, UX designers, salespeople and accountants,” he says and adds:

“Most people tend to get together with like-minded people. But it is important to get together with people who knows something completely different, because often it is at the interface that ideas develop.