From MEST to Meltwater

Sylvana Lewin, Wednesday November 22nd 2017

MEST parent company Meltwater recently released the latest product, Outside Insight. Meltwater is already a global leader in their space, with over 26,000 clients using the product to make more informed decisions. The product, which is the new direction of Meltwater, is the work of a small five man team made of mainly MEST alumni located in Accra Ghana.

mLabs is the development and innovation branch of Meltwater that operates a lot like a start-up. mLabs Accra’s five man team is made up of Nelson Klutse, Eric Hackman, Samuel Ako, Rubin Apore, and Nana Aferi of whom all but Aferi are MEST graduates. Robert Rydefalk, the head of mLabs, said of the Ghanaian arm, “I'm so impressed with our team in Ghana. Having a team that is working remotely with a big time-difference and an internet connection that is not always awesome is normally a big challenge. But everybody on the team is working so hard to stay ahead and get a lot done. They are proactive, easy to talk to, flexible, eager to learn and a lot of fun - you can't ask for more than that. In short: they are killing it.”

In the words of Nelson Klutse, a MEST graduate from the class of 2013 and former co-founder of Suba, Outside Insight is “a way for a company to stay ahead of the curve. Not reacting, but actually being proactive. It’s a change in the way companies make decisions.” The pioneer of a new software category, Outside Insight helps companies synthesize and gather external information to influence the decisions they make. It allows for much more in-depth insight into what competitors are doing and where your company stands in the wider industry.

Both Nelson and Eric Hackman, another member of the mLabs Accra team and MEST alumnus, believe that Outside Insight is going to change the way companies make decisions. The platform is not only the future of Meltwater, but the personal vision of CEO Jorne Lyseggen and has been launched in conjunction with his book. When the realized that this project was in their hands, they were honored. Hackman explained, “Outside Insight is the new face of the company. To be in Ghana and to be the guys that are working on the product that the company sees as its future, really speaks a lot to Jorn’s confidence in the MEST training program and the entrepreneurs it is developing.”

Jorn Lyseggen, Meltwater CEO and founder of MEST, and Meltwater have had confidence in Klutse and Hackman for a long time. Both completed the MEST training programme and went on to receive seed funding for their company Suba from Meltwater to enter the MEST Accra Incubator. Suba was later acquired by Meltwater, which is when they formed  mLabs Accra. Klutse believes that MEST has played an integral part in his journey: “MEST was the beginning of everything. The program gives you the platform to improve yourself as much as you want. There is no limit to what you can do. It prepares you to take on the world.”

Hackman also has a firm belief in what the MEST program can do. He explained that while working as a facilitator for startup weekends, he was able to see just how high the MEST standard is. “I don’t think there is any program like MEST anywhere in the world.”

It’s no surprise, then, that while choosing the rest of their team Hackman and Klutse went for almost solely MEST alumni. Both believe that the entrepreneurs coming out of the program have a work ethic that is hard to find elsewhere.

In the future, both hope to see mLabs Accra expand. Klutse even hopes for a building filled with teams of designers working on a variety of products. It’s definitely a team to look out for.