Highcharts 5th anniversary

Posted on November 27, 2014 by Torstein Hønsi. Last modified on April 04, 2016.

Highcharts 1.0 was launched November 27th, 2009. At the time Torstein was one man working from his basement on a charting tool he initially developed for usage on his personal website.

Highcharts is the result of Torstein not finding a charting tool that met his requirements when he wanted to publish his snow depth measurements from Vikjafjellet, online. He wanted a tool that was based on non-proprietary open standards, as opposed to the common Flash solutions at the time. That meant it would work in most web-browsers, and without requirements for additional software downloads to run.

Other great features with the Highcharts JavaScript tool is that it is open and freely available from Highsoft's web site for testing, it is easy for developers to implement it to their internet projects and it has great design – all of which today remain some of Highcharts' key competitive advantages.

 In March 2010 the Apple iPad was launched. Along with the iPad, a sudden demand for Highcharts exploded, as developers needed charts for their web sites and web applications that could work in any web browser – including on mobile devices. Torstein’s timing could not have been better. His Highcharts had been tested and maintained for four months and therefore one of the most stable charting tools at the time, leading to Highcharts' sales exploding.

By the end of 2010, Torstein had so many requests he no longer could handle the growing demand. This is when Torstein made his most important decision; to hire a CEO.

With a CEO handling the paperwork and the growing customer base – Torstein released time to do what he does best: product development. He could now work dedicated with maintaining Highcharts and start development of his next product, Highstock.

Delegating the responsibility to someone else is what Torstein claims to be one of the keys to his success. It allows him to do what he loves without being interrupted.

The customer base continued to grow and Highcharts had established a market leading position by the time Highstock was released in 2012. By then the web tools had already sold Licenses to more than 30 of the top 100 greatest companies in the world. The company Highsoft had grown organizational and now employed 6 people.

At this time Highsoft was awarded locally as entrepreneur of the year, for its accomplishments. The next year Highsoft was nominated National Entrepreneur of the year, and was later also nominated Nordic startup awards.

Since then Highsoft has established a solid customer base ranging from small start ups to large enterprises. In the customer database you will find 61 of the 100 greatest companies in the world.

It’s about time to mention that Highsoft has never spent money on marketing. Nor does the sales team do outbound sales activities. Highcharts’ success is based on viral marketing and a solid product. Even today, 5 years after its first release, Highcharts hits higher sales number than ever before, with current all time high in October 2014 when Highsoft sold licenses for 640 000 USD in one month.

Highsofts offices are located in Vik i Sogn. A small town in rural Norway, housing about 2000 people. Vik is surrounded by mountains and fjords and therfore somewhat isolated from the rest of the world.

Vik i Sogn

Recruiting has been challenging because you are not only promoting the job you offer, but also the place where one would be living, which for most will be very different from what they are used to. Nevertheless, Highcharts has 15 people working for them from 5 nations, mainly located in Vik.

Highsoft has now three JavaScript tools in their portfolio; Highcharts, Highstock and Highmaps, and are planning to continue to develop tools towards adjacent verticals.

These days Highsoft is also moving into a new market with their new product; Highcharts Cloud – which basically is Highcharts with a user interface that lets people without programming skills produce and share charts easily from any datasets.

So while succeeding in the JavaScript market, Highsoft is a good example of a company that understands the importance of pivoting along with market trends.

Highsoft is featured as a pilot for “it can be done” in Nora Digital Artic Online Conference going on from November 2014 to March 2015. The conference is an interplay between knowledge, human capital and natural resources for the political, social and economic development of North Atlantic societies. We take pride in being one of the North Atlantic’s most successful entrepreneurs. Have a look and be inspired by the video where Torstein tells his amazing story, himself.