Celebrating 25 Years of ONLINECITY.IO: Important Lessons in Digital Innovation

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Celebrating 25 Years of ONLINECITY.IO: Important Lessons in Digital Innovation

Believe it or not – we’ve been in business for 25 years this year! It was back in 1999 that our founders took the first step for ONLINECITY.IO, the parent company of GatewayAPI, and started the journey that would take us to where we are today, two and a half decades of innovation, challenges and successes later.

This special occasion gives us a unique opportunity to look back at the key moments in our history so far as well as the lessons we have learned, so you can benefit from our experiences, too.

So take this opportunity to get to know us better as well as getting valuable insights into what has shaped our journey – and how we are set to tackle the next 25 years ahead!

Our story – from the beginning to today

In the late 90s, as the internet was finding its footing, Thomas Hofmann and Ulrik Hoffmann shared a vision – a digital universe where online shopping and connectivity redefined the norm. Fuelled by their fascination with emerging technologies, they embarked on a mission to create something extraordinary.

But innovation isn’t free of charge: In order to finance their digital dreams, they started a manual labor venture, TrioGulve ApS. This meant that their days were spent on physical work while the evenings went with developing their idea. So between 1995 and 1999, armed with determination and a handful of programmers they had recruited, they laid the groundwork for what would become ONLINECITY.IO. 

The break-through moment arrived when they introduced a customer club system leveraging the simplicity and effectiveness of SMS. The success story began with Jensens Bøfhus, a Danish steakhouse chain, where overwhelming customer response validated their vision.

As the SMS projects flourished, ONLINECITY.IO evolved, transitioning from a digital agency to a platform company. In 2012, the focus shifted towards developing GatewayAPI. The following years witnessed exponential growth, with GatewayAPI becoming a household name in messaging solutions.

From then, ONLINECITY.IO has continued expanding its horizons, with NexCon.io coming to life in 2019 and RelationCity seeing the day of light in 2021. With this service portfolio, ONLINECITY.IO is continuously working to make technology-based communication easy for all – and our spirit of entrepreneurship is at the heart of the journey past, present and in the future.


Four core mindsets that have shaped ONLINECITY.IO

One of the things we have learned along the way is that industry expertise and innovative technology is not enough in itself to drive success. Instead, it is important to have company values that guide us in decision-making processes as well as we interact internally and with our customers.

So through the past 25 years, our own principles have taken shape, and we’d like to take this opportunity to let you in on the mindsets that let us continue to thrive in today’s competitive environment.

We call it the SAIL philosophy: Simplicity, Ambition, Inclusion and Loyalty. Below we will walk through each aspect as well as go through how it shapes our products.



The world of technology is complex, so breaking down complicated problems into simple, manageable solutions is important to our business. 

However, simplicity is not only important in problem-solving, it is also important in the solutions we create for our customers – we always aim to make our products as simple as possible, ensuring that the dashboards are intuitive and easy to use even if they have advanced features.



To us, ambition is not just another buzzword but means that we want to be ambitious on our customers’ behalf as well as our own. It’s a question of taking time to regularly ask ourselves “How can we do better and be more efficient?”, which improves our learning and adaptation.

We want to continuously improve and provide the best possible solutions for our customers, which is why ambition is extremely important to us.



But how do you come up with the best possible solutions? To us, it involves actively listening, respecting diverse viewpoints and promoting an open exchange of ideas across the team – which is why we focus on inclusion. By valuing every team member’s input, we create a richer, more creative workplace, where mutual respect is in focus.

One of the places we especially promote inclusion is at our Innovation Days – which you can read more about further below.



And finally, we believe that a company is nothing without loyalty, so we make an effort to value loyalty and pay it back, meaning that we recognize and return the trust, commitment and reliability that our employees and customers display.

We especially try to pay back the loyalty from our customers by ensuring that we always offer the best solutions for those who use our services.


Values shape the future of our business

Among the above and many other lessons, perhaps the most important is this: We never want to stop learning. Our curiosity and openness to new knowledge is critical to our ability to innovate and stay relevant.

Incorporating these values into our daily business practices have not only enhanced our operational efficiency but also improved our company culture. As we at ONLINECITY.IO continue to navigate on our journey, our SAIL values remain central to our strategy, driving us to deliver great value to our customers and maintain our competitive edge.

Fostering a culture of innovation – our practices

Innovation and entrepreneurship are two extremely central practices that have shaped our company from the very start and continuously in the future. But maintaining a culture of innovation requires more than just stating it out loud – it demands dedicated effort and a continuous flow of fresh ideas.


Here are two practices that we use to embrace innovation:

First of all, we follow an agile scrum approach to planning our projects – this means that everyone in the company is involved in the planning phase of each three-month period we work in, and that we keep all of our projects and their progress transparent for our colleagues to see. Throughout our planning phase, everybody has the chance to chip in with ideas, and each team gets to have their say on deadlines and breakdowns of the projects. Furthermore, we take a vote of confidence to ensure that our teams are happy with the plans ahead.

Secondly, we set off time specifically for innovation – beyond any needed innovative time in the teams, we have entire Innovation Days where our teams get to deep-dive into topics of their choice and interest. The end results cover everything from amazing solo projects to fantastic collaborations cross-team, which would otherwise be difficult to coordinate on the everyday agenda.

We believe that staying innovative and never losing the curiosity we’ve had from the very beginning is the way to adapt your business over time and stay relevant in the future. Over the years, we have learned that changes are not only inevitable but essential. We have adapted to technological advancements and changing market conditions by being proactive and agile.

Follow our future journey

We are so proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and we’re very grateful for the people, experiences and lessons that have shaped our journey so far.

To follow our journey moving forward and gain more insights, we encourage you to follow us on social media, where we will continue to share more stories, insights and celebrations of milestones. Join our community and let us shape the future together!