One of the underlying motives behind The Nordic Web is to be a valuable resource for Nordic entrepreneurs and startups. Although our analyses and insights go some way to achieving this, it’s also important for us to give something more tangible back too.
That’s why each December we run a ‘Julekalender’, where we get 9 experienced Nordic entrepreneurs to give their insights on a new question each day up until Christmas, (The Nordic Nine) with their answers delivered to your inbox every day to help inspire and educate the next generation of Nordic entrepreneurs and startups.
To allow everyone a taster of what to expect each day, we are publishing The Nordic Nine’s responses to the first question on The Nordic Web today, but if you want to continue to get their insights on a new question every day, then you will need to sign up to The Nordic Nine here.
How did you raise money for your startup?
Sean Percival (500 Startups)
“Last time I raised capital I raised on momentum. Every time I went to VC’s I was able to show them growth until finally we had one month where we grew 10x month-over-month. For all my startups I’m usually very aggressive about driving growth in the early days even ahead of the product being fully functional. It’s much easier to pitch a business with traction vs one that is purely a vision pitch.”
Aurore Belfrage (Co-founder of Wrapp, now at EQT Ventures)
“Fundraising is a dance where you need to combine FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), expectation management and amazing story telling. The money is a just small part of the investor-founder relationship – only accept an investor that you actually like and who can join you in the trenches. Make a list of your first choices based on who is best equipped to help you build your business and go find people who can refer you.”
Jon Von Tetzchner (Founder and Former CEO of Opera and now Vivaldi)
“So this is my 2nd startup. With regards to my first startup, the two of us that founded it put our own money on the table (50,000 NOK, which is about €6000), which lasted us for 4-5 years, at which time we got some VC funding. The 2nd startup is funded by me. I learned from my first startup the importance of getting the right investors.”
Ida Tin (Founder and CEO of Clue)
“We started out with angels from our network, and since then that group and ticket sizes have grown as our network has grown too.”
Johan Brand (Co-founder and CEO of Kahoot!)
“I actually started another company with one of the co-founders of Kahoot! to be able to not just have funds, but also gain the relevant knowledge to build the scalable company we had in mind. The first few years we therefore “raised money” from consulting work, soft funding from the Norwegian Government, such as research grants from the Norwegian Research Council & NTNU Discover fund and startup funds from Innovation Norway. We also won a couple of competitions with cash prices that helped us. As we started to add employees we raised another million dollars from founders & employees, which shows the rock solid belief from everyone working on the product that we are on to something. We since added some institutional capital which we will continue to use to fuel our growth.”
Hanna Aase (Founder and CEO of Wonderloop)
“I raised by finding people that weere interested in our exact vision. I initially didn´t do it strategically, I was just attending conference and gatherings that I was interested in myself that correlated with the vision I had and there I found people who understood the importance of the technology for making people´s lives better. Those I have not met at tech conferences. I don´t think we have met one investor by attending a conference, not even with networking and then following up later. It can be important to attend for other things so I´m not going to be the one to tell you not to attend conferences because you learn so much from it. One thing you learn is how many people walking around that are not investors but love calling themselves investors and therefore a lot of time also goes into researching who is. It took me years as a naive Norwegian where in our culture you would not get away with saying your something your not for more than half a day to learn this. The world out there is different and I have somewhat been picky about who I have as investors. It makes our investors awesome but as a tip for new entrepreneurs: raise from anywhere, from anyone. And I do mean anywhere and everyone. You will thank me later.”
Carl Waldekranz (Co-founder and CEO of Tictail)
“We started by pitching fellow entrepreneurs, people who had done it before. It provided both valuable feedback and some great introductions to investors that they had worked and had a personal relationship with.”
Camilla Ley Valentin (CEO and Co-founder of Queue-IT)
“Queue-it is funded by a group of angel investors. The angels were found in our personal network, i.e. existing business connections from before Queue-it.”
Louise Fritjofsson (CEO and Co-founder of Vint)
“I’ve built companies in different ways: One of my companies I built from the ground up, purely organic with my own money (AR >40m SEK), another one I raised money from angels and my last venture Vint is backed by VC’s. Each journey is different and requires different actions. Raising from VC’s for me is all about network. I had proven myself by building companies without financial support and during that time gotten to know the industry and the people within it. Key is good introductions, well thought through business plan and a healthy approach to your competition and challenges.”