In the Trenches
We join at the very early stages, often from just an idea and a couple of people. We spend a day a week with you to help set up the early team, strategy and sales. We'll join you in packing boxes, staff the booth at trade shows, and as CxO as necessary. Since we work so closely with our startups we only take on a few at a time. Therefore, we make sure to select projects that make our hearts sing.
Long & Current Experience
Of the 18 companies we have been heavily involved in, four have become world class successes (Klarna, Tobii, Lensway, Bluetail) and another ten had good and profitable exits or are growing nicely. We've also coached hundreds of startups and work very hard to make our startups successful. Our annual return on investment since 2002 exceeds 60%.
Paying it Forward
Walerud Ventures is dedicated to building Sweden and its startup and tech ecosystem. We work closely with incubators around the country, the Royal Academy of Sciences (IVA), Prince Daniel's Fellowship, and Geek Girl Meetup. We also work on policy with the Swedish government: Jane is part of the The Swedish Government Innovation Council chaired by the Prime Minister, and Caroline was part of Entreprenörskapsutredningen reporting to the Interior Minister.
We are techie and curious, and will understand your product. We've started companies in areas including AI, 3D, solar cells, fintech, telecom and biotech and have worked in tech for a long time: Jane was once a teaching assistant for a programming course at Stanford, Bengt is a top multivariate statistical analyst, and Caroline studied natural sciences at Cambridge. We like companies with sustainable competitive advantages and entry barriers.
What we look for
Fantastic founders with full focus on ONE product that solves a problem that HURTS. Selling to a growing market with high margins. A brilliant, hard working, self motivated, open team with complementary skills and integrity. Bonus points for immigrants and women on the team. Since we work hard with you, we want to be close: within a 3 hour flight from Stockholm. We speak Swedish and English.
We are on the entrepreneur's side. We want a painless investment process so we can get on with building the company with you. Therefore we do standard, simple and fair contracts (eg startupdocs.se) and want the founders to own the lion's share of the company. We invest 1-10M SEK and take a board seat. Read up on how investments work in our resources section, and on our philosophy in this blog post.
To contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send all media requests to email@example.com.
I am a serial tech entrepreneur who enjoys operative roles. Since 1999, I have worked with 14 startups, including the successes Bluetail, Klarna and Lensway, and Tobii (where I was business unit head for assistive technology). Three others went badly. The overall results of our investments have been good: over 60% annual returns. During 2016, after a successful exit from Teclo Networks, I'm engaged with two new firms: Satcube and Racefox. I studied Cognitive Psychology and Computer Science at Stanford University.
Positions: Honorary Doctor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Gold Medal recipient at the Royal Academy of Science (IVA), member of the Swedish Startup Hall of Fame, board member of the investment firm Creades, member of the Swedish Government Innovation Council, Chair of Satcube, Board member at Racefox, and Startup Fintech Course Leader at STING.
Hobbies: sudoku, long wilderness walks with dogs, economics, neuroscience, painting, cooking.
I founded my first pricing and strategy consultancy company in 1983 and sold it 15 years later. We founded the next one, KW Partners in 2003, and sold it 6 years later to Capacent, where I now work part-time as a director in Business Strategy and Revenue Management. My primary focus is improving competitiveness, pricing strategy, pricing implementation, and business development for larger Nordic corporations and for start ups. I studied at Stockholm School of Economics and did doctorate research at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and am a European expert in choice modelling and predictive analytics.
Hobbies: Hunting, history, Coursera courses, movies, chemistry of pyrotechnics.
My first venture was baking and selling sourdough bread door to door when at the age of 14. After being the first employee at Choros Cognition, a satellite image analysis startup, I cofounded Volumental in 2012 with three computer vision experts. As CEO I grew the company to 20 people until 2015. We have customers like New Balance and Nordstrom. As Executive Chairman, I now help with strategy, investor relations, marketing and recruiting a couple days a week. I studied Natural Sciences with a focus on zoology and neuroscience at Cambridge University. My time is split between Stockholm, San Francisco and London.
Positions: Executive Chairman of Volumental AB. Shaping politics and promoting entrepreneurship through three initiatives: the Swedish government’s reference group for strengthening entrepreneurship, STING Incubator's advisory board, and Prince Daniel’s Fellowship. Forbes 30 under 30 Europe Leaderboard and Retail section 2016. #1 Swedish Supertalent of the Year 2013.
Hobbies: Basketball, yoga and surfing, arts and crafts, improv theatre, nature, synthetic biology and neuroscience.
Echo & Noppe
Family members responsible for moral support and daily exercise.
Hobbies: Birds, runs, chewies, cuddles.
Sharpen your business idea
The Business Model Canvas to summarize your startup on one page and verify your assumptions with real customers.
Porters Five Forces to assess your strategic position. No startup has a perfect strategic position, but this tool helps you recognize your major weaknesses.
FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS AND SALES
Julian's growth hacking guide.
Lean startup guru Steve Blank's blog and startup tools to get out of the building.
Customer money is the best :)
Venture Deals: Be Smarter than your Lawyer and VC is a great introduction to raising capital.
To present your company to investors, Google has a great pitch template. For advanced tips, check out 500 Startup's and Y Combinator's pitch tips, and Khosla Ventures slide deck tips. Jane likes the NABC model.
Improvisation theatre is great for presentation skills and also very fun!
Survive the admin
Startup Docs for standard Swedish startup legal documents.
Hyper Island toolbox for creative workshop and problem solving formats.
Capsule CRM for sales management.
squarespace for building beautiful websites quickly.
Jobylon for recruitment ads and management.
Slack for internal company communication.
Google Drive to sync and work on documents collaboratively.
Proven method for handling the stress and incredible amount of work in a startup: Jane uses Getting Things Done.
Ask for help
Join an incubator! The best one for you depends on your location and stage. Check out Uppsala Innovation Center and KTH Innovation for example. Caroline's Volumental is a STING alumni; she's now in their advisory board, while Jane is a course leader in their Test Drive FinTech course.
Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship runs fun courses that bring together tech, creative and business people from the main universities around Stockholm.
FOUNDER.ORG is a great company development programme based out of Silicon Valley. It is for startups from top universities around the world including KTH.
Meetup.com has workshops and discussion groups around everything from Quantified Self to learning Swedish and Python.
Take care of yourself
Read more if you have time
The Hard Thing about Hard Things is a riveting book.