The Swedish National Innovation Council celebrates three years

The Swedish National Innovation Council, celebrates three years this February, and Jane is a member.

The Swedish National Innovation Council (NIC) was created by the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, in February 2015. It is personally chaired by the Prime Minister, which is unusual for similar councils in other countries. Another atypical characteristic of the Swedish NIC is that it has a dominant and wide focus on innovation policy. In other countries, such councils focus predominantly on science and/or research policy and treat innovation policy, if at all, as an “appendix” to research policy.

There are a lot of interesting things happening in our area right now, for example, the Swedish government has hired a chief digital officer, and there is a new life science unit at the Swedish Government office.

Below is an interesting read on our work, written by Rausing Professor in Innovation Studies at CIRCLE and Lund University, Charles Edquist, who is also a member of the Council. It discusses how Sweden works with innovation and how The Innovation Council can serve as a role model for other countries. 

Relevant for everyone who is curious to know more about the work of the Innovation Council!

Read the article here.

 Picture: Martina Huber/the Swedish Goverment office

Picture: Martina Huber/the Swedish Goverment office

Caroline in EU talks


Last weekend, Sweden and Gothenburg hosted an EU meeting, with the official title “Social summit for fair jobs and growth”. Because of this, Carline was invited to take part of a round table discussion on EU related issues. Representatives from both politics and business attended, among others, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament and Klaus Walle, Secretary General of the European Parliament, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, the Swedish member of the European Parliament, Nami Zarringhalam, Cofounder and CSO of Truecaller and Staffan Helgesson, General Partner Creandum.


Among the issues brought up were the biggest impediments to growth for startups, and how to create the next huge successes in Europe. Truecaller and SUP46, who attended, talked about free data and less strict integrity rules. Caroline and Walerud Ventures raised the discussion on talent acquisition, to allow the worlds experts to move to Europe, educating and retaining them here. 


Other topics discussed were the importance of being forward thinking with the big upcoming trends, like AI, automation and biotech. To ensure that EU helps those industries grow through providing clear frameworks.


Thanks to all the participants for the invitation and an interesting discussion!


New investment in Ekkono



The news is out! We´re investing in Ekkono togheter with Almi Invest!

Ekkono sells tools to make IoT products learn from and adapt to their own circumstances. The result is IoT products that are more intuitive to use and more effective. 

Walerud Ventures is excited to have the chance to join Ekkono's successful serial tech entrepreneurs and build a company together. We've long been fascinated by Machine Learning, AI, och IoT and see great potential in the company.

Read more in the article in Di Digital (in Swedish) and at


Caroline on the jury for Rivstart

Today the Swedish bank Swedbank announced their new competition called “Rivstart”- a contest concerning entrepreneurship that improves society. Ten entrepreneurs will win 250 000 Swedish kronor each.

Read more about it in Breakit!

Caroline Walerud is on the jury together with Sara Wimmercranz (co-founder of Backing Minds), Arash “Ash” Pournouri (who runs Symposium and Driver at Night) and Richard Båge (co-founder of Mediaplanet and Insplanet).

Send them your brilliant ideas!

Jane and Caroline on list of Sweden's most powerful business women

Veckans Affärer, Sweden's business weekly, lists Jane and Caroline among Sweden's 125 most powerful business women. They take place two and fourteen, respectively, among the tech profiles. 

Jane was also named one of Europe's 50 most inspiring women

Make it or break it! Pricing and the Business Model

Start-ups often wrestle with critical decisions on their pricing and business model;  since I’ve consulted on these subjects for hundreds of companies of all sizes, entrepreneurs often ask me for recommendations.

It is hard to give general advice since each company faces different challenges depending on at least the product offering, the competitive landscape and the types of customer. 

There are a few factors that are always relevant:

1. Value Based Pricing

Cost is obviously a consideration when setting prices, since no company can afford to sell below their cost for very long.

As long as you are selling above your cost, put thoughts of them aside and ask yourself how much your product is worth to your customers. Try to capture a fraction of the customer value in your pricing model.

Finding out the customer value is often difficult, depending on the situation. 

In many B2B settings, you can calculate the customer’s return on investment from adopting your offer. 

You’ll need to compare the benefits of your offer to your competitors’ offers and their pricing. If your offer improves something customers care about, you should be able to get a significant price premium.

Here is a Harvard Business Review article with a little more detail on value based pricing.

2. Customer Segmentation


Customer segmentation is widely talked about, but often misunderstood. 

Correctly applied, it is about identifying groups of customers with different needs, seeking different combinations of benefits and having different willingness-to-pay.  Identifying these customer groups and their needs is, of course, essential when packaging your offer into different bundles for those different customer groups.

Customer differences in needs seldom follow simple characteristics such as sex, age, type of industry or geographic location. To find your segments, you must do market research. Market research is quantitative stuff; you engineers ought to be comfortable with it. Since many companies don’t do market research, they go for a simple scheme, like selling different product bundles to different age groups. Those simple schemes do not capture real need differences between groups, and this approach therefore often fails.


3. The Business Model

Prices come in many shapes and forms. Most people think in terms of price level - “How much”. The way you price, the business model, is at least as important as the price level for commercial success.

There are many ways to sell and price products or services, including:

  1. Give it away and make money on advertising or some other indirect source of         revenue. Prominent examples are Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Free (or almost free) Product bundled with paid services.  

    Companies can charge for installation, maintenance, training, customization, and         consulting services. This model is often used by companies distributing Open Source Software, like Red Hat Linux.
  3. A Freemium Model. Software companies like LinkedIn and Dropbox offer a free,         limited-functionality version of their product, hoping that enough users will pay for a     premium version with more advanced features. 
  4. Razor and blade Model. Sell a necessary base component cheaply and make money     on consumables and maintenance or some other life-cycle dependent factor.
  5. Subscription Model. Instead of selling a product, offer it as a subscription including     maintenance, service etc. This model may be used in a wide range of situations. Rolls Royce famously decided to supply jet engines at a cost per running hour, including service and maintenance, rather than sell engines outright as they and all their competitors had done before.

There is no recipe for which business model is best for your company but selecting the most appropriate one will definitely have a major impact on your commercial success and the future value of your company.