January 1, 2014

If you're getting healther in 2014 - use Lifesum

If you've made a New Year Resolution to become healthier in 2014, you really should use Lifesum (formerly ShapeUp Club). Available on the App Store for iPhone, in Google Play for Android and on the web. Active members lose, on average, 6 kgs in 3 months and this year I personally intend to be one of them.

We made lots of improvements to Lifesum in 2013 and James Pember of Swedish Startup Space summarized them very well in a tweet: "Holy shit. The new @Lifesum app is beautiful. Masssssiiiive improvement!"

December 11, 2013

ShapeUp Club upgrades and becomes Lifesum

Today ShapeUp Club is announcing its new name and brand: Lifesum. The Lifesum brand better captures our ambition to help people change their behavior and improve their lives.

Head over to Lifesum.com or download the updated Lifesum app from the App Store or Google Play.

September 30, 2013

Swedish Syndicates Better Than Angellist? (if implemented by 3rd party)

I got a comment to yesterday's post on Angellist Syndicates, unfortunately unsigned.

"Agree. Frustrating that Syndicates are only applicable to Delaware based startups. My question is how long will it take for Angelist to move into the Nordics with Syndicates - or will someone copy the model first?"

I agree with the issue, which also includes US tax filings for investors, and hope that someone will copy the model and implement locally. Maybe FundedByMe?

September 29, 2013

Angellist Syndicates could boost Swedish seed investing

Angellist recently launched Syndicates. Syndicates allows active seed-stage lead investors to expand their capital base by allowing other angel investors to co-invest in startups. In exchange for access to good startups, the other investors pay carry, i.e. a share of any profits, to the lead investor. Basically it is a very lightweight fund structure.

As a structure, Syndicates could be helpful for the Swedish startup environment. Given that individual Swedish seed stage Internet investments are small (around 100 000 SEK being a common), ways to simplify pooling capital to a 1-2 million SEK seed round would be helpful to Swedish startups. Some of the advantages with the Syndicate fund structure seems to be:

  • The company gets to deal with one fund headed by one active investor instead of a party round of 10-20, mostly passive, individuals. Having one investor to deal with instead of 20 makes the day-to-day work of running a company easier.
  • An active investor gets additional upside from taking the lead investor role, which generally includes negotiating initial terms and board/advisory board work. The clear lead role also creates one angel investor that has the incentive to make sure that the company and new venture capital investors don't steamroll the rights of seed stage investors.
  • For individual seed stage investors it is difficult to get portfolio diversification without investing about 1 million SEK. With Syndicates, where the investment can start at between 6000 and 15 000 SEK, it is possible to get diversification at 100 000 SEK. This should make it more interesting to invest some savings in early-stage companies.
The structure would be helpful both for traditional private rounds and equity crowdfunding rounds (like Angellist and FundedByMe).

If there were a few Swedish Syndicates, my guess is that another 10-15 million SEK in annual qualified private seed stage capital would open up. With that direct private capital, another 10-20 million SEK would likely be available from venture investors and public funds as matching capital. It doesn't sound like much, but it would be a significant addition to the available Swedish Internet/mobile startup funding.

September 28, 2013

Exit proceeds needed to fuel the growth of the Stockholm startup scene

The latest rumor is that King has filed to go public in the US. Going public is a fairly natural step once a company grows big, especially if it has external investors. As King has large operations in Stockholm, the proceeds from an exit could be very good for the Stockholm startup environment. What Stockholm have in terms of, by European standards, larger technology startups (Klarna, Spotify and King being the big three) and a growing growing pool of startup talent, it lacks in early-stage financing (also known as angel or seed-stage investing).

My hope is that employees, and potentially the founders, of the big three and other startups will take some of the gains from shares and share options and invest in the next generation of startups (in addition to building their own). Capital from individuals with operational experience and personal networks is one of the things that are needed to take Stockholm startup environment to the next level.

June 9, 2013

Delayed egoblogging

Swedish Startup Space: After Selling to Blackberry, Hampus Jakobsson reveals his new project. "So the idea with Dexplora was to build tools for sales people.What we very quickly stumbled over was the fact that sales people were so unsatisfied with their tools (the so called Customer Relation Management – short CRM – system) that they didn’t use it except when they really had to." I'm a small investor in Dexplora's seed round (pdf).

TechCrunch:  ShapeUp Club Pulls In Ex-Spotify And Stardoll Execs To Go Big. "Henrik Torstensson, formerly a senior exec with global music service Spotify, and Marcus Gners, from at teen girl gaming giant Stardoll, are now joining the company in the roles of CEO and Deputy CEO. Both have a history as advisors to the company, with Gners having been involved for over 3 years."

ArcticStartup: ShapeUp Club Recruits Spotify & Stardoll Execs. "The service is available in 12 languages, and they claim 4 million downloads, with 450,000 monthly active users and a growth rate of more than 10,000 new installs per day. These are already big numbers, but ShapeUp Club still seems to fly under the radar when talking about Stockholm. Perhaps we'll hear some new changes in the near future."

April 29, 2013

Netflix x 2, Daniel Ek and Mattias Miksche

Netflix: Netflix Long Term View. "Over the coming decades and across the world, Internet TV will replace linear TV. Apps will replace channels, remote controls will disappear, and screens will proliferate. As Internet TV grows from millions to billions, Netflix, HBO, and ESPN are leading the way." Netflix view of the world. A must read and rare glimpse into a company's thinking.

New York Times: Netflix Looks Back on Its Near-Death Spiral. "“But the phrase I used was, ‘There are no shortcuts.’ We weren’t going to find an idea or gesture that would make people love us again overnight. We had to earn their trust by being very steady and disciplined. And we had to be careful because we were on probation. We had to stick to what we do well and not lose confidence. I couldn’t say for sure we’d recover. But I was confident that our best odds were to be very steady and focus on improving the service.”" Good read about Netflix' reaction to adversity.

TV4 Nyhetsmorgon: Spotifygrundaren Daniel Ek om musiken, pengarna och idéerna (video). "Enligt flera stora affärstidningar är han en av framtidens stora entreprenörer och redan nu är han värderad till över 2 miljarder kronor. Jesper Börjesson träffade Daniel Ek och samtalde om musiken, Spotify och pengarna."

This Week In Startups: Mattias Miksche CEO and Co-Founder Stardoll (video). Jason Calacanis interviews Mattias Miksche of Stardoll.