“I am happy I didn’t know about all the hard work it would take, even if I am glad for the results today”. This was said by Jon Hauksson at our Sharp Minds Session last week. During this breakfast, we met with Jon Hauksson, co-founder of Storytel and Anders Bengtsson, one of the investors in the company. The conversation focused on the ups and downs of Storytel, the relationship between the founders and the investors and what attracts an investor to a company.
“This image is from 2005, very early in our journey. We borrowed a corner at the Storyside stand to showcase our product, then called Bokilur. You can see me and Jonas Tellander, co-founder and CEO of Storytel. We later bought Storyside in 2013.”
Storytel was founded in 2005 by Jonas Tellander and Jon Hauksson, but the company was called Bokilur back then. Jon explained that they had plans to work together with Audible as a partner in the Nordic countries, but the deal was cancelled at the last minute. “We were sad about it for a while, like four hours, and then decided to start our own company”, Jon said with a laugh. “Jonas was working from Switzerland and me from a basement in Staffanstorp and I was getting bored so I went to Ideon Innovation to join the incubator and get an office”, Jon explained how the company ended up at Ideon. “We have our head office in Stockholm today, but some development is still done here in Lund”, he commented.
How did Anders and Jon meet?
“Jonas Sjögren believed in us and invested in our company for many years, but finally he asked us to find other investors and that is how we met Anders,” Jon explained.
“I met Jonas Tellander and Jon at a meeting with Connect Syd. They were on time, which is a very good start,” Anders said. He went on to explain that even though he didn’t know much about streaming services, he was familiar with the publishing industry and he saw that digitalization was coming. This, combined with the opportunity to invest together with two other angel investors from Connect, made him decide to invest in Storytel. Another important aspect for Anders was that he believed in Jonas and Jon and that they were well prepared and had a balanced forecast.
What is a good investor like?
Today, Jon does not have an active role in Storytel, he has instead moved forward as an angel investor himself. Anders still has interests in Storytel and comments that he enjoys the service very much and listens to quite a few audiobooks, especially thrillers. Does Jon have any advice on what to focus on when looking for investors?
If you are looking for an investor, make sure that they believe in you, was the message. “You don’t want investors who only see you as a money maker, you want people who believe in your company and idea,” Jon said.
What do the investors look for?
“I am interested in a long-term relationship when I invest, but I also look at the management and the forecast of the company” Anders explained.
He also said that if you can, you should invest in 8-10 companies to spread the risks, otherwise venture capital funds might be a better option. He too, focused very much on the person behind the company before he made a decision to invest.
“If I like the idea, then I start to look at the person or the team in the company. They have to have endurance, that is the most important factor for me”, Jon said.
Do you want Jon as a mentor?
If you want more business advice from Jon, apply to the Ideon Mentorship Program! He and four other Sharp Minds will meet with five lucky entrepreneurs in 1-1 sessions and the program is open for applications for all Ideon companies with the mindset to grow. Apply here!
Want to know more about Jon? Then read our article, Meet our Mentors – Jon Hauksson.
Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the upcoming Sharp Minds Sessions:
- September 11 with Staffan Gestrelius, co-founder of Qlik, and Charlotta Falvin, renowned CEO and Board member.
- November 20 with Pierre Elzouki, co-founder of Scalado and Martin Gren, co-founder of Axis.