With the Ideon Mentorship Program we want to connect the experienced leaders in the park with entrepreneurs who want to learn how to grow their business. The mentors, the experienced leaders, have serious scale-up skills to teach and important connections to offer to the right mentee. By helping each other they can both grow and who knows – it could be the start of something fantastic! Here’s your chance to get to know one of our fantastic mentors, Charlotta Falvin!
I’ve worked with so many great entrepreneurs and seen fantastic companies grow. Being a mentor at Ideon gives me the opportunity to meet and inspire a new bunch of great people.
Charlotta Falvin has a Master’s degree in Business administration and economics from Lund University. After she graduated she has had many positions as consultant and manager at various companies, one of them being Axis Communications. She has been the CEO of Zi Corporation, Decuma AB and TAT AB, a company that started at Ideon.
She has been part of the Board of Directors of more than ten companies, like MultiQ International, Axis Communications and INVISIO Communications and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of seven companies like Barista Fair Trade Coffee, Ideon Open and Teknopol AB. Currently she is Board Member of companies like Net Insigt, CLX Communications and Bure Equity.
The food start-up Renjer Snacks just signed a contract with a private investor from Germany. The company received all the necessary funds to scale up the production of their wild jerky snacks from reindeer, elk and deer in return for 5% of their company shares. With these funds they can cope with the demand occurring from two new partnerships signed with distributors in Finland and Norway, the CFO Tim Schulz says.
The team of Renjer Alex Kirchmaier, Tim Schulz and Anton Vänskä, three former students of Lund University, have worked on this project for almost two years. After their first product, reindeer jerky in a box, which almost turned out to be a shelf warmer, the team did everything but give up. From the beginning, they had built their start-up on a lean cost structure that could sustain these tough times. Even though their first product sold slowly, they knew that customers liked their product, so they listened thoroughly to all the issues they experienced and improved the product precisely according to the feedback they got. As a result they launched three improved products. The plan worked out and the demand skyrocketed. Since January Renjer sold more than 30.000 units of their snack delicacies and the turnover peaked at 250.000 SEK this month.
The CEO Alex Kirchmaier is sure that their whole journey has been important for their success.
“We were convinced to be on the right track. Our first product was developed with the help of over 100 external product testers and we worked hard to fulfil the image of a premium snack, both taste and design wise. However, caught in our entrepreneurial dream we developed a product which had a packaging neither convenient nor feasible due to the high production cost. We learned from that and embrace the failure as part of the process. We have done our homework and this investment will help us now to get our business on another level.”, Alex says.
Renjer’s products are available at www.renjer.ky/shop as well as in over hundred partner stores in the Nordic countries.
“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!
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.