Rants

How much does my company need to raise?

In my experience, less than you think. Startups tend to look in all the wrong directions to establish how much capital they need to take in, instead of actually looking at what they need in order to accomplish a clearly defined mission, which is what really matters.

In this post, I want to touch upon some of the main fallacies I experience when talking to startups and give you a simple process to establish what you actually need and what would be best to have and how to get closer to the latter.

What you think you need to think about

  • How much have my competitors raised?
  • How much is an average xyz-round?
  • How much could we imagine spending in the next 18 months?

This is all completely irrelevant to efficiently reaching the goals you’ve set to make your business successful. Even worse, I quite often experience founders saying things along the lines of:
Let’s set our goal a bit higher than what we actually need, that way, if we don’t raise the full amount, we’ll still be okay.
This is an understandable logic, but completely misguided nonetheless. If you come to an intelligent investor with bloated budgets, she will see straight through it, interpreting it as either–in the best case–incompetence, and–in the worst–as you trying to scam out money of your investors.

What you actually need to think about

Instead, here’s the steps to go through to determine how much you need to raise:

  1. Make a very, very thought-through and thorough plan for your company defining which goals you need to achieve.
  2. Make a realistic budget for how much resources and time you will need as a minimum to attain those goals.
  3. Make a realistic budget of what you could do with extra resources in the same amount of time as in the budget above.
  4. Show this to everyone who can challenge it.

(more…)

Crossing the Chasm: A Marketer’s Perspective on Blockchain

This post was originally published as part of the e-book Blockchains in the Mainstream.You can find the full e-book for free here, or read my contribution below.

I was asked to write a piece about how I, as a marketing professional, believe we can help blockchain technology to “cross the chasm” and become more widely adopted in society.


It’s All About Showing Value

I always ask people who say they don’t “get” what a blockchain is, whether or not they really “get” the internet. I first heard this question being asked to an audience at a WIRED MONEY talk in Berlin by the CEO and Founder of Funderbeam, Kaidi Ruusalepp.

Typically, the majority of people who understand the internet, also understand the concept of a blockchain, and vice versa — which means, if you don’t understand one, you probably don’t understand the other.

(more…)

Failing a startup: The soft thing about hard things

There’s one night that stands out as the hardest night in all my time as an entrepreneur–without comparison (Not even the night I put my fist through a glass door can compete). It’s quite naturally the night we realise that we probably won’t make it, under the worst imaginable circumstances.

First, a little backstory

The higher you fly, the deeper you fall. Our hubris had been roughly three months earlier, when we went on the Danish version of Shark Tank/Dragons Den, pitching our company and asking for DKK 300k (≈$46k). We had done our homework, and delivered a pitch that was, in my humble opinion, fucking awesome. We sold our vision, and we had the answers. Several of the high profile investors were interested, and we ended up walking out of there with a interest of a million Kroner (≈$150k. — More than three times of what we asked for.

This was the most amazing day. As anyone who’s walked away from a really, really great investor meeting will know, you feel like you’re flying. On top of this, we were going to get some serious PR from this, as the show was extremely popular.

Of course, when you get a commitment while recording a TV-show, that’s only a commitment to start a due diligence, and we were in for a rough one. As first time founders, dealing with some of the world’s best investors isn’t easy. They were fair, honest, and to the point, but there were clear problems in our startup that made them weary of putting down the full investment. On a call with the investors, one of them said it very, beautifully:

Your team is awesome, your product sucks

It was true. And we had to fix it. We had already tried to bring in more manpower, but being non-technical, we struggled to find the right guys for the job.
In the end, we set a goal with our investors: By the time the show aired, we needed to have our product improved on range of areas, otherwise they would pull their investment.

We didn’t. (more…)

Træf et valg: Studerende eller iværksætter?

Kan man være studerende og iværksætter på samme tid? Jeg håber, svaret er ja! I hvert fald forsøger jeg netop nu, at starte en virksomhed samtidig med, at jeg er i gang med at tage min kandidat på ITU.

Det mener min rektor, Mads Tofte, også, hvis man skal tro hans udtalelse til Politiken d. 28. oktober:

Jeg ved ikke, hvor meget universitetet kan tage æren for det her, for det er jo de studerende, der skaber resultaterne. Men vi gør meget ud af at fortælle de studerende fra første dag, at hensigten med universitetet er at give folk mod på at skabe noget. Og så er vi nok ret rummelige over for det lidt skæve. Iværksættere er ikke altid konforme — de går deres egne veje. Det tror jeg, vi giver dem plads til.

Jeg har dog haft en lidt anden oplevelse med Rektor, som jeg føler, jeg vil dele her, eftersom han ikke har svaret på min kritik af hans håndtering af situationen, og da den står i skærende kontrast til ovenstående udtalelse.

Jeg har startet en virksomhed, der hedder Bringrs, og læser samtidig Digital Innovation and Management på ITU. Det er hårdt, sjovt, stressende, tilfredsstillende og alt i alt pisse spændende. Både at være studerende på ITU, og at starte en virksomhed.

Det går unægteligt ud over studieaktiviteten, når man pludselig bruger mere end, hvad der svarer til et fuldtidsarbejde på et sideløbende projekt. Ingen tvivl om det. Men jeg håber og tror på, at om end det nedsætter studieaktiviteten så bidrager det omvendt til, at man som studerende kan omsætte sin teori til praksis, skabe interessante projekter og ikke mindst skabe værdi for samfundet. Jeg tror på, at der er et samspil mellem at starte en ny, innovativ digital forretningsmodel, og studere digital innovation og ledelse på et IT universitet.

(more…)