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Im Changing Direction – Again
Tradeshift and Everbread are now running on their own – I don’t have to be there every day. And I see 10 amazing start ups every month – I can’t stop myself anymore – I need to kick a lot of these guys in their bud – and help them to become global and successful. (PLEASE RT THIS TO DESIGN COMMUNITIES).
I’m loosing it – in Design Talent
I’m getting old – and I have lost my touch with the design community and the hackers – who are doing consulting – but really want to do their own Agency or even better a Startup.
Keep Your Real Job (Clients)
If you are one of these Dudes/Duderinas – who are not spoiled by money yet – and who don’t need anything but a MAC in your life. ( = You don’t have very low cost of living). If you also understand that: This requires lots of late night work – since you have to be payed from your real job.
(If you are an existing agency – who wants on this movement – then you just invest X% of your pitching budget – easy peasy).
If You Can Do This Better
If you carry the belief that you can design there even better – make them look even cooler than they are ( I love these sites)
Tradeshift.com / ZenDesk.com / Pinterest.com / JetSetter.com / New Vimeo.com
You must be a complete design junkie – or have one on your team. And you MUST BE admire Mint.com and GoodData.com – like you admire your best parrents.
Then Pls Email Me and Get On My New Projects List
And I will send a mail back with the rules. Since I have spend the time – which – to do a pretty specific outline of the rules (and thats hard for me). Email: DesignIsEverything@lund.tv
PS. Tree huggers and people who love this model – pls dont email me. I want to make money – its the only way to attract the best people. (Charity is something we do later).
PPS. I’m also looking for a platform to run all this talent on… (Facebook Developer ?).
PPPS. And yes – am scared of overdoing it again – like when I went bankrupt – shit scared. But I cant help it.
This is a long message to officially apologize to my friend Eran Davidson at HPV – with a lot of background. I had a bad day – I forgot the power of my word – and I was angry (self generated rage is a huge driver for me).
A TUESDAY in Berlin, sept:
I had a good meeting with Rouvan and Eran Davidson (from Hasso Plattner Ventures) – about a new project Im doing – and since Im so much in love with it. I GOT FURIOUS (mostly at myself) WHEN THEY DID NOT WANT TO INVEST INSTANTLY. Most entrepreneurs who have been pitching projects to VCs turn the rage against investors – to keep motivated and survive the insane pressure – instead of giving up. I did so very much (same as many years ago when I was visiting 7-8 of the 40 investors who we pitched Skype – and ALL SAID NO!). I so much wanted Rouvan to invest (I wanted him and his brilliant brain on my side) – I wanted them just to take the deal – so that the new company would get going – and I should not do the normal 15-20 pitches to VCs/Fund/Investors I normally have to do to make a deal* happen. And the reason I went to Rouvan and Eran – was simple: They are some of the best in Europe – at what they do – AND they are some of the (only) guys who will survive financially. Most funds are just dying because they cant raise their next fund. Note: With Hasso Plattner as investor – they stand incredibly good, despite the global financial crisis.
*DEAL= raising money to a company I like -and where I believe in PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PRODUCT, TECHNOLOGY and TIMING.
Close your eyes for a second – and think about where you are in life. If you are just a bit like me – you have achieved a lot (maybe even gotten kids) and you are proud like hell (despite whatever fuckups and failures you have made….). But you will still think of yourself as a nobody – without any real idea of whats going on. I simply dont have that ability to take myself too serious. I doubt all the time – and Im driven by my doubt, curiosity and ambitions – plus my highly agressive inner voice that JUST WANTs TO WIN.
I never (or very very seldomly) think about the fact that – shit loads of people (You – my Highly Valued Reader) reads my blog – and that I speak in front of 50.000 people a year. It would make my nuts to think about it – and block my ability to dare to say, write nor preach anything. CONCLUSION: My inner self dont think I have any power – and Im sure that everyone knows that all I is: Hearth-driven – ideologic and with the purpose of creating change and happiness. PROBLEM ONE: I dont enjoy being any kind of negative!
I fight 100% for the things Im assigned to. I dont give up – (many people think that I just fly around – do my speaches – and the have nice dinners) – but I do sales meetings 3-6 times a day. On Phone, Skype, Location, Office – and during dinners and lunchs’s. Im pretty visionary – but nothing special – I mostly get / or go with medium ideas. In reality: Im a sales guy – and its my only asset. I love to sell ideas – and thereby create companies and movements. PROBLEM TWO: I dont enjoy when sales is difficult – and get agressive.
WHAT DO I ACTUALLY DO
I sell EVERBREAD, Tradeshift and 1-2 Deals* pr quater (just to stay in “deal” shape) – to partners, OTA’s, Airlines… – but most of my time (like many earlystage CEO’s) Im selling our companies and the visions to investors. And it takes 95% of my awake time – handling the relations – making information packages and nursing the VC’s who have interest – and handling the existing investors (BIG JOB). Because Im very positive and because I had a great childhood: I always communicate happily about where I am and what I think and what I do – but sometimes the world is not acting like I want – and underneath I get a bit grumphy (some would say older).
3 DAYs LATER in Berlin:
I was at the CEO Dinner – held by Hasso Plattner Ventrues and Team Europe – very nice dinner – very cool format: CEO gets to meet and promote themselfes to VCs – VCs gets access to talent and the people in power to buy the VC’s companies. SPOT ON, alligned interest. During dinner – I make a couple of jokes about Kite Venture (who is backing 2 of 3 deals I have done lately) and say that its a lottery fund – and that they are shit lucky (my way of saying smart, still self-ironic and humble) to have Russian passports and thereby have access to DST kind of BIG DO$… We have fun. Edward from Kite and Lukash Gadowsky are very smart – and very self-ironic people. They spend – like most very succesfull people – most time makes jokes about themselves and their failures and problems. We have fun. After dinner (and 3-4 cigarettes) – we end up at the table and Yaron Valler from Hasso Platner Ventures shows up. I make the same jokes – and say that HPV is shit lucky to have Hasso – and I make a joke about Eran and Rouvan. AND THEN Mr Yaron Valler (who dont know me and did not sit a the tabler earlier) – suddenly freaks out and starts a verbal fight (something I not really do – and Im very very bad at – since I never had siblings (whom seems to teach eatchother every chapter in that handbook)). I recall my rage from not getting a deal with Eran and Rouvan (and just to tease the dude – I say that I would hire Rouvan any day – and I reacall a earlier phonecall with Mr Yaron Valler (says something nasty about how I could have done the deal in 5 min) – and things get out of hand…
PROBLEM ONE and TWO gets FULL ON OXYGEN – makes me conclude – that either I punch the dude in his face – or (as I choose) I tell him to leave the table.
I totally forgot about it. We had a mutual bad day – and fuck it. But my very very good personal friend Eran Davidson – yesterday told me his version of the story. TO MY BIG SURPRISE – He was sad and felt that I had been saying bad things about him and the fund.
Dear Eran (HPV & Mr Valler)
Im am 100% sorry if this has ever been the case – or if you feel that I have been trying to harm you. My only intention was grill Mr Valler – test his ability to be self-ironic and not take himself too serious. BUT I FAILED – I MIXED IT WITH MY SELF AGGRESSION – I MADE A MISTAKE – STEPPED OVER THE LINE – and Im very very sorry for the inconvenience this might have caused.
PS: I will still hire Rouvan for my next fund :) – and Eran will be invited on the Board of my Holding one day (If Lisa won’t do it :).
PPS. this will not be my last “Im sorry” post.
The Danes are the luckiest people in the world. But even in paradise the world occasionally changes faster then the Eden Gardeners Inc can restructure the flower fields. Im sorry to put this out in Danish – but its national matter :)
Venture Capital i Velfærdsland
– ja det er jo åbenbart en selvmodsigelse. For vi har ikke ret mange mennesker i dette land som virkelig har prøvet og mærket hvad Venture Kapital er.
Jeg er meget inspireret/uinspireret af Børsens skriverier om Statens Vækstpakke og David Trads artikel idag i Berlingske (om USAs foundere der geninvesterer).
Lad mig starte med at understrege at det er godt at man giver iværksættere og virksomheder en hjælpende på alle tænkelige måder. Men vi bliver nok nødsaget til at skæve til Darwin – for ikke at begå den tåbelige fejl at give de dårlige frø for meget kunstgødning.
Iværksætteri er ikke noget man kan lave i små klubber – det kan ikke emuleres i danskernes favorit loger = foreningslivet. Der er nemlig ikke noget hygge over at bygge virksomheder – det er behård Darwinisme – KUN de allerstærkeste overlever – og vi ved det jo godt. Og det er umuligt at lave store gamechanging virksomheder – på en politisk korrekt måde. Og det bliver ikke lettere af det faktum at 8 ud af 10 fejler – og pga velfærdsamfundets absolutte tag i mig – er det jo ligefør jeg mener at man skal passe på med at promovere iværksætteri.
MEN MEN – nu har Danmark en god mulighed for at benytte den tryghed der ligger i at have det rødbedefarvede pas – til at tænke frit og krøllet. Og det kan give nogle rigtig gode ideer. Men nu er ideer jo NUL værd – selvom vi næsten bilder og selv ind at Danskere bare tænker så stort at vi kan leve af ideer. Men lad mig understrege – til meget få erhvervslederes overaskelse: Det er det benhårde arbejde på den lange bane der gør forskellen – det er Ledelse, Salg, Salg, Produktion og så vil jeg påstå +75% kapital. Eller adgangen til kapital – i alle de forskellige stadier – her er en meget simplificeret lille model:
A tidligt start – B pre ide – C post ide – D protype – E stifterne siger op – F de første salg skal etableres
G finansiering af alle de store ordrer (fra de er i ordrebogen til de er leveret – og ikke mindst indtil kunden vælger at betale)
Alle disse kræver Kapital (det sker aldrig uden penge!!) – og men det kræver KLOGE PENGE. Hr Møller (Maersk) – er personligt nok ikke særlig stærk i A, B, C – men med hans kapital og alle de mennesker der findes i Mærsk – kan han hjælpe betydeligt senere i processen. Jeg mener at vi har nogle få menesker og de skulle tvinges :) (ligesom brandmænd der altid kan tvangsindkaldes – fordi de har nogle livsvigtige evner).
Her tænker jeg på folk som Frank Rasmussen i den tidlige ende A,B,C og Ib Kunøe til den senere del C, E,F,G. Her er folk som har skidt på fingerene – som ikke bare har arvet deres fars pumpefabrik. De har gjort det igen og igen – og istedet for at hælde milliarder i vækstpakker – kunne man give dem 1års skattefrihed og en tur op til dronningen. (Nu kender jeg ikke Frank så godt – men Ib ville gnække godt og grundigt i skægget og løbe dobbelt så stærkt – hvis Magrete skoddede smøgen i 5min og smed lidt sildesalat pa hans kravet). Selvklart for Danmark – og endnu mere for at vise sine skolekammerater fra Åbenrå at han faneme ka sit pis (OG DET KAN HAN).
Lad os nu stoppe med at skabe bureaukratiske VÆKSTFONDE – som er ledet af folk der har behov for et job. Jeg har følelsen på egen krop. Jeg ka ikke investere penge (fordi jeg kun lige er fri af min bankeråt) – men jeg har investeret min sjæl og min vågentid i 2 startups i de sidste 24 måneder. VÆKSTPenge skal placeres af folk der har personlig erfaring med at bygge virksomheder og financielt overskud til at tænke sig om. Og ikke folk der sidder med et Google Regneark og trykker på F5 for at se deres MANAGEMENT FEE (ledelsesgodtgørelse fra en fond) blive opdateret hver morgen. Og jeg bliver aldeles rasende – når mine fantastiske danske entreprenørvenner gang på gang ringer og siger: “Ja – vi kan sagtens få møder i London, San Fransisco og Singapore – men de danske fonde har ikke tid”. Tommy fra Podio klager aldrig – men han bliver ikke bestormet af DVCA(foreningen af Danske Venture kapitalister) medlemmer – men det blir han af internationale fonde. Heini fra Vivino har termsheets fra udlandet – men ka næsten ikke få møde i med DVCA. Og jeg kunne blive ved. Nu kan nogle fonde jo undsiges ved det faktum at de ikke har en krone i kassen. Jeg ved at Henrik Albertsen (en af Danmarks eneste rigtig succesfulde Venture Kapitalister) og Klaus i Nordic Venture Partners ikke har en bøjet femøre (fonden er tom) – ellers havde de selvklart ryddet bordet og nappet Podio, Vivino (ja – Tradeshift, Everbread, CPHSE – også selvom de ikke nåede toget på Skype – det var ellers damn close). Men det er desvære undtagelsen der bekræfter reglen. Der er sgu lim på stolene i DVCA – og alt for mange ser ud til at have allergi overfor FLYSÆDER. (Også når det gælder hvem der investerer i disse fonde – det er altid Danske/Nordiske pensionsmidler – ikke Harvards/Stanford Endowment Fund eller Guggenheim Partners, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Google…).
OG så kaster jeg op når jeg læser DVCA i Børsen:
En person fra DVCA – har givet den gas – og ytret at det er problematisk at KUN vœkstfonden og andre offentlige har fået statens vækstpenge. Og et interview er blevet givet..
- Direktør og formand for Vækstforum Bornholm Lars Nørby Johansen (formand)
- Direktør Anya Eskildsen, Niels Brock (personligt udpeget)
- Tidligere koncernchef hos Danisco, Tom Knutzen (personligt udpeget)
- Adm. direktør Merete Søby, Hitachi Data Systems (personligt udpeget)
- Adm. direktør Johnny Hansen, Better Place Danmark (personligt udpeget)
- Formand for vækstforum Ulla Astman Nielsen, Region Nordjylland
- Formand for vækstforum Bent Hansen, Region Midtjylland
- Formand for vækstforum Carl Holst, Region Syddanmark
- Formand for vækstforum Steen Bach Nielsen, Region Sjælland
- Formand for vækstforum Vibeke Storm Rasmussen, Region Hovedstaden
- Borgmester Kirsten Terkilsen, Hedensted Kommune
- Borgmester Erik Nielsen, Rødovre Kommune
- Forbundsformand for Dansk Metal Thorkild E. Jensen, CO-Industri
- Næstformand Lizette Risgaard, LO
- Direktør Poul Scheuer, Dansk Industri
- Direktør Christian T. Ingemann, Dansk Erhverv
- Adm. direktør Ane Buch, Håndværksrådet
- Direktør Claus Søgaard-Richter, Landbrug og Fødevarer
- Adm. direktør Lars Storr-Hansen, Dansk Byggeri
- Direktør Jørgen A. Horwitz, Finansrådet
BREAKOUTMen det er jo ogsaa lettere når man som i Singapore – siger tingene som de er. “Morten, we are very clear about not copying the Danish model – we think that its about atracting talent to our country – not about subsidicing those who cant”…Og jeg er jo alt for blød tåle at overhøre deres rabiate (men uheldigvis meget realistiske) ideer om at hjemløse familier selvklart får en bolig – MEN DET ER EN 1 VÆRELSES LEJLIGHED – som skal deles med en anden familie. For som de siger – “then there is a very clear incentive for everyone to get out and find your own place to live”. Wholly Moses der er hård kost høre om virkeligheden.END BREAKOUT
When You Really Have To Pee
I feel exactly like when I have to pee while parking my car – its easy to manage. But then when I open the frontdoor to the house – and the toilet is so close – then it’s really hard to manage… :)
I’m getting so close to really ending my bankruptcy.
I run EVERBREAD – AND we are making a kill/homerun (and its ABSURDLY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE THAT MANY PEOPLE and EGOs) – AND I advise (Chair) Tradeshift and they are always a bit ahead of EVERBREAD or just a bit behind (in new clients, technology, strategy and sky rocketing valuations). I get paid insanely well – AND when I speak I charge a fortune (AND I meet incredible interesting people + go first class around the world). AND I am still helping people to raise lots of money and I get paid really well – like really. This is the only reason why I can pay a lot of cash (all+) every month to the creditors – but its over in 5 months (I made 18 month payment plans on most of the dept).
I’m almost 100% out of $ obligations – but the closer I get – the harder it feels to manage …
I’m getting close and thereby more nervous and that makes me wonder:
Why is it no one talks about MANAGING and BEING NERVOUS – in business . And why doesn’t anyone talk about BEING NERVOUS within all these startups and especially RE-STARTUP – conferences and books…I think its weird.
I am more than happy. The only problem is – that it’s much less worrying to be bankrupt – than being almost all at the goal – and SO CLOSE TO NEW VICTORIES… Its feels much more difficult being so close to the bathroom… I have started to get a bit more nervous somehow. The companies where I’m involved are all going trough the roof – simply amasing or amassing (yes someone (called Edward) told me how to spell it). I don’t really have something to loose – but I’m so shit ass afraid of failing again. So much – that I have 10.000x more attention on everything. Nothing can fall between chairs now – I need to really make it – I don’t want everyone to look at me as the dude – who didn’t make it out of bankruptcy for real… Weird – but not really.. the only problem ever – for me – was the fact that I spent 6-7 years as too wealthy and without any real feeling of URGENCY. I really like it (but NOT AS A PERMANENT STATE OF MIND) – but for now it tickles in that upper part of my (not small) belly. And maybe this is why I’m about to succeed again – the sizzleling nervousness sharpens the sense of urgency.
My Rules For Playing High Stakes Business Poker
1) It really pays of to play by the rules – with extreme ethics.
DONT JUST COPY
2) Be original and be careful with copying – it so dangerous – you might end up copying a failure.
3) The best thing is when you can blame yourself – then you also know where to start if it fucks up.
That is it folks. I love you comments – so shoot shoot.
UPDATE: If you want to have the background behind this post – we are back in 2008 – read here (250.000 people has been visiting this post).
I get the question all the time:
“What kind of investor should we take..“
Well its really hard to say – I will go as low a making a small list of things that it depends on:
THE “How hungry are you for cash” TEST
1) Its too yearly – we dont need $
a) It would be fun to try – but we havent got a clue
b) We are confident and have an uncle who can help with the language
c) We have done it before and know some VCs
d) We are just teasing until someone talks to us
e) We are silly bad at selling but the product is HOT LAVA
2) We have quit our Jobs (if you ever had one)
a) and forgot to raise (product ate the attention)
b) we heard it was so easy / but shiaat…
c) running this so much more exspensive the we thought
d) we are selling a bit and have interest
e) my partner Joe can pay the kids school
3) We are burning CASH IKE HELL and the end is near/here
a) The investor are smoking us out
b) the big client is delayed
c) my Grandmothers money is gone
a) My Car is gone
b) My house is gone
c) Im thinking about robbing a bank
d) We have already fired 50% and rent is an issue
e) Things r A OK – but we think 9 mothers can deliver a baby in 1month
f) The VCs are at the door – so why not
e) The big Ass VCs have started their Electric Jets
f) We are GOOD – and it “Fuck You Money” time…
When you have gone trough these questions 5 times – and added 10 new points (please put them in comments underneath). Then you will have a fine clue – weather its the local drug dealer or the big boys from Accel/Kleiner/DJF’s of the world – you should talk to. There is not that much difference :) (did I just use a smiley).
Advice on investors
No matter the size of the deal – its all about chemestry. Find someone you really respect HIGHLY (dont need to be a new best friend – that will only happen if you make an exit and become richer then him). But think about the fact that you will 99% (for sure) go trough REALLY UGLY SHIT TOGETHER – burning his money and your name/brain/vision/youth or marriage…
On the other hand – if you cant get the one you love – then love the one you can get. And get moving – speed matters and fundraising takes all your time (away from PRODUCT – SALES SALES SALES & MARKETING). Off course you should not give your company shares away – but dont shop too long. Get a good lawyer – or take a VC that dont want TOO MUCH BAD PUBLICITY if they fuck you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: VCs are my friends (I will be one again – one day) and I love the Venture Capital model – its where I work every day!!! I really thank the american foudners of venture capital – otherwise we would not have has this very sophisticated investment climate and ecosystem).
But some VCs and specially old school private Angels – they steal companies.
All in all I think you can do the math on mytest on top – and see there are endless stages – and therefor there are endless number of investor types. But somewhat Most important is:
1) Does HE have the MONEY and POWER to invest
(quite some funds cant fundraise them self now – and some (specially associates/juniors) at the VC funds pretends to be Warren Buffet – with the attitude of Godfather. And those guy cant even buy you an Ice cream without asking upstairs.)
2) Does He/She look like an idiot
(then he probably is)
3) Does He/She Understand Your Idea
(some dont – but if they are nice..)
4) Can He/She SELL
(most cant – they are money nerds who lured the trick of starting a fund – while everyone else in the class tried to build a business. And VCs are important when/if you want to SELL the Company – but also when you have to raise ore cash. Sales skills are required. You dont want an investor who are not friendly with the bigger fish in the foodchain. And He/She even has to be able to sell this to his partners)
5) Is He/She Trustworthy
Dont be afraid to ask for references and call most of the people they say they know – be extremely hard on EVERYTHING that He/She promises in the beginning (just like girl/boyfriends) – here you need it on paper. And dont be shy to demand A LOT – specially from the non MONEY PART. They wil try to get in as cheap as possible (well thats the game) – but you have to put all the promises you get while they are talking down the price – into the contract.
CONCLUSION: There is no rule – its all one big illusion game. And my only real advice is to inform everyone about your weeknesses and be clear about the fact that this is HIGH RISK. The only thing you can give away is your word – so be carefull and act with all the possible honesty you can.
If you fail (and sometimes you do – its a huge part of the game) – very soon after you will be back at the knocking the same doors.
NOTE2: I think “The Social Network” Facebook movie – gives the wrong impression of how companies are build – ists a movie it is NOT REAL and IT HAPPENS PRETTY SELDOM that things fuck up so hard. So dont be scared.
Gosh – that became a long one.. And sorry not to publish more often – its just crazy busy here … See you soon.
Bla bla bla bla..
Well in reality Im happier then ever.
I have tried a LOT – but nothing like this travelshow EVERBREAD had 4 people participating in, in Singapore. With the creame de la creme of the Travel Industry at WIT Singapore (http://www.webintravel.com/). The lady behind this show Yeoh Siew Hoon – is the REAL ENTREPRENUER – someone who does stuff that is really challenging and risky. EVENTS like these are game changing for any disruptive B2B company.
Rmember: Only B2B
When good becomes great.
The EVERBREAD team was so amasing – working together in this homogenous and tense way that even real good startups seldomly experience. WHen good becomes great. But off course it feels good when all the major players and the smartest guys in the industry wants to talk you AND WE SIGNED 10+ contracts at a conference. But it felt like spring – after very long 16months of winter (development and client tests) and trying to tell the market that EVERBREAD IS FOR REAL. SHOUTING: “Yes – we are able to do search better then anyone else in travel.”
Being Back In Asia
I got some amassing insiders to how Asia works – I love to hang out with the people who really make business happen in an exploding city/region. And I must say that my relations with the Singaporean government and one of the largest companies got to a whole new level. Wish I could say more… :)
Getting on the MAP
Any startup needs small miracles – and we also have one of them in Singapore – when CNBC suddenly invited us on the SQUAK BOX – and after this little clip – I suddenly realised that some people actually still watch television (or maybe just investors :). And our phone has been ringing like mad ever since.
SOME WEIRD STUFF you might wanna know:
A) You can get frre land in the land of the free – link
B) The people at Tradeshift got a Parrot Drone you can controle with an iPad – delivered to the office – video
C) Here are my notes to a TRADESHIFT movie we are making.
You are wondering
about why Im angry – when I post like a very happy Saliery who just succeeded in stressing Mozart.
But one of my secrets is that when I do something – I really do it all the way. AND now that Im running a company – I really (NATURALLY) dive 100% into the spirit of being a CEO and the spirit of the Business – and hang out with only SUPER FOCUS CEO’s who are in MY EXCACT SITUATION. Its about 5-6 and all of us are having the same problem with VCs, Private Equity, Pension Funds – say Investors.
Everyone one in this CEOgroup says the same – after getting some tracktion they suddenly feel that ALL OF THE INVESTOR UNIVERSE WANTS THEM AND ARE (WULFF)HUNGRY FOR THE SAME COMPANY – but 99,5% of these institutions are all about saying: We really like this (sounds like WE ARE READY TO TRANSFER MONEY – for any CEO/Founder) – lets follow you guys closely. And by the way – we know this guy X – he is an industry expert (and can eat all you time as a CEO – because he has no job or is silly rich and bored – and shit ass clever very oftenly).
– so they reject you and say the magic words: “Can You Come … Later”*
*Its makes me even more angry that I was the same way 4-5 times in my time as investor – using time as a parameter to get the comany closer to the edge – here called: Bankruptcy. Only problem is that if I could just have acted like any big fund that I talk about about. Well – then I probobly could have had a VERY LARGE FUND – But not the people, the daily miracles and the fun I have with my amasing latest adoptions: EVERBREAD and Tradeshift** :)
** On Tradeshift thing are so crazy wild and I cant really comment on anything. One thing I want to say is that: I think we just fixed some lower level global problems . its a long story (maybe the film will take more then 50sec) – again I cant say more – just that its beautiful and you will love it. Specially the ones of you who are noble Real Three Huggers – who didn’t forget about the environment just because it becoming mainstream.
An email this morning from my friend Matias – made me feel stupid.
During 2009 – I have felt some self petty and I have been thinking that life was hard – but imagine if I was into real old school business – like farming (where we all came from – and yes my grandfather has a medium sized farm until early 1970’ies). But fuck me – and all the spoiled kids in the tech world. Its hard but NOT THIS HARD – as in farming where:
- Product cycles are 3-4 years
- Weather can kill all
- Its hard physical work
- Capital requirements are insane
- Lots of heritage
- Lots of environmental trouble
I feel humble that I can work in a sector where the screen always lets me work when and where I want to – mostly with whom I want to. And the fact that 99% of all offices are nice and warm. Well then there is the hardcore sales (the big secret of tech success) – where one have to aggressively show the vision and product (even very early stage) to endless amounts of clients and investors – but but but – the always offer you coffee and they are seldom rude.
Dear tech entrepreneur og colleagues out the – let be humble and proud and happy to be here in evolution.
Happpy Neew Year.
So the cocktail party ended at 5 in the morning – and was one hell of a mingling and “friendling” session. Thanx a billion to Tommy and the amasing people Fiskebaren for sponsoring a bankrupt friend. It was a bit more then wild to get a call from Richard that he wanted to have dinner and exspected a cocktail party for the http://www.carbonwarroom.com/ people. But – who in this world would say No? Ricard and Nick (his right hand mann) told about they whole group strategy nd made lots of jokes about themselfes – and I learned some very interesting insights about Virgin – impressive story – even better then the book. It had to be very closed and small – but what a party – I think the pictures tell.I was very impressed by the 45y old major of Vancouver – who was a fantastic guy and seemed like he meant it when he talked about going green. (Off course it was also nice to get an invite for the Olympics in feb).
A term sheet arrived in my inbox
Around 2pm a very good and pro VC pinged in with a term sheet – on VERY respectable terms for one of the companies Im advising. And the phone started buzz like it had a virus – what did they mean with A, B and C – and the smiles where combined with a sting of disapointment from the evaluation. But WOW – they already have 3 term sheets. And got one more big contract Tuesday – PLUS a writer from the worlds best tech magazine did an interview on the Tuesday.
The best board meeting in my life
Today was all crazy – Everbread had its first board meeting – and the UPPER IMPRESSIVE board:
Vagn Sørensen (x CEO at Austrian Airlines)
Montie Brewer (x CEO at Air Canada)
Mr X (x Amadues)
Michael Jackson (x Skype)
+ 8 staff
Showed up at 17.00 and after rehersing and preparign for 2 weeks – Assen and I (and Filip and Ashley) walked trough the presentations like two boy-scouts at the final “start a fire without matches” test. But it went really well – and everyone got psyked when Assen pulled of the working prototype and showed result that will redefine the industry.
WOW – shitasspetfuckers adrenalin kick. And the guys from the establishment (Montie has never been in a startup before) really smiled and talked about real innovation and disruption. I cant fall down (5.36am) – it was so nice to collect a bit of the fruits from 8-9 months of hard from the INCREDIBLE techteam in Sofia/Mallorca picture updated. How can I be so lucky to be surrounded big genuine brilliant smart – and nice human beings on this level??
I didnt even mention that Flydini.com our showoff appetiser got a new design and usability total makeover at 4pm – a 200% upgrade – play with it. If you travel a lot – be carefull – its highly addictive.
Twitter Flydini Q & A:
@ML how does that help me apart showing the flights? I could just use lh.com and book there as well
Answer: GOOD QUESTION! This is only a very mild teaser – and the only place where you can get results that mix LOWCOST and OLDSCHOOL Airlines. Play with it – and you will se lots of value.
PS. On LH.com you see only Lufthansa flights – but maybe you want to use Air Berlin to get to Frankfurt and then LH to Rio?
– – – – – – – –
Answer: This is just a teaser (but I use it all the time and it gets me combinations that I cant get anywhere else (you have to be a bit geeky to really get the value). We will not do a consumer solution with return, pricing and availabilty for now. We are B2B – and a still bit secretive. Sorry – I know it like eating candy with the paper on.
The best part
During the 5h board meeting the kids came over and wanted to sleep here – and behaved like angels – went to bed without trouble and where just soo cute. I will head up to them and get 1h sleep.
I love my life. LOVE IT. Copy Paste ;)
Here is one of the few interwieves I have ever given – where i felt I had something to say:
(it here in Danish) – thanx to Ari Gold Wegther from translating.
Morten, it was your engagement in the Nyhedsavisen venture that made you famous to the general public in Denmark. So let me start by asking which digital branches you have worked in?
Hmm… this is going to be a long article. After my agency days at Neo Ideo, where we worked with all sorts of digital clients since the birth of the Internet, I’ve invested in all directions. From Browsers, Guleroden.dk and VindENHund to Kazaa, Skype, Zyb and Bullguard to Online Backgammon, iJoule and Trivop. You could say that I’ve tasted everything on the menu.
Which role did you have in these projects?
Usually, I’ve been co-founder and involved in the development of the fundamental idea, sourced the management who could drive the project and secured financing. I haven’t been particularly hands-on operationally.
The theme of this edition of MARKET is Digital Strategies. How do you work digitally on a strategic level with different companies?
I’m not especially talented nor have I studied classic strategy at Harvard. For me, the key issue is to crystallize collective ideas to collective action points aimed at the biggest possible chance of success while following the business vision. So my core strength has been my ability to create strategic value, you could say, as measured by revenue and cash flow only.
What are the most common and serious strategic hurdles for companies that want to create an online business? I’m not sure I know what strategy actually means. In my view, it’s simply about aligning vision and execution, since everything in my universe is about sales – everything. I have a presentation entitled: ”Don’t overstrategize.” I really believe that is crucial. Many, especially large organizations, invite me to their strategy sessions. Usually, there are big white boards and heaps of candy on the table with an implicit demand that A STRATEGY MUST BE BANGED OUT AT ALL COST HERE AND NOW. That’s pretty hard to achieve in such a mad rush.
Are there strategies that you have experienced as particularly strong across different industries? Keeping it simple – that seems to apply frequently. I’ve noticed that a winning formula can be the combination of simplicity, an easily digestible message, uniqueness with a twist of rebellion mixed together with radical transparency. Especially because the Web is more ruthless and transparent than anything else we’ve seen historically.
Now when we dig in to specific industries, which strategies you applied have been really successful? I’m hitting a dead-end on this one. Sorry to disappoint you, but after having founded and funded more than eighty-eight companies, I don’t think that there is just one cookie-cutter solution or strategy that works for all.
Strategy is typically a flexible concept. In your opinion, how do you get the most from strategic work process? I’m thinking here of development and implementation respectively. You need to go back to basics and apply simplicity and honesty all the time. Employees and customers should be able to grasp your company strategy in two sentences, while they are interrupted by an SMS, email or tweet, for example, or before they drown in the pompous and patronizing propaganda that strategies often end up being. Personally, I had my most important strategy experiences, or lack of it, this year:
1) with Richard Branson, who asked me for advice when considering to enter Formula One racing. Of course he didn’t ask me because he thought I knew anything about that business in particular. Branson was just testing a gut-feeling that he had and soon afterwards acquired the Honda team based on common sense and maximum leverage of the Virgin brand. And most importantly, he made a swift and definitive call. No mucking around with twenty-five McKinsey guys running around doing SWOT analyses and plodding through a tediously slow, handicapped strategy process.
2) I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time with Puma’s CEO, who came to the job 16 years ago with revenues at €200 million euros back then. Today, after having been at the helm during all these years, he has lead the business to €3.5 billion in annual revenues. Puma’s strategy has been quite simple: bone-hard work and focus on shifting from sport to fashion. Easy to grasp for everyone around him.
3) In Germany, Bionade started from scratch and created a new category of organic soft drinks that did not exist before. Peter, their CEO, shared their remarkable company history with me over a couple of buckets of red wine. Bionade’s evolution was not a properly planned strategy at all. In fact, the plan was rooted in the acute realization that their family brewery would not survive the global beer battles and consolidations. So the new business direction was an alternative to being acquired or bankrupted by the beer industry’s major players. Twenty years of innovation and development were kick-started by this difficult yet fortuitous fact. Fortunately, the family matriarch, who owned the brewery, gave her sons a free hand to experiment with 100 per cent organic brewing of strange and deliciously flavored soft drinks.
So, basically, this was a crisis-driven process, rather than the result of careful strategic planning. Dr. Oetker announced in December that it is taking a majority stake in Bionade and will provide six-hundred sales people along with their beer distribution channel in support of the company. As a direct result, they are poised to break the 200 million units-per-year ceiling. Is that strategy or just pride and consistency?
”The public wants to be seduced: millions of Danes play lotto daily, even though statistically speaking it is completely idiotic.”
It’s ten years ago that the so-called Dot.com bubble burst. What’s your take on changes in the e-commerce landscape and on doing business online since those days?
Nothing much has changed, except that the Web has proven that it can generate real money now. For example, JustEat earns DKK 20–25 million selling pizza in Denmark alone this year. But it does fluctuate. We’ve had a global bubble in the meantime, which just burst and left a global mess, and we’re probably going through another bubble during these recent months. The public wants to be seduced: millions of Danes play lotto daily, even though statistically speaking it is completely idiotic. The winner appears on TV, but if you showed the scores of losers, it would take a year of non-stop broadcasting to parade all of them on the screen before finding a winner. TV will remain forever popular and Lotto will become illegal. It’s not hard to draw parallels for the Dot.com or stock markets. All Roskilde bank clients loved that bank, even though nobody know what the hell was going on inside. Now the situation is reversed, because people discovered that stock markets are a lot like Lotto. Any deviation from the interbank-rate can quickly result in massive financial losses, even to the point of losing your shirt entirely. Same for the Dot.com arena, where some very talented – and lucky – people made enormously successful companies that bled money yet appeared to be perfect strategic fits for established corporations. The hysteria was self-perpetuating: at some point, Framfab was worth more than Ericsson and AOL duped Time Warner into a merger – the cat was in the bag. On the other hand, some blue chips were clever enough to buy pre-revenue companies and turn them into fantastic businesses. That’s just how it is in times of upheaval. Dot.com is something people can understand now and there is clearly money to be made in this space. That was not the case back when investors blindly jumped on the gravy-train, lured by greedy aspirations, tons of hype and the adventure of the unknown. It’s true that a few exceptions confirm the rule. Like Google, for example, which didn’t have a revenue model for several years after it launched. Call it strategy or opportunism. Was it a mistake that Brin and Page embarked on a venture without really knowing how they would make money? They took enormous risks and tested boundaries to the very limits of their investors’ pain threshold. Now that is called Venture – the definition of real Risk Capital.
I’ve lived in the Venture Capital world since I pinched an edition of Denmark leading financial paper, Børsen, on my own newspaper route and hungrily consumed every article about Michael Mathiesen and a few other real pirates and risk-takers who created new companies and business models in the late-eighties and early-nineties. The rationale behind this is not the worth of each individual business (investment), but the sum total of ten high-risk investments yielding one or two big winners that profitably pay for those firms that are bound to fail. Although this might sounds totally crazy, especially when coming from a fringe-lunatic like me who just lost everything on one supersized investment and admittedly cannot make a proper return on a range of smaller ventures, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this concept. But it’s difficult at this junction in time to see the bigger picture. When even blue-chips like Maersk hit rock bottom, all those ridiculous cliches such as due diligence and prudence that that company has fostered sound pretty empty… is there anything left to believe in?
If we fast forward ten years, which successful business trends do you imagine the future holds? Software and technology double in performance capacity each year. I believe we’ll start seeing things that we can hardly imagine today. The core fabric will be a Twitteresque integration that allows us to measure everything and twitter in small nerdy groups about our main interests. Business models? Don’t ask me. Twitter and Spotify, both investment opportunities I missed when burning cash on my newspaper fiasco, are great examples. They don’t make a dime yet they’re growing massively in size and scope. These types of shops are changing the way we do stuff. Chris Andersen, the author of Free, was just in Denmark, and the cover title of his new book exactly illustrates what the Internet is really about.
What’s your experience with creating a business by giving something away for free?
Skype started as freeware and today generates USD750 million dollars. When something is new and disruptive it has the power to revolutionize consumer behavior, so its pretty smart to start by giving it away free. Consider it as a kind of sampler or teaser, if you will, that people gradually adopt in their daily lives until it becomes essential to them – at which point you need to be ready to deploy your payment model.
What should be free and what shouldn’t? No idea. But be very careful to avoid giving your stuff for free when you could have charged for it. Bits and bytes have the advantage of being cheap to duplicated and transport without any material degradation of quality.
Do you believe that it’s possible to earn money in the long term on something that ultimately can be digitalized?
Yes. But the innovation does not only come from the ability to digitalize things. We now have social software that makes good sense. Not just an ERP-system located in the cloud, but social online applications created beyond the cloud. Of course, that is monetizable, just look at online-dating.
A buzz word heard a lot in Internet business discussions is “affiliate”. How do you interpret this concept?
It’s genius. But just like black market money changers and side street brokers, among whom I’m sure there are some decent characters, affiliates are a mixed batch. You really need to define your performance metrics before you buy any traffic from affiliate vendors. Most of them cannot measure conversion rates or the performance impact you need to know. Also, marketing managers typically believe that they are artists and would rather stroke their Pantone color charts than a complex excel sheet. And they end up losing out. When everything is possible, it’s always the metrics masters who come out on top.
Can you imagine that the ability to create and optimize affiliate partners becomes a competition parameter in itself and therefore a future differentiation factor? Affiliate, SEO, AdWords, partnerships and content-driven attention are obviously the way forward. When you acquire a user, by which I mean a potential customer, for free through a search engine, you’ve achieved your goal and you think you’re fat and happy. But if you don’t know what you want from that user then she/he is just eats up your server capacity and it doesn’t matter that they were delivered right to your business’ doorstep. Measurement and performance metrics are the absolute key to online success. Creativity is cheap. Creativity is a commodity that can be bought anywhere.
It is fair to say that the proliferation of digital possibilities is about to drastically change all types of business. Which segments are most threatened, according to you, and what can they do against it?
Sure, I believe there are some traditional industries that are threatened by this development. That’s inevitable. So let’s use the glass is half full/half empty analogy here: Digitalization is both a massive opportunity and a huge challenge (read danger). However, in many industries, we’ve seen the incumbents and established players beat out the smaller companies. Case in point: TDC has swallowed ALL ISPs in Denmark over the years.
Finally, any advice on what to look out for in the near future? I’m laser focused on enterprise cloud software and search. You know, I don’t have time any more to tool around with a whole bunch of wacky consumer apps, like I did when I was loaded with bling. Besides, I don’t feel like a successful person who is in a position to recommend anything to anyone. It’s time to call my lawyers and hear how my personal bankruptcy proceedings are going!
First of all I’m really really sorry to say that my Newspaper project did not survive – not sorry for me (I take all responsibilities) – I just hate myself for bringing other people (employees and partners) and service providers into trouble – it feels unfair and coward-like… The recession and my stupid communications over summer (we delivered the yearly report 2 months too late) killed us. The simple explanation is that sales did not meet budgets and therefore since Thursday I have been talking to the people backing me and to myself (I have personally put DKK 105 million into this project – money that I have been borrowing – VERY BAD CHOICE) – and over that weekend I had to make a hard decision.
DKK 75 million was suddenly not enough – since the price to break- even suddenly doubled – and after working 9 months 24/7 (having learned more then the previous 10 years) with an increasingly dried up (dead) financial market – I simply could not see a way to continue…..
5 REASONS for my Sunday decision
1) Budgets tilted
– and all the cash I injected after summer was sucked up by the Tax Gyus – and August salary became a problem) – the August sales came in at only 60% of budget (we were canceled off media plans due to the negative press we received in July and our job market initiative lost traction) and pre-booked sales suggested that September sales would miss budget by a similar percentage or more (and this is despite that fact that we were still selling more advertising millimeters than any other newspaper in Denmark).
2) Overall Danish (Global) recession
– it’s coming with an ugly speed – and the first thing that retailers and big advertisers will cut = advertising. Today Media Market in Borsen even talks about no difference without Nyhedsavisen in the market.
3) I’m too inexperienced
– I’m too soft, too optimistic and romantic – I did not have enough pessimistic fantasy to imagine that budgets could break so fast – and that the recession is reality – it is all very strange. My management skills are beaten by any kindergarden manager (I respect them a lot by the way)..
– all papers in Denmark starts every morning by carrying money to work – and we have been working for the advertisers – and with pre-booked sales for September suggesting that we may actually sell less than in May, I suddenly started to doubt whether we could make money even in a JV with another player*. Prices never go up as fast as they go down – and competition will not stop with one competitor less.
5) My EGO
– suddenly I was afraid whether I was doing this to prove myself and because of the love of changing industries. I saw all my own cash being GONE – and personal bankruptcy as an option (I’m fighting it THESE DAYS since my funds dont give any cash – my investments have no value in a stressed sale – but dont feel sorry for me -> that’s how entrepreneurs work) – and suddenly I got a wakeup call.
Conclusion: Since I invest with passion and with a naive trust in management – I should only do smaller deals.
Even in a partnership with Metro or Berlingske – we would not be able to make money within 12 months!
*When Svenn Dam told me that on our trip to Stockholm after visiting Metro – I started sweating in that cold way – you know what I mean?
We asked Metro for a sales price for the Danish operation and as an alternative suggested a JV – but they obviously have way to much self confidence with Kinnevik (a VERY STRONG holding) backing them. And despite their trouble in the stock market – I felt that they would not give up – and join our wild operation. But I really had the hope – and our talks with their chairman were very open.
Berlingske (Mecom’s Danish operation)
I have had 15-20 conversations (calls and breakfast) with David Montgomery since June – Berlingske wanted to help us to close down (but I never wanted to do so – I have really believed in this with my heart). This Irishman with 35 years in the industry has been playing me like a piano – always suggesting collaboration – potentially buying – but always just cool and impossible to get a firm agreement with. Even when we 3 weeks ago sent an offer to take over Berlingske (see my previous post on how much under pressure they are) – David has been cool and just saying: “Morten – there are no magic bullets – I’ve been in many newspaper wars and it takes a long time and costs a lot of money – but it never really changes anything…”. On behalf of Baugur and Me – I proposed a deal where we would have closed down Nyhedsavisen solvently and then I should work for Mecom out of London- as a consultant (and this is subject to a lot of speculation – since some people think that I was not allowed to negotiate about this). The fact is that Mecom probably didn’t have the interest (nor the money) – and I could not find money to shut down solvently. It actually hurts me that rumours say I have been paid to close down – I would never EVER take money to do that without then closing the paper paying everyone what they were owed. And yes we had negotiations – but hey FUCK – isn’t that pretty normal when you have lost DKK 100 million? So FUCK you idiots – using your self pity to put this out.
I have had a couple of talk with them – but they have their Metro interest – amd they ALSO smelled that I was starting to doubt – what other reason would I have to call… (Yes I’m not too smart).
The top 3 Norwegian papers are all gongho – on trying to take over Edda – the Norweigen part of Mecom. They had designed a hostile takeover of Mecom’s loans trying to buy GBP 600 million of loan for less than face value – and that way get the control of Mecom the day they could not meet their debt governance ratios on the loans. But this was too far fetched with my wallet size.
– All employees
I have had +50 sms/emails from employees who lost their jobs and feel sorry for me – strange – that’s so amazing. And during “bankruptcy aftermath drinking” – no one blamed me – all positive. Thats probobly first time in history)
– Baugur and Thordis from Stodir who gave me this chance – and the most fair deal EVER and NEVER jumped out of any commitment (and I would do this again if I could guaranty a solvent closing).
– Morten Nissen Nielsen – this gyus works like no one else – a bit young in his management style and optimistic – but DEEP RESPECT.
– Simon Andersen (this guy will be BIG)
– Michael Elmhoff from distribution – who handled the closedown in Aarhus and all the violent threats from the newspaper delivery employees
– My Family and Friends – who haven’t been able to talk to me for 9 months
Call me stupid – not trustworthy – whatever – it’s OK – I fucked up. I take all responsibility. It was MY MONEY (and all I had and had access too) – and it will be 18-24 months in hell from here – but I will start and invest with my knowledge and build companies for life – and I’m scared but not stopping – Im just back to ventures without money. Sorry.
THE (SEMI) BITTER AFTERMATH – from an optimistic id(ea)iot
Nyhedsavisen have done something historic (let’s call it a DKK 1 billion gift to The Danish Democracy) – and its unfair that Berlingske and JP/Politiken gets DKK 300 million in government subsidies – while Metro and Nyhedsavisen gets nothing – cal me bitter :)
If just the financial markets would have picked up in MAY – ohhh – we could have done it. FUCK FUCK FUCK I hate to loose – and I will see my psychiatrist to get over this – and not get bitter… There are so many things that we could have done if.. if… if… :) But the fact that USA (land of the free) handed over their credit institutions Freddie & Fannie to the state sunday and Lehmann Brothers down 50% yesterday – these events can tilt the world economy :( – and all my startups are hurting from it. No money in the market.
I never in my life had a lawsuit and hope it will stay this way – but given my personal guarantees it might be hard to avoid this time – fingers crossed.
I said that I would not give up until my arms and legs where cut of – and basicly thats NOW. I followed my instinct – and failed – and I will do it again – probably not this big a deal – but lots of smaller. I’ll be back
Interessen for Nyhedsavisen har de seneste dage været enorm. Det forstår jeg godt. Og jeg er stolt over og glad for at kunne fortælle alle, at vi i aktionærkredsen i 365 Media Scandinavia A/S er blevet enige om vilkårerne for tilførsel af den fornødne kapital til fortsættelse af driften i Nyhedsavisen og Morgendistribution Danmark. Vi indsender derfor vores regnskab torsdag morgen.
1) Jeg vil gerne UNDSKYLDE overfor alle vores kunder og ansatte at forhandlingerne mellem aktionærerne har trukket ud.
2) Jeg medgiver at det kan virke uprofessionelt – som de lærde, eksperterne og min mor har valgt at antyde – men det er et mindre mirakel, at tingene er lykkedes – midt i en sommerferie og en finansiel krisetid hvor selv Korsbæk er i knæ.
3) Jeg har aldrig tidligere i mine 80 virksomheder haft så dygtige medarbejdere, ledere og bestyrelse.
4) Jeg har stadig absolut kontrol med selskabet – og min finansielle partner er i verdenseliten.
5) Jeg giver ALDRIG op – om jeg så skal ende som ham Monty Python ridderen, der råber og skriger – selv om han har mistet både arme og ben!
PS. Hvis du skal have kunder i din butik – og tænker på at bruge avis-annoncering – så deler vi 450.000 aviser ud til de mest interessante hjem hver morgen inden 07.00– og vores fantastiske konkurenter Jyllands-Posten, Politiken og Berlingske Tidende deler 120.000 ud. Vi er ikke meget billigere – men effekten er rigtig god.
PPS. Der bliver ikke mere kommunikation fra mig – nu skal der arbejdes.
Its not possible for me to describe wth words how proud I am of Tommy Ahlers – with whom I started Zyb. Its sold today for 31mio€ to Vodaphone – and besides a THE VERY BRAVE VC
(Henrik Albersen from Nordic.com ) only Tommy and the amasing team can take credit for this one…
And for me: Its incredible to do it time after time ;) – sorry – I had to say it. AND IT IS!
– Here is some interesting info and Video on Dubai via Dan Roth (now Wired)
Faisal Belhoul, Founder & Managing Partner
Ali Erfan, Senior Advisor
Joe Lacob, Partner
Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers
Khaldoun Haj Hasan, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Michael Queen, Managing Partner – Infrastructure
Dr. Ahmad Khayyat, Chief Executive Officer
Emaar Industries & Investments (Pvt) JSC
Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Consultant in Shari’ah Finance and Economics
Deborah Magid, Director – Software Strategy
IBM Venture Capital Group
Hany Shawky, Director
Global Capital Partners LP
Sanjay Sehgal, Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer
East West Capital Partners
Abrar Mir, Chief Executive Officer
NBD Sana Capital
Sarath Naru, Managing Partner
Patrick von Bargen, Chief Executive Officer
Centre for Venture Education
Nicholas Parker, Chairman & Co-Founder
Hossam Shobokshi, Director Principal Finance – Middle East & North
G Bala Subramanyan, Chief Investment Officer
Dr. Ahmad Al Ghazawi, President and Chief Executive
Arno Castanet, European Research Manager – Venture Capital and
Khaldoon Tabaza, Chief Executive Officer
Ahmed Al Manasreh, Founder & Chairman
Sanad Venture Capital
Ziad Tassabehji, Director – Innovation & Investment
Sadeq Sayeed, Senior Advisor
Henry Makansi, Principal – Energy
Gina Domanig, Managing Partner
Jeffrey Leonard, President & Founding Partner
Global Environment Fund (GEF)
Alwaleed Abdul Abdelrahman, Senior Vice President – Private
Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC)
Paul Deninger, Vice Chairman
Jefferies & Company, Inc.
Eric Chen, Partner
Max von Bismarck, Head of Investors
World Economic Forum
Morten Lund, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
LundXY, Global Ventures
Steve Smith, Partner
JS Private Equity
Dr. Adnan Al Sultan, Chairman
National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC)
Andrew Tarbuck, Partner
Christophe de Mahieu, Managing Director & Co-Head
Navin Valrani, Executive Director
Oasis Investment Company,
Al Shirawi Group of Companies (Engineering Services Group)
Pekka Maki, Managing Partner
Walid Bakr, Director
Saad Bargach, Managing Director
Lime Rock Partners
Ayman Al Bannaw, ICT Business Development Manager
Noor Financial Investment
Chris Bongars, Chief Executive Officer
Munther Hilal, Chief Executive Officer
Capital Industries & Investments
Karthik Ranganathan, Partner
Baring Private Equity
Just had a skype call with Murti from www.peanutlabs.com – started jan 07 – and now doing 5mio$ rev this year. Please tell me stories that beat this (in comment).
Someone in the deal called them 4 founders – a bunch of unorganised kids :) – I originally invested in their social network – www.xuqa.com – now a 70k$ a month business in Turkey. This is such a seldom story – and now they are even doing one more thing.. So I can end up with 3 companies instead of one… Wholly cow… 3 for the price of one – NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE i think.
Today was a FANTASTIC day for my newspaper – Nyhedsavisen is now officially number one in readers in Denmark. Dont mix it up with being number one in profitability – but its a VERY VERY good start 4 weeks after taking over. Im still feeling trouble in my stomach when I think about the 180 people we have fired – but its time to move forward. Humble and Ambitious and Positive – and get the media buyers to use our product.
Extra info: Hardcore article about NYT
Im a socialist (believe it or not) comming from working class – using my skills to change the world a little bit. And I think the unions in Denmark are FANTASTIC – they have a BIG BIG STAKE in our economy being the best in EU – since they have been super fair in the how to hire and fire – unlike Germany and France (and unlike all the greedy CEOs who wants a billion to leave their jobs)… BUT I have to say that the process of firering journalists is stupid and very bad for the “worker” – since we have now been in a limbo for 7 days (and will stay like that for another 7) where we cant decide who should stay or who should go – thats simply not human (probobly there is a another good explanation).
Ok – I know its stupid of me to comment on this – but I had to.
The AMASING TEAM at BullGuard – (my consumer Anti Virus baby) – is really having a breaktrough (basicly we always just wanted to beat DanWare in revenue for some srange reason – sorry Peter :). But its also 6years – and more then 12mioUSD we have spend to build it. Im so proud of this award – and all these reviews.
Today we had to layoff quite a lot of people at my newspaper and restructure quite a bit. I really rally hated it, Im simply to soft for shit like that. But it was simply needed to make our profit plans work. And even though Im really hard to myself on it and have to face that “thats business”- I cant stand the idea of some people going home to thier families and have to tell the terrible truth – BUT it was highly needed (and the alternative would off course have been worse). But urghh – what a day. Cant even smile thinking about that sales was record for a Wednesday (but we are still lossing about 2-3 average danish yearly salleries pr. day).
Press has been really fair and quite possitive – when you think about how small our country is and that all journalists went to school together (more or less). Its also kind of really weird to see 12-15 journalists and professors and investment bankers having a clear idea about our business (on TV, Online News, Print…) – when they dont even do a deep Deep DEEP dive into what really going on. The paper will very likely be number one very very soon – and we are SUPER HUMBLE – but we will fight with EVERYTHING WE HAVE TO MAKE THIS THING MAKE MONEY. And change the whole business a bit…
Someone asked me what stuff I owned (invested in) that no one knows about and that is super cool.
I have to say that www.heathcare.com is supercool just going BIG BIG.
Why its killer: The person
This thing is killer – http://www.openstreetmap.org – people simple build maps from scratch with GPS equipement and entusiasm…
Why its killer: The idea
Nothing beats the team and the quality ad the revenue.
Why its killer: Idea is simple and amasing
Gateway Technology Labs
Simply amasing people – impresse size – and the market demand endless amounts of services like this.
Why its killer: The team! I have never seen anyhing ike hat.
I did invested during summer – lucky again…
Wow I feel lucky – I took over controle of the paper with the management and some of my most admired Danish online entrepanuers (www.freeway.dk – lots of people dont know them – but when you say Dating.dk, Arto.dk, Trendsales.dk, DKBN.dk – everyone knows – they are by far the biggest danish online media company – AND MOST PROFITABLE).
So my trip to Iceland in the weekend was very good ;) – I admire those Baugur guys SO MUCH (had NOTHING 17years ago – and now own 10.000 reatails stores around the world – and take risk!!). They have the BIG balls (sorry Thordis) and they are no bullshit – unlike many of the old money I meet. I have talked to 10-15 old money investors who had given me a note during the last year that they wanted in – but they all had this – “uhh its dangerous…” – Well thats TRUE!!
RISK = RETURN.
(and luck and timing is everything)
As 14y old – I had a paperround with Anders Laursen and saved money for new handball shoes – got up at 5am – and had amasing summermornings singing/screaming silly lovesongs over the fields – and insanely shitty cold depressing winther mornings – so its weird now to be kind of head of 800 paperround guys (and YES its was insanely dificult to make the distribution work – and we have had 2500 people trough the machinery the last 15months – imagine just the sallery paperwork…). But our paperrond guys are KEY to this investment – going to +300.000 homes every morning in selected districts – its a killer (let me know if you want us to bring a leaflet or something interesting with the paper – parfume sample, bio chessnuts or whatver.. ;) – We are in business to make PROFIT – just to let you know…
We are bringing out a REAL PAPER – (not just a writeoff from the Reuters newsfeed) – done by real top dog journalists – and again backed up by a hardcore sales team. and Yes – its a business doing more revenue then I would ever have expected to see pr day – AND USING LOTS OF CASH – but then again – here in Denmark we dont buy our houses in cash – its normally 20-30year loans – and if you do that same math you probobly see where Im going… 15month to become the second most read paper – even most read in the 3 largest cities – and not only traveling youth (like Metro) also THE KEY DESICION MAKERS OF THIS WORLD: Female, Mothers and Housewifes – where we have the BY FAR best reader numbers. I could go on – Im fired up ;)…
But the fact is that this business is booming and with BIG FOCUS ON DELIVERING A PERFECT – STATE OF THE ART – SECOND TO NONE PRODUCT TO ADVERTISERS – we will make a good business. NOTE: If you know a guy in a MEDIA AGENCY – please tell him my number ;) – they are the key (and our board will reflect that) – and they have already started booking campains in the paper (but not enough) – and we will do a lot to prove that we are not JUST A FREE TRAFIC PAPER (Metro style) – but a QUALITY PAPER and DISTIBUTION SERVICE (not just a old folks subscrition journal, 250y old ;) – Why ?
(in my humble opinion – TV and Subscribtion papers are getting even more unpopulair then even Gorge Bush).
Dear Valued reader – sorry to write such a long post – but today is a bit special – and Im got darn nervous about all the media attention (not the business – since Svenn and Morten (and the new board) are pure, smart, humble hardworkers – with sports mentatlity (and all so fucking slim – makes me look even more choppy ;) (narcicist I am) – and they will be figthing this no matter what will hit us – and I just provide a bit of cash, a little netwok and a couple of IDEAS. Cant wait…
My Danish Press Release
Morten Lund overtager aktiemajoriteten i Nyhedsavisen
”Jeg føler mig meget heldig over at have fået chancen for at stå i spidsen for Nyhedsavisen. Jeg har hele tiden troet på ideen bag Nyhedsavisen, og har på nærmeste hold fulgt avisens udvikling. Den blev dømt ude og færdig allerede inden den var på gaden, men i dag er Nyhedsavisen et trin fra at blive Danmarks mest læste avis. Men det er ikke kun læserne, der har taget godt imod avisen, måned for måned er annonceindtægterne steget og de stiger nu markant, og distributionen af avisen fungerer upåklageligt.
Så Nyhedsavisen er kommet for at blive. Nu gælder det om at bringe avisen det afgørende skridt videre, og det vil jeg gøre i samarbejde med de nuværende investorer – som jeg beundrer for deres vilje og evne til at tænke nyt – og en række nye partnere – Freeway og ledelsesgruppen på Nyhedsavisen som selv har puttet penge i. Næste skridt bliver præsentationen af en strategiplan for udviklingen af Nyhedsavisen i de kommende år.
Jeg er vild med at flere igen læser aviser, og den udvikling tror jeg vil fortsætte. Men hvorfor skal det koste penge at læse en avis? Jeg har været med til at ændre tankegangen i en række andre brancher og glæder mig nu til for alvor at være med i udviklingen af Nyhedsavisen.”
Freeway er Danmarks førende virksomhed indenfor online medier og ejer og driver blandt andet dating.dk, arto.dk og denmarkbynight.dk.
Ledelsesgruppen på Nyhedsavisen består af administrerende direktør Svenn Dam, chefredaktør David Trads, salgsdirektør Morten Nissen og CFO Lars Lindstrøm
Morten Lund er dansk iværksætter. Han har i dag investeringer i mere end 85 selskaber verden over. Blandt andre den kinesiske browser Maxthon med 100 millioner downloads, Orolix, der er Brasiliens hurtigst voksende online-virksomhed og Zecco.com, der er en amerikansk gebyrfri online børshandel.
Morten Lund er tillige medlem af tidligere præsident Bill Clintons Global Initiative, CGI.
Fay Helene Mogensen
Press release from Baugur
(the majority owner until yesterday)
Morten Lund buys 51 per centstake in Dagsbrun
Morten Lund is pleased to announce he has acquired a 51 per cent stake in Dagsbrun Media, which owns the Danish newspaper Nyhedsavisen, from Baugur Group, the Icelandic investment firm.
Under the deal, Mr Lund is upping is stake and injecting working capital.
The move comes 15 months after Baugur controlled Dagsbrun launched Nyhedsavisen and comes after the free news paper has made impressive progress in terms of distribution, readership and advertising revenues. Within 12 months of its launch in October 2006, it over took the established paid-for titles and rival free sheets to become the most read daily newspaper in Denmark. It is on course to break even in November this year.
Since launch, sales growth and advertising revenues have risen in line with targets month on month and in the past quarter targets have been broken, enabling the team to make up some of the ground lost to delays before publication began.
Mr Lund said: “This is an exciting opportunity. Media across the world is undergoing a revolution and Nyhedsavisen is part of that. People said a free sheet in Denmark wouldn’t work, and ours has. Now we have proved that we will take it on to the next phase.”
Thordis Sigurdardottir, Baugur managing director of media, said: “It was always our intention to bring in new investors and now is the right time. Morten has been in from the start and although we had approaches from a number of potential investors we believe he is the best person to take control. We look forward to working with him to take Nyhedsavisen to the next level..”
She added that Baugur would remain a substantial shareholder and continue to be represented on the Dagsbrun board.
I here to meet with my fantastic partner Tariq Shaikh. He is one of my very most smart and interesting partners – and his for the last 14months been setting up a very special private equity company – something I cant really go deeper into – but you can see on the website and beneath. Its a really REALY big idea – and very hard for my micro patience – but I cant wait until we can tell more…
“RHT Partners is a private equity firm that brings together top calibre investment management professionals, entrepreneurs and prominent financial backers from Europe, the Middle East and the US in a firm dedicated to creating value through carefully considered investments in selected industry sectors. RHT’s values are grounded in high ethics and its investment decisions focussed on generating industry leading returns.”
I have spend most of my time with Tariq – and he also introduced me to some of the real Dubai natives (whom you NEVER MEET) – and I must say I have been extremely positivly impressed and suprsed how much energy and power and vision – there is behind this GROWTH EMPIRES PEOPLE!