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Today I managed to pay Morten Steen Jorgensen back the one of many loans I took in 2009 to buy myself out of Bankruptcy. Mr Steen showed up at my door with these words: “Here is a loan of 50k$ to buy yourself free – no strings attached – pay back when you can. We know the ‘eating glass feeling’ of the dark side of entrepreneurship – this is our help…”
I was lucky – more than lucky. Luckier than anyone could ever have imagined. I was standing in deep shit – I was over-invested (used personal guarantees) and everything I owned was suddenly picked up by people from the bank (literally – they took cars and art). I had no where to go in the morning – all +100 investments was no mine anymore – the phone stopped ringing and emails went down to 1 or 2 per day. I was VERY sad – but I suddenly had a chance to think, I had a chance to feel life – and spend time with the kids. I started walking the kids to school – read some books and even did some of cooking (100% new to me). I never really felt sorry for me self – it was ONLY MY FAULT. 2008 was a reality call – in 3D.
Life was quiet – no +100 companies – no more private jets to escapism – and no 12 course dinners – it was actually quite nice to have no obligations and no stress – but then again I had to face reality – and get a job. I had never had a job – and no one would hire me – the 38y old internet psycho entrepreneur who was loaded from when he was 27 – and got lucky with Skype. One day I woke up and Alex knocked on my door: “I’ll fix your shit – if you give me X% of you future.” That was easy to answer, – “Yes please – lets start tomorrow.”
We have now worked for 5 years relentlessly – and we have; – helped 10 companies – started 5 companies – raised +150mio$ for these companies – employed +400 people around the world – created real change in e-invoicing and financing for small companies.
We are still fumbling with what to call the group – and we have a mix of board seats, equity and our own ideas. We are seriously afraid of getting spread too thin – but the team is 75% in place now. More importantly: we are starting to build an infrastructure to keep track of everything and help the startups much more on BIG DATA.
Unlike before in history, most enterprise software businesses can leverage incredible access to data of all the weirdest kinds – from MAPS to CURRENCIES over TRADING HISTORY and SPEND… We are betting on making a new bank or let’s call it an organisation – where companies can only be a client if they use our XO accounting system and payment infrastructure. Since the loans will go from being emotional decisions of bank clerks to automated loans based on goals = sales. The bank will not lend money to companies with notoriously bad payers. If people won’t pay a bill it’s normally because the product sucks or is oversold and stuffed down someone’s throat.
Work-life is hard and not always fair ;) – but somehow I’m so freaking lucky despite my wild passion for testing the boundaries of business and technology. Now I am only 1.2mio€ in debt that has to paid back to all the amazing and generous people who have been helping to get my financial mess sorted….
PS. Of course I don’t pay Morten S the money without interest – he has (like everyone else – who has been lending me these absurdly big amounts) – got a small share on my new Ventures/Fund. My dream is that they will get 3-4times their money back over the next 3-6 years – and then the karma loop is closed.
I would also like to mention that the overall reason that I really got through all of this is Morten Sønsergaard and Anett. They supported me mentally and financially in a way I can never pay back. THANX to Morten and Anett !!!
(I’m a late adopter!!)
When I arived here ot Japan – they where VERY kind to lend me an iPhone. AND WHOLLY COW – im 100% blown away.
It’s the best thing after kids, food and sex.
With Gmail – i was 100% synced up in 45sec – contacts, calender and mail – and facebook and twitter (twitteriffic blows my mind)- BANG BANG BANG. I would never have imagined that technology and hardware could melt together in one hazzlefree unit. WOW. WOW. Im so sad to let my blackberry know that it’s dead – going of the coorperate fields where it belongs.
NOTE: Only iPhone SUPER WEAKNESS is no copy paste – but that suposed to come.
Sime.nu in Stokholm was a fantastic event for the online and new media industry – the energy is second to none – and ONLY Ola Alverson (and his energy bomb team) can give this event to SPARK as it does… AMASING. 1200 people showing up in the middle of ressesion – and all smiles and power to change is just fantastic.
I spoke first time at Sime 1998 – and I love the show and profesionalism SO MUCH.
Here is some of the video (wacked crazy as it is)
NOTE: I’m not a shareholder in any way shape or form – and not related to Result!!!
Someone (maybe me) did this very simple to inspire and kick start your inner entrepreneur… Everyone and his dog is talking about recession – and NEARLY EVERYONE is HIT. But lets turn it upside down – this is the period of time where opportunity is MAX.
WARNING: its simple – not original / copy / paste / emotional.
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
I’ve been VERY VERY squished in a couple of deals – and was a little scared wheather i could solve things. But I must say that everything I was ever told about how bad and cruel business and capitalism is suposed to be is WRONG. I have been heped out by my parters, my investments, my advisors, friends and my team – in a fantastic way.
Its all about LUCK ?
was the title of a speech I gave yesterday. It was a very strange situation – I normally love to give speeches and lectures (even though I don’t feel smart enough to teach people anything). Its was strange because – the host employees of the host Novo were all above 37 and well dressed and there were 40 of them. And the first 10 minutes – NO ONE LAUGHED ONCE – and that really scared me and I started sweating like a pig and felt VERY BAD. Luckily I got on top of things and they seemed very happy after my 1 hours shameless selfpromotion. Phyyy.
Is lookng for a sales guy. Here goes Job description
UPDATE: Im not going into SEO – and all SEO refers to is – handling SEO terminologi. Real SEO dudes are bitchy ;)