Interview with: Erik Byrenius & Benjamin Ratz, Nordic Makers
Do: Nordic Makers together with nine other angel investors
Where: Helio Hötorget
Since when: March 2017
Nordic Makers is a collective of nine investors across Sweden and Denmark. The co-owners have founded companies like Zendesk, Onlinepizza.se and Momondo, and the majority of their experience lies in tech startups. Two of them are members at Helio Hötorget, and we swung by to ask some quick questions.
How did Nordic Makers happen and how did the nine of you find each other?
We were a couple of entrepreneurs who had started doing individual angel investments in similar companies, but realized that we could create more value for them if we joined forces. So we decided to take it to the next level and create a seed fund that can help companies reach the next level.
Which industries are you mainly investing in and why?
Our experience comes mainly from tech companies, so we want the companies to have some sort of innovative technology. In terms of industry, we are very broad, but pickier when we chose to get involved. We want it to be after the angel phase, but too early for the big VCs.
Why should a start up turn to you out of the bunch?
We have founded & scaled companies ourselves and know what issues can arise for a founder that you can’t read up on. It can be everything from founder conflicts to liquidity challenges and ambiguous KPIs. If you have proof of concept and need to bring in at least 6-7 million SEK to scale the business and want have a group of experienced entrepreneurs onboard, we could be the right investors.
Nordic Makers is not a company but rather a collective if you will. What happens if you disagree about an investment? Do you have a veto/voting system?
We invest through a mutual corporation, so even if we are a group of individuals to the core, we rather act as if we were a fund, where we take joint decisions about investments.
In your colleague’s Hampus Jakobsson’s presentation on your website it states that “I co-founded Nordic Makers as I love learning and talking to people who are building things that impact.” Are money or influence the strongest driving force for you?
Money is not the strongest driving force for any of us. At the same time, we are not a charity. Of course we will do our best to make sure that the companies we invest in will do as well as they can financially. But we choose enterprises through a social perspective as well. If we don’t believe that the problem they are trying to solve is worth lots of our own time, we will say no.
In what way is co-working good for you?
We who run Nordic Makers are spread out geographically, so the two of us who work from Stockholm really benefit from the social connection with other people. My colleague Benjamin probably wouldn’t feel like sitting alone in a room with me all day long, haha. And of course, it’s always nice not to have to think about purchasing, cleaning, the dishes etc.
What’s the deal with Trump?
He called and asked if we could invest in some of his corporations that builds walls or creates automatic pussy grabbers. We thought that the idea was so absurd that we chose to include him on our website.