The day after my class (Technology Innovation Entrepreneurship at KTH) visited the Epicenter, I and other two classmates went to the event “Bootstrapping your Startup” hosted there. So, in this post, I am going to tell you about this experience.

bootstrapping your startup (2)

The aim of the event was to provide the audience with experiences and advices of three startuppers who decided to bootstrap their startups rather than ask for financing from VCs or other institutions. We can define the bootstrapping technique with the following sentences: “an individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company”. Thus, when speaking about this kind of startups we do not refer to future unicorns, but companies that has to monetize earlier in order to grow.

Peter Russo led the event and acted as a sort of interviewer and presenter; he founded several Startups and now he is involved in the no-profit business, thus he talked also about his own experience sometimes. The interviewed startuppers were three young guys:

  • Fritjof Andersson (Founder and CEO,,
  • Therése Gedda (Founder and CEO at 30minMBA)
  • Andreas Andersson (Founder and CEO of DMG Education).

The discussion started with Fritjof, Therése and Andreas talking about their businesses, the first two and 30minMBA operate in the B2B business while DMG Education is in the B2C business. Here a brief description of what they do:

  • is an online platform to manage customer relationships through the different social media.
  • 30minMBA supports people in developing their business skills when it fits them with leading business concepts based on great books in audio and text on your mobile.
  • DMG Education is an online music school.

In speaking about their first steps they gave some interesting information such as the no salary time, DMG Education was the one with the longest period with no salary that last for one and a half year. When you decide to bootstrap your company, you need to be profitable in a rather short time and thus saving on your salary is quite “mandatory”.

Each of the startuppers focused on something different and repeated it many times during the event. I think it is what they retained their success factor. Fritjof spoke about the importance of finding people, as both resources and customers, to build and develop a network. In particular he spoke about the method used by him of speaking directly with them. Thus, he exhorted the audience to participate more to startup events where it is easier to find the right resources interested in what are you doing. While Andreas continually repeated the importance for its company of Facebook ADS in bringing people to the platform. He did not know anything about it, thus it had to learn. This to say that when you decide to bootstrap it is more needed an enlarged knowledge rather than a specific knowledge of a selected discipline, and to highlight the importance of learning to use new and different tools by yourself. Instead, Therése focused on the role of a common culture in the company and talked about her case to show us an example of how to create it. In particular, she told us that when you cannot reward people through high salaries the climate on the job could fill the gap.

bootstrapping your startup (2)

Later Peter Russo asked about the main tools used by them and if they have any suggestions. Therése replied and cited Dropbox, Buffer, Wilu, and when asked by the audience about cheap accounting tools she suggested Fortknox and Bilogram. Since the audience asked about free tools Therése said that sometimes it could be better to pay some services, because it is fundamental to choose what to outsource and what to do by yourself, even if you are bootstrapping. In particular, it is important to focus on the startup’s core business.

Then they spoke about the choice of having or not an office. While in Fritjof opinion, it is needed to separate personal life and work, Therése simply said that in her point of view the important thing is that the resources can work where they are more productive, also at home if it is the case.

Andreas touched the argument of prioritizing the resources to success and being efficient. Thus, Peter asked them about which is the most crucial resource in their opinion. Fritjof did not need time to think about it and promptly replied the “time”, how to spend your own time without wasting it in doing activities that do not add value or that it is better someone else does. While, again, Therése talked about company’s culture, she also mentioned that a common well defined culture has to be taken into account overall in the recruiting process.

Later Peter Russo moved the discussion to the lean argument: how to be lean, and what they mean with the word lean. Therése cited side thinking and talked about developing together with the clients. Fritjofsaid the same thing enhancing the importance of speaking with the customers before and during product development to better understand how to meet their needs. Thus, he suggested again to use private meetings and, as he said before, to set these meetings during events.

A guy from the audience asked about marketing tools. Andreas said their first growth was mainly coming from Facebook ADS, but that now their best advertising is to add value and use the students as promoter of their services. While Therése used a cheaper way, like simple stickers at events in which their potential customers could be interested about.

Peter Russo later touched the argument about how to convince people to work for you and from the audience someone asked about payment with shares. Fritjof said that the main problem about this way of paying resources are the taxes. Indeed they are not the same in every country, and in Sweden they are too high (70% confronted to 15% in the USA). Secondly, he said you should consider that it will be a long marriage, thus it is important you are sure they are the right people. Then, to reply to Peter question, they all mentioned paying people with “freedom”, “having fun” and other small things that create a nice job climate.

The climate at the event was really informal and relaxed, it was like meeting together speaking and sharing our expertise. I appreciated the fact that the audience was quite active and diversified: there were people of each age, who already started their business and who was interested in doing it with completely different backgrounds. The audience really guided the discussion together with Peter Russo, and this was the aspect that more I enjoyed there.

During one of the lectures Serdar Temiz mentioned  that you should focus on what you have to do right now to become the key player in 5 years.
But what if you have a great idea for a short term solution? I thought of this when I saw a pitch from Scrive. They provide a short term solution for companies which want to implement e-signing, but don’t have the time to wait until their legacy systems are updated. The first thing that came to my mind was that the product they sell is only useful for a couple of years, as I imagine their customers will eventually upgrade and won’t make use of Scrive any more.

I have an idea myself for the pitch, but it focusses on the generation of for instance my parents. Many of this generation know how to use applications as word and excel, but lack the knowledge to do a bit more advanced things like building and launching websites and online applications. As you can imagine the amount of people who lack this more advanced knowledge decreases every day, so if you target this group you’ll eventually run out of customers.

Does this mean you shouldn’t launch this idea? Should you let these potential customers figure it out themselves? I think not. I think that, in line with what Scrive does, you should move fast and provide them with a nice short term solution. However, I would like to know what you think about it. Do you agree? Otherwise, please let me know what I’m missing!

Why I picked this course? There is a simple answer to that question being that one day I might be an entrepreneur myself and I really want to be a good one. Specially I want answer for that what I should do when I have good business idea and I want to create profitable company so the biggest cap or black hole in my knowledge is what comes between great idea and running a quite stable and profitable company. The question is really complicated and there is no right answer for it but I think there is good and bad answers. The real job for me is to evaluate the good ones from the bad ones and then create my own vision how to survive the crucial beginning of my company.

I am not quite sure if these blog posts or tweets help me become the master of entrepreneurship but that we will find out. I have studied just a few business courses but rather studied and spoke with others students I get the feeling that entrepreneurship is more like art or black magic than anything else and it is also weird that almost all business students don’t want to create their own company. The more you study business the less you want to create your own business. Maybe one reason for that is the really hard beginning, high risks to fail and usually big investments so in many cases you will sell your whole life for your own business and if you fail hard you will lose everything. But there is also chance for success so if you rock and you rock hard I think that it will be really nice especially if your company or invention can help people around the planet and make this a better place for us.

We will see if this course can give us right keys and tools for creating profitable business which I really hope. So it is now the teacher’s turn to convince us. But still I think the most important parts for success are:

  • good idea,
  • confidence in your own business,
  • vision and
  • great team!

Lastly there is a picture bellow which tells what people think about entrepreneurs and I think the last picture tells the true story what being entrepreneur really will be. I really hope that society or friends are right at least this time!





Entrepreneurship fascinates me. Not specifically because I have certain entrepreneurial ambitions. I have the feeling that I am better fitted for the position of “second man”, I’m not prone taking too many risks and I’ve never really felt the urge to start my own business. But I enjoy reading everything that has to do with the subject and I am very interested in the process of starting up a company.

One of the aspects that attracts me to entrepreneurship is the overwhelming enthusiasm that every entrepreneur seems to possess. As I do with all interests I normally have, I started googling. I started with search topics such as entrepreneurship enthusiasm, enthusiastic entrepreneurs and so on. Among the results were a lot of a lot of blogs, sites and even scientific proof that enthusiasm is a necessary ingredient for entrepreneurs. Sites about how you can share it with your team, your investors and even how you can make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Interestingly, besides those kind of positive articles, I also found a lot of sites stating that enthusiasm is a pitfall for start-ups and entrepreneurs. There is even a syndrome named after it: Enthusiasticus Founder syndrome. For me personally I don’t think the syndrome is an issue, therefore I will focus here on the positive side. I just looked up the definition of it to see whether I didn’t know what enthusiasm is or that I had the wrong picture of entrepreneurship. The Cambridge dictionary told me this:

Noun /ɪnˈθjuː.zi.æz.əm/
A feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it.

If we take into account this explanation you would definitely agree that I describe the people at STHLM TECH FEST as enthusiastic. The people pitching on stage were of course very enthusiastic about their own idea. Standing in front of a big audience and a panel of important and influential people from well established companies. But especially the companies at the fair I found ultimately enthusiastic. Most of them were so fond of the idea that they conceived and so willing to share it with the crowd that they really tried to draw their attention. It was almost un-Swedish how they took the initiative to make contact with people who passed by. As a new student in town it felt really welcoming and very inspiring to see what’s going on in Stockholm.

I hope to see you all tomorrow for another enthusiastic (and very early) lecture entrepreneurship!


If you are interested here is some more on the syndrome:

Last week we were asked to discuss where some of todays technologies are going to be in five years. My group and I were given “Big Data” as subject.

What we came up with was that in five years, Big Data is likely to have increased to an even larger amount than what we have today.  This would probably lead to a greater need of storage systems, thus new research concerning this. It could also imply new job opportunities as well as new user platforms. What was discussed was that in health care, where Big Data is used more and more, it could lead to better tracking of patient, doctors and diseases. However, an increase in Big Data, and the use of it, will most probably come with some or several problems, especially concerning personal data.

The task however, was not to give the right answer to where Big Data will be in five years (who could really?), but it was to guess and anticipate. If you are an entrepreneur, this is one of the basics to have a chance to success. To have an idea of what the market will look like in five years, and to base your product (or idea o product) on this, is what can make you competitive.


Yesterday at SUP46 (Startup People of Sweden) I attended an #ExpertNight focused on funding for startups, a topic closely related to what we did and discussed about in class.

The event tried to answer some of the most common questions startups face: “When should you raise money? How much do you need? Who should you take funding from? Is it better to grow organically?”

Among the guests for the panel discussion were Tim Yi He (Northzone), Joakim Dal (GP Bullhound), Johan Crona (ALMI Invest), Henrik von Stockenstrom (FundedByMe), Anette Nordvall (

After a brief introduction, the panelists talked about how they scout for startups to invest in: some go to events and get to know people, some do generic market research to see if there’s anything interested that has been funded recently, others just filter the applications they receive.

The most important question is another, though: what is the selling point that captures the interest of investors when talking with startups?

Read More →

Warm waves, rock climbing, jungle adventures, healthy yummy food… Aaaah, some inspirational homeland memories woke me up this morning! my daily life has been disconnected from the wild nature since I started my studies in Sweden. Thinking of Galapagos, the Amazon and the great Andes brought me to an ecstatic moment. Then I got stressed because of the bunch of projects I need to work on… Come on, lets start with a motivational reminder of why am I here, studying human computer interaction instead of surfing.


Technological development and its immersion in human life is undeniable. Beyond questioning whether technology is good or bad for life, I have decided to channel it in healthy ways, as a form of integration, to reach a harmonious relationship between man, nature and machines. The potential of new technologies that connect the physical world with the virtual one, seem to be unlimited; however, the development of its applications just begun, which leads me to the creation of new interactive worlds.

Applications of 3d audio, augmented reality, GPS, multimodal interaction devices and a bunch of sensors are examples of the accelerated trend in which humanity integrates new technologies into everyday life. I know about them and in my entrepreneurial courses I have learned how to reach my niches and make a lot of revenue. But hey! such attempts of expanding technology are both exclusive and mediated by consumerist dynamics, perhaps driven by gated communities?

A globalized world should welcome integration proposals that rise from the local and improve regional potentials; however,  “western” pragmatic premise “the end justifies the means, as long as it functions” has spread around the world, killing local identities and standardizing individuals into alienated slaves of the system. This ethical points must be considered and discussed in academia and all the ICT community.

circulo vida

My Yoga People, Quito 2014

Rather than designing objects to be installed in a defined space/client, I dream of sites fulfilled of significance, which offer people the opportunity to interact with the world in new cycles of activities. I don’t care too much about the little niche that will give me money; I project interactive products, which are inclusive and available to the entire population, because I want them to be aware, healthy and happy.

Back to my mind, I invent as a contribution for building interactive worlds, for a possible and desirable contemporaneity that will honour the individual and respect multicultural imagery.

Yn Ry

I just had a fantastic evening at the STHLM Tech Meetup, and what it featured was not only a series of interesting pitches (of launched and not-yet-launched ventures) but also a very compelling introduction to event supporters. One of these really struck my interest by the nature of what they do. It was a firm, called “The Service Corporation”, presented by the founder and CEO himself. They offer a global expansion It wasn’t the actual start-up which was compelling, but rather the thought that followed. By now, there are so many firms that do not directly produce any smart venture ideas, but rather fit into the start-up process of others.

It’s about the trend of “enabling entrepreneurship”, and that is done in a modular behaviour. We’ve seen ventures like this before. Rocket Internet (GER), which capitalise on ‘replicating’ successful business models from the US in Europe – and, thus, act as a “globaliser” to the original start-up. Or “The Service Corporation”, which offers to team up with start-ups and give them the resources needed to penetrate foreign markets. It’s not about incubating anymore; these ventures follow the definition of modularisation. If one thinks of four principle steps: Discovery, Validation, Creation, Building – one will realise that all these are somewhat modules, and the value propositions of these “Enabling” start-ups.

Likewise, one of the first guest lectures, Joakim Fohlman outlined that “Cubimo” bases on helping others discover and develop venture ideas (First Module; Discovery). Furthermore, “FundedbyMe” or “Kickstarter” fit in as the second module of “Validation”. These not only are tools to gain proof of concept status, but also enable the following step of funding. The next module (Creation) is given; players such as “TED” or “STHLM Tech Meetup”, which help reach the desired customers and offer growth opportunities. The fourth step is given by todays presenter, and inspiration to this; ventures like “The Service Corporation” enable growth into new markets.

This might not be too novel of a thought, but what I can identify are the two types of innovation; Product- and Process-Innovation. And from remembering the strategy lectures, Process Innovation follows Product Innovation – and that might indicate a lacking venture ideas in the entrepreneurs market.  I don’t hope that is the case, but it could rather be that we have exhausted current technologies. Perhaps, this can be derived from the fact that big, enabling technologies take a lot of time to develop – far more time than is needed to launch a bunch of start-ups that capitalise on them (especially with the popular lean start-up structure). I interpret it as a call for forward-thinking innovation – strategically going for product innovation when process innovation is “in cycle”.