The Founder – back in the driver’s seat

Something very healthy has happened on the Nordic start-up scene. And probably I’m just slow noticing, but it’s not until recently that I’ve realized the fact that Founders are taking back control of their creations. Probably I have been in too many board- and investors meetings where the well-being of Founders as well as companies has been at the mercy of capitalists rather than where it should be, with Founders and customers. The realization comes to me as I flip through the newly published hot-lists of Sweden’s tech companies. A healthy majority of them have the Founders as sole or major owners. Compare five to ten years back and I’m sure the cut was different. The move away from early stages by venture capital, the shake-out of non-performing funds has surely fuelled this transition. But even more importantly it’s most likely driven by emerging serial entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who have lived in and learned from the US venture community where Founders keep a stronger grip of their companies. Couple this with society embracing the Founder and the entrepreneur, rather than the capitalist and we will see a new spring in Sweden and Europe. We’re simply maturing our start-up community. Our societal values are shifting to the benefit of the Founder, the risk-taker, the non-conformist, the entrepreneur, and the source of future social well-being. We’ll for sure see further careful and selective infusion of the limited venture capital which still is available, but instead of standing in front, venture capitalists will stand behind and be selected rather than select among the leading Founders. It’s finally spring.

/Johan

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One Response to The Founder – back in the driver’s seat

  1. Anders Björkenbo says:

    I think you are on to something here. I also think this trend is combined with a re-start, re-boot, trend that comes from a situation where the VCs have pushed the “capital-share” of the value creation to an unbalanced situation vis-a-vis the Founder and failed to take a step back and admit mutual fault from an owner and board perspective (assuming that the board is an owner based board). The opportunity here is for anyone willing and able to mitigate the positions of the VC and the Founder, cut through the negative historical knots and re-boot the company with customer references and eco-system intact.

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