We haven’t focused nearly enough on the startup scene on the west coast, so I caught up with David Brudö from Gothenburg. He works with startups such as Fyndiq, Destly, Remente and Kochpost.
Tell us about yourself and your background
I went from being a dreadlocked skateboarding socialist in my teens to work as substitute teacher, breakdance instructor and studying commercial law, before finding my true calling as an entrepreneur. After complementing my law degree with a degree from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, I’ve done nothing but startups. Even if my teen self would look at me today with some skepticism, I feel that entrepreneurship is about being a rebel. It’s about breaking boundaries, and most of us do it, not for the money (then I would have become an investment banker instead), but to make a change, do good and build beautiful things that people love.
Last year you among a few other people were voted “Sveriges hetaste digitala entreprenörer 2012” by the newspaper Internetworld. Tell us about that!
It’s all about the vanity metrics! Jokes aside, it’s always great and humbling to be acknowledged for the hard and sometimes seemingly ungrateful work being done, but it’s really not about awards or accolades, it’s about building a business that makes life a little bit better for its customers.
You are working with both Destly and Fyndiq. How are you able to juggle those two?
Actually, I am involved in four startups, and I wouldn’t say it’s easy or something I would recommend. Then again, I’m not involved in the daily operations of all these startups. In terms of Fyndiq, I act as Chairman of the Board and strategic management. Destly, I run with two other guys and my wife. She’s the CEO, so I do what she says… just like at home! Apart from Fyndiq and Destly, I’ve co-founded Kochpost, a grocery subscription service in Switzerland, and Remente, a mental gym online.
Remente is about helping people and organizations to improve their mental strength and reach their goals. Remente did grow out of the need of being able to balance life better and exercising the mind, so my bets are on this startup to solve the juggling between all the companies I’m involved in. We have a killer team of experts and are taking best practices from psychology, coaching and mental training to create an easy to use online tool for improving quality of life. Right now, Remente is preparing a crowdfunding round with our friends at FundedByMe, so make sure to check that out!
How is the startup scene in Gothenburg?
There are a lot of cool companies working under the radar. The Gothenburg spirit is kind of, shut up and work, and most startups do not make to much fuzz about themselves. The scene is not really brought together like in Stockholm, but there are aspirations. Business incubator Chalmers Innovation is now working to become a hub for startups in the region, and they’ve reworked their model to facilitate entrepreneurs and startups better, which is exciting to see.
Are you meeting with other Swedish startups much?
Many of my best friends are entrepreneurs, so in that sense, yes. Apart from that, not so much. I try to meet other startups when there’s time for it, for an occasional lunch or so. Being a father to a one year old son, I tend to prioritize family with the little spare time I have, so there’s not much time for meet-ups and startup events.
What could be done to improve the climate in Gothenburg for entrepreneurs?
For one, creating more of a community feel. I think Stockholm is a stellar example of that. Startups can learn a lot from each other and by joining forces, I think the startup community could lobby towards politicians for better support. I do have some ideas about mobilizing the community in Gothenburg, but then I need the time to do something about it. Regionally, Almi and Västra Götalandsregionen have funds and grants to help new startups, but there needs to be much more of that. In general, I think there’s an urgent need of more funding alternatives for Swedish startups.
There’s a lot of talk about supporting and promoting entrepreneurs in Sweden, but very little action. We have better startups than ever and the Swedish startup scene is one of the best in Europe, but the early stage funding situation in Sweden is really embarrassing. The politicians need to create better incentives to encourage seed and early stage investors to start investing again.