The Uppsala tech scene is starting to come together with initiatives such as Uppstart, a startup event run by Jason Dainter (who is also one of the writers at Swedish Startup Space). Living in Uppsala, I feel that there has been a lack of connections from companies and the university in Uppsala. I decided to have a chat with one of the people running one of many successful businesses from Uppsala, Joel Falck, from Lykka.
Lykka is an online store where you can buy kitchenware ranging from sushi equipment to outdoor cooking utilities. Joel explains that Lykka tries to collect all these utilities in one place: “There is such a vast amount of fantastic kitchen equipment out there that it feels very good being able to offer it all in one place. We aim to be the online alternative to the kitchen department of Cervera or NK. We bring fresh e-commerce ideas to a vertical that has more or less stagnated”.
The two founders, Joel and Anton Malmberg started their first business selling Moomin mugs that they bought from Iittala through a web shop. This business started when they were in high school, Joel continues: “It became a pretty stable business that we learned a lot from, while dashing between class, the office and the post office. Word spread that we were running our e-commerce site on the popular blog platform WordPress, which lead to a great deal of consulting work building similar solutions to other companies and also helping out with their marketing.”
After a while, both of them felt that they had more to offer than just being the “Moomin lads”, so they phased out their consulting business and sold the coffee mug business
After a while, both of them felt that they had more to offer than just being the “Moomin lads”, so they phased out their consulting business and sold the coffee mug business, and set out on the journey that was to be called Lykka.se.
Phasing out the consulting business seems to have been a smart move on their part, since Joel explains that the biggest challenge they’ve had has been to focus on one project at a time: “We ran a consulting business while having two web shops. It was all so fun that it was hard to make the final decision to let go. Yet starting to focus on only one project, Lykka.se, is one of the most rewarding decisions we have ever made.”.
In 2013, Lykka spent a lot of time financing their present growth and closed a seed funding round with investors, which covered their needs for 2014. “In the middle of last year’s endeavours in the funding area it would have seemed almost crazy to think that we would not be looking for any more funding in such a close future, but presently we actually do not. I believe that it is a good thing to always strive to grow relationships with investors though and that is something we do now to improve our chances to raise another round successfully in 2015.”
The team is now spending a lot of time on being able to scale their business, Joel explains: “We are building capacity to scale, and to do that we are investing both time and money into logistics, technical infrastructure and people. Basically, what we are doing right now is getting ready for the holiday sales of Q4.”
As I mentioned in the beginning, I believe that the startup and entrepreneurial community has started to come together, and Joel fully agrees: “The Uppsala startup and entrepreneurial community has started to show signs of tremendous potential lately. New people have appeared on the scene and new startups pop up while the community also is attracting more and more interest from outside investors and entrepreneurs.”
Joel identifies one of the problems that the business experiences and networking has traditionally been concentrated on academic businesses such as biotech: “It is liberating to see that other types of venues are appearing, like Uppstart for example. Also I think that the people at Connect do a great job. I think that it is very important for the startup community in Uppsala that we pull students of the academic world into the entrepreneurial business world.
To simply meet entrepreneurs, investors and other doers opens eyes in a dramatic way and therefore I think that having as many meeting places as possible is incredibly important in order to increase the number of startups in Uppsala.”
It is liberating to see that other types of venues are appearing, like Uppstart for example