Swedish Startup Space

STHLMTech Meetup: Hommels and Lakestar

Written by on June 19, 2014

It’s another full house at the STHLMTech meetup tonight, and it’s no surprise. The event’s page on meetup.com surpassed 2,000 members, and I can see by how long the line outside the auditorium is that at least fifteen million of them are here tonight.

One thing I notice every time I volunteer at the TechMeetups is the variety of people who attend. I see everybody from freshman students to start-up CEOs to investment fund reps, all shuffling in and sitting shoulder to shoulder and chatting excitedly with each other. Everybody’s here to meet new people. Everybody’s mingling and we haven’t even started drinking yet. Love it.

The show kicks off with a sponsor plug. We wouldn’t be here without them. There’s a new addition to the list of sponsors tonight, NasdaqOMX. Nice.

Tonight’s event is something special. And not just because I’m writing about it. Klaus Hommels and the Lakestar team are our guests for the evening. Lakestar is an investment house currently holding some serious stock in some equally serious Swedish startups. Skype, Spotify, King, Klarna, Tictail and Stardoll are but some of the ornaments in their portfolio. Hommels has a thing for Swedish tech startups, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t. That’s why we’re all here tonight. Klaus currently sits on the board of a couple of Swedish companies, including Klarna. Also, Hommels is apparently the 50th wealthiest person in the world (the list fluctuates constantly). The audience listens intently, hoping to glean some sage advice from the man with the so-called Midas touch.

And there is much to glean indeed. Hommels is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Keen thoughts and concise words make for some very quotable quotes, most of which I can’t remember because you should have been there that’s why.

On the topic of short and focused pitches, Klaus says “Your girlfriend just wants the rose, not the 4kg of green stuff around it.” You have to admire his bluntness. Lakestar partner Manu Gupta is equally curt on his advice to entrepreneurs, “Be blunt! Here is the problem: 1-2-3. Here is the solution: 1-2-3. And here is how we address that.”

“Your girlfriend just wants the rose, not the 4kg of green stuff around it.”

My takeaway from the Lakestar discussion? Stockholm has some elite entrepreneurs, and some world-class ideas. And when they keep doing what they’re good at, they attract some legend-class attention. Basically if you keep on entrepreneurializing and playing your cards right folks, then someday if you dream big enough you too can one day write an article about the STHLM TechMeetups.

Lakestar also reveal that they’ve invested in SUP46. Well done!

Woop! It’s pitching time! If it were up to me I would have the audience give a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate live or die, just like Emperor Commodus from the Gladiator movie. But I’m no Commodus, and the pitchers are left to fend for themselves in yet another round of cutthroat questioning from our cold hard analytical guests. It’s like a gauntlet with a big fat check at the end. And in this case also a voucher for a free shirt for the winner courtesy of Shirtonomy. The pitches are always a pleasure to watch. You never know what you’re going to see. From tiny telephone watches for your children, to coffee-on-wheels, to the two startups tonight:

“Be blunt! Here is the problem: 1-2-3. Here is the solution: 1-2-3. And here is how we address that.”

Dreams, an app that gamifies saving money for things like new shoes, cameras or vacations. Their UI is beautiful, and the idea is intriguing but the Lakestar team express some concerns about the user’s commitment to gamification, especially if the immediate reward is to abstain from any immediate reward. Getting users to abide by their own saving ‘code of honor’ is a challenge. Looking forward to seeing how Dreams’ addresses that issue.

Next up is Scrive, a digital signing service/app with some impressive security features. Scrive releases itself from being the middleman once any client signs their forms, an advantage that its competitors haven’t quite mastered. Lukas is as confident in his product as you would want an entrepreneur to be . He’s taken a ton of precautions to make sure his clients don’t end up in court, something that is probably under-appreciated by most users of e-signing tools.

We’re running out of time and sadly there’s no time for DigiExam’s pitch. A show of hands shows Scrive as the clear winner for this evening. Enjoy that sweet sweet shirt, Lukas from Scrive!

Uber take the stage to tell us about their ridiculous Uberboat news. My predictions for next year? UberSub, UberSegway, and UberOstrich.

Next up is the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES) who tell us about their brand new pre-incubator co-working space called Campus on Saltmätargatan 9, which opens its doors in August. All students and alumni of SSES and its five member universities (KTH, KI, SU, SSE, and Konstfack) are eligible to apply. Great to see more incubators and co-working spaces popping up in Stockholm. Rock on.

Last on stage is @JulikaLamberth, telling us about a frankly awesome website called visitstockholm.se, a definitive guide for anyone interested in moving to the Capital of Scandinavia. It’s got info on everything from fika to communicating with various government agencies. Nicely Done!

Tyler concludes the evening with a reminder to attend the next monthly meetup in August (none in July). I’m sure we’ll get plenty of reminders between now and then. Last but not least Tyler announces a giant TechFest on September 5th 2014 at the Waterfront Hotel, with capacity for 3000 people. He doesn’t reveal too many details yet, but it will be an all-day event with attendees from all over the world. Also, some local DJ called Avicii will be playing. It’s going to be an spectacular fall season for tech Startups in Stockholm!

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