ArcticEvening Stockholm took place last night in Obaren, Sturehof despite being organised on the same date with Sweden playing against San Marino in football. The event was very high profile due to the panelists, having put in energy to come to Obaren from all over the Baltic region.
The evening was kicked off with me and Karri Saarinen welcoming the crowd as well as going through some new features at ArcticStartup. Next up in line were some messages from our sponsors including Nexit Venture's Michael Mandahl explaining their business and position in this market, Ramine Darabiha promoting the Bootcamp program at Aalto Venture Garage and finally Signom - the online signature service going forward with a rush.
In the panel, we discussed various issues with the three panelists, Kristjan Laanemaa (Ambient Sound Investments), Michael Mandahl (Nexit Ventures) and Daniel Blomquist (Creandum), ranging from venture capital as a business to exit markets. Despite me mentioning the fact that you seldom hear venture capitalists explaining in detail about the challenges they face in their business (not complain, though!) - it was very interesting hearing about the ways of doing business as a venture capitalist.
It was jokingly talked about what makes the whole venture capital business being referred to as the "dark side". All three panelists agreed that things progress best when companies and venture capitalists can work seamlessly and with trust - nobody wants to build a confrontation setup, which the dark side might sometime refer to.
Angel investors were also talked about - from different points of views. Some referred to them as sometimes making the entrepreneur's life very difficult if they have gone through the deals with non-standard terms, which might completely put off the VC investment altogether. It was even mentioned that it might be worthwhile checking the terms you received from the angel with a venture capitalist before signing the deal.
All three panelists praised the knowledge capital in the Nordic and Baltic area and highlighted that as one of our largest strengths. This part of the world has a strong education system that creates quality engineers with strong talent and ideas. Some areas of growth are naturally marketing and sales where we lack our American counterparts.
Finally, the main message of the whole night was more or less answered in the last topic of exit markets. Exit markets are term that cannot really be talked about in a generalised manner, according to the panelists. Exit opportunities come and go, hence you cannot fully prepare for them. You can however, as an entrepreneur, have a talk with your co-founders on when and for what you'd like to sell your company if that possibility turns up. The only way to create a successful company that will attract interest from other companies is to create it a successful business from day one - don't plan for the exit, but excel in your business and follow your passion.
Very wise words and a great panel for a Tuesday evening. We'd like to thank once more, the panelists for coming to the event, the audience and last but definitely not least, our sponsors for making the event possible.
Our sponsors have made the event available free of charge for our guests, so please do take a minute to get familiar with these companies.
Nexit Ventures is a mobile venture capital firm focused on wireless technologies and services. Leveraging its extensive network in the global mobile marketplace, Nexit invests primarily in Nordic and US-based earlystage companies with products and services for a global market. For Nordic mobile companies, Nexit provides a bridge to Silicon Valley markets and exit opportunities.
Nexit has helped several companies in either direction of its bridge, and has subsequently realized several successful exits of its portfolio companies in United States, the worldís leading M&A market for technology ventures. Nexit has offices in Helsinki, Stockholm and Silicon Valley.
What does Signom do? The name and the slogan on their website gives a nod towards the right direction: Signing power. It's a company aimed at solving the age old problem of agreeing on contracts when there's geographical distance between the parties. In other words, its taking out the hassle to create legally valid agreements in today's mobile world.