This week, we launched a think tank, a global expert network and a book. All about the future and how to navigate it. Here is the story.

By Lars Tvede

Innovation is my professional passion. That’s why I wrote the trilogy “The Creative Society” about the dynamics of innovation, “The Goose with the Golden Eggs” (only in Danish) on the political framework for a creative society, and now “Supertrends” on the innovations we can expect in the future. And that’s why I co-founded the venture capital company Nordic Eye, which has so far invested in — and supported — 17 innovative start-up companies.

As venture capitalists, we receive a huge amount of pitch decks. Before deciding whether they are interesting at all, we screen them quickly. Then, if one seems interesting, we re-read more carefully. And if we still like it after that, we initiate a dialog.

We know that this screen-quickly-first approach is a very common. The company Docsend makes software that enables companies provides to check if or when their recipient open a document, and how long they each and average look at each page. In a study of 200 pitch decks, Docsend and a Harvard professor analyzed what happened…

As venture capitalists, we meet lots and lots of startup entrepreneurs, and some are clearly very good at articulating briefly and concisely what their business is all about.

But others aren’t. And lets face it; in some cases, we end up scratching our heads and asking each other: “Did you understand what they did?”

The purpose of the elevator pitch is to provide a simple explanation of what the company wants to achieve, which is articulated in such a short and simple way that it can be told to someone in an elevator from the ground floor to about…

In the early days of any start-up, lots of plans and intentions change very quickly — often so quickly that it makes no sense to write long and elaborate business plans.

The alternative is a so-called business canvas, which is an informal tool for making your continuous business model design. Its visual form can be something as simple as a large sheet — for example A3 — with space for each of many strategic areas. This canvas is now filled with bullet points and possibly also small diagrams, but no long text. An alternative format is yellow note stickers…

One of the great improvements for entrepreneurs over the last 10 years or so, is a vast reduction in the time and cost needed for getting your start-up company named and branded, etc. through crowdsourcing. Also, your choice of great options has gone up at the same time.

Finding and registering brand names, slogans and domains for your company and products

• GoDaddy — — for finding and registering domain names plus renting webspace.

• Slogan Slingers — — crowdsourcing of slogans.

• Squadhelp — — crowdsourcing of brand names.

• The Name App — — an app you can use to search for available domains.

• UnoEuro…

As venture capitalists, we very often experience investor presentations which quickly move into a lot of technical details. And by “quickly”, I mean before we have even formed a basic initial opinion about whether the company and its idea might be interesting to us at all.


The rest of such an investor presentation can be a waste of time for both parties. …

Occasionally, founders of startups approach seed investors with expectations that are very unrealistic. For instance, I have seen them cases where they present a 10-year budget, calculate an exit value based on the planned scenario 10 years out and ask investors to accept that future valuation today.

That will in all likelihood not work (at all), since professional venture investors:

· Require compensation for high degrees of uncertainty

· Require compensation for illiquidity

The table below shows the names of the different investment rounds as the business grows, as well as indications of how many times investors will expect…


Should you mention company valuation in your first pitch meeting?

Sometimes we see company pitches where the offered terms are made clear form the start. These are so-called “priced rounds”, and there can be reasons to use this approach, especially if many smaller investors are expected, or if a well-known financial institution leads the process and has made a qualified estimate of what re fair terms.

Get a shared vision of the company before pricing it

However, in a lot of cases, it is better to postpone any specific discussion of terms until you as an entrepreneur has established…


As venture capitalists, we see lots of great investor pitches — and unfortunately also some bad ones.

The typical bad presentation goes into a lot of technical details way too early … which means way before we have decided whether we are potentially interested at all. That is a big mistake.

Why? Because typical professional venture investors see loads of pitch decks every week and have loads of pitch meetings as well. The main investor focus in each of these early stage presentation is quite simple. It is:

“Should I spend more time on this?”

If you start overloading…

You have a great idea. But should you talk about it widely? Or only selectively? Or should you, as Apple typically does, keep it a secret until the product is launched? Here are some thoughts …

Discussing to get inspiration

My general advice is to talk quite a lot about your idea, and the reason is that initially, it is probably not as great as you think — or at least rather incomplete. In fact, entrepreneurs will very often build successful companies that are quite different from what they originally envisaged.

In other words, ideas need to evolve, and…

Lars Tvede

Serial entrepreneur gone venture capitalist. Bestselling author, co-founder of Nordic Eye Venture Capital. Soft spot for skiing and sailing.

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