I am not a startup. I am a scaleup.
At our growth labs, we meet companies that have come past the startup stage, have product-market fit, or work in an industry that is mature and want to grow even more faster.
Being in the Nordics within the tech sector is wonderful — but here is our reasoning on why we chose to work with companies that have come further down the road in their company life cycle i.e. they have product-market fit if they have a tech DNA, or have revenues if they are a company that is slightly more traditional i.e. not fully in the tech world.
Sweden is great to be within technology, and start something — the data is clear
4% of startups have turn over of 500K EUR after 3 years — valley of death
But if you peel the onion further, the above data is influenced by a heavy dose of 80–20 rule, as you would expect. 4% of startups have a turn over of 500K EUR after 3 years, 0.4% of them have a turn over of 10M EUR after 5 years. So of course, large parts of the exit data, jobs created etc. are from companies that have clearly come past this valley of death.
The ecosystem for these scale ups is not well formed yet
However, large parts of the tech ecosystem is structured around these early stage companies, which per se is not bad, but there is a glaring hole in the market when it comes to companies that have come past the startup stage. Founders we speak to that have come past this stage have challenges that they feel they get very little help from. If these founders have a network from the past, that helps — but if you are a relatively inexperienced entrepreneur that happened to be sitting at the helm of a scale up, you need help.
What about outside the tech ecosystem — companies that have different fundamentals?
While most focus of media, money etc. are on tech companies, there is a large dose of SMEs that are digitalising their business even more. These SMEs have been around for 5–7 years on average, have revenues of 3–30M EUR, and realise they can take home more efficiencies and growth if they use digital principles to grow their core even more. These SMEs are sitting in their own bubble with absolutely no connection to the tech ecosystem. There are approximately 150,000 such SMEs that fit this category.
Enter SEB in 2016
At Result, we work with SEB running their innovation lab out of our innovation space Epicenter. The innovation lab primarily focuses on intrapreneurs from within the organisation that have a problem or idea that they want to work on, form teams, prototype, test and iterate within 6 week cycles that have metered funding. In this context, we met a fantastic team of intrapreneurs Fredrik Josefsson, Anna Månsson, Johan Johansson who were passionate to understand how can the bank take on a bigger role to support companies to grow even more. The bank naturally cares about the growth of their clients, but more importantly take the position in the private sector as an organisation that cares about others and their growth ambitions. We joined forces to do Greenhouse — a platform for scale ups to meet, learn, teach and work deep with their growth challenges through curated programs.
Greenhouse runs meetups, networking events, a big ass summit for 300+ scale ups (happens this March for this year) and a scale up lab with us where we meet 20 companies for 10 weeks with the ambition to really put them on a different growth trajectory. We take the companies through our growth-o-meter framework, where they identify challenges for them to grow, commit to a 10 week plan, and get help to make the plan happen. We combine this with a curated community of mentors, specific hand picked partners and of course some inspiration on how others have solved their challenges. At the end of the 10 weeks, they commit to a 100 and 200 day growth plan and we follow them up there.
You can also see a visualisation we did for Starstable on how their growth challenges changed over the course of 5 years where they moved from few hundred thousand users to several million girls playing the game.
This year to increase our scale, we have decided to make this pan-Nordic — by working with the Nordic council of ministers and their organisation called Nordic Innovation. Together with Greenhouse and Nordic Innovation, we think we can actually help create more growth across the spectrum of scale ups (from SMEs to those in the tech sector) that the Nordic continues to punch above its weight.
Here is a video (42 seconds long)SEB has made at the end of the 10 weeks capturing some of the sentiments from the last lab we had in the autumn of 2017.
If you are a scale up (revenues of at least 2M EUR or raised Series A funding of 2M EUR) and are interested to join us either for the summit or the lab you can apply here.