Holiday Message 2016 – Building Character
Dear friends, dear A&D family, It’s been a brilliant year for our business! VC money poured over Northern Europe and it has never been better to be an entrepreneur in our part of the world. What a chance for us to develop A&D and our character — both as entrepreneurs and as an investment team!
With activity in Stockholm soaring, we looked East and did our first investment in Finland. Sympa, the creation of Keijo and his sister, is a gem in the Nordic startup scene and we hope we will be with the company for a very long time. Sympa provides an easily integrated, easy to use and fun tool for business leaders to maximise the value of their workforce. We seriously recommend their product – surf here to find out more.
Elsewhere in our world, Oscar took the helm of Trustly. The company now turns approximately $4bn on its platform annually and has made significant inroads into Continental, Central and Eastern Europe, connecting banks that enable some 400 million European consumers to pay straight from their bank accounts. And the journey has just begun. As Britain decided to leave the EU, Trustly decided to love Britain, opening an office in London.
At Phoniro, Pontus celebrated his first anniversary as CEO and brought about stability. With his competent team, he has paved the road for growth. Over the summer, we also added Gothenburg based company JoiceCare to the family, making Phoniro the market leader within e-monitoring in elderly care.
Acast, the one-stop hub for podcasting, continued its hyper growth and is now recording sales in excess of $1m monthly with a run rate of some 600m listens annually on the platform. That’s close to 35,000 man years of listening in a single year. As we enter 2017, the company is about to become the biggest commercial podcasting hub on the planet.
Erik and his team at Quinyx really accelerated its international expansion, adding for the first time more new business outside Sweden than within. In the UK, more and more customers now enjoy the Quinyx experience, helping their businesses to sell more, schedule staff more efficiently and simply enjoy work.
At our end, we continued our search for meaning and discovered that our business has a lot to do with character. In order for our investment business to survive, and ultimately scale, we need to be stringent. We defined the ground rules for our business. These are laid on the basis of empathy for each other and include being proactive, professional and curious. We put great focus on customers, with a sound commercial (but not greedy) attitude. We want to be fast at making decisions, without putting the blame on each other if things go wrong. And we always want to give energy to the people around us.
Ultimately we are still in the game to do the three things that we set out to do in 2010: To have fun. To find purpose. And to run a profitable business.
At the end of the year, some 500 people are working for the companies in our family, our investee companies. Thank you for your tremendous work. And a special thanks to our leaders. We know it can be lonely at times.
A big thank you to all the entrepreneurs we met this year. We are big fans and admirers.
And last but not least, to our co-investors. We hope you are having as much fun as we do. We love working with you and look forward to the future together.
With love and respect,
Your A&D Team