TALKBBQ: Tine Thygesen, chairman at The Creators Community



Do we have a ‘founder friendly’ culture in the Nordic countries? What does it mean? And more important, how do we co-create a ‘founder friendly’ culture in the Nordic region? inQvation has joined forces with TechBBQ and Synch to take a closer look at the term: ‘founder friendly’ and what it really means. In this series of articles, we’ve asked five central stakeholders in the ecosystem to provide us with their views on the Nordic investment culture.

Tine Thygesen is the Chairman of The Creators Community. She is a well-known thought leader in digitalization and entrepreneurship, and speaks at events all over the world. She cofounded Founders House in 2011 and Startup Village in 2013, then stepped into operations as Group CEO after a merge with Mesh in Norway in 2016. Tine has more than a decade of experience in internet businesses at the senior executive level, specializing in innovation management for scalable technology products and operations. She has been listed as one of the Top 10 Tech Speakers in Europe, Top 100 Women in Tech in Europe, and on the Talent100 in Denmark.

Do we need to say more why we have invited her to speak about the Nordic investment culture?

What do you think about the Nordic investment culture?

The Nordic investment culture has moved a long way during the last 10 years. More actors have arrived on the start-up scene and there has been a professionalization and internationalization of the field. The result is that we now have several investors at an international level, and that the general level has been raised.

More investors also mean that different types of founders and startups are now able to raise capital, because the scope is wider. Finally, more investors means that there’s an element of competition in getting to invest in the most promising companies, that creates urgency which is of further benefit to the startups. All in all, the last decade has created vast improvements.

Tine Thygesen, Chairman at The Creators Community

Is it ‘founder friendly’?

I believe we are getting closer and closer to a founder-friendly culture. This is led by the professional investors and funds that specialize in startups, such as Heart.core and similar venture companies. Having said that, investing in unlisted shares is still for a small minority and the press are still predominantly negative towards companies that prioritize growth over profit, which is illustrated in this article about Vivino’s growth strategy. So we have a way to go yet.

What is ‘founder friendly’ investments according to you?

Founder friendliness is about good terms for the founders both if things go well and if they go poorly. It’s also about understanding how startups work and being on board with the aggressive, disruptive style of business that startups prefer.

Startups’s lifeblood is customers, capital and talent. So to keep them in the region we must have a culture where companies and consumers are willing to buy products and services from untested startups. Secondly we need stable tax legislation that give investors confidence to invest long term, and make the risk worthwhile for the founders. Thirdly we need immigration legislation that enable us to bring in talent from other countries.

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