Check it out, what Mr. Bitcoin has to say to you!

Ludvig is the co-Founder of Safello, SC2BTC, Swedish Bitcoin Foundation and Satoshi Square Stockholm. One of Veckans Affärers top 101 Supertalents of 2016 with over 5 years of experience within Blockchain and Bitcoin.

 

He fоund Safello in 2013 and since then it has become one of the leading bitcoin exchanges in Sweden.  Last year he joned ChromaWay, that is developing blockchain and smart contract solutions.

 

How did you start your career in fintech?

 

It wasn’t on a hackathon, I actually started my career by co-founding Safello with three other people. I am myself more of a business background.

 

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

 

It probably has to do something with different press releases, when something went wrong and we needed to fix it and half of the article came out with the right message and half of it did not.

 

But otherwise it might be like being overconfident with a client and at the end we couldn’t deliver in time. These were not single events, but more like general mistakes I’ve been doing.  The important thing is to learn from these mistakes and ask for help if you need to. Don’t be afraid to take the advice of those who have more experience than you do.

 

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

 

A few years ago we didn’t really know which way things would go. We didn’t know if banks would fight this technology and try to keep it out or try to join and innovate. Now I think it is clear that the second option should be taken and we need to integrate it into our systems. That, together with opening up data and encouraging open competition, can lead to better services for customers.

 

We need to push this fintech wave and we’ll only grow if we follow these trends like in the new EU regulatory framework, so there will be more and more competition where fintech startups are coming and take a bit of the cake.

 

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive in this situation?  

 

They should not only innovate for the innovation’s sake – as I feel that most banks are innovating for the PR. They should actually look for long-term goals and how it integrates with their system and with who they are as a company.

If you only do a shallow corporation, then it does not lead to anything long-term and it will be just a waste of time for everybody. Banks need to think about integrating the ideas created in startup ecosystems. Different banks are doing this in different ways, but most of the time there is someone high up, like a Chief Innovation Manager, who knows the whole corporate structure and who can help startups to get to the right places within the banks.

 

Also, banks cannot do everything, and I think that the time, when banks provided all services for everyone is over and they have to specialize in what they are good at and cooperate with new startups and people offering services and integrate these for their customers.

 

Still the banks are the hubs where customers are looking for all the services. I think they should dare to perceive it as an ecosystem where other people can have access to their customers, rather than to let them leave and go away from the main platform.

 

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

 

I would probably ask him about all his negative comments about bitcoin and then the way he became a pro in the blockchain technologies, so I would probably talk with him about that. He probably has some Keynesian economic thoughts, but it would be interesting to hear how bitcoin will fit into the current infrastructure in the financial sector.

 

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?  

 

Cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technologies are game changers because they have the capabilities to change the whole financial industry not just a specific sector.  I think it can do it so in a very substantial way. I see this as if it was the start of the internet, we can build new applications and a whole new infrastructure, which makes me very enthusiastic about it.

 

If you were hitting on a girl/man working with fintech, what would be your pickup line?

 

Some people have called me the Mr. Bitcoin of Sweden, so I might would use that one then. Hopefully it would work 😀

 

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

 

If you look at how the world has changed, you might see that your parents used to read newspapers, now you have an iPad. If you look at the banks, the same thing happens. The future of banks are going to be drastically different. That is quite natural, so it is very interesting field to be in, because it affects everyone. Everyone uses financial services, everyone takes a loan or buy things, send payments, and so on.

 

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

 

I would say that is Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented bitcoin, but we don’t know who that is. So I think that Sebastian from Klarna is doing a great job if we are looking at Sweden. I think that there are lot of people who are doing a great work, but I wouldn’t say that any of them are superstars, but I think that there are a lot of different companies doing a lot of cool things.

 

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

If we get to Mars, there are probably gonna be banks, yes, I assume so. How will they look when we come to that point, I don’t know. There might be a delete all and might not be physical banks on Mars, but at least there may be banking services.

 

Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

 

Yes, i think we are getting closer and closer there. I think we might end up with a lot of different ones, we might end up with different national currencies, but more and more of the kind of traditional fashion is to look at bitcoin and blockchain technologies and kind of use that technology to get an updated infrastructure, so we might end up in a world, where bitcoin will be a world currency that is not used for everyday purchases, but more for international transactions.

 

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

 

Yes, I use bitoins often. Webhallen in Sweden is one of the biggest stores you can use Bitcoins to buy electronics, for example. I have bought T-shirts, and so on. I don’t do it on a daily basis, but I do use bitcoins regularly.

 

What message would you send to wannabe entrepreneurs?

You should dare to take risks and get help from other people. Throw yourself out there and try to validate your ideas and see if they stick and get help from other people, because you don’t know everything when you are starting up. So dare things, that is my most important piece of advice.

More information about Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233








Which learning method is the best if you want to launch a startup? See what Sreemati Lalgudi, head of product management at Qbrick recommends you to do!

Sree is the project manager of Qbrick, the North Star of video technology. Her background is in payments industry and engineering where she has been working for 5 years.

She is superenthusiastic to see young talents on Startup Weekend!

 

How did you start your career in fintech?

I started my career in a very traditional way. I did my masters as a software engineer, but I have to say I had a very agile career path. If I didn’t like a theme too much, then I felt like I could experiment a little bit more and tried to fulfill different roles. I love technology but I also enjoy working with business. That’s why I am in product phase, because there you can make ideas happen and you can still work with technology and business. So this is how I shaped my career to

When I came to Sweden I tried to find a job and I happened to start working for a mobile startup where I got involved in payment methods.

 

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

 

I like payment industry very much. Even though it is very standardized right now, there is still so much room for innovation. Right now we are for example tackling how the mindset of consumers regarding finance is changing. They are not ruled by institutions anymore, but they are ruled by convenience and efficiency. They are ruled by: “Here is the problem, let’s solve it!”

 

That is why I think that payment industry is so interesting, since there are so much evolution to happen. There are a lot of structures and standards which are good, but they don’t necessarily confine the consumer. Technology should not be complex. We can make these things easier and the same time giving consumers what they need. For example banking for the non-banks, blockchain technology, all this to make things less complicated and to embrace simplicity in the compliance side. I think those are the sides where we should innovate and to find the problems of consumers and solve them.

 

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?  

 

Actually I see two. On one hand I see Klarnas and iZettles getting along. They are working in a space where they say: “Hello banks or financial institutions! This is how you have been doing things! Now we are doing them differently!” They are making things easier for the consumers and for the businesses in between the banks and the consumers. So the first opportunity / gamechanger lies when you start defining your ways based on the needs of the market and the consumer.

On the other hand,  look at Stripes and Braintrees. Braintree is a spinoff of Paypal and what those guys did very good was that they simplified the technology behind. So, simplification of the complex technology is definitely the second game changer now.

 

Who is the Elon Musk or Zuckerberg of fintech on your opinion?

 

I think we have a lot of them. But the guy who invented bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, might be THE one. He took this idea to make the currency as a gamespace and make payments secure and standardized across the world, which is fun.

 

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

 

I think there are going to be virtual banks. But what I also think we should not limit our thinking. The idea of startups is not to build a spaceship, but to aim for the spaceship. If we can solve the technology need and the challenge where payments can happen without challenges between countries, then why not? It is still not simple, but once we solved that, then Mars will be the simpler question in the pile. But we will get there, definitely.  

 

How on your opinion will Trump influence startup climat?

 

Please don’t let them Trump it! I know that it is crazy. There are Swedish startups that are going global and the first place they expand is the US. If that community feeling at startups start to become difficult, then it can become challenging.

 

I hope that the new government will realize that it is a healthy thing that globalization is happening and startup communities are growing on this shared knowledge and economy in general and in fintech as well. Working in payments industry I see that there are so many different startups and that is affecting how things can be made simple for consumers. I hope that the new US government won’t make it challenging for them.

 

What can US banks do in this situation?  

 

I think that banks per se could learn from Swedish banks. Swedish banks are traditional in many ways, but what they have done very well was that they came together and did a lot of innovation, like Swish. I don’t know if everyone is aware of that, but the technology behind it, was simplified and standardized. So even though these banks are competing each other, they are still working together to innovate. This is one way to do it.

Another one is that banks need to change their way of thinking and start to understand their customers’ needs and not dictate them as they have done before. Banks need to make it easy for innovators to create a platform. Then the banks can still be there, because they have the infrastructure, they can just let the people run with it. The health care is doing this and if banks need to replicate that, then we could create a shared economy in fintech, which would be beneficial for all of us.

 

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

 

“There is an app for your piggy bank.” This is where the fintech industry is heading to. A 6 year-old understands iPhone as much as a 60 years old. Why? Because of its simplicity of use. And if someone can create something that can be used a 6 years old and a 60 years old, that is the thing. There is an app for everything. People will forget that they had piggy banks. There are many parts of the world, where people don’t use cards too much – when I go back to India, I always have to remember to take out money. We adapt to everything, we do what is the easiest.

 

What message would you send to you in the past,  let’s say you 20 years younger?

 

I would say: don’t be afraid and don’t follow the norms. If you think that you can do things differently, just pursue it. You will both fail and succeed, but failure is  not a full stop, but it is the progression to the absolute path to success. Just don’t be afraid.

 

What advice can you give to Startup Weekend participants?

 

I remember once I was participating in Startup Weekends with an idea. I really pursued it and everything was good, but sometimes you might find bottlenecks. The thing that I have learned is that if something is technology based and you are in control of it, then it is simpler to implement if you are focusing on those ideas. Those ones that require the connection of physical equipment and technology can take longer time. You need to be able to take a chance on that. Those ideas that can be onboarded quickly are better first, because otherwise there will be more factors that you can’t be controlling. So that’s my advice.

 

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

I do not use bitcoins, but I am very interested in it. Bitcoins make the technology simpler, but I like working on ideas that make everyday life easier.

 

Can you imagine a world with only cryptocurrencies?

 

I can, because I think if you can solve the problem of cryptocurrencies being used in every channels, whether it is mobile, laptops, desktops, then it can work.

 

Any last notes?

 

Just don’t stop trying – one percent of ideas will be successful, it may be your idea that you have, or could be one out of the 100 ideas that you have tried. Just try fast, use lean methods, go and validate and make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. And when you do mistakes, do it cheap. You will reach that one percent of the ideas, just keep on trying. You should just keep pursuing your dreams.

 

Use this weekend to onboard your ideas, but also learn from everyone, because this is a platform, where you can really take an idea to execution very quickly. The idea is not only to win, which you can also aim for, but to learn. Startup Weekend is a place for you to fail fast and cheap. Have that mindset to learn from your peers, mentors and the process in general. And don’t forget to have fun, because it is awesome!

More information about Stockholm Startup Weekend – Fintech here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233








Robert Pohl, mentor of Startup Weekend Fintech gave us a few hints of a techie’s life

Robert is a hands-on techie who loves to create services that people would want to use. He has 15 years of software development experience doing creative solutions for major brands and businesses. He has always been improving creativity, development and internet related businesses.


Why on your opinion it is so much buzz around fintech?

It is a lot of buzz, but not always groundbreaking. New solutions and services will make a big difference in most peoples lives soon.


How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid

Fintech is for banks and shops what Minecraft is for games.


Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?  

PSD2 will change the game, since it gives the power from the banks to the people.


As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest (professional) fuckup?
Hmm.. not really 🙂 Well, mistakes I’ve made has a lot to do with trusting people and always expecting them to act reasonable.
If you were hitting on someone working with fintech, what would be your pickup line?

Hey there handsome, how do you get paid?


If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

Would You Rather Fight a Horse-Sized Duck or a Hundred Duck-Sized Horses?

Who is Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

All of us trying to make a difference and chasing the dream.


What message would you send to you in the past  let’s say 20 years younger?

Go on.. this will change your life for the better.


Do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

No, but there will be Mars-Bars !


Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive?  

Listen to and invest in new companies.


How did you start your career?

I got an ZX81 computer from my grandfather. Since it din’t have any games, we bough a C64 and then i started to code C64 Basic.

The rest is, as they say; Many hours copying code from books and magazines, letter by letter, trying to make a balloon bounce on the screen….
There are only two days left and you can ask your own question from Robert on Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech @ SUP46!
More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233







Frank Schuil, CEO of Safello, mentor of Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech

How did you start your career in fintech?

I started straight from school. I had a group project and I asked the teacher if I could do something else outside the scope of the project and alone. I chose to work on a location-based social network which became my first company. So it all came very naturally.

What message would you send to your 20 years younger self?

When I was 10 I didn’t know what I wanted to do, when I was 16, I wanted to be a DJ, when I was 18 I wanted to be a rapper and at 20–22 I started my first company. The lessons I learned as an entrepreneur regarding my current company would probably lead me to advise: “Be careful to start a fintech company” . There are so many regulations, so much redtape and regulatory complications and no bank wants to work with you. So I would actually have picked an easier area. Nevertheless we are working with many institutions, like Skatteverket, Financial Inspection and top four bank in Sweden and Barclays, so we have our fair share in working with banks. They are not unwilling, but they are also bound by regulations.

What would you recommend to young founders?

Go as far as you can without taking in investment money and until you you have some product market fit, because once the investment money comes in, the expectations rise.

“Don’t necessarily go for the highest valuation, which is something you naturally wanna do, but I know from experience that you can inflate your valuation where you will need to defend what you have first and then build on top of that to raise your next round. This can lead to higher expectations and pressure that you probably don’t need in the beginning.”

Picking the right team is very important too, in the beginning.

Who are the co-founders? How do you hire them in a later stage?

That’s the most important. So you typically have 4 years vesting and you do a 1 year cliff, so those who leave earlier, before the 4 years pass, return all or part of their equity. That’s a healthy way to filter out those who end up not being motivated. It happens in many companies that some founders leave.

With your founders you have to have a good vesting scheme. If somebody has to leave early, the equity should flow back to the company.

Then you have to put up a stock option pool that incentivises employees. This happens to be quite hard in Sweden due to tax reasons. So that might lead to a bit of a complication. In certain countries it works better than in others, but you want to motivate them by doing the same kind of vesting scheme for employees so they are part of the company. Otherwise you just have to pay which means that you are burning cash.

Nevertheless, in Sweden more and more people are getting familiar with the startup world and more people are incentivised by it. In a startup it’s better to set it up early and have those incentives in place, because if your valuation goes up, or if you are overvalued it even becomes a burden for the employee in some cases to pay for the initial options.

Has it happened, that your investors wanted to switch one of the founders?

No it hasn’t happened to me. There has mostly been frictions between the founders and I think that in general this is the case. It is rare that the investors have frictions with the founders to the point where they replace them — it can happen mostly in the growth phase, when different expertise is needed. This is what happened at Google for example when Eric Schmidt became the Chairman and Larry Page, the COO. So you might switch around a little bit and change roles. Founder driven companies are statistically the best performing companies, so when you have a change from the Board of Directors, it is probably not a good sign.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

In Europe particularly there is the Payment Service Directive which requires banks to open up their data for the fintech market, a huge opportunity. Also, there are already many fintech companies that try to disrupt the existing incumbents. And then there is the blockchain technology which can change the entire underlying financial infrastructure. So you have a perfect storm of financial institutions that — for the first time — need to worry about their future. If they are be around as banks in the presence of these new fintech companies, who are eager to fight the big dogs.

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

I would just tell, that bitcoin is on the phone, go and play around with it. So it’s like having your own bank. Generally young people work with money in a very different way as I did when I was a teenager. And most of the people in cryptocurrency space come from the gaming communities, so they already see money as a virtual token to play around with. And fintech technology might tap into that and make it easier. But this is probably not the way to tell this to a 6 year-old, right? My kids are two years old, so now for them it’s just like “gagagagaguuu moneey”.

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

There is none in fintech. There are people who built Neo-banks and stuff like that, but I really have a hard time coming up with anyone even remotely like Elon Musk in the fintech space.

Do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

This will most likely be done by Elon Musk… He would be the first one colonizing Mars and I’m sure that he is a fan of cryptocurrencies, so everything that will be connected will pay for itself, based on whatever you are doing. So I don’t think there is a need for classical banking in that sense, but to have money of course. But what is that you want to buy on Mars..? A rock… or beer maybe?

What should banks do?

We have spoken to a lot of banks and we work with them and typically we find that at the bank there are people who have a lot of ideas and want to embrace innovation.

Banks are already doing the things they need to be doing: they try to accelerate themselves, they try to work with startups, they have internal teams exploring bitcoin and find ways to implement it.”

Some of them are more ahead than others. BBVA is way ahead for example as they are already creating an Open API platform. So it is “evolve or die” right now for banks.

Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

Bitcoin particularly was designed to be a replacement for traditional banking and to potentially become a global reserve currency. I personally invested heavily in the idea that it is a good store of value with the hope that it will have some broader kind utility as a currency in the future. It is still too early to tell, but it grows in a healthy way. As of today, its market cap is around 15 billion and it has been going through hype cycles in the past few years since its invention in 2009. Things might take off with the geopolitical situation with Trump and Brexit in combination with a financial collapse, but we can’t really yet .

Also, Peter Thiel is one of the key advisors for Trump, being one of the lead investors in Bitpay, one of the biggest bitcoin companies and he is looking at other people for his administration who are probitcoin, so I am positive. By the way, he was also the only one from Silicon Valley who put some investment in the Trump campaign as he invested 1 million dollars. Once Trump won and they had this awkward meeting with all stakeholders from Silicon Valley, he sat next to Trump, so he was definitely the “belle of the ball”.

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

Sometimes, yes. I have paid for occasional dinners with bitcoin here in Södermalm and I have paid for some drinks in London in a bar — but it is very sporadic now and there aren’t many shops who accept it.

Bitcoin today is for speculative purposes mostly and it will continue to be that way in the developed world. But there is an exponential growth in the developing world, among those people who want to protect their purchasing power and they want to send or receive money to and from other countries.

There is also a possibility to connect your bitcoin wallet with your credit card (Martercard or Visa) and then you can use it anywhere. In the early days of Bitcoin someone made an experiment, how long they can survive with only bitcoins, but after this solution had appeared, it became just too easy and the experiment was sort of done. Now you can get your salary in bitcoin, pay your expenses in bitcoin… paying your taxes is a bit more difficult, but pretty much everything else can be paid with it.

Last notes?

I am passionate about all innovations, but blockchain technology can lead to complete financial inclusion and can give the opportunity to those who can’t have banking services to be banked. This is really a bank in everyone’s pocket.

We are very excited about Startup Weekend Fintech on the 27–29 January in SUP46! Will you be there with Frank?

More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233








Angelica Lips da Cruz, Startup Weekend Fintech Jury: Get out earlier!

Our team had coffee with Angelica Lips da Cruz, our mentor and jury member. Having spent 15 years in a traditional heavy lifting banking, now Angelica is fully focused on accelerating the world’s transition into social innovation, future technology, blockchain, distributed ledger, circular economy and sustainable solutions for us and our future together.

Could you please do an elevator pitch of yourself and little bit about your background?

I am a very driven person, a change leader and I love to build up business. I have a very multi-cultural background. I am specialized in South America, Nordics and Latin Europe. My background is in economics and finance, always alongside with new systems’ implementations. During the last years I have established a business in Brazil, a bank in the 4 Nordic countries and worked for 2 other large banks in London and in Stockholm, covering the needs of large, mid and small companies within investment banking in different areas and positions: it could be anything from shaping up a new credit and risk model or setting up a new large corp’s complex structured finance. I operated as vice-president at Citibank London, I built up Renault Finance Nordic operations and I was a pioneer within SEB Merchant Banking sponsoring and running the first projects that included UX and new digital solutions.

My passion is cutting edge technology, in a way that helps our lives to become better, achieving more comfort to all.

Why do you think there are so much buzz around fintech?

Because it is needed. Because there are too many old tracks in the banks, built during the 60s-70s, and they became old, expensive to maintain and need to be changed. And I think that new technologies, fintech, are the solution. Simple as that.

Do your kids know that you are working with fintech? How have you explained them that?

I used to say that there is way of getting to what you want and that way is not only by having money, there shouldn’t be any cards, no old SWIFT transactions, if I may say that. I tell my kids that if you want to make your dreams happen, there is way to achieve that and that’s what I am building, a smoother and fair world with a better financial system.

In startup world we talk a lot about mistakes and fuckups. I know that in traditional banking people are not that really eager to share their mistakes, but did you have any tough situation in life that you would like to share?

Oh, that’s a tricky question. I have been around for awhile, I need to pick one 🙂 Once I was starting a business in Brazil together with Swedish investors. I had the project in hands. It was not a bank, the business was about a transport communication. And when it has something to do with transportation, you need to take a lot into consideration, like for example environmental aspects. It was then when we were face to face with corruption. But I said to myself: “No, stop. We are not going that way.” Certainly, it was a shame that we didn’t continue. It was a brilliant proposition. Cutting edge that would set the city of Rio de Janeiro at the high end. But now, years later, I am very happy that we didn’t go forward, taking into account corruption scandals in Brazil. So my advice is that transparency is key.

What part of the fintech is actually a game changer now on your opinion?

I think you can pick and choose. You can do anything in the fintech area right now. The 90% percent of financial services area are shouting for improvements. There are a lot of people going for loans, private banking, where individuals want to have a better, cheaper and quicker service. As for the trickiest ones, that would be service for large corporations. You need a lot of capital to do that and it is very complex.

Do you think that in future banks will survive?

Very good question. Yes. But not all. Everyone is already trying to adapt. Huge changes are already happening. I was part of the globalization at Citibank, so I know how it went. Everyone was expanding globally in the 80s and 90s, banks did it as well, nothing strange about it. Following your customers. And I know that many corporations, not only banks, are not so happy about the current situation. The question is what were the results 20 years after and what is needed now. We need to rethink and reboot. The Macro scenario has changed. We need to dig into the whole system, including politics and regulators, to see what we can do better and change it for the good.

Who is on your opinion Elon Musk of Fintech?

Elon Musk is the one and only! And remember he started in Fintech! Now is the time to help him as politics over the Atlantic are facing ‘offshore’ winds 🙂

Satoshi Nakamoto, the famous inventor of the bitcoin protocol, do you think he exists?

Yes. His solution in theory is perfect, but the cryptocurrency perhaps didn’t go the way he imagined? Money tends to get dirty and that’s a problem. That is why if you are seriously thinking about better standards and sustainability, on your backbone like I am, there isn’t anybody yet. And we need to clean up bitcoin or any cryptocurrency before we can do larger projects.

Do you want to say that bitcoin is already dirty?

There is a fight for it. Like in anything else.

Do you own bitcoins?

Cannot comment on that 😀

What advice would you give to yourself 20 years younger?

“Get out earlier!” Being a good girl, working for large corporates, studying, learning took a long time. Somethings that I have learnt at the university, the theory, wasn’t really matching with what was happening in the real world. So I needed experience. And if you look at the large corporations and how they operate today, I am too busy to wait for changes to happen. And that is one of the reasons why I left: I would simply retire before I can get things done!

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

Crisis is in our mind. Let’s get out of it.

Hurry up and register for Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech on January 27–29!

More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233








Andy Cars, Lean Ventures: fall in love with the problem, not solution!

Andy is the founder of Lean Ventures, where he works with large companies to build their innovation capabilities. Focus is on innovation strategy, lean startup, business modelling and creating strong connections with the startup community. By drawing on the experience from working with hundreds of startup teams as a lean startup coach, mentor and business angel, Andy provides unique insights into what it takes to successfully innovate. Andy has also been involved in designing startup accelerator programs and advising on how to create and grow startup ecosystems both locally and internationally.

How did you start your career?

I started out as a sound engineer and producer in the 90-ies. In -95 I sold my first company to Bertelsmann Music Group and ended up working for them as an A&R (artist & repertoire). Since then I’ve directly participated in starting, growing and selling a few companies — no big exits or anything — but great fun nevertheless.

I’ve spent most of my 25 year career running my own entrepreneurial ventures and helping others succeed with theirs. I am not the type who fits the role of running “business as usual” projects in an established company working “9 to 5”. I’m more found of building stuff from scratch, tearing down and re-shaping what’s there, aiming to unlock much greater values compared to just pushing for more of the same or minor incremental improvements.

What other industries have you worked in besides the music industry?

I’ve worked with over 200 startup teams and 10+ large companies in industries ranging from cleantech, healthcare, telecom to the financial industry. After BMG I switched to the fincial industry, first working for a large bank and then as an investment manager at a small boutique venture capital firm.

What are you focusing on today?

Today I’m working with large companies helping them to get better at, and accelerating the pace, of innovation. There are many methods and tools out there, but we need to use them in practice. Big companies need to adopt the right mindset, break-down old barriers to innovation and really “walk the talk”.

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

Depending on how you see it but from a financial point of view, I was fully invested during the dotcom crash and lost a lot of money. I was young and stupid. On a different level I feel that when I was working for BMG I should have pushed harder for change when we were discussing the importance of MP3s and the digitization of the music industry. The record company executives that I worked with at that time did not really see the threat. They felt that it would be the same as when cassettes came out. Initially people were scared that it would lead to lower record sales. The opposite happened. They thought it would be the same with MP3s. They were wrong. We should have spent more time discussing how these shifts would affect our industry and what new business models we could start experimenting with to adapt to these changes.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

Well, in Stockholm we have a huge banking sector, so it becomes a natural focal point. There is also the same kind of feeling as when the internet came — that it will change everything. I’m not talking so much about Bitcoin itself as the blockchain technology behind bitcoin that is giving us the same kind of feeling small children have the days running up to Christmas and when they get to open all their presents. I’m very much looking forward to seeing all the applications and solutions that will come about as a result of the blockchain.

So you think that blockchain technology is the biggest gamechanger in fintech?

Absolutely, I am very excited about seeing how it will fundamentally change what we are doing today. We are talking about disruptions, not just incremental changes. And it’s up to these teams out there to start experimenting and developing solutions, understanding the problems and constraints and start changing the sector bit by bit.

Do you use bitcoins?

No, I don’t, but I have tried and I also have invested in it. But it’s not something I recommend for the faint-hearted. Bitcoin goes up and down like a roller-coaster. I recommend that you do not put most of your investments into Bitcoin!

Can you imagine a world with only cryptocurrencies that will take over traditional currencies?

Yes, I think this is the direction that we are moving towards.

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive?

The banking sector is facing tremendous challenges but also great opportunities. But to grab these opportunities they have to become even more agile. This means asking themselves if they think they have struck a good balance between “business as usual” and developing the business models of tomorrow. Basically developing entirely new ways of doing business that eventually will go on to replace their current ways.

I see a lot of activities in this sector, and yes they are investing into startups and running accelerator programs etc. But is it too little too late? Time will tell. My challenge to the banking industry would be to ask how many percent of their revenue is invested into developing potentially disruptive technologies and business models? If the answer is

0,01%, I would ask if they consider this to be a good balance or if perhaps some resources should be shifted or re-allocated.

Today a lot of startups are unbundling the business models of traditional banks doing many of the tasks better, cheaper, faster. If those startups starts to collaborate, then they can completely reinvent the banking sector as we know it.

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

You have to break it down to what is relevant for this particular 6 year old. But it would perhaps go something like this: ‘You probably have a weekly allowance, how much is it? 50 kronor? Ok. What do you do with this money? “I buy ice-cream” or “I give to the homeless”. Whatever it is that you’re doing, with “fintech” you will be able to do it better, faster, cheaper and with more trust and confidence than you can ever imagine. “So maybe I can get two ice creams for the same amount of money!”. Yes, maybe. J

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

Elon Musk was the part of the PayPal mafia, so he was one of the co-founders of the initiating movement. In the US, you have Stripe, with the Collison’s. In Sweden I would say those at the forefront of fintech are the founders of Klarna and iZettle. I think they know a thing or two about fintech. Then ofcourse you also have Startupbootcamp here in Europe. They’re running a first-class accelerator program for startups in Copenhagen in the insurance industry, or insurtech, which is part of fintech. The mentors and coaches connected to that program are all super competent people. Startupbootcamp is connecting big banks and insurance companies with startups through their accelerator programs. There isn’t just one person out there to follow in fintech, there are lots of great minds to reach out to.

Speaking about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

I think by the time we get to Mars, and we start thinking about financial transactions, I don’t think there are going to be banks anymore, there will be something entirely different. Banks as we know them today, won’t exist. It’s very doubtful if we will need these huge institutions acting as middle-men in the future. The problems to be solved are how do we establish trust and validity around our asset transactions, how do we speed them up, reduce the costs and distribute the solutions for everyone to use. I don’t see the big institutions playing a part in that unless they completely re-think their current business models.

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

I would not tell him much, I would rather be asking him lots and lots of questions. Doesn’t he seriously think that what they have been creating by running near zero percent interest rates for almost a decade has created an enormous asset bubble, and that’s plain wrong to do that? Aren’t they just shifting the problem in-front of themselves? I know he would probably give me a politically astute answer that would make my head spin, but nevertheless I see there is a huge risk in playing with the lives of millions of people who live hand-to-mouth. They’re the once who suffer greatly from the financial crisis. Not the rich, the rich will always manage well. How does he see his moral responsibility as a human?

What message would you send to wannabe entrepreneurs?

Find your purpose, find something that you are absolutely passionate about. Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. Because if you are only focusing on the money, it will lead to a very dry life. And if you’re only focusing on the solution you’ll probably end up wasting lots of time building stuff that no-one wants. We all have many problems, or jobs-to-be-done, but there are very few problems for which we are willing to offer some form of sacrifice. Don’t just pitch your idea or solution. Begin by understanding the problems your early adopters face, and make sure you understand them at a deeper level than your competitors. That’s were you’ll find the gold dust of innovation.

More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233

Use the code Minus40ToDisruptors to get a special -40% discount from Andy!








Check out what Mr. Bitcoin has to say: meet Ludvig Öberg!

Ludvig Öberg is the co-founder of Safello, SC2BTC, Swedish Bitcoin Foundation and Satoshi Square Stockholm. One of Veckans Affärers top 101 Supertalents of 2016 with over 5 years of experience within Blockchain and Bitcoin. He started Safello in 2013 and since then it has become one of the leading bitcoin exchanges in Sweden. Last year he joined ChromaWay, that is developing blockchain and smart contract solutions.

How did you start your career in fintech?

It wasn’t on a hackathon, I actually started my career by co-founding Safello with three other people. I am myself more of a business background.

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

It probably has to do something with different press releases, when something went wrong and we needed to fix it and half of the article came out with the right message and half of it did not.

But otherwise it might be like being overconfident with a client and at the end we couldn’t deliver in time. These were not single events, but more like general mistakes I’ve been doing. The important thing is to learn from these mistakes and ask for help if you need to. Don’t be afraid to take the advice of those who have more experience than you do.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

A few years ago we didn’t really know which way things would go. We didn’t know if we had to fight this technology and try to keep it out or try to join and innovate. Now I think it is clear that the second option should be taken and we need to integrate it into our systems. That, together with opening up data and encouraging open competition, can lead to better services for customers.

We need to push this fintech wave and we’ll only grow if we follow these trends like in the new EU regulatory framework, so there will be more and more competition where fintech startups are coming and take a bit of the cake.

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive in this situation?

They should not only innovate for the innovation’s sake — as I feel that most banks are innovating for the PR. They should actually look for long-term goals and how it integrates with their system and with who they are as a company.

If you only do a shallow corporation, then it does not lead to anything long-term and it will be just a waste of time for everybody. Banks need to think about integrating the ideas created in startup ecosystems. Different banks are doing this in different ways, but most of the time there is someone high up, like a Chief Innovation Manager, who knows the whole corporate structure and who can help startups to get to the right places within the banks.

Also, banks cannot do everything, and I think that the time, when banks provided all services for everyone is over and they have to specialize in what they are good at and cooperate with new startups and people offering services and integrate these for their customers.

Still the banks are the hubs where customers are looking for all the services. I think they should dare to perceive it as an ecosystem where other people can have access to their customers, rather than to let them leave and go away from the main platform.

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

I would probably ask him about all his negative comments about bitcoin and then the way he became a pro in the blockchain technologies, so I would probably talk with him about that. He probably has some Keynesian economic thoughts, but it would be interesting to hear how bitcoin will fit into the current infrastructure in the financial sector.

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?

Cryptocurrencies, and blockchange technologies are game changers because they have the capabilities to change the whole financial industry not just a specific sector. I think it can do it so in a very substantial way. I see this as if it was the start of the internet, we can build new applications and a whole new infrastructure, which makes me very enthusiastic about it.

If you were hitting on a girl/man working with fintech, what would be your pickup line?

Some people have called me the Mr. Bitcoin of Sweden, so I might would use that one then. Hopefully it would work 😀

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

If you look at how the world has changed, you might see that your parents used to read newspapers, now you have an iPad. If you look at the banks, the same thing happens. The future of banks are going to be drastically different. That is quite natural, so it is very interesting field to be in, because it affects everyone. Everyone uses financial services, everyone takes a loan or buy things, send payments, and so on.

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

I would say that is Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented bitcoin, but we don’t know who that is. So I think that Sebastian from Klarna is doing a great job if we are looking at Sweden. I think that there are lot of people who are doing a great work, but I wouldn’t say that any of them are superstars, but I think that there are a lot of different companies doing a lot of cool things.

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

If we get to Mars, there are probably gonna be banks, yes, I assume so. How will they look when we come to that point, I don’t know. There might be a delete all and might not be physical banks on Mars, but at least there may be banking services.

Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

Yes, i think we are getting closer and closer there. I think we might end up with a lot of different ones, we might end up with different national currencies, but more and more of the kind of traditional fashion is to look at bitcoin and blockchain technologies and kind of use that technology to get an updated infrastructure, so we might end up in a world, where bitcoin will be a world currency that is not used for everyday purchases, but more for international transactions.

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

Yes, I use bitoins often. Webhallen in Sweden is one of the biggest stores you can use Bitcoins to buy electronics, for example. I have bought T-shirts, and so on. I don’t do it on a daily basis, but I do use bitcoins regularly.

What message would you send to wannabe entrepreneurs?

You should dare to take risks and get help from other people. Throw yourself out there and try to validate your ideas and see if they stick and get help from other people, because you don’t know everything when you are starting up. So dare things, that is my most important piece of advice.

Do you there throwing yourself out there? Join us and try on Startup Weekend Fintech on the 27–29 January in SUP46!

More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233

Use the code Minus40ToDisruptors to get a special -40% discount from Ludvig!

Ludvig Öberg
Ludvig Öberg







Meet Daniel Roos, mentor of Startup Weekend Fintech!

We had a chat with Startup Weekend Fintech’s mentor, Daniel Roos.

Daniel is the co-founder and CTO of Vest Financial. He has experience building and selling fintech systems as well as running them at banks. Daniel co-founded a startup that went through Y Combinator and is now a growing company.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

There is a big buzz around fintech because finance is a huge, traditional industry that  is important to almost everybody – thus it needs a lot of innovation and disruption. Fintech is absolutely awesome in both technology and market perspective. It’s connected to the market and it is also a real technical challenge.

How did you start your career in fintech?

It was actually totally random 🙂 I worked in the business for 15 years.  

I had a classic career in an very large company. Then a high school buddy from the US called me with an idea that was fintech related. So I took an eye on it, spent a couple of evenings with it and provided a ton of feedback.

So I went to the US, check it out and realized it was worth going for, soon after quit my job and  moved to California once we go into Y Combinator.

Generally the norm is to fund a startup early  and then if it doesn’t work out, you start a “normal career”. In my case, the “normal career” was first and then the startup one. It gave me a bit more experience and for me was actually good timing.

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?  

Many areas are important, but the one that is particularly interesting is consumer oriented finance. Bringing the consumers the same capabilities that have only been available for the private wealth management sector.

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

For a 6 year old kid, I’d say: “Money is important and you know you need to save your money. Do you like iPads? IPad is technology.  Fintech is sort of like working with iPads and money.”

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

My biggest fuckup was pushing a system into production two weeks too early and living a month of pain because of it.

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

I don’t think there is one, fintech is missing that kind of superstar personality.. Maybe they are to be discovered!

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive?  

For banks to survive, it is a matter of embracing change. They need to work with technology and become part of the fintech industry.

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

Absolutely, without a doubt!

Let’s speak about cryptocurrencies. Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

I can see cryptocurrencies taking a bit chunk of it, but probably as part of the mainstream. Central banks are already considering them, so, within that context they can get really big, otherwise they will stay to be a niche.

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

I’ve only used bitcoin once. That was a weird promotion where you had to use bitcoin to get a good deal online.

What message would you send to you in the past,  let’s say you 20 years younger?

I would tell myself to go and try different things earlier. I spent 10 years at my first job..

Check out the interview with Daniel and prepare for Startup Weekend Fintech on the 27-29 January in SUP46!

Hurry up and register for Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech on January 27-29!  

More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233








We have a story to tell

Mohamed

When Mohamed, a talented hairdresser and make-up artist, was 22 years old he went on an adventures trip for several days. He walked, he took the boat and travelled by train. Mohamed was not alone. It was a time when many of his fellow countrymen travelled. Mohamed reached his destination – a new world with nobody who would speak his language.

It was Sweden in June 2015 when the hairdresser and make-up artist Mohamed arrived from Syria fleeing the war and the fear of being forced into the army. After 6 months, he now knows that his adventure isn’t over.

Language, permits, prejudices, accommodation & work are just a few of the adventures he goes through. From February 5-7, Mohamed will tackle many of his challenges at the RefugeeACT Hackathon. Join him and develop an IT solution to help him and many other refugees for an easier and quicker integration.

Solution oriented

After February 7th, this list will be cut in half. At the RefugeeACT Hackathon, refugees will develop the solutions necessary for their change.

Grab your ticket now!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-weekend-stockholm-0216-tickets-19710869742

 








Join Stockholm Startup Weekend organising team, we are expanding!

Stockholm Startup Weeken is expanding and we’re looking for 4 volunteers to join the core team. Are you our next superstar?

Who are we looking for?

Are you good at writing, and interested in keeping the world up-to-date about our event? Can you help us make cool designs to help us look more attractive? Numbers person willing to keep track on our budget and finances? Do you have the charisma to help us attract sponsors and attendees? Or maybe some other useful skill you can use to help us out?

It is naturally an advantage if you have relevant experience or interest in startups, but we are interested in hearing from anyone who wants to get involved! What matters the most is that you’re committed, and that you have a fun and positive attitude, and of course, a genuine interest in helping to learn about and build the startup community.

Where do I sign up?

The next Stockholm Startup Weekend will be in February and April. You must be free either of the following weekends. You should expect to attend 3 meetings in Stockholm prior to the event.

  • 27 Feb – 1 Mar 2015
  • 17-19 Apr 2015

If you’re interested in joining the team, please email your CV along with a few words about why you want to get involved and your availiability, to stockholm@startupweekend.org. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.