5 Questions with Alfredo Jollon, Managing Director of Stockholm Accelerator

Mar 01, 2022

Alfredo Jollon is the Managing Director of the Stockholm Techstars Accelerator. He is an investor, board advisor, financial executive, and CFA charterholder with 25+ years’ standing in global capital markets at leading US financial institutions. To the role he brings an extensive global network, derived from experience with several thousand listed/private companies; expertise in financial modeling and asset valuation; and a native understanding of the US market, a critical destination for Swedish startups. An immigrant to Sweden, he is a citizen of Brazil, the EU (Ireland), and the United States. He speaks eight languages to varying degrees of comedic effect.

01. What are you looking for in startups for the Stockholm Techstars Accelerator?

= A ⋂ B ⋂ C

Hey, isn’t that what Elon Musk named his kid?

Nope, it’s the classic Venn diagram intersection of the strong business (A), fair price (B), and great people and culture (C) opportunity sets.

Teams that leverage diversity, one of Sweden’s core strengths, are especially important to me.

Wait, isn’t everyone here a Viking? Hardly.

In fact, 20% of the Elongated Country’s population is foreign-born, compared with 14% in the United States. Including residents with at least one foreign-born parent, 33% of Sweden has roots abroad. These figures are even higher in Stockholm!

What’s the business case? As of 2021, immigrants or their children had founded 44% of Fortune 500 companies. Their combined revenue of $6 trillion exceeds the GDP of Japan.

Enough said.

02. What is your favorite thing about the Stockholm and Swedish startup scene?

There are no gatekeepers here: no executive/personal assistants, and only minimal hierarchy. With a respectful approach and a positive attitude, you can engage with nearly anyone. An ideal backdrop for founders!

03. Describe a situation with a startup founder or team where you felt like you made a difference.

Advising a hypergrowth SaaS startup that was fundraising in order to enter the US market. We defined relevant KPIs and modeled growth scenarios under which the scaleup could raise capital – focusing on round size, valuation multiples, and target investors – and discussed unique aspects of American business culture that often foil Swedish founders venturing overseas for the first time.

04. If you could have coffee with any entrepreneur who would it be and why?

Karl Oskar Nilsson, the protagonist of Vilhelm Moberg’s The Emigrants, a brilliant quartet of novels about Swedish immigration to the United States.

Today so many Swedish startups are targeting the US market that I’d ask Karl Oskar what wisdom he would impart to his fellow countrywomen and -men about the land to which he immigrated.

Don’t laugh, I’m serious! Agriculture was humankind’s original entrepreneurial venture. Moreover, there are many lessons to be found in literature.


After his farm in Småland fails, Karl Oskar liquidates assets and borrows from friends and family to finance a transatlantic voyage from Sweden, via New York, to Minnesota.

He establishes first-mover advantage with a prime lakefront location; uses sweat equity to clear-cut forest and till fertile soil; conserves scarce capital to invest in livestock for sale at market; reinvests profits in labor-saving animals and machinery; sees exponential growth in annual crop production; increases capacity to serve additional demand; survives war, insurrection, and financial panic; resists speculation and fraud that would impair hard-earned capital; and dies happy with lots of grandchildren.

What’s not entrepreneurial about his story?

05. What are people most often surprised to learn about you?

English is not my first language.

I almost became a history professor.

I beta tested Amazon in 1995 after Jeff Bezos invited former colleagues to order books online.

Stockholm outranked everywhere else on the planet according to a global cities algorithm I developed, so I moved here!