A Founder School by Slush
A COMPANY BUILDING PLAYBOOK
Europe lacks a culture of company building mentorship. At Slush 2021, we dedicated a whole stage for horizontally applicable insights, delivered by expert founders, investors and operators. Born out of the talks is Builders’ Studio: a Founder School by Slush.
In thirty episodes, we go through the lifecycle of how iconic companies are built. Beginning with the early days of a startup and ending with exit, with everything in-between. Put together, these talks cover a startup’s journey, forming a playbook on building sensational companies.
Explore the episodes below or find the series on major podcast platforms.
What makes a great founding team? #1 Founding Teams – Ilkka Paananen (Supercell)
What do the most successful founding teams have in common? How do you identify potential co-founders? How many should there be? Joining us for a deep dive into founding teams is Ilkka Paananen, Co-founder and CEO of Supercell.
Ilkka has not only founded two startups in Sumea and Supercell but has also invested in some of the most successful companies in the Nordics and Europe, such as Wolt and Hopin. In this talk Ilkka shares the defining characteristics of world-class founding teams, outlines how the role of the founding team evolves as the company scales and gives advice on decision-making.
Ilkka is Co-founder and CEO of Supercell, the Finnish mobile games developer behind Clash of Clans, Hay Day, Boom Beach, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars. Founded in 2010, Supercell’s games have been featuring in the global top 10 for years after launch and are played by hundreds of millions of people every month.
Supercell is the first European technology start-up to have reached a valuation of $10 billion.
How should you identify and validate your problem? #2 Problem Selection – Job Van Der Voort (Remote)
In the beginning of any founders’ journey is problem selection, but how does one go about choosing one? Joining us to disentangle the problem selection process is Job van der Voort, Co-founder and CEO of Remote. Having led product at Gitlab from 5 to 450 people, Job founded Remote incredibly successfully in 2019.
In this talk, Job walks us through how he ended up identifying a problem worth solving. You’ll learn how to validate your problem through talking to customers on day 0, how to narrow down to what customers really want, ways to identify your ideal customer profile, and finally, when to start building.
Job is Co-founder and CEO of Remote, the company making global employment accessible for businesses of all sizes.
Job previously worked as a neuroscientist before leaving academia to become the VP of Product at GitLab, overseeing product as the company grew from 5 to 450+ employees, and became worth $1.1B. During his time at Gitlab, the world’s largest all-remote company, he hired talent from 67 different countries.
Job is the dad of two children.
How should you build your early team? #3 Early Employees – Eléonore Crespo (Pigment)
The early employees of a company can make or break it. Thus, the real question is: who should you hire, and how do you convince them to join? Joining us to talk about how to ensure your early employees can facilitate scaling is Eleonore Crespo, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Pigment.
As a VC turned founder, Eleonore has a unique perspective on getting your first hires right. In this talk, Eléonore highlights how in the early days your team will be the most valuable asset you have, and as such, you should only hire the best people – the quality of the team is a signal on the ambition of the company.
Eléonore Crespo is Co-founder and Co-CEO of Pigment, the multidimensional business planning platform. Pigment’s mission is to allow businesses everywhere to make better, faster decisions in a changing world – drawing on data analysis, intuitive design and sophisticated modelling to help leaders spend more time thinking and less time number-crunching.
Prior to Pigment, Eléonore was an investor at Index Ventures, working side-by-side with entrepreneurs and spearheading investments in Alan, Spendesk, Swile and Slite. Before Index she worked as a senior analyst at Google, reporting directly to the EMEA president and CFO on matters of strategy and planning.
Eléonore studied quantum physics and engineering at the École Normale Supérieure and the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines, two of the most competitive institutions of higher education in France.
How do you scale your team? #4 Recruiting at Scale – Sarah Manning (Hopin)
A scaling company needs to ultimately scale its people as well. However, this is no easy feat. Joining us to talk about recruiting at scale is Sarah Manning, VP of People of Hopin. Hopin’s growth is nothing short of miraculous – they’ve gone from 0 to 1000 employees in just over two years.
In this talk Sarah shares her insights on how to attract, recruit and develop employees at scale. With examples from Hopin’s journey, she’ll walk us through why maintaining your employer brand is crucial, what character traits to look for when hiring to a high-growth startup, and how to ensure a successful onboarding of new employees. Central to this is maintaining your employer brand through focusing on the candidate experience – everything from the first interview to onboarding has to be smooth as word gets around.
Sarah is VP People at Hopin, where she leads the global People team at Hopin. The Hopin team has scaled from 9 people at the beginning of 2020 to over 900 today and the team is distributed across 47 countries.
Having worked in large corporations and rapid growth startups, Sarah deeply understands HR strategy and processes and the importance of adapting these based on a company’s size, scale and growth ambitions. With experience from hyper growth recruiting, acquisitions and geographic expansions to employee engagement, culture and leadership, she thrives in driving an organisation’s growth and success through curating the best possible employee experience.
Having worked with executive leaders around the globe and her own teams based across multiple continents, Sarah is a passionate leader and strong communicator. With her bachelors degree in Business and further qualifications in Employment Law, Coaching and Executive Leadership, she has spent 20 years leading high performing teams and working across all facets of People and HR.
What makes company culture great? #5 Culture – Nina Carøe (Dixa)
Video game rooms and ping-pong tables – everyone wants to have a great company culture, but few really understand what it means and how to build one. On a foundational level culture can be seen as your values and beliefs in action –joining us to talk about culture is Nina Carøe, VP of People and Culture at Dixa.
Having led culture at Dixa during its intense growth in past years, Nina will be enlightening founders on how they should think about culture and act on it from Day 1 onwards to enable sustainable growth and ensure culture scales with the company as well.
Nina is VP of People and Culture at Dixa, where she spends her time building high performing teams, developing innovative talent strategies, creating a strong, inclusive culture and working on amazing employee experiences that engage and delight.
Before Dixa, Nina worked for the software company Unity, the aviation company Gate Gourmet and the Danish bakery chain emmery’s. Through her experience Nina has seen first-hand how building a strong culture is vital for all organizations, especially those wishing to scale.
Nina is well travelled, having lived in both Syria and Sweden before settling down in Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Business and Philosophy and a MA in HR Management, both from Copenhagen Business School, giving her a unique perspective of how different worldviews impact people’s work and apply their talents.
Outside of work, Nina enjoys spending time with her two small children.
How should you reward your employees? #6 Rewarding Talent – Katharina Wilhelm (Index Ventures)
As most early employees of startups inherently take a risk when they hop onboard, how should they be rewarded for their ambition? How should you think about your company’s stock option pool? Joining us to make sense of pay and incentives is Katharina Wilhelm, Partner at Index Ventures.
Index started their database on startup compensation a decade ago – by today they have amassed enough data to provide valuable benchmarks. In this talk Katharina gives insight into the thinking behind deciding on an appropriate stock option pool and salary base. Talent is a crucial bottleneck for startups and rewarding talent plays a key role in reaching sustained growth.
Based in Berlin, Katharina is Partner at Index Ventures and invests in companies from pre-seed to pre-IPO.
Prior to joining Index, Katharina was an investor at Cherry Ventures where she invested in enterprise and productivity software as well as consumer propositions. She started her career at The Boston Consulting Group in Zurich.
Katharina holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen.
#7 Investor Relations in Different Phases of Growth – Jonathan Sibilia (Molten Ventures)
Investor relations undoubtedly become different the further a company scales. What are investors looking for before and after Product Market Fit? What should you emphasize in your Series B fundraise? Joining us to help understand how investors evaluate startups at all stages is Jonathan Sibilia, Partner at Molten Ventures.
In this talk Jonathan uncovers what investors look for, whether it is a seed, Series A, Series B or a growth round you are raising. What you’ll come to find is that the perspective is very different based on the stage of the company – the vision and team matter most in the beginning, with defined metrics driving investment decisions only later with defined benchmarks that are important to know.
Jonathan is Partner at Molten Ventures, having joined the fund in 2009.
Prior to joining the company, he was a senior associate in the technology group at Jefferies International advising on high-profile cross-border M&A, debt & equity offerings. Previously he worked at Rothschild & CIE in Paris. He also worked at Apax Partners Corporate Finance in France.
Jonathan holds a MA in Management from EM-Lyon and the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and a MA in Advanced Corporate Finance from the University of Paris IX Dauphine.
How do you create the perfect pitch? #8 Pitching Your Company – Ted Persson (EQT Ventures)
Any fundraising process requires a pitch, but building the perfect pitch is more of an art than science. Joining us to explain what investors look for in a pitch and how founders should think about communicating their ideas is Ted Persson, Partner at EQT Ventures. With a background that combines product design and storytelling with investing, Ted is a master at understanding what a fantastic pitch involves, from the deck to the demo.
In this talk Ted walks us through how he has constructed pitches himself and gives practical insights into what the best pitches utilize – from understanding how the pitch will be viewed, to crafting the first slides of the pitch, and to managing the flow until the very end. Importantly, Ted recommends leaving a hook for the end of the pitch, so that it surprises the audience – you can expect the same from his talk!
Ted is Partner at EQT Ventures and is passionate about all things product design, UX, storytelling and branding-related.
Prior to joining EQT Ventures, Ted co-founded a number of successful digital agencies, including Speedway Digital Army (1997), Abel & Baker (1999) and Great Works (2002). Great Works has been part of the North Alliance (NOA), Scandinavia’s leading communications and technology network, since 2014.
While at Great Works, Ted also co-founded Our/Vodka, a global vodka made by local people in cities around the world run by Pernod Ricard.
What legal issues should founders look out for? #9 Legal Deep Dive – Anthony Rose (Seedlegals)
As the pace of funding seems to be ever-accelerating, the role of a sound legal structure becomes increasingly important. Beginning from founder agreements and cap tables all the way to funding rounds and stock option schemes, what should founders look out for from a legal perspective? Joining us to unpack what this all means is Anthony Rose, Founder and CEO of SeedLegals.
Through founding SeedLegals, Anthony has seen first hand just how valuable it is to have a solid legal foundation – both as a founder and through helping thousands of startups navigate their first funding rounds. Expect to learn how to structure option pools, talk about valuations, establish founder agreements and approach dilution.
Anthony is Co-founder and CEO of SeedLegals, a legaltech platform that lets startups and investors complete the legals needed to build, grow and fund their business, at a fraction of the cost of using a law firm. More than one in six of all early-stage funding rounds in the UK are now done on SeedLegals.
Prior to co-founding SeedLegals, Anthony’s career has included 3D graphics, P2P music, internet video, social TV and online communities. In 2015 Anthony founded 6Tribes, a world of communities based on shared interests. 6Tribes was acquired less than a year later. Previously, Anthony co-founded Beamly, a social and content network for television, which was acquired by Coty in 2015.
Known as “The man behind BBC iPlayer”, Anthony ran the iPlayer and other BBC services from 2007 to 2010, taking the iPlayer from pre-launch to a major success story. His patent portfolio includes patents for distributed online rewards, content discovery and interactive television.
What is in a term sheet and what does it mean? #10 Term Sheets 101 – Tom Wilson (Seedcamp)
When raising money from VCs, founders will ideally be faced with multiple term sheets before moving forward with executing their funding round. However, especially for first-time founders, term sheets can be complex to navigate. Joining us to explain how term sheets work is Tom Wilson, Partner at Seedcamp.
Based on his background in VC law and now as an investor, Tom’s talk revolves around what founders should hope to see in a term sheet and what they should aim to avoid. To get started, it is important to understand that while term sheets are not legally binding, they are considered morally binding. Expect to learn how to balance the economics, investor protection and governance of your term sheet to ensure that your fundraise sets you on a firm foundation.
Tom is Partner at Seedcamp, the leading European seed fund that has invested in over 350 startups including the likes of Wise, Revolut, Wefox, UiPath, Hopin and Sorare since launch in 2007.
Prior to joining Seedcamp, Tom worked at SJ Berwin specialising in investment funds and corporate M&A in the private equity and venture capital sector.
Tom has graduated from University of York with first-class honours after which he has attended law school in London.
How does fundraising work? #11 Raising Capital – Carlos Espinal (Seedcamp)
Raising external capital is perhaps the most common – and some might argue the most efficient – way for startups to finance their growth. Thus, almost every company with dreams of scaling has to learn the craft of fundraising.
Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Managing Partner of Seedcamp, is not only one of the most experienced early stage investors in Europe, but also the author of Fundraising Fieldguide. In this episode he takes us through the fundamentals of fundraising. What does it really mean to fundraise, both for you and your company? How much should you aim to raise? How to leverage the human element in the fundraising process?
Carlos is Managing Partner at Seedcamp, a European seed fund that identifies and invests early in founders attacking global markets.
Having worked as an Associate at Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, as an Engineer for the Advanced Communications Technologies group of The New York Stock Exchange (SIAC), and as a consultant, at PKI Developer, Cybertrust/Baltimore Technologies before joining Seedcamp back in 2010, Carlos loves tech and jumping into the deep end with new ideas and products.
He is also Author of The Fundraising Field Guide and Podcaster on This Much I Know.
How does fundraising look like from the startup’s perspective? #12 Fundraising: CFO Perspective – Maria Hedengren (Readly)
In a competitive and increasingly complex business and funding environment, the CFO plays a more important role than ever in understanding the nuances of fundraising. Joining us to shed light on how to think about company finance is Maria Hedengren, CEO of Readly.
Maria has seen it all – steering the ship at iZettle as CFO from an IPO to an acquisition at the last minute and taking Readly public. In this talk Maria will be sharing her learnings to founders on how to think about the various stages of funding, from VCs, to acquisitions and going public.
Maria is CEO at Readly where she joined in spring 2019, bringing more than 20 years of experience from global finance and business management. Maria has successfully scaled and led Readly, the European category leader for digital magazines, to an IPO. Since September 2020, the Readly share is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Midcap. Maria has led both private and public technology companies and has a proven track record of scaling companies internationally.
Before Readly Maria was the CFO of iZettle during a very exciting time for the company. One of her major accomplishments was taking iZettle through the process of becoming ready for, and approved by NASDAQ, a planned IPO in May 2018. iZettle was acquired by PayPal for €1.9B only a day before the prospectus was due to be published. Maria has also served as CFO and then later Director of the Non-Executive Board of the publicly listed NetEnt AB, a platform and games provider to some of the world’s largest casino and sports betting operators.
How can you bootstrap your startup to success? #13 Bootstrapping – Sabba Keynejad (VEED)
While it has seemingly never been a better time to raise capital, it has also never been a better time to bootstrap – the cost of developing products has dramatically reduced. Bootstrapping is driven by the idea of not reaching for external capital in the early phases of growth, but instead relying on savings and your startup’s cash flows to sustain growth. Joining us for an inside look into the bootstrapping process is Sabba Keynejad, Co-founder and CEO of VEED.
Bootstrapping has the benefit of avoiding dilution, but is not without its hardships. In this talk Sabba takes us through the turbulent VEED journey which took them to 6.5m ARR in two years. VEED is a testament to true founder grit – along the way the founders had to take full-time jobs to fund the business, they were kicked out of their first office, were rejected from YC (twice in one weekend) but eventually reached product-market fit through aligning on their user acquisition channel.
Sabba Keynejad is Co-founder and CEO of VEED, a browser-based, collaborative and easy to use video creation and editing tool.
The product is used by over 1.5 million monthly active users all over the world and with different video editing skills, ranging from prosumers to SMEs and users in the enterprise. Use cases are broad from social media videos, to marketing, sales, HR, training videos, internal communication, etc.
VEED is bootstrapped making it one of the fastest growing self funded startups.
How do you build a brand for your startup? #14 Branding – Akis Evangelidis (Nothing)
At best your brand can be a true competitive advantage, but building one requires strategy and consistency. We all know a good brand when we see one, but how and when should founders start thinking about building their own brand? Joining us to uncover what goes into creating and sustaining a striking brand is Akis Evangelidis, Co-founder and Head of Marketing of Nothing.
With a background in leading OnePlus’ communications and brand in Europe and having now led the branding strategy for Nothing from Day 1, Akis provides founders with all they need to know on how to leverage your brand when scaling. In this talk Akis outlines how they approached building the distinct Nothing brand, all the way from the initial vision, first logo mockups, colour scheme experimentation to the polished product.
Akis is Co-founder and Head of Marketing of Nothing. In his over 10 years of experience in consumer tech, he has orchestrated dozens of product launches, capitalising on digital marketing and PR.
Founded in 2020, Nothing is a London-based consumer tech company on a mission to remove barriers between people and technology. And it’s doing so by crafting iconic, intuitive and seamlessly connected products. Nothing’s debut product, ear (1), was one of the most anticipated launches of the year, with 150,000 units shipped in its first two months of sales.
How do you leverage performance marketing to grow your startup? #15 Performance Marketing – Joost Brok (Colvin)
Marketing today is much more dynamic and iterative than it has ever been, as performance marketing campaigns have the ability to give instant feedback. How then should you structure your campaigns and how do you actually measure success? Joining us to unravel the science of performance marketing is Joost Brok, Chief Marketing Officer at Colvin.
Building on his time at Treatwell and Colvin where he has built their performance marketing strategy from the ground up, Joost will be sharing his insights on how startups can get themselves out there. Expect to learn on how to design driving KPIs so as not to mislead your goals, how to align performance marketing strategy with internal teams and how to establish a modern performance marketing data stack.
Joost is Chief Marketing Officer of Colvin, the Barcelona based scale-up disrupting the floriculture and gifting industry in Europe. As a data-led growth and marketing expert, Joost has been leading growth in a number of environments.
Before joining Colvin, Joost was Chief Marketing Officer at Treatwell, the leading hair and beauty marketplace in Europe operating across 13 markets, where he first held the Performance Marketing Director role, building the team and marketing infrastructure from the ground up.
With 10 years of experience, both on agency and client-side, his experience covers branding, marketing technology, B2B and B2C growth, and best-in-class team setup and coaching.
How should startups do PR? #16 PR – Heini Vesander (Wolt)
Today it can be increasingly difficult to break into media as a startup – there is so much noise to break through. How should founders pitch to and develop relationships with the media? Joining us to share hidden best practices is Heini Vesander, Head of PR and Communications at Wolt.
Having led communications and PR at a number of scaling companies, Heini gives a practical deepdive into the nuances of PR. Importantly, PR is storytelling – it is not advertising or user acquisition as such. Learn from Heini on how to understand your angle, identify the right media and successfully pitch your story.
Heini Vesander is Head of Communications and PR at Wolt, where she runs global public relations and helps the company navigate the twists and turns of the fast-paced platform economy.
Previously, Heini worked in the games and esports industry at Super Evil Megacorp, based in San Francisco, and Supercell, as well as in the influencer marketing field as the CMO of Matchmade. Heini’s PR career was first kicked off at Slush, where she was in charge of media relations.
Heini holds a master’s degree from Hanken Svenska Handelshögskolan.
How do you build a Minimum Viable Product? #17 Building Your MVP – Monika Ocieczek (Primer)
Every product starts somewhere, but how should one approach building new products from scratch? When do you know if your minimum viable product is ‘ready’? Joining us to open up this incredibly nuanced process is Monika Ocieczek, Product and Design Lead at Primer.
Monika has been leading the design and development on the first iterations of Primer’s core products from the very beginning and gives a practical deep dive in this episode into how founders should approach developing their MVP. Tune in to hear how you should go about understanding the problem, recognizing the solution, validating it, and ultimately launching and iterating your product.
Monika leads the Product and Design teams at Primer. She joined in the early stage to define the first iteration of Primer’s products. She loves cracking problems, experimenting, and creating new things.
During her career, Monika has worked in various FinTech areas including pension insurance, mortgages, open banking, card issuing, and now payments.
Before joining Primer, she led the product team at Tink and co-founded Gimi, where she also built the product from scratch.
How do you manage products effectively?#18 Product Management – Silvia Källgren (Tink)
While product management is the backbone of the most thriving product-driven companies, not many actually have a clear understanding of what the role entails. Joining us to uncover what goes into fantastic product management is Silvia Källgren, Senior Product Manager at Tink.
Silvia has managed products at some of the most successful fintech companies in the world – Tink, Klarna, Paypal and iZettle. In this talk she will be sharing the hidden insights that define successful product management and how early stage founders should begin to think about assembling their product teams. Expect to learn how the product teams should scale and shift focus as the company itself scales.
Silvia Källgren is Senior Product Manager for Payments at Tink. Founded in Stockholm in 2012, Tink is Europe’s leading open banking platform that enables banks, fintechs and startups to develop data-driven financial services. Its current partners include PayPal, NatWest, ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas.
Before joining Tink, Silvia has been building products with other fintech companies transforming the industry, such as Klarna, iZettle and PayPal. She has a passion for startups and she started her early career as an entrepreneur.
Silvia is based in Stockholm and she holds a master degree in Innovation and Technology Management from Bocconi University.
How do you position your product? #19 Product Positioning – April Dunford (Ambient Strategy)
When taking a product to market, there are some fundamental questions to address. What does your product really do? Who is your product for? What is its true use case? Understanding the answers to these questions is the process of product positioning. Joining us to demystify how companies should position their products is April Dunford, Founder of Ambient Strategy.
With over two decades of experience in positioning, repositioning and launching products, in this episode April shares her key learnings on how to ensure your product is reaching the right customer. Expect to learn how to think like your customer, identify effective market segments for your product and much more.
April is Founder and CEO of Ambient Strategy. April helps technology companies make complicated products easy for customers to understand and love. As a consultant, She has consulted hundreds of growth-stage startups all over the globe.
Previously April has run marketing and product teams at a series of successful technology startups and has launched 16 products into the market.
April is also a board member, investor, and advisor to dozens of high-growth businesses and is the author of the bestselling book Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it.
How do you price your startup’s product? #20 Pricing Your Product – Jevgeni Kabanov (Bolt)
Pricing is a crucial but often misunderstood topic, which receives disproportionately low attention compared to the potential value it can drive. While pricing is a complex equation, joining us to understand its inner mechanics is Jevgeni Kabanov, Chief Product Officer and Head of New Verticals at Bolt.
Building on his twenty years of experience in pricing B2B and consumer-facing products, in this episode Jevgeni will be delivering a deep masterclass into the nuances of pricing to help startups unlock their revenue potential. Through this talk you’ll learn how to think about the different components of pricing, from unit economics, switching costs to moats.
Jevgeni Kabanov is Chief Product Officer and Head of New Verticals at Bolt, a transportation platform providing ride-hailing, micromobility, and food delivery services.
Prior to joining Bolt Jevgeni founded ZeroTurnaround, a development tools company, and operated as its CEO. After the successful exit of ZeroTurnaround, Jevgeni travelled the world for a while before deciding to join Bolt. In 2015, Jevgeni was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in Estonia. Jevgeni is also an active angel investor.
Jevgeni holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Tartu.
How do you use product design to your advantage? #21 Product Design – Karri Saarinen (Linear)
Product design is what defines the look and feel of digital products and platforms, making it a crucial cornerstone of product development. However, as a relatively new field of expertise that combines design, engineering and marketing, not many truly understand the value of fantastic product design. Joining us to uncover this secret recipe is Karri Saarinen, Co-founder and CEO of Linear.
Having led design at Airbnb and Coinbase, Karri builds on his experience to deliver a product design masterclass in this episode. Through this talk you’ll learn how to consider design as an advantage, why product-design fit matters, what to look for when hiring your first designer and much more.
Karri is Co-founder and CEO of Linear, a software development platform. Linear helps streamline software projects, sprints, tasks, and bug tracking.
Prior to Linear, Karri was the Principal Designer for Airbnb’s product design and the Head of Design at Coinbase. Karri also co-founded Y Combinator-backed startup Kippt, a non-profit Rails Girls and helped to bootstrap the startup community in Finland with ArcticStartup.
How do you pivot your startup? #22 How to Pivot – Jussi Laakkonen (Noice)
Unicorn startups are cool but they are not all sunshine and rainbows. To get there you need to be a cockroach – a founder that nothing can kill. Jussi Laakkonen, Co-founder and CEO of Noice, will be sharing the story of how Applifier changed its course successfully.
It took two hard pivots before Noice was acquired by Unity Technologies. In this episode Jussi shares his hard earned lessons on pivots, founder mindset and grit so that you can be unkillable and survive the hardest times.
Jussi is Founder and CEO of Noice, a social platform that plays like a multiplayer game currently in stealth mode. Noice’s all star angel investors include Riccardo Zacconi (King), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), David Helgason (Unity) and Miki Kuusi (Wolt).
Jussi was previously founder and CEO of Applifier, which was acquired by Unity Technologies in 2014 to kickstart Unity’s ads business. As EVP at Unity Jussi scaled Unity Ads profitably to over $200 million in revenues in under three years and led an internal startup working on an ambitious social service.
How do you acquire your first 1000 users? #23 First 1000 Users – James Hind (carwow)
Paul Graham has famously advocated for doing things that ‘don’t scale’ in order to kickstart your client acquisition. What does this mean in practice and what strategies can founders utilize in the very beginning to convince customers to hop on board? Joining us to uncover what goes into early customer acquisition is James Hind, Co-founder and CEO of carwow.
The very beginning of a startup’s user acquisition journey can be grueling. In this talk James outlines how carwow benefited from keeping processes manual in the beginning, the way they found the perfect clients to pitch to and much more to kickstart their growth.
James is Co-founder and CEO of carwow, Europe’s largest marketplace for buying and selling cars.
Through carwow, the best-rated dealers compete for the consumers’ business, taking the hassle and haggling out of new car buying. carwow has a team of 200+ based in London, Munich and Madrid.
How can you leverage your user community for growth? #24 Community-led Growth – Olivia Nottebohm (Notion) | Builders’ Studio: a Founder School by Slush
Community-led growth is a go-to-market strategy that relies on a community as a driver for customer acquisition, expansion and retention – growth. It can be a powerful growth strategy, especially for direct-to-consumer companies.
Olivia Nottebohm is Chief Revenue Officer of Notion, a company whose growth has been highly organic and has heavily revolved around a community. She’ll be sharing her secrets on organizing your company for scale around community. How do you build your company inside-out, focused on community? How do you engage your community? How do you raise awareness and leverage ambassadors to expand your reach?
Olivia Nottebohm serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at Notion, where she partners with sales, marketing, customer experience, and customer success to grow the business and extend the tool’s reach around the world.
Prior, she was Dropbox’s COO, running go-to-market teams, and spent six years with Google Cloud, where she was VP of SMB Sales and GTM Operations. In that role she led go-to-market efforts and drove revenue for a portfolio of business products that included G Suite. She also helped build and scale Google Cloud’s business.Before that, Olivia was a partner at McKinsey, where she worked with companies to build and execute successful go-to-market strategies at scale.
Olivia has a reputation for setting a high bar, focusing on impact, and building trust within her organization. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
How do you find product market fit? #25 Product Market Fit – Georgie Smallwood (TIER)
Ever since Andy Rachleff coined the term ‘Product-Market Fit’, it has reached a near mythical status among founders. Many might have an idea about what Product-Market Fit means, but how should one define it? Joining us to open up the concept is Georgie Smallwood, Chief Product Officer at Tier.
In this episode Georgie helps founders identify the concrete actions needed to reach product/market fit, to understand what it feels like to have it, and how to ensure you don’t lose it.
Georgie Smallwood is Chief Product Officer at Tier, where she oversees the Product, Design, and Research divisions with the goal of building sustainable urban mobility solutions. She has successfully scaled fast-growing businesses globally, with over 15 years of experience in leading product teams at companies such as N26, Xero, and News Ltd.
Georgie is also an angel investor and Founder of Auxilia Global, a network for women entrepreneurs and founders focusing on increasing the diversity of venture-backed companies.
How should you build your B2B sales function? #26 Enterprise Sales – Geraldine MacCarthy (Personio)
As it is rare that customers organically find you, building an efficient sales organization is a crucial part of the success of most startups. While at the face of it, sales might sound straightforward, building an efficient sales process is complex. Joining us to show just how startups should approach their enterprise sales is Geraldine MacCarthy, Chief Revenue Officer at Personio.
In this talk Geraldine outlines how the nature of sales changes as the company scales – from founder centrality in the beginning, to setting up a growth team sales function and beyond. What remains central throughout, however, is the importance of the sales/product feedback loop and utilization of metrics that allow for iteration and efficiency.
Geraldine is Chief Revenue Officer at Personio and is experienced in both building and scaling businesses. Geraldine brings a positive approach in creating high-performing and result-oriented teams with an entrepreneurial attitude.
Geraldine joined Personio having led Dropbox in its European expansion as Head of Dropbox Business. She has lived and worked in Germany, Poland, San Francisco, and is now based back in Ireland.
What does a growth team do? #27 Building a Growth Team – Caroline Hjelm (Voi Technology)
While establishing a team focused solely on growth is not a worry in the early days, it is an eventuality for a startup that wishes to scale aggressively. While an eventuality, many still don’t have a clear image on what a growth team truly does. Joining us for an inside look into the mechanics of a growth team is Caroline Hjelm, VP of Growth at Voi.
Using learnings from Voi, Caroline goes through the when, why and how founders should start thinking of establishing a growth team for their company. As a key starting point, you need to recognise which functions for growth, remove silos and establish a growth function internally. What next? Tune in to hear more.
Caroline is VP of Growth at Voi Technology, where she was the company’s first employee in 2018. Back then Caroline was a part of building the company’s marketing, growth, policy and commercial strategy and setting the foundation for the vision of improving the way people move around congested urban centres for the European e-scooter giant.
Today, Caroline leads the marketing team at the Stockholm headquarter and has a love for growth, optimising user lifecycle efforts, performance marketing, brand and her team. Having created an environment, built on trust and high performance, Caroline is one of the most appreciated leaders in Voi.
Prior to joining Voi, Caroline worked at Spotify with Business Development for 4 years. Caroline sits on the board for DenLab, where she’s a co-founder as well as the board of boat sharing service Skipperi. Caroline was born in the North of Sweden.
How should you approach international expansion? #28 International Expansion – Sofia Dolfe (Index Ventures)
International expansion is a difficult phase most ambitious scaling companies will ultimately face. How then should you go from selecting your target markets to all the way establishing an operational team in place? Joining us to walk through how startups should approach this delicate process is Sofia Dolfe, Principal at Index Ventures.
There are a handful of key factors you should consider when thinking about expansion – market size, localisation, competition, familiarity, regulation and capital. In this talk Sofia explains how to analyze each of these as a scaling startup and outlines the common challenges companies face, while giving concrete advice on how to combat them.
Sofia is an investor with a particular passion for consumer businesses spanning ecommerce, sustainability, healthtech and gaming.
Focused on mainland Europe and the Nordics, she is fascinated by companies tackling the problem of sustainability, as well as large markets that may have been neglected because of their complexity or customer base. She works with Kry, one of Europe’s largest digital healthcare businesses; mobile-games maker Dream Games; Otrium, a fashion marketplace for excess stock and end-of-season items; and Rohlik, the leading online grocer in Europe.
Before joining Index in 2018, Sofia worked as an investor at EQT Ventures in Stockholm and a consultant at EY-Parthenon in London and Paris. She also spent time with the European Union Delegation to the OECD.
How do the best startup boards operate? #29 Working with the Board – Matt Miller (Sequoia)
Every company has a board, yet it is not all that clear how to efficiently leverage one at different stages of a company’s lifecycle. An ideal board of a young startup may look very different from a well functioning board of a more mature company. Are there some key heuristics that founders should follow when setting up their board?
Matt Miller, Partner at Sequoia, sits on the boards of multiple scaleups such as Graphcore and Tessian. In this talk, among other insights, he’ll share his take on the ideal size for a board, what happens in a board meeting and what should be the board’s main focus points throughout scaling.
Matt Miller is Partner at Sequoia focused on early and growth stage investments in technology companies.
Matt’s love for technology started at an early age, building computers and writing code as a kid in his mother’s kitchen. He has worked as an entrepreneur, an advisor and an investor. Over the last 9 years at Sequoia, Matt has worked closely with companies like Carbon Black, Confluent, dbt Labs, Docker, Graphcore, n8n, Okta, Simplisafe, Tecton and Tessian.
He has now moved his family to London to help with the opening of Sequoia’s first office in Europe. Prior to Sequoia, Matt worked at Goldman Sachs and graduated from Brigham Young University. In his spare time, Matt is wrangling three young kids with his wife and looking for people with whom he can practice his Swedish.
What does an exit mean for a startup? #30 Exit – Jan Rezab (Time is Ltd.) | Builders’ Studio: a Founder School by Slush
Exits are a famously glorified part of a startup’s journey. Whether it be through acquisition, IPO or anything in-between, a startup’s life inevitably takes an intense turn upon exit. While we are ending the series with exit, this is ideally the phase in which the startups journey truly starts to grow. Joining us to unravel exits is Jan Rezab, Founder and CEO of Time is Ltd.
Having built and exited Socialbakers, Jan will be finishing off the Builders’ Studio series with a dissection on an exit truly means for a startup and what founders should look out for, as told by a founder who just went through it all.
Jan is Founder and CEO of Time is Ltd., a productivity analytics company with the goal to create a new market creating the ability to analyze how organizations operate.
Serial entrepreneur for 18 years, founded and led Socialbakers, one of the world’s largest social marketing Software as a Service companies ($34M in funding from Index Ventures), with over 2,500 clients & 11 offices around the world. Exited to Audax private equity in 2020. Jan led the business as CEO for 8 years.