Nov 2, 2015 Jessica Blechingberg
Northzone, established in 1996, is a leading technology investor. Today Northzone has raised over $700 million and invested in over 100 companies. Their current portfolio includes companies such as Spotify, iZettle, Trustpilot, Avito, Tobii, and Spaceape.
Marta Sjögren‘s focus at Northzone is in early stage companies in consumer internet, edtech, recruitment, fintech, security, and gaming. Before joining Northzone, Marta was with DN Capital, where she worked with several of investments in both fintech and music verticals.
We have been exceptionally active since the fund was closed, some 2 years ago. We have invested in over 35 companies, from seed to growth stages. We continue to focus on building relationships with the best of entrepreneurs in the fintech, media, entertainment, deep social, ecommerce, and edtech/recruitment SaaS. Some of our notable investments in this fund include Seriously (Finland/US), Klarna (Sweden), Jukely (US), Kahoot (Norway), Sqore (Sweden), and MarketInvoice (UK).
Game changers are companies that are fundamentally disrupting markets, or building entirely new ones. These companies usually have a fundamentally new way of looking at a problem, and build new, creative solutions.
Game winners, on the other hand, are usually companies that focus on optimizing execution, in competitive markets, where more efficient operations and business intelligence can reap major rewards.
I’ve always enjoyed understanding consumer behavior, characterized through the relationship between lifetime value and CAC, be it in B2C or B2B companies. I fundamentally like product-driven companies, where there is a significant enough vision to disrupt or invent a market. At Northzone, our focus areas develop and change as the market matures, but we try to be consistent with investments in businesses we understand and can add value to through our experience of building companies over the past two decades.
We were blown away by the founders’ passion and ambition levels. The music industry was also at the brink of collapse, so timing (a crucial ingredient!) was also right. It was by no means an easy decision, but looking back, we’re happy we took the leap of faith.
Yes – it’s part of the job!
The most important aspect of a startup for me is the team: how ambitious and passionate is the team? Why have they set out to build this particular product/company? What pointers can I spot that suggest a strong track record, even if not directly related? Do they have complementary skills? Are they aiming high enough? Are the foundations solid?
Three main reasons: strong engineering and design culture; solid investment environment, where success breeds success; “born global” – small home markets that merely serve as a good testing ground.
Keep it simple and concise; be data-driven in your communication. If you’re aiming to meet investors, prepare: understand what areas of focus an investor might have, and target them only if mutually relevant.
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