The Stockholm Distro Dojo is well under way, and we’ve already had a very exciting couple days. We’ll be posting a full recap of the first week this coming Friday.
But before that, we want to introduce you to Almi Invest, one of our most valued partners in helping to get the Stockholm Distro Dojo up and running. Without them, the Dojo would definitely not be possible! We sat down with Almi Invest’s CEO Mikael Karlsson to learn a bit more about Almi Invest, what they do, and what excites them most about the Stockholm Dojo.
500: So who exactly is Almi Invest, and what do you guys do?
MK: We are Sweden’s most active early stage investor and are dedicated to finding new Swedish startups that can compete globally. Our investment teams operate all over Sweden, close to the entrepreneurs. We have co-invested with over 1 000 business angels and institutional investors. Our first, initial investment would typically be 100k – 250k Euro (150k- 300k USD) and up to 1 MEUR (1,5 MUSD). We have a portfolio of 400 companies in areas like Internet of Things and smart sensors, Social platforms, Media, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Services, 3D printing technologies, Life Science, New materials, Renewable Energy etc.
500: Why did you initially want to get involved with the Dojo?
MK: It´s a great initiative to boost rapid development in companies with global potential and ambition docked into a hot startup scene in Stockholm/Sweden. 500Startups is a highly valuable partner with international mentors, funding and extensive network to support startups to accelerate.
500: What are you most excited about for the upcoming program?
MK: To meet and to see how the startups and the entrepreneurs can develop in a short time, get valuable insights, experiences and tools to rock the world! We are curious to see what kind of attention this Dojo gets in the startup and venture community, we have high expectations!
500: From the investor side, what do you see as the greatest potential benefits to come out of a program like this?
MK: A quick boost for the right company, in terms of developing team insights, business model, distribution channels, international network and customer attention. Connecting to peers in the same Dojo can also be of great value. It’s fantastic for the startups to be chosen to this exclusive Distro Dojo program and they should expect very hard, fun and challenging work.
500: What do you see as the future relationship between Almi Invest, 500, and the Dojo?
MK: A perfect match where we have access to a lot of startups and entrepreneurs all over Sweden that want to go global, so I look forward to future programs and also to expand the connections to other hubs around the world. We see also opportunities to co-invest.
500: Thanks Mikael! Any final comments on Stockholm’s startup scene?
MK: Stockholm’s and Sweden’s startup scene is home to 7 of the world’s 78 start-up firms valued at more than one billion dollars (unicorns). Rock star entrepreneurs such as Niklas Zennström and Daniel Ek have created a new wave where top talented people see startups as a preferred choice when choosing their career path. The startup community in Sweden has really exploded with a lot of new interesting tech startups emerging, new VC funds are raised, generation X wants to change the world with new products/services and the potential to scale your business faster challenges traditional solutions and drives innovation forward.
We are extremely happy to be embarking on this journey, and holding the very first Stockholm Dojo, with the support of a partner like Almi Invest. It’s companies like Almi Invest that are helping to make the startup scene here in Stockholm an exciting, and ultimately extremely successful, one.
These first few days have been a whirlwind indeed, but the weeks ahead will surely be packed with fun, and we’re excited to share with you as we go. So stay tuned!