Learning by failure.

To succeed and create the best conditions for entrepreneurship, we need to learn and leverage from previous experiences, both successes and failures.

Sweden has great potential as a country of entrepreneurship, so it's been a long time and ever since, today's successful export companies were founded by passionate entrepreneurs. And Sweden is at the forefront and have great opportunities to take the lead in today's network and sharing economy. But in order to succeed and create the best conditions for entrepreneurship, we also need to learn and leverage from previous experiences, both successes and failures. Many countries are currently building effective entrepreneurship eco-systems including knowledge, capital and network of experiences from serial entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a hard science (more on this below) and ventures sometimes succeed, but mostly fail, the same applies to investments. It is therefore important that as an entrepreneur to be willing to change your approach and business model, or even change the idea completely and learn from everything that went wrong. In the same way, an investor need to spread the risk in a portfolio of several ventures. 

I have worked almost two decades with a large number of ventures, met many great entrepreneurs, worked myself as an entrepreneur, invested in large and small companies and ideas mostly in early stages, below I summarize my reflections in what might be called "learning venture creation": 

  • Building companies is difficult
  • New business models must be sufficiently disruptive
  • Business models must be based on customer unmet need
  • All three main areas of business development must converge – at the same time! 
  • Symmetry between the entrepreneurial management and equity control
  • Timing is everything
  • Capital and operations must be synchronized
  • Think big right away
  • The entrepreneur should build the company not raising capital
  • As an investor, don't fall in love with your venture
  • Youth often give great motivation but also inexperience 

The above list might give the impression that it is next to impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur, but gladly this is not the case. Entrepreneurship is undeniably a grandiose challenge but several extremely successful Swedish examples recently has proven that it is possible to succeed big! But to create more successes we have to support entrepreneurs with all of the above (and more) and, in specific, take advantage of the accumulated experience of experienced serial entrepreneurs from both successes as failures. Yes including failures, for they are often the most instructive! 

By providing both human capital via Chalmers and industry experience through the business world and angels – together with capital from Chalmers Ventures, a powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem has been created to unleash promising entrepreneurs of tomorrow! 

That is why I am looking very forward to this exciting journey together with Linnea and the rest of the team at Chalmers Ventures, we are going to create value not only for Chalmers and the Western region but for the whole of Sweden!

 /Marcus Bäcklund

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