TechBBQ Speaker Jakob Ekkelund On How to Approach a VC

Previously, Jakob Ekkelund worked at TDC with an impressive career rising from entry-level graduate to Head of Strategy at TDC Consumer in 5 years. He entered the venture world to work with passionate startups and to make a difference. We sat down with him to get the VC perspective.

Jakob Ekkelund likes working with startups. He likes the employees’ passion. He likes their attitude towards risk and the willingness to take a chance even when most people would find it irrational. He likes seeing the impact that a dollar can make and he likes enacting change and positive impact.

How to Approach a Venture Capital Firm
We asked Ekkelund a question that was burning in our minds. What is the best way to approach a Venture Capital firm like SEED Capital?

“It’s important to come in knowing how we work, what we can do for you as well as what you want us to do for you. We can help in a lot of different ways. The key is not to seem desperate. The best thing you can do is approach us saying we don’t need financing right now, but we will need it 3-6 months from now. If you lay out a plan of where you’re heading and can show us results and momentum from that plan, you will definitely have our attention.”

It seems obvious that as a startup you become much more attractive to investors if you can show that you have momentum and are growing. That’s powerful leverage. But it’s also not the only factor that goes into landing investment. Ekkelund stresses the importance of having a good team, good story, and value proposition lined up.

“We aim to invest in pre-trends. If an industry has already exploded that means that there isn’t as much growth potential. We look for what’s next so that we can syndicate it further. As a firm, Seed Capital can act as a stepping stone to international VC, but that works best when your service or technology can be seen as the next big thing.”

A VC View on the Copenhagen Startup Scene
Ekkelund agrees that the startup ecosystem in Copenhagen has shifted in the past few years. He notes a change in the level of professionalism and knowledge of startups. This he attributes to the growing presence of co-working spaces and entrepreneurial houses in Copenhagen like Rocket Labs, Founder’s House, and NEST.

“If I were a startup, I would approach angels and VCs simultaneously. The investor community here is small and everyone knows everyone and talks about the deals. If you approach a bunch of firms at the same time you’ll likely make yourself more sought after and competitive, increasing your chances of seeing greater results.”

Ekkelund also sees good reason for startups to be in Denmark. Maybe financing isn’t as readily available, but the smaller community means that it’s easier to get to the right people and resources that can help you to succeed.

Firms such as Seed Capital that have a longstanding history of deals, are well connected and can create synergies and strategic partnerships. If you move to another country, there is a liability of foreignness and it will likely take longer to realize the same results. Here at home, it’s easier to develop the user experience, test the market, and the revenue model so that when the time comes to scale you are ready.

Recommended by Jakob Ekkelund: Everything Gary Vaynerchuk and the book Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur by Dermot Berkery.

Jakob will be speaking at TechBBQ on May 20th. You can start the conversation with him now on twitter @JakobEkkelund

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