Last week a small scale but high-profile event was held at Plandays office in Startup Village: the foundation, that is the core of #cphftw, celebrated that it had been funded and established! With 85 startups having contributed a total of over € 100 000, it is enough to make the #cphftw movement being able to grow and prosper. Being funded this way by startups, the #cphftw foundation truly is ‘by startups, for startups’.
Also celebrating startup successes
The event however was also about celebrating startup successes in general. It had two high-profile sessions: Mikkel Svane, of Zendesk fame, and Mette Lykke, from Endomondo. With Zendesks IPO and Endomondos exit to Under Armour, these two startups are the most high profile born in Copenhagen in recently.
Mikkel gave a presentation about Zendesk, how it started, lessons learned and insights.
“We had no idea what we were doing. We truly didn’t. But we tried a lot.”
– was one of Mikkels insights. One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur he felt was the mixture of optimism, with realism.
“You have to embrace that you will succeed. But also that you will fail.”
He also emphasised that Zendesk should not be regarded as a clear case for how to build a startup. It was a lucky shot, being at the right time at the right circumstances. However, he said it is also a combination of luck and seeing the opportunity. They never planned on having such an impact with their early product, but when they saw the interest it got from all around the world, they quickly realised they had a chance to do something big, and decided to act on it.
“As a startup you have to open all the doors.”
Insights into being acquired
Mette held a fireside chat, being interviewed by Kasper Hulthin. With both of them being founders at startups that have been acquired by big international corporations, there were a lot of questions about how it felt and the struggle with being acquired. Insights into the due diligence process, the challenge of keeping the double focus of building a startup while being in long negotiations with potential acquirers, and handling the communication around it, both to ones own employees as well as outsiders.
Mette also talked about Endomondos journey, and how it all stared. With all founders being former McKinsey, it was rather easy to get started. She drew smiles with the stories:
“We had no problem getting VC meeting. The PowerPoint was really nice!”
However, a lot of focus was also on the tough times Endomondo had been thru, especially the downsizing and hard decisions that needed to be made in 2012.
The fireside chat was very insightful, and of high value for a lot of the entrepreneurs in the audience – getting to know the feeling and troubles with being acquired is a good knowledge to have.
It is great to see that the community celebrates and talks about successes in this way, and that there is a chance to meet and learn between entrepreneurs. A great work by the #cphftw team for organising another simple yet high value event!