Interview with Stefan Lindeberg
We sat down with Stefan Lindeberg who joined as investor earlier this year, to talk about his passion for working with start-ups, and what’s next for iotcomms.io.
Investor & Advisor
Tell us a bit about yourself and Red Dawn Ventures
For the past 20 years, I have had the luxury to work with start-ups as a committed investor, both as business angel and venture capitalist. Today I make my investments through my company Red Dawn Ventures and spend part of my time as an advisor for other venture capitalists. Almost everything I do is in the realm of start-ups and technology.
I started my career working with technology on a hands-on level. After I got my Degree of Master of Science in Engineering, I worked at large American companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco. In the late 90’s I got involved with a start-up for the first time, and I have been working with start-ups ever since.
I have become a start-up junkie! I love the energy in start-ups – to build innovations, develop new businesses and make quick decisions. Once you get hooked, it’s hard to go back to a regular job.
What is the most valuable advice you bring to the table working with a new start-up?I sometimes say, half serious and half joking, that the most important thing is that we don’t make the same mistakes that have already been done. Start-ups are like roller coasters, and everyone will make mistakes during the ride, but at least it should be new ones. Whether you work as employee, join the board, or invest in a start-up, you will have to ride the roller coaster. It’s not for everyone.
What type of companies do you invest in?
In the beginning it was mainly deep tech, but I have expanded my focus over time. I have invested in everything from e-commerce to semiconductors. On the consumer side I have for the most part been involved in gaming companies. I love all type of games where people meet and interact – from traditional board games to online games. I think it’s a fantastic social activity which I always enjoyed myself.
One of the important lessons over 20 years, is that the people behind the start-up are more important than the innovation or business. A small company fail or succeed because of the team.
How do you work with the companies you invest in?What motivates me is to bring technology and innovations to the market. Developing the most suitable go-to-market strategy is where my experience and technical background can make the most impact. I believe you do a better job if you understand both the technology and the market. If you only know one, it’s easy to come to the wrong conclusions.
What attracted you to invest in iotcomms.io?
I first got to know about iotcomms.io when Telia Ventures made their initial investment in the company. I worked as an advisor and evaluated iotcomms.io together with Telia Ventures. During this process, Gunnar, Jörgen and I gained mutual confidence, and about a year ago they asked for my help as advisor. This eventually led to me also investing in iotcomms.io.
I’ve known Jörgen from a few years back and he is a super skilled world-class innovator and developer. Combined with Gunnar’s solid experience from negotiating, building trust and convincing large customers, they make a great team.
What is unique about iotcomms.io?
Oftentimes, new innovative companies tend to look at their customers as they have no history. Whether you are selling an HR system or new semiconductor technology, in reality most customers will have a legacy in terms of existing processes, systems, and decisions. Their challenge is to go from where they are today to where they want to be in the future.
This is where iotcomms.io stands out. With iotcomms.io you can migrate from old to new, but it is also an incredible technology platform to build your future solution upon.
Take alarms for example. iotcomms.io can take care of an alarm company’s existing analogue alarms and integrate them with new digital solutions, and they get a fantastic platform for developing next generation alarms into the bargain. The exact same problem exists in many different areas. Interactive voice services, IVS, is another example where many old systems need to be migrated.
The ability to bridge old and new connections is one of the pieces I think is unique about iotcomms.io, and it is precisely that piece of the puzzle that helps the customer to get from where he is today to his vision. You solve the customer’s transformation problems, you have a platform for the next generation applications, and you have a business model selling services by volume. These three pieces together I find very interesting.
And the competition?
After all, there are competitors who deliver real-time services. What is unique is partly being able to handle both new and older types of systems, and the ability to manage more advanced real-time functions, such as real-time video in IoT implementations. Many companies can handle sending data from IoT devices as simple messages, but if you want real-time audio and video and handle this is in a good way, then iotcomms.io can deliver a greater value than message-focused competitors.
Many communication platforms offer advanced online messaging features, and it works perfectly well for certain types of applications. iotcomms.io on the other hand, has been designed for next generation applications including real-time communication from start.
What is the next important step for iotcomms.io?
To become a large company, we must be able to grow faster than linearly. We need to lower the threshold for customers to start using our functions. It is extremely important that we make it easy for developers to start building by providing documentation, code examples, test resources and developer communities where they share experiences and support each other. There is an incredible power in customers helping each other and sharing experiences from using our platform.
A good Developer Experience will be a necessity to get volume in the number of customers and to attract smaller companies. But even large companies’ technology choices often start with someone in the development department having found something online, read something on a forum and started testing themselves.
In addition, we will continue to make high-touch B2B sales to attract larger companies. They are incredibly good as a reference case and we can learn from them and further develop our platform, as we are often involved in the projects.
I am excited to continue working with iotcomms.io and look forward to bringing our platform to the market and scaling our business. It will be great fun to get this up and rolling properly and take the next step!