We are happy to introduce the fourth team member of Blq Invest – Karin Bjerde, our Company Builder! Put simply, Karin will be overall responsible for assisting our portfolio companies transition from startups to scaleups. Having spent her previous 4+ years at a Swedish SaaS startup turned scaleup, Kognity, she’s lived through this transition and will now use her experience and knowledge to guide our companies operationally.
Not an ordinary investor
What makes blq Invest different is that we are not simply an investor – we are company builders! Our expertise is to help our portfolio companies go from start-ups to scale-ups. Through our blq Box approach, we help our companies identify what needs to be done within 4 key areas – scale, stickiness, storytelling, and team – and then work side-by-side with them to bring these changes into reality. Strong execution is the motto we live by.
What is a company builder?
This blq Box process is what Karin as a company builder will be responsible for. Karin works with the founders and management of the companies on a weekly basis to ensure they are taking the right steps to scale their business. This can for instance be setting a clear company strategy, company steering to ensure the entire team is pulling in the same direction, improving the commercial functions based on best practices within SaaS, and identifying and executing on recruitment needs.
What is Karin’s motivation?
Put simply, she loves connecting the dots between the top-down big picture trends, and the bottom-up execution of those trends. Further, she also believes Sweden (where we have our HQ) has a unique opportunity to take a leading role globally through its values, entrepreneurial ecosystem thanks to companies like Spotify, Skype, and Klarna, and societal structure enabling entrepreneurship. Nurturing Sweden’s ecosystem of start-ups alongside governments, academia, and large corporations can position Sweden at the forefront of global development, we just have to ensure that we provide all the right pathways to deliver on that opportunity.
Many times, grand plans and visions fail due to execution. Under Karin and the rest of the blq team’s guidance, blq Invest’s portfolio companies will hopefully navigate the tricky path from startup to scaleup in a grander fashion.
We wanted to share some ingredients in our secret sauce with you. A sauce we call the blq box. We firmly believe that building solid, successful companies can be done systematically, even at an early stage. The blq box is our way of doing this.
The blq box consists of four key areas:
The key to surviving the Valley of Death spells Scale. Creating business models that scale allows scaleups to progress with their customers, while recurring revenues provide a solid base from which to add further value. Go-to-market strategies, growth hacking and solidifying niche positions are key areas of organisational support for us, all the while driving underlying profitability through clear value propositions.
Stickiness is the fundamental component of a SaaS business. Creating products and services that your customers initially want to buy is step one, but then what? We help our companies in progressing from “nice-to-have” via “need-to-have” to “absolutely business critical”. This entails transitioning to recurring revenues, iterating on pricing strategies, achieving negative churn and integrating in the value chain, all in dialogue with the market.
There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Most scaleups consider Storytelling either a necessary evil or an unaffordable luxury. We believe it is a critical key to success. Not just towards customers, but suppliers, distributors and the overall market. Not to mention future investors. We help our companies write their own story through everything from value proposition, positioning, and brand identity to relationship building, spokesperson strategies and smart activities to make the best out of your brand.
There is no I in Team, but there’s an I in execution. A solid organisational structure that creates opportunities for individuals to succeed is the foundation of company building, as is the right competence at the right place, at the right time. We support management teams with strategy and organisational planning, recruiting key hires, culture development, and employer branding, helping our companies create environments that attract and retain top talent.
This is how are supporting entrepreneurs through a data-driven approach. A joint plan on how to successfully scale is devised together with the entrepreneurs, allowing for a unified view on what actions and strategies are to be prioritised. During our time together, we support operationally to execute on this plan.