Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Marika Tedroff is an associate at Seedrs and works from the London-office. Seedrs is a pan-European platform for equity crowdfunding and was awarded UK’s most active funder in private companies 2017. Marika was previously working at the Swedish VC-firm BackingMinds which invests in founders outside of homogeneous networks of traditional venture capital, and has worked as a journalist and researcher. She holds a Bsc in Business & Economics and has been awarded two scholarships for her work with increasing diversity and promoting integration in Sweden.
Marika, how did you get into this industry? Tell us a bit more about your background and your projects so far.
I started to engage myself in the vibrant startup community when I studied at university in Sweden. It led me to a job at Danske Bank where I interviewed founders across Sweden for their new platform for startups, TheHub. During my travels, I met many amazing companies outside of Stockholm and started to research if any VCs were actively investing in companies outside of capital cities. I found BackingMinds, a Swedish VC-firm focusing on investing in founders outside traditional networks of traditional VC. I decided to join forces with them to create change in the ecosystem. Today, I live in London and work at Seedrs, Europe’s leading platform for equity crowdfunding, where I help entrepreneurs raise money on a daily basis. Seedrs enables anyone to invest in private companies, which is thrilling to say the least.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
At Seedrs, we work closely with dedicated founders to help them raise capital and leverage the amazing benefits of crowdfunding. I am also exploring various mentoring opportunities for young entrepreneurs outside the tight tech ecosystem.
How has your career progressed since your degree? Has it been an easy industry to get into or have you had many challenges?
There are two sides of this question. Today, it is easier than ever to access the startup ecosystem (especially in cities like London!) as there are tons of meetups, events, Facebook groups, incubators, accelerator programs etc which anyone can join! On the other hand, I would still argue that the startup-industry and the tech industry in general can be quite challenging to enter as an outsider, especially for founders looking for capital. Network is still so, so important, and I believe we need to make it more open and inclusive to ensure all entrepreneurs can access it. At Seedrs, we enable anyone to invest in private companies, and entrepreneurs to access a diverse range of investors, which I think is absolutely amazing.
What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you? What are the challenges of being a woman in tech?
I will speak from the perspective of fundraising or making investments in tech startup companies. We need more female investors that other women can relate to and identify with, and we need investors to be more educated on cognitive biases when making investment decisions. I also believe we need to recognize the fact that the tech industry is today very reliant on tight networks and having the right connections, at least for entrepreneurs looking to raise money. In the absence of (enough) female investors, this can be more challenging as a woman. The landscape is changing though, we see more initiatives specifically for female founders and we see more and more women engaging in the tech industry. I sincerely hope we do not need to separate women from men when discussing the tech industry in a few years.
In your opinion, what will be the key trends in the tech industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
The investor’s (VCs, angels) role will shift. Investors have previously been able to rely completely on incoming deal flow and wait for entrepreneurs to contact them. Today, the best entrepreneurs have options and are able to choose their investors and fundraising avenues wisely. Today, VC money is primarily invested in capital cities but given the all amazing companies that are being built in other areas, I believe we will see quite a few successes emerging from other hubs in Europe, outside capital cities. There is no doubt that cyber security continuous to be an important topic and it will be exciting to see what companies and products emerge from the new PSD2 regulation. Lastly, I look forward to seeing more private individuals start to invest in early stage companies through Seedrs and Seedrs’ secondary market.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in tech?
My previous managers, Susanne Najafi and Sara Wimmercranz, founding partners of BackingMinds. I also really admire Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital. They all try to open up the VC-landscape, similar to Seedrs which democratizes investments in private companies.
LinkedIn: Marika Tedroff
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.