Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.
At last week’s The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, Liam Boogar from TNW media partner Rude Baguette moderated a panel discussion on ‘Hyper Growth from Europe’ with a pair of Swedish entrepreneurs, SoundCloud co-founder Alex Ljung and Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth. You can find the video recording of the discussion below.
Ljung traveled back to the early days of SoundCloud, during which he and his co-founder Eric Wahlforss decided that they wouldn’t start building the company out of Sweden to ‘avoid distractions’.
Instead, they did a little tour around Europe (more specifically Vienna, Barcelona, London and Berlin) and during the final one-day stop in the German capital decided to settle there because the ‘vibe was so good’ and they felt Berlin was right at the intersection of art and technology.
He amusingly says SoundCloud is thus ‘European by choice’, although he admittedly spends half his time in the company’s offices in San Francisco.
Be that as it may, Ljung and Wahlforss picked up the first Europioneer award for ‘European Entrepreneur of the Year’ the day before this panel.
Adalberth started Klarna with the company’s other co-founders in Stockholm, Sweden, because, he says, the barrier for starting a business was high enough as it was (they were in business school at the time and didn’t really know all that much about the technology industry).
Interestingly, Adalberth commented on how Klarna was initially focused on Sweden for new business, but gradually expanded internationally by essentially “following their customers’ needs”.
SoundCloud went completely global from day one, Ljung says in contrast, albeit in a “less intensive way”.
Both Klarna and SoundCloud went on to become global leaders in their respective fields though, and you should watch the rest of the discussion below if you’d like to learn how they went about it.
Catch up with the rest of our coverage from TNW Conference 2013.
Top image credit: Thinkstock
Body image credit: Juliadeboer.com for TNW2013 / Flickr
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