Group work with tree people

Building great scale-ups: A look inside the Nordic Scale-up Lab

In October 2018, the third batch of Nordic scale-up companies in the Nordic Scalers program began their 10-week long intensive work towards their common dream: To take over the world.  

During those 10 weeks, the scale-ups went through 10 different modules with different content in what we call the Nordic Scale-up Lab. Some lab sessions were held through group meetings with growth hacking and inspirational speakers, while others were one-on-one sessions with their dedicated mentors, or so-called Lab Directors.  

We joined the fifth lab session, a physical meeting in Stockholm, to see what was going on.  

Inspiration and mentoring 

The day was a typical grey and drizzly Nordic autumn day that in no way resonated with what was about to happen in the bustling fifth floor location of Epicenter’s innovation community in downtown Stockholm.  

A small crowd of ambitious scale-up entrepreneurs were sharpening their ears as they listened to the words of marketing and conversion expert John Ekman of Conversionista, interrupting ever so often with questions and comments relating to their own companies. 

John Ekman of Conversionista teaching marketing to the scale-up companies.
John Ekman of Conversionista teaching marketing to the scale-up companies.

The clock was a little passed 11 and the fifth module of the Nordic Scale-up Lab had just begun. The participants all seemed eager to suck up as much knowledge as possible in their quest to manage and accelerate their high-growth companies. 

Ekman continued his observations and learnings about successful marketing and online conversions for a while, answering questions and showing examples as he went along. After a brief working lunch, he then went on to analyze the participants’ own company websites, offering tips and answering inquires on how to approve them, like making small changes in copy to changing the order of call to action buttons. 

Then it was time to delve deeper into things. The next hours were spent with one-on-one meetings between the Nordic Scalers mentors and the companies. Each company got to meet at least two mentors, as well as having time for independent work on their challenges.  

This was a good chance for the entrepreneurs to get into the nitty-gritty of their companies’ specific challenges and follow up on their previous lab sessions, as well as picking the experienced mentors’ brains. All the mentors in the Nordic Scalers program have vast experience with building successful scale-up companies. 

The team from Finnish scale-up Quuppa sitting down with mentor Edgar Luczak.
The team from Finnish scale-up Quuppa sitting down with mentor Edgar Luczak.

A unique insight into IPOs 

After two hours of one-on-one and individual work, the entrepreneurs gathered again for a special program post. Through the Nordic Scaling Advisory Board, Nordic Innovation had managed to get hold of Senior Managing Director of Nasdaq Nordic, Erja Retzén, to create a Nordic IPO Clinic. The clinic consisted of a panel of experts that discussed various aspects around IPOs – experiences from founders having successfully being publicly listed, potential legal hurdles and from investment partners. Retzén also moderated the panel. 

The panel consisted of the following experts: 

  • Dennis Forchhammer, CEO of Happy Helper 
  • Johan Castevall, CEO of XM Reality 
  • Joakim Falkner, Partner at Baker & McKenzie 
  • Richard Goldman, Head of Corporate Finance at RedEye 
  • Carl Armfelt, Portfolio Manager at Swedbankrobur 

The panel discussed a wide array of things, like what benefits companies have of being listed and what it takes, potential challenges and what investors look for when they deal with companies looking for an IPO. 

The panel of the Nordic IPO Clinic, moderated by Erja Retzén of Nasdaq Nordic (far right).
The panel of the Nordic IPO Clinic, moderated by Erja Retzén of Nasdaq Nordic (far right).

“It was a tough process, but our IPO was a great way to get visibility and credibility and enabled us to grow even faster than before”, said Dennis Forchhammer, whose company Happy Helper – one of the companies in the third batch of the Nordic Scalers program – recently went through a successful IPO.  

And with those words, the fifth session of the Nordic Scale-up Lab was over for the third batch of companies in the Nordic Scalers program. Disappearing into the dark and wet Stockholm night, they know that they are now half-way into the intense program – and just maybe one step closer to becoming the next Nordic unicorn.††††

See what CEO Per Ebensen of Codeable, one of the companies from Batch 3 of Nordic Scalers, thinks of their time in the Nordic Scalers program.