A Startup Blog

Meet the members – Mladen from Worldfavor


The SUP46 members represent 45 different nationalities. Mladen, from our member company Worldfavor is one of them coming from Serbia. He came to Sweden 2,5 years ago to study at KTH in Stockholm. After his studies, he was recruited by Worldfavor. Worldfavor is a global digital platform and Software as a Service that makes it simple and efficient to access and share sustainability information and manage sustainability performance for companies. Their aim is to make all corporate sustainability information easily accessible for anyone in the cloud, enabling informed decisions and sustainable growth. 

A lot of startups are looking for talents outside Sweden since it´s difficult to find certain talents here. Getting a work permit in Sweden for people outside EU often takes a long time and many people give up before they get the permit.  Here´s Mladens story on how he finally got his work permit.


(Mladen in the middle with a red jacket)


How did you end up in Sweden?

Mladen: Even before high school I knew I wanted to work with software development and design. After doing my Bachelors in Computer Science, I wanted to apply for a Master’s program where I could learn and get experience within designing user interface, user experience and software interactions. My heart and all the Internet search results led to KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After getting accepted to the Human-computer Interaction programme I came to Stockholm in August 2014. It was the first time I came to Sweden as a Master’s student, not knowing almost anyone, experiencing new lifestyle, culture and university.


Was your plan to go back to Serbia after your studies or did you plan to get a job in Sweden all along?


Mladen: My plan was to get a job in Sweden even thought I love my home country. The more time I spend in Sweden, the more I realize how many different opportunities this country can offer. I did my Master thesis in a large corporate where I got my first full-time employment offer. However, the position was not exactly what I was looking for. Also, I wanted to have a more dynamic work environment and atmosphere, for which I would look forward to, every day.

I started looking at the startup community and visited SUP46´s and Stings´ “Join a Tech-startup” event. I didn’t meet Worldfavor that day but they heard about me and one day I received an e-mail from them, asking if I would be interested to work as their Front-end developer. I arranged a meeting with them already the next day. After meeting the team and getting to know more about the company and their business idea I felt that I really wanted to join Worldfavor. I got the position and eight months later, I am still very happy for my decision to join them! Working in a start-up environment is just what I needed and wanted. Also, I like working at SUP46, where we have our office, is a wonderful place to network and gain experience.


You waited for your Swedish work permit for 8 months. Do you know why you had to wait that long?


Mladen: As I am not the citizen of EU, I need to have a residence/work permit to live and work in Sweden. Knowing that Sweden is technologically advanced I expected to obtain the permit in a short notice, especially since I had already lived and studied in Sweden for a few years. However, despite having all the necessary documents that the Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) required, I thought: “OK, they are going to accept me very fast, but no”. At the time when I had to apply, there were a lot of refugees coming to Sweden, requesting for asylum from, guess where, no other place than the same Migration Agency.

As authorities said from Migration Agency, my work permit application was placed in a very long queue among other people, and I suppose also refugees. This queue lasted for 8 months. Meanwhile, I was not allowed to travel anywhere outside of Sweden! That was my first time, that I haven’t been home in Serbia for New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Serbian New Year’s Eve with my family and friends. At the end of March 2017 I finally got my residence/work permit approved. I couldn’t be happier (I even threw a party that day at my place). Now finally I can do some travelling again! The permit is valid for 2 years, and yes, it is valid from the day I applied, meaning that I have 1 year and 4 months left to go wherever I want, until I must apply for a new permit again at the end of 2018.


SUP46, together with other startups and organisations like Stockholm Chamber of Commerce are trying to convince Swedish politicians the need of a special queue at the Migration Agency for work permits so they can be handled fast and efficient. Our Swedish startups needs the best talents the world can offer so they can grow fast and become stronger. We want Sweden to become the most startup friendly country in the world. Read more about the Startupmanifesto.



Meet the members – Sportswik from Umeå

One of SUP46´s goals for 2017 is to get more members outside Stockholm. Sportswik is one of our current members from Umeå. We have asked Sportswiks CEO, Martin Wiklund, a few questions about their membership.


Sportswik is a niche social media for sports coverage. They want to democratize sports coverage by enabling every team at any age or level to shoot pictures, videos and live report goals and game events with a few simple touches on their smartphones. Their content engine algorithms analyse the content and automatically sets pictures, headlines, leads etc. to make it look like the coverage of a top-level game.


The Sportswik team, Martin is second from the left. Photo: Mikael Hansson


How did you find out about SUP46 and why did you apply for a membership?

We found out about SUP46 from our board member Almi Invest. As an Umeå based startup we wanted to get access to the network of investors, partners and other startups around SUP46.


Why do you think a SUP46 membership is good for tech startups outside Stockholm?


Most other Swedish cities lack the network of companies and investors that exist in Stockholm. By being a member, still based in Umeå, we have been included in a community of other companies in the same phase as us, and a network of big companies and investors that would have taken much more time and effort to build without SUP46. 


What has been the best thing with the SUP46-membership?


To learn from and get connected to other companies in the network! This has helped us to gain knew knowledge, open doors, and avoid mistakes.





Meet the team – Arish


October 2016 SUP46 launched the open digital platform TheHub together with Danske Bank. The aim is to give visibility to all Swedish startups, thus assisting them with recruiting talent, finding and contacting investors and also by offering best practice tools and templates for documents that all startups need. Read more about The Hub and Project Manager Arish Karadaghi below.



How did you end up at SUP46?


Last winter I was writing my thesis in Uppsala and working with some projects at Entrepreneurs Academy, at the same time I started to travel between Uppsala-Stockholm daily because of an idea that my friend and I started to work on that also attracted great attention. We started to apply to some business competitions and we won the City of Stockholm Innovation Scholarship, and the Digital idea of the year by Universum & Schibsted Growth.

I did a summer internship at Schibsted Growth and got the chance to work with the amazing Miriam Grut Norrby. She is also part of SUP46 Advisory Board so through her I got in contact with Petra and Jessica. I used to go to some events at SUP46 and I knew people working there already but the opportunity to work in the team and learn one or two things from Jessica tempted me. They were already searching for a project manager for the Hub and I liked the concept so two interviews later I got the position.


What do you do at SUP46?


I’m project manager of the Hub and working with growing the Swedish platform to establish an overview of tech startups in Sweden – our goal is to help startup companies with their recruitment of new employees, funding, and offering best practice tools (i.e. legal documents).

Most of my daily work goes to screening and publishing new startup profiles, job ads, job applicants, investor profiles and matching potential advisors & angel investors with the founders. I’m also sourcing new companies and open job positions in the startup community, helping these companies get visibility to talents by targeting the right social media channels. I’m basically trying to create a digital community for startups but also so future entrepreneurs have a “go-to-place,” The Hub – it’s totally free for everyone! Since the Hub also exists in the other Nordic countries, we have weekly talks amongst us country managers as well, making it a Nordic thing.

We see as a further extension of the SUP46 open workplace by the Startup Café and our desire to have member companies in other Swedish cities as well so is helping startups that are in various stages.

If you have a tech startup (no matter if you are currently recruiting or not) sign up and create your profile. If you are looking to join a startup, apply to over 140 jobs right now. Life is short!


What do you like best about your job?


I love to work with the team and that I’m surrounded in an office by people from all over the world with different experiences and perspectives – It’s a very sharp and enthusiastic ecosystem. It’s exciting to be part of the Swedish startup community but above all it’s very fulfilling to be there supporting the most passionate, driven and intelligent people – the entrepreneurs. We work hard every day to help them reach the next level!


If you were starting your own scalable business tomorrow, what would it be?


The Hub feels a bit like my own startup, except having a boss and other parties involved! I’m still working with my own idea but more at night and on weekends. If I could, starting tomorrow, I would go all in day and night to re-invent driver learning with technology. I’m also a passionate football fanatic so mixing technology with the modern football industry is also something that is catching my attention.


What is SUP46 to you in one bitmoji?


Meet Daphni – our new Global Friend


Daphni recently joined the SUP46 family as Global Friends. They call themselves venture capital mutants. What does that mean and what can they do for the Swedish tech-startups? Why are they looking for startups in the Nordics? We have the answers! 


Daphni is half a platform half a VC fund. How do this work and what’s the reason for this setup?

We have a digital platform where we have brought together our network of investors, entrepreneurs and experts. They help us through our whole investment value chain, from finding interesting startups, to evaluation and helping our portfolio companies grow.

When we decided to start Daphni, in 2015, we had three principles that we thought were indispensable to be disruptive: we wanted to be open, transparent and scalable. A platform is an organization model that makes these three requirements possible. While each industry was facing the emergence of platforms, we thought that there is no reason the VC industry would be an exception. We wanted to benefit from the incredible power of this kind of structure: network effects, scalability, collective intelligence and horizontal communication. We wanted to not only differentiate ourselves, but also build the best value proposition possible, for both our investors and our soon-to-be portfolio companies.


You are based in Paris but are actively looking for startups in the Nordics? Why this and why now? 


We studied the biggest European startups to understand what they look like (see our article on TechCrunch). One of the lessons we learned is that European unicorns came from only six different hubs in Europe (Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris and London). Not only was it the sign that the ecosystem was already offering good investment opportunities, but it also meant that these hubs were starting to give birth to local mafias composed of serial entrepreneurs and employees that lived the unicorn journey from the inside. Another lesson was that startups were now following new rules and borders are disappearing. This is also true for startups and venture capital. We need to source the best talents and to support them the best possible way, we need to be present across Europe.


What are the three most interesting industries in France right now?


There are three sectors in which we are particularly interested these days: job market (which is about to be disrupted by a major actor in Europe), AI (which will be the next revolution after internet) and genomics (which need time to be understood and evaluated). 


What kind of startups are you looking for?


We are looking for all the startups bringing a major disruption at a European or global scale. We invest in early stage startups, mainly in Series A rounds (and sometimes in seed stage and Series B). We focus on digital solutions broadly speaking, active in all kinds of sectors. 


Why did you choose to start a partnership with SUP46?

We wanted a gateway to the Nordic market and we felt that Stockholm is a great place to start. In Stockholm, SUP46 is an important part of the ecosystem with great connections to the rest of Sweden and the Nordics. So to get a flying start on our Nordic expansion, we wanted to be a part of SUP46! 

Meet the team – Morgane (Mo)


SUP46 opened the Café and open workspace in May 2016. The area is open for everyone who needs a place to sit and work, study, a cup of coffee, a lunch or just a place to hang out with great WIFI. Mo joined SUP46 as the Café Manager in November last year. Get to know her and how she ended up at SUP46 a bit better below!



How did you end up at SUP46?

I had just returned to Stockholm after an around the world trip and it was time for me to settle down again. Before traveling I had been working for a Swedish restaurant in London and before that as a promotion manager and I was looking for something that would somehow bring these experiences together: food, customers service and promotion/communication, if possible in an international environment as I am a Frenchie who lives in Sweden and loves to travel! With Sup46 I got the whole package!


What do you do at SUP46?


I am the Start Up Café Manager. We are a lounge, a café and an open workplace all in one! And just like great friends we are maybe difficult to find but very hard to leave and impossible to forget! With my team of interns we serve our amazing customers (Sup46 members and non-members), prepare catering for the many meetings and events organised all year round here at Sup (more than 250 last year!) and ensure the place is welcoming and inspiring. It is also my job to come up with new dishes and treats, as well as to promote the café outside our walls.


What do you like best about your job?


I am never bored! There is always something new to do and try. I have a lot of freedom and have the chance to work with a team and customers who are very creative, open minded and enjoy a good challenge! I also learn a lot every day about the Start-Up scene, which is fascinating and very inspiring.


If you were starting your own scalable business tomorrow, what would it be?


It would have to be within wellness. I am also a yoga teacher and co-owner of Bestofyou which we are now developing into a platform offering inspiration but also life coaching, yoga and nutrition services. We believe happiness is the highest form of health and wish to spread the word!