All though we had bootstrapped our business since the launch, reselling hardware required us to have a high cash flow. We knew that if we wanted to continue developing Responster we had to raise money through an investment. At the time when Adam joined the team, his friend and long-time colleague David was re-introduced to me. David had been working with Adam and me on our SAT project a couple of years before. He had just recently graduated with a master’s in economics from Stockholm University and had got a job at a local investment group called DP Lauren Investment Group.
The investment group specialized in early startup financing. David eagerly told us that our team could be of interest for the investment group’s founder and CEO Daniel Laurén. We instantly saw an opportunity to raise the money we needed and also find an advisor that could help us develop our business even further.
We first met Daniel early summer 2013 at his office in downtown Stockholm. While eating lunch together we told him all about our team and our plans for Responster. Intrigued by our idea, Daniel was also impressed that we managed to run our business while three of us still studied at university. His last advice to us before saying goodbye was that we should form a shareholder agreement where we detailed how many shares each of us were entitled, and what it meant to be a shareholder in our company. This would be required in case of an investment.
Since starting working on Responster, we hadn’t really thought that much about the shares, all of us had been working as much as we could and we all felt a confidence in each other. Forming the shareholder agreement proved to be difficult since it required that we all evaluated our present job situations, as well as our future plans with the company.
Besides studying, how much time would each of us be able to work during the coming year? What did we think of the future of the company in the next coming two, three and four years?
To be honest, none of us hadn’t really thought this far ahead when we planned for the development of Responster. Especially not as far as past our graduation from university. All in all, forming this shareholder agreement proved to be really valuable for us since it made us find a mutual goal for the company for the coming years and explain how we all would be a part of that.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and we’re meeting Daniel again. This time we showed him our shareholder agreement and also presented to him how much money we would like to raise. With the invested money, we would not only ensure our business for the coming year, but also have enough capital to resell the needed Responster hardware to our customers.
During the meeting, Daniel showed us a brand new office two stories above his own, where his investment group planned on moving in together with another company. He told us that if we were interested, and in the event of an investment, we were welcome to move in as well. For us this would be a huge change, moving from a small office almost not big enough to hold the four of us to a prime location in the center of Stockholm.
Looking back at it, meeting Daniel was a huge boost for us. Not only did he end up investing in our company, but he has also been the chairman of the board of directors since then. With Daniel’s previous experience of startups, he has truly helped us get where we are today.
After raising the capital, we needed and moving to the new office during early Fall 2013 we set a new goal for Responster: to increase sales.
The future of feedback is a 10-part series on how Responster grew into what it has become today.
Every week I’ll publish a new post where I tell you about the life of a startup, the Responster-team and how a product is born.
I hope that you’ll find these posts interesting. If you have a startup of your own or have experience in software similar to Responster, I’d love hearing from you. You can drop me a line whenever you want at [email protected].
Tune in next week to find out what happened when we decided to grow Responster’s sales.