To get business angel Klaus Nyengaard’s attention you need to mix the characteristics of being entrepreneurial with professionalism
Entreprofessionals = a person who is mixing the best of entrepreneurship and professionalism.
The Nordics lack experienced entrepreneurs. As one of the most active business angels in the Nordic countries, Klaus Nyengaard takes an active part in shaping the entrepreneurial tech environment. With his experience and smart money, he wears many hats. He is a business angel, entrepreneur, active board member of several startups, founder of yearly non-profit startup festival TechBBQ and has been actively involved in the grassroots initiatives #CPHFTW since its inception.
In 2011, Klaus Nyengaard coined the term ‘Entreprofessional’ when explaining the team members in a perfect organisation. An entreprofessional is a person who understands how to balance the key dimensions of what defines an entrepreneur and a professional, respectively.
An entrepreneur is typically defined as risk taking, passionate, and opportunistic. These characteristics are desirable, even necessary, to possess if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. But the real magic happens when this is combined with the characteristics of a traditional professional, such as analytical skills, a rational mindset, and strategic approach.
The two stereotypes, an entrepreneur and a professional, are not really fond of each other: “Corporate wankers and crazy entrepreneurs,” Nyengaard describes them. However, the good companies have both of these stereotypes.
From takeaway to church management
Nyengaard’s first startup, the debate site SOL.dk, became hugely successful. Eventually, the company merged and got listed for several million dollars. In contrast, his next project Mobli, which made software for smartphones, failed fatally as the market simply wasn’t ready.
After Mobli, Nyengaard has had his hands in many projects. Among these are the Danish joint venture Infomedia and the Norwegian Schibsted, which today is one of eBay’s biggest competitors. He also had crucial impact on the success of the Danish JustEat, where he became CEO as the company was scaling their takeaway concept.
Since his days at JustEat, he has turned into one of the most active business angels in the Nordic region, with investments in startups such as Churchdesk, Wahanda, Woomio, and GenieBelt, of which he is also an active co-founder.
Recently, Nyengaard invested in yet another Danish startup, the employee scheduling software platform Planday. His competencies are welcome there as an advisor to further support the company’s growth adventure.
The good advice: Don’t make deals with crooks
Besides advising a balance between entrepreneurial and professional mindsets, likability is an important factor when Nyengaard assesses companies’ success potential.
In his opinion, you invest in someone for them to be successful – and for that process to succeed, there must be mutual likability. “Don’t make deals with crooks!” he says – it does not pay to do business with people who lack a clear conscience. You should want to see the persons you choose to work with as role models – someone you would like to see take over the world.
“When I invest in a company, it must have at least the potential to become leading in Europe. In addition, the team must be competent and the personal chemistry must be good. And finally, I need to be able to understand the industry. It is a few simple criteria, but they work, even though I might not always get them right.” Nyengaard says.
These were also exact criteria that formed the basis for investing in the cloud-based church management platform Churchdesk in 2013.
“I invest in teams, and the Churchdesk team is a good team that focuses on a niche that is much greater than most people realise. I like projects where a good team really dive into a particular sector, and have the opportunity with a strong vision to change how the sector will develop at international level in the longer term,” Klaus Nyengaard explains.
Meet Klaus Nyengaard at TechBBQ in the opera May 20 – tickets are still available here