Casper Ravn-Sørensen – mentoring as a way of life
A lot of people think that being an entrepreneur requires good background. You can hear that from various people.
“I cannot participate in a startup foundation since I do not have anyone who would support me right from the start” or “Entrepreneurship? Nah, it’s just for the rich people, no middle class person would risk their already low income to develop a project that probably would fail after a year. It would be a great loss!”
It is completely understandable that very many people are trying to avoid risky situations due to a stress-free lifestyle they are trying to reach. But it is a mistake. Casper Ravn-Sørensen, Danish entrepreneur and angel investor, would say that it doesn’t matter if the path is risky, the most important thing is the path you are walking through and all the probable mistakes you are making. Those mistakes are what keeps you motivated and with those mistakes you are to make, you are going to become a better person with time. A person that thrives for challenges.
Tough period of growing up
Having so many projects he is involved in, and having a million crown profit a year, one would think that Casper had it all right from the start. Being so powerful and having so much influence on entrepreneurial scene of Denmark and Europe, people usually think that he had an impressive background and that his family consists of dominant figures that have helped him succeed. Nevertheless, Casper Ravn-Sørensen was just another ordinary guy when he first came in Copenhagen in 2004 as a 20-year old. He says that, in the beginning, it was just him, his girlfriend, and a wish he had. A wish to combine cooperation with people and internet marketing. And that is how it all started.
As an entrepreneur, you should show that you are willing to work without any profit, or with a minimal profit during the long periods of time. You should try it out before you are looking for an investment. You should show the results but at the same time, show your modesty. It is the key for giving the impression of being thoughtful and that the problems and needs of your company are beyond your own. When I have first founded my company many years ago, I’ve led a very simple life. I used to invest all of my money on the company and I didn’t have very much to spend on myself. My girlfriend was paying for almost everything, bills and food, during those months.
Sharing the experiences
As a strong and independent individual, like all of the entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be are, you shouldn’t be afraid of contacts with a lot of people. It is natural to spend a lot of alone time. In that way, you are going to learn about yourself and think more of the various possibilities and solutions to diverse problems you may encounter. When you are alone, you are certainly going to progress fast, and will be able to get more things done on the way. You can recharge, clear your mind from the stress, cut of the unimportant phone calls and not engage yourself in paying attention to other people’s feelings. Of course, it is good to spend time alone without anyone interrupting your energy flow. But sharing your energy and experiences with other people makes it all worthwhile. By speaking with other people that may or may not have similar opinions, you get to see the bigger picture. When you do not have the same attitude towards a topic or a happening, you get to question both the person you are talking to and yourself. Maybe you get to find out something new and in that way, develop both yourself and the person you are speaking with.
As an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to work without getting any financial benefit. It can take a long time until you see the profit on your account. Until then, it is just you, your dreams and all your effort and ambition you invest in long working days. I believe this is a great stimulant to move faster. This makes you put more effort, work harder, think strategically and be determinate to take risks. You must understand that your own capabilities are not enough. You have to find those people that will compliment your skills. A long-term business requires a strong team with the same passion for work, that are self-driven and ambitious to work on achieving your common dreams. Building up a team that will compliment and motivate each other, and push each other hard in achieving settled goals. I believe in building up that company culture, the team and keeping that team motivated is what makes this path to success the best one. Of course, the feeling of accomplishment and each result you bring in the company has its own impact as well.
The Danish model of entrepreneurship
Casper Ravn-Sørensen, being a Dane, believes in the Danish model of leading the company and creating a startup. In Denmark, the most important thing is hygge (in English it would be translated to cozy). And what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that all of the people in the company should feel as a part of the team that is aimed towards success. But as a team, all the members working should be happy. There is no person in the team that is better or has more value than the other person. Individuals working together are a crucial part of the successful project and Danes are the most successful people in working on the common goal without many problems. The main goal is keeping the atmosphere relaxed and keeping the common understanding on the high level.
Firstly, I think every entrepreneur, either Danish or not – must be strong, never giving up or being intimidated. It’s a hard world out there, and each entrepreneur should be prepared for that. Maybe the Danish weather makes the Danish entrepreneurs stringer and always ready for the rain. I think you should dream big and always have high expectations. I truly believe that Danish entrepreneurs do that. They are very open-minded and oriented internationally. Probably a bit more restricted than the others because of certain rules that they have to follow in Denmark. However, the biggest challenges are the Danish laws, rules, and bureaucracy. In Denmark, many young people see possibilities instead of limitations, but if young people’s ideas are to create economic growth, the legislators must provide the framework and basis for that.
Casper Ravn-Sørensen likes to point out certain rules regarding creation of your own company. He believes that Danish people have a lot of possibilities and that the government is actually helping Danish people a lot in following their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. One can start a company with just 1dkk and further develop it with a little help of the government. They truly believe that external support is the most important thing in entrepreneurship and startups overall.
I would say that if Denmark is your country and if you want to work here and build your idea here – go for it. You will find the right people to work with, find investors, such as myself, and advantages that will help you start running. Of course, you will have to pay high taxes and keep things under control. You will have to follow the rules and follow what guides tell you to follow. But if this is your decision – make it wise. Inform yourself before starting and take everything into consideration. You will need the right team of people who will support you and your idea of course.
From being an entrepreneur to mentoring young entrepreneurs
After developing a lot of successful projects and companies, Casper Ravn-Sørensen engaged himself in thinking about mentoring entrepreneurs-to-be as his call.
Being able to help talented young entrepreneurs with my network, knowledge and money has become my mission. As an investor I decided to reach out to entrepreneurs, and help them grow successful businesses. I like young entrepreneurs; they hold a better understanding of modern technology and how it can change the business game. Therefore, together with my partner Mads Emil Fast Dahlerup, I’ve founded Dotcom-Capital. The company offers different kind of resources; knowledge, experience, networks and the capital that will help many businesses get out from the ground.
One of those companies is Clearskin.dk, Casper’s recent investment project. They have started as a web-based company in Aarhus. After Casper has invested in them and became a co-founder of the company, it was his idea that they should change the platform and the brand a bit so that they could spread internationally. They were willing to make changes in their ideas in order to improve their brand. They were willing to let Casper help them with the advancement of the whole project.
We were looking for a loan since we had an urgent capital requirement. We went to Copenhagen and met Casper and Mads that would rather be co-owners of the company. We thought it was a good idea and we would also rather have them as co-owners than just some people whose money we borrowed. They have a big background and they made some pretty good results. We are on the market in the whole Europe now with a new brand and a whole new technical platform says Christian Leth from Cleanskin.dk and explains that the ambitious growth strategy wouldn’t be possible without their partnership with Casper Ravn-Sørensen and Mads Emil Fast Dahlerup.
The newest project Casper is involved in is the site called Minifinans.dk which you can check out. And if you are eager to find out more about Casper and his strategy, you can visit his blog or contact him personally.