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The entrepreneurial journey: “After negotiating our valuation, we were really hit with a wow moment!”

@Adam

This post is also available in: Danish

The ecstasy coincides with the signing of the investment agreement, but it can quickly turn into a trip to the coal cellar if product development fails or the market turns.

All entrepreneurs experience big ups and downs. We focus on them in “The Entrepreneur Journey”, where every week an inspiring entrepreneur gets the opportunity to share their experiences, challenges and triumphs from startup life.

During her time at AirBNB, Camilla Swartz spotted what they were really good at and what they weren’t good enough at. It’s an American company that has an American point of view when observing the market. Therefore, the gap for vacation rentals in Scandinavia was not conquered until now.

In February 2021, she started Landfolk together with six other Airbnb employees. They launched a very simple website, where 33 holiday homes were hand-picked and put up for rent. From there, they built a platform that today has over 2500 hand-picked vacation homes.

What has been the wildest moment in your entrepreneurial journey?

The wildest moment has undoubtedly been when we got our pre-seed investment. It was a clear endorsement of our company. From then on, we knew that it wasn’t just us with a good idea, but that there were others who could see it as an investment case.

We went through many rounds of pitches with different investors, which we found by utilizing our network. The process took a long time and many dialogs, but when we were introduced to the investors, there was just a mutual infatuation. From here it took 3-4 months until we had a signature.

I distinctly remember sitting in a meeting room after we had negotiated ourvaluation and all the legal checks. We just sat and looked at each other – it really felt like a big number. Here we were really hit with a wow moment!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself on your journey?

I think it’s important to recognize the great responsibility it is for someone to want to spend part of their working life in your company. That’s why it’s a big step when you go from being seven co-founders who all sit and execute on their own, to everyone being responsible for a team.

It’s a difficult change and a very different way of working because you constantly have to find the balance between being friendly and professional. You juggle between thinking about what’s best for the individual employee and what’s best for the company. I’ve definitely grown with it – and am still growing in it.

Read also: Startup of the Week: After selling their business to Airbnb, serial entrepreneurs are ready with a new marketplace for vacation homes

Therefore, the most important thing I’ve learned is to become better at passing on responsibility to others and to look up to create a direction. It’s hard when you’ve invested both effort and time in a project. I became a mom 6 months before we started Landfolk, so some of the time I could have spent with family has been spent in the business. That’s why it’s never easy to pass on responsibility when you’re so emotionally involved in the business.

Where do you hope to be on your entrepreneurial journey in five years?

Both my husband and I have demanding jobs. So it requires us to cut things to the bone and prioritize what’s really important to us. It’s an exercise I use both in my personal life and as an entrepreneur. You have to recognize that you can’t do everything yourself. I have to be honest and say that our home is probably messy too, but it comes at the expense of us trying to prioritize the limited time we have to spend with the children.

So in reality, I have a two-part dream that lives inside me. I want to be able to let go of things in the company a bit more and focus on the tasks I’m particularly good at, so I can free up more time with my family.

But at the same time, I love the process and am a total ‘starter’. It’s so great to test ideas and gain momentum that you can build on. So basically, I don’t have big plans for the future, which is probably why I jumped into this with a six-month-old baby.


3 fuck-ups from the entrepreneurial journey

  • Forgetting to test your communication. The target audience is right under our noses, so it’s only a little bit more difficult and that makes the result much better.
  • Not having proper control of tracking and numbers. It doesn’t come naturally to me because I’m always developing the next thing, so I’m still practicing that.
  • You can’t do everything yourself, I’ve learned that. Life just gets too hard and too many weekends are lost. Learn to let go of responsibility.

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