Entrepreneur, Viewpoint 24.11.2016
By Niels Vejrup Carlsen

Entrepreneurs are the heroes of our time

When we sold Endomondo to the second largest sports brand in the US, Under Armour in 2015 I was one happy investor – well the whole team here at SEED Capital was obviously thrilled. This sale clearly proved how the Danish tech-ecosystem had begun to create companies with international momentum - making it easier to attract both competencies and capital.

I was also thrilled that the founder of Endomondo Mette Lykke Ravn and her team was rewarded for the excellent job they had done. It takes massive effort to build a company like Endomondo, which is now one of the greatest social fitness networks in the world. Mette Lykke Ravn has succeeded in founding a solid business making money while sustaining a steep growth curve. Mette and her team indeed deserved the recognition they received. All three founders have become rather wealthy after selling Endomondo, something I think is great.

However, there are still people, who in their darkest hour of jealousy feel the urge to scratch a key alongside a Ferrari and people who are outraged by entrepreneurs making large sums when they sell their companies.

Fortunately, it doesn’t happen a lot anymore and my honest hope is, in fact, that the term Jantelov will wither away and die completely.

"In Denmark, we should celebrate and reward the heroes, who are brave enough to take a chance and risk everything for establishing growth companies resulting in jobs and welfare."

Mette Lykke has become wealthy, but only because she was willing to take a risk, which only few would. She left a well-paid job a McKinsey & Co. to start Endomondo. She went two years without a dime in her pocket and both Saturdays and Sundays were counted as workdays. I will estimate that she has sacrificed at least DKK 5 mill. in lost income over the course of the past 7 years.

It is necessary that we create optimal terms for our entrepreneurs and create incentive and encourage entrepreneurship financially. I believe it’s about time we look at the taxation of capital yield – especially in relation to unquoted shares. This, to be able to reward the willingness to take risks. Corporate tax and equity income tax in Denmark amounts to 56,2 % compared to 41,4 % in Finland, 48,2 % In Norway and 48,4 % in Sweden. But why make the Danish market so unattractive? I mean, we want Mette Lykke to have another go, right?

In my world, it doesn’t get any better than, an entrepreneur who dares. Entrepreneurs, who dare bet everything on red and who shows up on our doorstep with empty wallets, red eyes and a burning passion. those are the ones, I want. Where there is a will, there is a way. These people deserve success and the financial reward that comes with it. They also deserve the praise, and if we want to fertilize the positive development in the entrepreneurial tech-environment, then we need to be better at acknowledging our entrepreneurs and their successes.

Oversat fra dansk. Original bragt på Finans.dk

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