You don’t build a business—you build people and then people build the business. These are the stories of the people who built Wellstreet and our portfolio companies. Meet Anton Ijäs!
Tell us about you, what's your background?
I am an analytical introvert but am also an outspoken individual. Born up in the far north of Sweden, which makes for a quite uncommon combination.
I took an unconventional path, skipping university to start working immediately after school. Traditional schooling didn't excite me, but the IT courses I took ended up opening the door to my first job. I knew, however, I had to work hard to compensate for the lack of a university degree.
I served as a frontend developer and project manager at a startup in Uppsala for five years before joining Klarna as a Solution Engineer in 2013. That's where I met Mikael Wintzell and Simon Saneback, future founders of Wellstreet, which had a significant impact on my career trajectory.
What roles have you had in past in organisations?
I consider myself a generalist with expertise in pre-sales, user experience, e-commerce, app development, product management, and project management. My career has spanned a diverse array of roles, from my early days as a salesperson to a solution engineer at Klarna, and eventually as a partner, advisor, and part of the Investment Committee for Wellstreet. I have advised startups like Budbee, Tibber, Danads, and Bambuser at their inception and served as a technical advisor for Axel Arigato.
How did you end up at Wellstreet?
I was part of the Wellstreet team from November 2016 to February 2020.
My association with Wellstreet started by chance when I ran into Mikael Wintzell, my former colleague at Klarna, at Arlanda. He had just started Wellstreet, and our chance meeting led to me joining the company as a partner in November 2016.
Tell us about your experience, was VC a good fit for you?
My journey at Wellstreet was diverse. I worked on almost every aspect of running a young company, from recruitment, marketing, product management, to fundraising, scaling products, or pivoting. I worked hands-on with most portfolio companies and occasionally joined some companies temporarily when needed. A memorable project was when I served as a product advisor and also created the design for Bambuser's Live Video Shopping solution.
Wellstreet was a perfect match for me. It was far from your traditional investment company. It presented numerous learning opportunities across different domains and allowed me to stay hands-on with portfolio management, all while switching between varied contexts, keeping my work experience vibrant.
What is your current role and where?
Currently, I am a co-owner and COO at Hackberry, a digital full-service agency that builds apps and mobile solutions from ideation, strategy, and design to development, testing, analysis, support, and maintenance. Among our clients, we cater to both startups and entrepreneurs as well as large established companies.
Tell us about a challenge you have overcome
In the fall of 2019, I faced a burnout, mainly due to my negligence towards proper sleep. However, with professional help and the exceptional support from the Wellstreet team, I was able to overcome it without having to completely halt my work.
What attracted you to VC and what made you leave?
The learning opportunities that VC and specifically Wellstreet offered were attractive. The same thirst for new experiences led me to leave and run my own company.
Any advice for someone that wants to work in VC?
For anyone aspiring to work in a VC firm like Wellstreet, be ready for a hands-on, high-paced, and challenging environment. It's not easy, but it's fun, incredibly rewarding and offers immense growth opportunities.
What does ”pro-active investor with a purpose-built ecosystem” mean to you?
To me, it implies that the investor is guided by a clear vision and works tirelessly to support, push, and challenge portfolio companies to do things right and effectively.
What are you passionate about?
I'm deeply passionate about problem-solving with intelligent solutions, especially under budget constraints that require careful consideration for what to include in an MVP.
What about outside work?
Outside of work, I cherish spending time with my family, especially my active 1.5-year-old. I also enjoy playing padel and hockey.
What is your most developed sense or skill?
I believe my quick comprehension and understanding of complex things have been my most beneficial skill.
Tell us about an event that have affected your career more than you thought at the time?
Joining Klarna has been a game-changer for my career. The connections I forged during my time there have had a profound impact on my professional journey, and I anticipate that they will continue to shape my future endeavours.
What do you expect is your next work or life endeavour?
The next significant event in my life is the expected arrival of another baby. In terms of work, my focus is on growing Hackberry and delivering superior apps for our clients.