"We were building it from scratch" - Meet Daniel Nowak

I was able to really make a difference. As Partner and COO I set up processes and made sure they worked for our purposes. In that capacity, I was also the founders "business development right hand", and from time to time I would jump in and support the startups in the portfolio if we judged beneficial.‍
July 17, 2023
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"We were building it from scratch" - Meet Daniel Nowak
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 Daniel Nowak.

What's Your Background?

I’m from the Swedish west coast city of Gothenburg and I’m 41 years old. I would say that I’m a very organised and structured person but I like to be in creative environments.

I studied Industrial Economy at Jönköping University, with experience abroad in Italy and Australia. I spent my earlier career years working as a management consultant and in e-commerce in Stockholm. I see myself as more of a generalist than a specialist, as I have worked both in the public and private sectors and different industries. My contribution to the projects varied between strategic and operational. I always enjoyed the entrepreneurial environment and had plans to have my own company.

How did you end up at Wellstreet?

I was at a point in my career when I decided to have my own consultancy company. However, right after that decision, I met Wellstreet’s founder Mikael Wintzell through a common friend and changed plans to join Wellstreet.

Can you tell us about your Wellstreet Journey. Was it a good fit for you?

I worked at Wellstreet for a little over 3 years, from late 2016 to early 2020. I joined Wellstreet just a few months after its creation, which means that I was able to really make a difference. And we were building it from scratch.

As Partner and COO I set up processes and made sure they worked for our purposes. In that capacity, I was also the Founding partners "business development right hand". From time to time I would also support the startups in the portfolio when we judged beneficial.

What's unique about Wellstreet?

What interested me the most at Wellstreet was the entrepreneurial mindset of the company. It’s a company that operates as a startup and works with startups - acting in a very conservative industry but in a new fashion, more entrepreneurial than most other VCs.

What is your current role and where?

When I left Wellstreet in 2020 I made a big life change. I moved with my family to Skärhamn and my wife and I opened a startup within food and health. The mission we wished to accomplish was to reconnect people with real food, moving away from processed food which makes us sick, but without losing the convenience of fast food. So we started FOR REAL! FOODS and by the end of 2020 we launched our healthy and grain free pizza concept with crusts made from cabbage. Nowadays, we have five employees and sell our products to all major retail chains such as ICA and Coop as well as restaurants and hotels.

Can you share a challenge you have overcome professionally or personally?

When you work as an entrepreneur you need to be able to live with uncertainty, something that I had to overcome both at Wellstreet and now with my company. I’m naturally a very risk avert person, but as an entrepreneur you have no choice but to use strategies to learn how to cope with the circumstances and throw yourself out there! For me, what works to offset stress is a three-pillar strategy: exercise, meditation and also, of course, eating healthy food. 

What attracts you to VC and what made you leave?

It was an industry that always interested me. I wrote my university thesis about M&A and I also worked on some due diligence analysis projects when working as a consultant. I left it for my true deepest passion: health and food. As much as I like the investment industry, I didn’t fulfil my dream when working with it.

What does ”pro-active investor with a purpose-built ecosystem” mean to you?

Pro-active means working close with the companies’ leaders and acting before a possible storm arrives. Being involved as much as they allow by engaging in constant dialogues. It’s also about supporting them in finding solutions to challenges, solving very tricky problems with creative solutions. The relationship is not purely transactional, since Wellstreet looks to offer services that could be of help, as well as the competence within the team.

Your most developed sense or skill?

I’m a true “doer”! I like getting things done and delivered in a structured way. That’s why it felt like I had such a good fit with Wellstreet since it was a skill needed at the time in a company created by such creative people.

What do you expect is your next work/life endeavour?

I wish to build a larger company with FOR REAL FOODS, with which I can contribute to improving world health. Besides that, I want to spend as much time as possible with my family, seeing my three children grow up.

Marcela Mendes