Back to Square One

2 minute read

Last year Johan Staël von Holstein was riding high. Two of the three companies he helped to start — Web consultancy Icon MediaLab and — were included among Time Europe’s 50 Hottest Tech Firms. Since then Icon MediaLab’s valuation has dropped 93%, dotcom — which Staël von Holstein founded and his brother helps manage — narrowly escaped death while Speed Ventures, the incubator he helped create, is downsizing and refocusing its business model. The 36-year-old Nordic Netrepreneur is no longer involved in the three companies. Having resigned in April from his position at Icon Media Labs Asia in Singapore, he is on his way back to Europe — with plans to start something new. “I have learned more in the last 10 months than I have in the previous five years,” says Staël von Holstein. “I had far too many engagements. Next time I will be more focused. Entrepreneurial companies need to be built and driven by entrepreneurs. Hotshot CEOs were brought in far too early. ” He also blames “ridiculous valuations” in the financial markets. What is important now, he says, is seeking a better overall balance. “I’m still adventurous, curious and entrepreneurial, but I’m more realistic now, with my feet on the ground.”

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