Melanie Aronson moved from New York to Malmö a few years ago, and has since then started Panion, an app for finding friends. The app has so far attracted close to 100.000 users. Now it is reported they closed an angel round of over € 230.000 (SEK 2.5 million).
“We are almost at 100.000 users. We have only really been marketing in Sweden and Denmark but we ended up seeing organic growth in some other markets as well. Wherever I travel I seem to find quite a few people on the app, which feels really exciting,” Melanie says.
With the investment the aim is to focus on Sweden and Denmark, but the team is also planning to branch out to Berlin, London, and Amsterdam. And in the eventual near future, the U.S.
“We have already started building partnerships in some of these locations, with a couple of companies that help connect people to fun local experiences.”
Bridging the funding
The investors come mostly from Denmark. Klaus Nyengaard, from JustEat, read about an interview with Melanie on bootstrapping.dk, and decided to invest together with David Helgason, founder of Unity. Other investors are Ulf Munkedal from FortConsult and Sune Alstrup from The Eye Tribe. Besides this there is aslo the investor Alexey Levin, who got into contact with the team during Slush, and the new fund Unconventional VC.
Being based in Malmö but raising money from Danish angels is one way to leverage the region.
“Malmö definitely has a great scene for a small city, it wasn’t easy raising money for a social / marketplace type startup there and I found it exhausting and expensive to attend enough Stockholm-based events to really build relationships with enough investors in that region. So Copenhagen was the most obvious option.”
She explains that working with building a network in Copenhagen was about attending events, but also contacting journalists.
“I started to build my network in Copenhagen. I would say that by that point I also started to learn that fundraising was about finding the people who get you and believe in you just as much as what you’re building. And also that I had to be selective about finding the people who I could see myself wanting to spend time with down the line. I think that once you realize not everyone is right for your company you start to exude a confidence that makes people more attracted to you as an entrepreneur.”