Neil Patel

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Casper Rasmussen has gone from consultant to founder and raised tens of millions of dollars for his fast-growing business, which has already expanded into eight countries in just two and a half years. The startup, Monta, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Energize Ventures, Pale Blue Dot, Headline, and Creandum.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Preparing for your fundraising rounds
  • Finding an effective go-to-market strategy
  • Hiring a CEO early
  • Casper Rasmussen’s top advice when launching a business

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    About Casper Rasmussen:

    Casper worked as the global CTO in MonstarLab, overseeing more than 800 engineers worldwide.

    He developed, streamlined, and strengthened the company’s global tech strategy through best-practice sharing and continuous employee development.

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    Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

    Alejandro Cremades: Already hello everyone and welcome to the dealmaker show. So I’m really excited about our guest that we have today. We’re going to be talking about building scaling financing I mean all of that good stuff. You know going from consulting to. Now you know, being an entrepreneur entrepreneur and and building something repeatable and scalable. You know the good good stuff that we like to hear but I don’t want to make you guys wait any longer guys and girls. So today. We’re gonna be welcoming. Our guest here casper re musin welcome to the show.

    Casper Rasmussen: Thank you very much and thanks for having me.

    Alejandro Cremades: So originally you know born there in Denmark you know, obviously you were there in out of the suburbs. You know I’m sure it was a beautiful childhood but give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up.

    Casper Rasmussen: Thank you very much. Yes, correctly I’m I’m born and raised in ah in Denmark and went to school here and then later university started a as i. Started starting electronic engineering that was also the first time I I learned to code and like at a touch and all that.

    Alejandro Cremades: Ah why? why? engineering casper out of all things I mean what got you into problem solving.

    Casper Rasmussen: So I think like I had I had a really good like I had talent for for math and physics and stuff like that and I’m also from a family of engineers. So where that was what that dragged me into that and but yeah, so.

    Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. So.

    Casper Rasmussen: Started with electronic engineering and then later went more into software. Um, and I figured out it was much easier to ah to kind of debug and troubleshoot on ah in software compared to on a circuit. So I got dragged to that really fast. And then into mobile apps pretty early so was actually building mobile apps already in Android 1.5 so one of the first versions out there and and that was also what landed my my my first real job in my career I started in a small agency a ticket sell agency building. Mobile applications in 2010? Um, and when then I was part about building that agency up. It became mobile lead later cio and partner and we took that to 5 countries in europero hundred and fifty people organically and sold that in 2017 during the time and agency. We also did 2 startups one out of London in which is two with founders factory today and one out of in New York a more technical one is also a little bit of exposure to the startup or there. But then after we sold the the agency. Um. To our japanese firm I stepped into a much bigger group where were 1200 people from Tokyo to New York and and we are a consolidation of getting everything on the same brand and ipoing it and got promoted to Google.

    Alejandro Cremades: I Mean that’s um, quite ah, quite a transition. You know there’s a few things here that that come to mind you know because you know your background is very interesting. Me one is the consulting world. You know I find that you know you were at accent before you know when when you’re in the consulting you know world.

    Casper Rasmussen: That’s.

    Alejandro Cremades: It’s It’s like it gives you access to to a perspective to a way of looking at problems. Obviously you have the jobs of problem solving of of being and an engineer a train engineer but then now you know you blend that too with with the consulting chops of being able to grab you know. Big problems. You know, break them down into smaller problems and then tackle them. So What do you think the blend of both you know, give you access to.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, it’s a good question I think like the consultancy will gives you that gives you exposure to a lot of different industries so you learn a little bit about everything and I think that was ah very good at very big advantages when we insert you know in ev charting. There was not a. Like industry. We ever thought about before and but you also get extremely good at kind of doing the first couple of releases like you have done so many times where you build something for a company and release it and then they kind of take it over so the first sprint is like why you’re super strong and. We built more than 500 mobile apps. So why? what’s in yes so a lot of like exposures to that and knowing what works and what doesn’t work and what technologies to go for and watch to what to not go for um, something. Good. Ah good adventures on that. But I think the downside is also that you are used to like swapping to the next thing very early. You never get very deep and as soon as the project starts gaining a little bit they get taken over internally often and. Ah, so I think that’s why you? That’s what you’re missing from that I tried that a little bit for some of the startups we we did but ah, but not to the to the extents we have sustain in it with manta.

    Alejandro Cremades: And I guess with a monster lab when when you guys went through the acquisition you know, obviously here you know it’s it’s it’s interesting because you get to also experience you were 1 of the early employees you became a partner there and you got to experience to what the transactional side of. Of of being acquired by somebody else looks like I mean how you do the integration how you blend teams how you blend cultures I mean what kind of disability did that give you into the full cycle of building scaling and exiting a business.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah I think it. It was a very yeah was a very big learning on the like how you how you sold a company. It was six seven month process it started with us with a few like how say like a. Meetings to see if there was ah a cultural fit. We won the same like journey together as them and and then later gets super incensed with like tutillian’s lawyers up and down which is ah also face you do when you fundraise but here it’s it’s that’s a very big stake. Your company and we also tried it from the other side where we actually acquired companies food agency as well and where it’s ah yeah, it’s it’s great. Learnings. Um, not something you prove you can prepare yourself for I think and. Ah, think the the takeaways are it’s most likely going to take a lot longer than you you Um, you think about when you start the process we had like 1 of the tree partners like that was that was his full time job for six months that was to get this acquisition through and just to deal with all the questions that were coming from from all the drillians. Ah, oh.

    Alejandro Cremades: Yeah I mean it’s a no kidding you no kidding. You know we’re going through acquisitions now you know in your case, you know you you stayed you know for that integration and and this was the immediate. You know, step that needed to happen before you actually decided to go at it. You know as an entrepreneur you know as they say. I you know they take time you know, ah for you to even know that they’re there. You know they’re they’re like incubating and there’s like certain sequences of events that push you over the edge to really bring it to life I guess in your case Casper. What were those events that needed to happen for you to say. Okay, you know let’s go.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so I think the most important one was that that we we have built so many mobile apps for startups both in ah in Europe and in Asia and like so many of them like ninety ninety five percent are not making through a year two um so I knew that if I had to go for like a startup idea it needs to be a very good idea like I was not just going for something I felt like strong about one day and and then I think that on the other side going into like startup entrepreneurship where you’re getting. Paid very little and like there’s a lot of hard work for a long time. You need to be set up at home for a way where that can work and I think the acquisition of the agency was was giving that buffer for me that I know that even if if I wouldn’t succeed with with manza. It will still be fine and if we get another job. Um I didn’t do it when I was twenty years old and could live on my my parents basement so I had to kind of make sure that that was a security for the family as well.

    Alejandro Cremades: So then tell us about you know, um, really pulling the trigger you know and saying you know I think that Montana you know really has some legs.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so that I think we when we started looking into it me and my cofounder we are. We were having this idea that that what that no one really understood how it build software in a consumer facing manner within ev charting. And we could see all the competition out. There was like utilities electronic companies ah kind of entering and so that was the first like direction to start looking into it. Then we bought a couple of charge points open up to see what what’s say what hardware is actually here. Can we integrate into this is it start to be open protocols and and that was actually starting to her that was starting to align on a few protocols and and then at the same time. It was the market that it took. 6 years in Denmark our home market to go from 1 to 2% of the sales The new sales was evs and then it took two quarters to go from 2% to 8% so it was really taking off that summer and that was the that was the indications um we also knew that we were up against like some pretty big companies which have established themselves over the last ten years and and got very dominant positions in the various markets so we are not going to bootstrap it that was pretty clear from us as well that we have to go out and get external money and.

    Casper Rasmussen: And that that was the third indicator then when we succeeded attracting the first prese round then it was like okay that’s let’s do it like ah now’s the time. Yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: I love him and what we’ll we’ll talk about the financing just a little bit but you know for the people that are listening to really understand it. What ended up being the business model of Monta. How do you guys make money.

    Casper Rasmussen: So we started with this concept about like let’s make airbnb for chart points. So everyone can kind of connect a charge point decide a price and then sell energy to their neighbors and the ones coming by the the house or hotel office building. Um. Today. It’s it’s a b two b two c model. So we sold to companies which are then putting charge points up. So the model is assess a subscription where our customers are paying between five and fifteen Euros per charge point per month and so that’s how we make money.

    Alejandro Cremades: And in your guys’s case you know how much a capital have you guys raised to date. Okay, so that’s probably closer to the 60,000,000 Mark you know in in in today’s conversion but in terms of the um, the experience because.

    Casper Rasmussen: Fifty Million euros

    Alejandro Cremades: You know you were alluding to early you know like the the earlier round that you did you know the first one and that obviously gave you validation and hey you know maybe we’re into something here. You know when people are willing to put their money behind us. But I know that the European market is not as easy. Um.

    Casper Rasmussen: Out.

    Alejandro Cremades: You know to to attract money as maybe like in the us you know where it has been you know going for some time you know I find that in Europe there ah things are opening up quite a little bit. You know it’s not as green as it used to be and the ecosystem is developing nicely. But what has been the experience. You know for you guys to raise money. And now it has been. You know that experience going from 1 round to the next.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, and so like fundraising was completely new to to me and my co-founder we knew we never tried that before and so we started by by actually reaching out to people. We knew who either fundraisedised or was sitting on the investor side and kind of. Just hearing it out a little bit and I think luckily in the like in the angel investor worlds that they’re also really good at bringing in other angels and meet more people figure out who you are having a good match with etc so to so within a few weeks we managed to talk to to like 10 different ones and. And and I think the the pre the pree round of the first round that was like we had 10 slides in in a presentation and we had idea about we wanted to do rpp for charge points that was more about like ah are you quitting your job and going into this full time. Okay, that’s validation enough. For a lot of the the the early stage investors so that was like it was on on your like on the pay on the on the people who were starting the company more than really like anything else I think we hit a couple of good macro trends within. Like the years like so 1 thing is this ah like electrification there this sustainable take green take all that that that’s ah, that’s a trend which is pretty fundable right now there was also this sharing mechanism in in the early ones as well. And.

    Casper Rasmussen: And then I think with within electric vehicles itself that many have been looking into putting bets in but they don’t want to invest in the cars and they don’t want to invest in hardware so waiting for for the the software play to come and that’s not that many actually? Um, so. Fast the the first round went pretty smooth and then we start building the the product and launch it pretty quick and so the first round is like 2 years and four months ago since we raised that and we start building and then we released it around this time two years ago and then. Already at that point we start getting pretty good traction in the home market. So we were pretty foolish about okay, let’s go for the next round now the seat round and that was a lot harder work but but still within three weeks I think we had a term sheet and. And it could. It could kind of say assign that and that was a four point three million euroround as a seed round in the spring of 21 and there then the the kind of mission from that point was okay tight try to take the product out of your home market. See if this works in Sweden or in yeah Uk and Germany some in 1 of the bigger markets so that we we then spent like 12 something like six months setting up a couple of the new offices. Ah markets.

    Casper Rasmussen: And then pretty fast there in Sweden and in Uk we actually got pretty. We got good traction especially in the uk market we we came in at very good timing. There was a lot of companies looking for solution like ours. We made some really good hires and and and kind of hit it really hard fast. Um, it so already like in in the was that in the fall of 21 we were like now we kind of validated this actually works outside of the of the market. So we we did an a round there and that was also hard work that took us. Maybe a month of preparation and then like two or three weeks of pitching it on so we had the first term sheet there and and then another month for closing and um so I think.

    Alejandro Cremades: And now you know 1 1 1 1 thing interesting. There is that the seriously that you were alluding to you guys did that in I mean in 20 to 22 but also in 2022 you know this were there was like 2 transactions happening in 2022 is that right.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so they they so we did a a round in that. So the closing was in Twenty December Twenty one and then there was ah a plus round in August September Twenty two yes

    Alejandro Cremades: And what? what? What do you mean with a plus because I’m sure that that’s going to be a little bit of known for many of the people that are listening that are more used to seed a B C you know all of that stuff.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so we it was a discussion point if we should have called it a B round but we actually it so it was our up round we we increased theluation with more than two X but it was ah we didn’t feel like the non bus was there for what you normally are on a B round in terms of revenue. So We we called it a plus round and and they build it up some some cash fast to invest further.

    Alejandro Cremades: So was this a preemptive round. You know that someone came to you or or or an existing one or was it like more you going out to market again and and expanding that existing round for me for.

    Casper Rasmussen: No, so they they plus round was someone coming to us so we are not fundraising and they came and were pretty interested in in in investing and we we told them we have we have probably we have a year of runway yet. So if you want if you want in now it needs to be on the. And multiplier us why you’re looking at where will we be in six months so we kind of split the the risk a little bit that way and then after a little bit back and forth. We we landed on our agreement with that and.

    Alejandro Cremades: and and 1 thing that is very interesting here to you is your background. You know you are a technical guy you happen to be the Ceo but then also the Ceo of the company. Um you know and obviously the co-founder. But.

    Casper Rasmussen: Um, help as.

    Alejandro Cremades: But it’s interesting because going from the technical side of things to the business side. You know is not easy. So that’s you know 1 interesting transition there and then the other one is juggling both at the same time. So what does a typical day look like for you.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yes, good question. So I think they like the reason why it ended like this is that I think in the when you when you get into a company which gets big and bigger and bigger especially in our consultancy agency world where you you have to go out and sell all the time. The partners are actively selling no matter that that job title on top of that and everything gets more and more commercial. It gets more and more of the same and they I would say like the the roles get closer to each other lay a further further hit. Um. So I was exposed to a lot of the operations of the finance to the commercials over the years and then I think when we when we when I when I started months I I really thought that it was important to have someone superynical in this in this kind of company because it was a very. Technically engineering heavy issue. We are solving and so I thought was a super good matched for my profile actually and then I think it’s then it’s been really much about building all the organization around knowing what you’re not good at and what you don’t want to do a lot of and so we hired our Ceo A. Max here when I was at our seat round already which have been running ah a big portion of the of the business. So besides the operation. He also ran finance legal expansion and the sales team for quite um, quite some time one so we got a Ceo and.

    Casper Rasmussen: So I think you can you can make the role what you want it to be if when you know what you get energy from and you know what? you’d like to do and then make sure to get good people around you to cover for all the other parts.

    Alejandro Cremades: And now in in your case too. You know something something that I would love to hear is if you were let’s say to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of Monta is fully realized.

    Casper Rasmussen: So a think why? what we’re aiming for is being this like a like platform player the into end platform for ev charting like globally and that and we believe we are well positioned for that. But that means you use manza at home you use manza ya.

    Alejandro Cremades: What does that word look like.

    Casper Rasmussen: Your fitness at your at your corporate parking at public charting like everything that’s us running it as the backends you might have different apps you might charge for your car. There might be different things there in the future but we are kind of the Mastercard. Running all the transactions behind it. That’s.

    Alejandro Cremades: Now in this space. There is a a lot of a lot of Momentum. You know there’s obviously a lot of people a lot of people. You know that is trying to take a piece of the pie I’m sure that you guys have thought you know heart you know and deep into the go to Market Strategy. So I guess From. From that. Go-to Market. What have you learned and what can you share with you know the people that are listening that are wondering how they can also be effective of at their goal are their own. Go-to Markete strategy.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so when we and when we started months and we we start breaking up the value chain to figure out like how is this like how does this work like understanding it. And in the beginning we went for like the the car dealerships and we spent some time on that and failed completely at that Both of Covid lockdown that time but also because it was just like it was not the right strategy The the car dealerships are buying through massive national importers and you need to make. Create deals on on a high like national level more or less so we ah we spent some more time on the value chain then we figured out that the electricians the installers are actually the gatekeeper of this space because in in like most of the worlds. You need a licensed electricition when you need ah whenever a high power voltage ah unit is getting installed and that’s a charge Point. So From that point we decided to say Okay, let’s try to go for the installers. Let’s ah, let’s call all of them. Let’s send them a material. That’s. Let’s figure out what we can do for them So when they install charge points. They recommend our Software. We take them in make sure we revenue share with them. We even make them the option to kind of use our platform to run their business in terms of ah of like selling charge points and subscriptions, etc, etc. And.

    Casper Rasmussen: And no one else kind of did that. Um, so that was very unique and like that was like a blue ocean in that sense to go for that and when you land the first hundred installers you you also have enough mandates ah power to actually go for their wholesalers and then to their hardware Manufacturers. So It was the way up there to to land the the correct place there. There was a couple steps and be in in between but ah, which was very successful to to do that in the in the different order. Um.

    Alejandro Cremades: And for the people that are listening to you know that will love to get an understanding on the scope and size of Monta to I mean anything that you can share in terms of number of employees or anything else.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yeah, so we are 150 employees and we are in 8 countries and Europe we just opened up frames last month and yeah and we we now have 54000 charge points.

    Alejandro Cremades: Wow Now Imagine if you had the opportunity of being like going into a time machine and you’re able to go back in time you know, maybe you’re going back in time into I don’t know you know you’re you’re a day consulting. You know, ah, firm. And you’re wondering a world where you could bring a solution of your own ah in if you were able to have a sit down with that younger self and and being able to tell that younger customersper one piece of advice for launching a business but would that be and why given what you know now.

    Casper Rasmussen: So so it’s is’s almost like don’t do it on I think it. It’s been super tough right? It’s been some some hard years. There’s a lot of like ups and downs in in doing this. But I think while we are right now. It’s been a very good experience and we are. I’m super happy that I that I that we did that I did it and ah so ah, so think some of that advice have been like that on the way I think we took a lot of like fast decisions and we had to redo it. Ah but it it. Also. That’s also why we’re here today that we have been very executional and and we’ve been moving very fast compared to everyone else we up against and but we have also been like breaking things a lot and so I think some of that will be like the. Maybe slow down a little bit and make the right decisions and like take the take the time to hire the right people first time in in like the very important positions. Um, so I think that that could be 1 and then I think in in terms of like ah.

    Casper Rasmussen: And other advice would be ah would be within fundraising as well that the like I think it played out pretty well for us but also have that also a lot which are not doing that right that it. It’s really about preparing a lot for these and there’s a lot of like hundreds of hours spent on kind of prepping them and running them nicely and having good understanding of what the what the fundraising market looks like at the point you start your race. Are we up is it about to crash or is it going very well. Um I think that would be some of the advice.

    Alejandro Cremades: And for the people are listening casper that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so amazing. Boy hey casper. Thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.

    Casper Rasmussen: Um, they can find me on Linkedin.

    Casper Rasmussen: Yes, likewise Thank you very much for having me.

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