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Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exit: Mads Jensen’s Journey with Sefaira (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Apr 14th 2016

Mads started working on Sefaira while an MBA student at INSEAD Business School. He went on to launch a sustainable architectural design software product, raised $18 million in funding, and recently exited the company. Read on for more.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Mads Jensen: I was born and raised in Denmark. I’m from a family with several generations of entrepreneurs. I grew up with business in my blood. I was fortunate enough that my grandfather, in the early 80s, thought this computer thing might have some potential. He bought me a computer when I was quite young. All kids these days grow up with computers.

Sramana Mitra: Where were you growing up?

Mads Jensen: Denmark.

Sramana Mitra: In the early 80s in Denmark, computers were not very common?

Mads Jensen: Not at all. Today, every kid has some sort of a computer. One look at the computer and that got me excited and I’ve just been very excited about computers ever since.

Sramana Mitra: Did you study engineering for college?

Mads Jensen: That’s the thing. That was always the difficult part for me. On one hand, I really loved computers and software. On the other hand, I really loved business. I knew I wanted to build a technology business so I ended up studying business. I thought that it was important to learn to build a successful technology business but it could as well have been engineering.

Sramana Mitra: That was in Denmark still?

Mads Jensen: Yes, it was in Copenhagen.

Sramana Mitra: What happened after college?

Mads Jensen: In 2001, I was close to launching a software business but I felt I needed practical experience in building and running a technology company. Rather than launching straight ahead, I ended up joining IBM and thought I would spend a couple of years there. I ended up spending seven years there before I finally decided that I could not wait any longer. I took a bit of time.

I went to INSEAD. They have a one-year program there. I spent about half of that time working on the business plan for Sefaira. I met Peter Krebs there who was my co-founder and we spent a good part of that year developing the business plan.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do in IBM for seven years?

Mads Jensen: I did consulting and systems integration work. From there, I got amazing training in management and business leadership. I was allowed, at a fairly young age, to run some meaningful businesses. I was in my mid-20s and I was running businesses of $20 million to $40 million in size. Big teams were reporting to me and had a lot of commercial responsibility, which was an amazing training ground and amazing opportunity.

Sramana Mitra: This was all happening in Denmark?

Mads Jensen: This was all happening in UK.

Sramana Mitra: So you moved to UK for IBM.

Mads Jensen: I was in Paris for a couple of years and then moved to London.

Sramana Mitra: INSEAD was 2007 to 2008 timeframe?

Mads Jensen: 2008 to 2009.

Sramana Mitra: You were one of the first batches of the Building Businesses in Silicon Valley course.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exit: Mads Jensen’s Journey with Sefaira
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