Martin is a serial entrepreneur with nine startups under his belt. This story traces his journey from Copenhagen to California with a focus on his latest venture Greenwave that has already scaled to over $50 million in revenue.
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?
Martin Manniche: I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I moved to the US 11 years ago. I’ve been leading companies as a CEO. I’ve also been leading technical organizations through different roles. I have a degree from a Danish school called Lyngby school which is a lower business degree. I have no engineering education.
Sramana Mitra: After your degree, what did you do immediately as you came out?
Martin Manniche: I started my first company when I was very young. I had a company that repaired cars. I did that at the same time I did my business degree. I know that I liked to drive something that has a technical angle. Every company I started since then has done something different. When we are going through some of the updates, you will see me touching many technology areas through my career.
Sramana Mitra: Talk about your first company. What was the first company? What was the impetus behind starting that first company?
Martin Manniche: When I was very young, I started repairing bikes and motorbikes. Then it went into cars. I’m very self-driven in trying to understand how technology works. As a kid, the first thing I did with presents was breaking it down to a thousand pieces, understanding how it works, and put it back together. Nearly all the time, I managed to put it together. At least, I understood how it worked.
I’ve always been a person who wanted to understand how technology works. At that time, there was no Internet. I often went to the library to try to find different inputs to understand how technology works. That has always been a passion. One thing I found out early in my career is, I really enjoy working with others. What I quickly figured out is maybe I have some skills to work in teams strategically and make people very passionate about being a part of what we do. The first company was in cars.
After that, I went to the US for six and a half months and traveled 43,000 miles around the US. When I came back, the Internet and multimedia was just starting. My brother actually had a PC distribution company. I started working in the PC space. He was distributing a brand called AST Computer headquartered out of Irvine.