A knowledge-sharing session with Karsten Deppert, Co-Founder of Mindpark and board member of Skåne Startups
Imagine a place filled with inspirational spirits and interesting minds, sitting at the vibrant southern Skåne and accommodating some of the biggest organisations in the world. What would you call it?
Karsten Deppert gave it a name: Mindpark, where brilliant minds meet up and create extraordinary synergies. As the Co-Founder of the award-winning coworking space, Karsten was born in Germany and moved to Sweden when he was 7 years old. Having co-founded and founded approx. 10 companies, Karsten mentioned people were surprised to know he was not brought up by entrepreneur parents or did not have a robust academic background in business.
An entrepreneurial mind and his Mindpark
After graduating from Lund University with a degree in Biotechnology in 2007, he has been fascinated by the startup world. Now also serving as one of the board members of Skåne Startups, Karsten was happy to meet the cohort 2021-2022 and have a fruitful knowledge-sharing session with 10 hungry minds.
Rome wasn't built in a day. Since 2008, Karsten has played an active role in the startup scene. Being selected as one of the most exotic spaces by the IT World, Mindpark was regarded as the Best Coworking space in Nordic in 2019. The ideation process started when the Helsingborg city decided to shut down a much-anticipated coworking project. Karsten took it over and turned it into a private business that now has a presence in Helsingborg, Malmö and Lund.
The business doyen has also been an indispensable part of multiple critically-acclaimed companies, including E-commerce Park of Sweden, Rescued Fruits AB, Contentor, Student Network, Øresund Startup News and Scandinavian School of Coffee etc. As a Lund University alumnus, he also cares about the younger generation and devotes at least one day per week to his Department Manager role at VentureLab LU. ‘I’m good at hiring people who could help me manage the business. I could then back off and start a new project.’, he said.
Advice for entrepreneurs
The entrepreneur got asked his secret ingredients of formulating effective communications. ‘I like getting people involved. It’s more likely to spark engagement and meaningful conversations when you invite people to participate.’ He encouraged people to ask as much as possible, for example, ‘I’m working on this, and what do you think?’ ‘Have an open mind and show genuine interest in others’ feedback.’
When talking about ups and downs, he said going through them at the initial phase is not uncommon for many business veterans. ‘Know who you are. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.’ Indeed, understanding yourself better would help you to know where to put your skills in the daily operations.
He hoped people could bring an analytical mind to the very beginning stage, i.e., choosing the industry. Based on his personal experience, food and pharmaceutical industries are comparatively difficult to have explosive growth due to strict regulations. ‘There is a reason why so many startups are in the tech industry.’ However, working in tech doesn’t guarantee you a job with a great prospect, as sometimes luck plays an important part. He shared an example of Hampus Jakobsson who sold a successful business to Blackberry. Nevertheless, the same victory didn’t happen when he set up a startup focusing on marketing automation, even if the company was well-funded.
‘For many internationals, the Swedish language could be a major barrier, how could we address this?’ Karsen motivated people in the scope to talk about everything in English. He recalled the situation a few years ago when the majority of the websites in the startup world were only supported by Swedish. Things now have gotten better, but he believed there is still a long way to go.
For those who want to be an entrepreneur, Karsten encouraged everyone to just do it and take action. ‘You could always learn on the way. If you think you are not ready, then you will never start. Be prepared that your business may not have any big growth in the very first 2 years.’
At the same time, he encouraged people to create a sense of community and have conversations with others. ‘Have peer-to-peer learning sessions and build trust. We all have problems.’ The digital meeting ended with Karsten’s heartfelt encouragement for Skåne Startups’ internationals.
The meeting took place at the beautiful Mindpark Helsingborg. To know more about Mindpark and its offerings, visit here.