Case Study - Stoerseth Holding
In conversation with Lars Stoerseth
When I first started Stoerseth Holding, I was a sales manager in an advertising agency in Norway. From there, I moved on to Copenhagen, Denmark, as a consultant in the travel industry, and from there I started angel investing in interesting technology businesses, and now we’re here.
The idea of the business really came from making these angel investments, and seeing that there was a big gap in knowledge for the founders in terms of getting access to the right investment capital. The business today is a corporate finance advisory, dealing with investments in fast-growing technology startups and businesses in the UK, and also in terms of facilitating financing for UK and US based technology companies.
I wanted to keep my finger on the pulse of these evolving tech ecosystems, and having been an investor in the space, that was what I was passionate about; in terms of meeting these people with, at times, wild ideas. But turning it into an actual business was very unplanned and, at times, very random.
It came from the snowballing effect from making these personal investments and actually being around these founders, and just realising that there is a gap here, where they want help to raise the capital and raise the right amount of capital, and also gaining access to the right investments.
The business really started in 2018, but still very much as a hobby. Since then, despite everything that has been going on around us in the world, with Covid and more recently cost-of-living, the business has been able to transform into more than a hobby, where we get to have an impact on clients every day, where we have a team and where the business is supporting me and my family. That’s happened as a consequence of being able to provide something valuable for the companies we work with.
I think the biggest challenge has been to turn it from a hobby into a real business. That can only happen when the people you are trying to work with see that the value you can provide them is worth whatever it is that they need to pay you. And that takes a long time. To build that track record and that trust is very difficult, and especially given the global challenges we’ve had facing us recently as well, with Covid, that has been the main difficulty – to get people to trust us.
I’m proud of the business today because it is now a business and not just a hobby. I’m proud because we get to have an impact on our clients every day, and interact with them, and also for being able to employ a team of people and support them. But also because the business now supports me and my family.
The future for us is all about scaling up. As mentioned, I wanted to keep my finger on the pulse of innovation, and we would like to work with more fast-growing technology startups and companies in the UK, to really keep our fingers on the pulse.
My advice would be to leave all the admin and legal paperwork to the professionals. Pay someone to make sure you do it correctly. I think the important thing is to do something that you really are good at, or really passionate about, and to be able to turn that into something sustainable, something profitable.
I think the real reward is to look back and be proud of what you’ve done. You also need to be 50% stubborn and 50% persistent to make it happen. I’m probably more stubborn than anything else, and that was the key.
Using 1st Formations
I picked 1st Formations because I was brand new in the UK and I didn’t know anything about setting up a company here. So, using a service where everything is filled in correctly, all the submissions are there and everything else, is essential. This allowed me to focus on actually trying to build the business rather than dealing with the headaches of bureaucracy.
The company formation process
I think with 1st Formations it was almost too easy to start a limited company.
1st Formations today
I think 1st Formations is helping the business today with a fixed address and mail forwarding. That kind of stable background has really been helpful with me moving around a lot, and with the company changing officers quite a lot during the pandemic, and with working from home.
The contact points with HMRC and Companies House have made everything much simpler and easy to deal with, through the 1st Formations dashboard, and having that fixed backbone in the business just takes the weight off everyone’s shoulders when running things day to day.