Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here :
There is plenty that can be said and written of a man who has built over 30 leading Internet ventures all over the world in just five years. Amongst these ventures were giant enterprises such as Zalora, Lazada, Compare Asia Group and The Iconic, all of which are leading online stores and platforms in the Asia Pacific region.
In 2010, Groupon, listed by Forbes as the fastest growing company in the world, announced its continued expansion in Asia. At the helm of this monstrous endeavour was the iconic Mads Faurholt-Jørgensen, aged just 29 today. Four years ago, Mads took on roles as Global Partner and Managing Director at Groupon, driving the company’s success in the Asia Pacific region.
We all want to stand out from the crowd. But what does it take to push our dreams and visions from mere thoughts to tangible realities? Our latest TEDxKEA speaker may have some of the answers to these riddling questions.
Success has come in leaps and bounds for Mads, and the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. But how did all this come to pass at such a breakneck pace?
Well, for one thing, Mads has always wanted to “stand out and do things differently,” a mantra that has consistently featured in his endeavours, just like when he strolled through a bachelor’s degree at Copenhagen Business School in one year and nine months, as the first ever student to do so.
Not only did Mads blitz through his education, he also made it look like a walk in the park, defying the growing trend of students in Denmark taking longer to finish their education than the allotted time frames. It was also a strategic move to stand out in such a way, taking the quickest route through the stream as opposed to aiming for the highest average – in itself arguably a more complex struggle. Later, Mads crossed the Atlantic to blaze a trail through MIT, racking up no less than 10 scholarships for various achievements in his MBA.
Once out of the college blocks, standing out became a philosophy that was ingrained in his mindset as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. Mads made a name for himself in sales, analysis and private equity before grasping the reins of founding and leading companies. The driving force behind this, was having the courage to stand out and do things differently: as we have discussed – thinking big.
Translated into operational philosophy at Nova Founders Capital, which he founded, Mads maintains that “When building companies, we try to think How big will this be?, as opposed to will this work out? […] We remove all shadow of a doubt by making something that’s so good, people can’t say no to it”.
Naturally, this magnitude of success can never come without an immense work ethic and a burning passion for what you do. “Just like the saying that entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40, I believe that if you do what you truly love, it never really feels like work”, remarks Mads.
We have previously discussed how lucky we are to have the opportunities that the Danish higher education system offers. Mads, who has seized those opportunities better than most, is ready to school you on putting one foot in front of the other on December 11th.
2012 – present: Founding partner, Nova Founders Capital
2011 – present: Founder and Shareholder, Lazada Group (one of the leading online department store in South East Asia)
2011 – present : Founder and Shareholder, The Iconic (One of the leading online fashion companies in Australia)
2010 – 2012: Global Managing Director and Partner, Rocket Internet GmbH (the largest internet venture builder)
2010 – 2011: Managing Director Asia Pacific and International Vice President, Groupon. This company was classified by Forbes as the fastest -growing company in the world.
2007 – 2009: Associate, Mckinsey & Company, Switzerland
2003 – 2005: Sales Manager and coach, Viasat Broadcasting. Under Mads’ leadership, his sales division met its $40 m sales revenue target for the first time in its history. The company was also voted the 3rd best sales / service department in Denmark
- Bachelor of Science, Business Administration and Economics. Copenhagen Business School. Mads became the first student to ever finish this degree in the short span of one year and nine months
- Masters degree in Financial Analysis, Copenhagen Business School
- MBA, Business Administration, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management. In his time at this prestigious organization, Mads was awarded 10 different scholarships.