How to make your “marriage” with investors a success with Enfuce’s Denise Johansson

The Finterview - Fintech Exposed episode 4

What if becoming an entrepreneur was destiny?

Denise Jonhasson, Co-founder and co-CEO at Enfuce reflects on how she joined the Fintech world. As someone who always challenged the status-quo and wasn’t afraid to put forward new ideas, she was almost destined to become an entrepreneur.

It’s not about waiting to be perfect before jumping. It is about doing it and trusting you bring your own value to the table.

Yes, working in a Corporate environment might have some advantages. Such as Stakeholder management - a skill Denise credits to her success in business - both vertically as well as horizontally.

But being an entrepreneur also means starting before you are ready. When she started, Denise struggled trusting her own story and values. Which led her and her co-founder to question themselves every time somebody would challenge their idea or business.

Trust and self-confidence come by doing, and becoming an expert in your field. And there is no faster way to become an expert than by starting a business that you strive to turn into a success story and live day in, day out.

At The Finterview, we love to talk to successful entrepreneurs. And we are very pleased to be joined by a successful female entrepreneur and co-CEO in this episode!

Your relationship with your investor is like a marriage

Customers are the most important part of your business.

But when you’re choosing an investor, you are almost choosing someone to marry. A customer can leave without causing any trouble. Troubles with an investor means a lot of legal paperwork, loss of assets and sometimes even ongoing joint custody… so you better make sure you are right for each other for the next 5+ years.

When going for their series C funding, Denise and her team went on many “dates” with potential investors before closing the deal. You wouldn’t marry somebody without discussing prenups, how to deal with the kids or how you would tackle hard times together.

You should have the exact same approach when choosing an investor. The only difference is, you can have multiple investors!

You can share the CEO position

In the beginning, when the line is still a bit blurry, it’s common for investors to want to know who is in charge. Aka, who is the CEO.

For Denise and Monica, co-founders and co-CEOs of Enfuce, it naturally leaned towards a shared title as they were the “dynamic duo” from the start.

If you and your co-founder see the future exactly the same, maybe you should consider it.

The perk of that set-up is the tremendous level of support co-CEOs are able to give to each other. Especially in tough times, being together, at the same level, is life-saving.

At some point, you will question the journey and wonder if being a founder is worth it. But unlikely at the same time as your co-CEO will. One will always have the energy to push the other, and vice-versa.

And the best part: the opportunity to also share the joy. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely journey. Being a co-founder can be your way of avoiding doing it alone.

But do not force yourself into this set-up, it will come naturally if it is the right one for you.

Surviving COVID taught Denise how to deal with tough times

Being a founder is tough. Being the (co-)CEO of a young company is tougher. Being a mother isn't exactly a walk in the park.

Being all three at the same time could seem close to impossible. Add a global pandemic to the mix and you get the perfect storm!

As a parent and the founder of a Fintech startup, you will always question whether you give enough to the kids or enough to the business. Having to deal with struggling employees, investors who think about leaving and customers struggling to pay definitely puts you in a rocky position.

For Denise and Monica, this is the only time they both questioned their path at the same time.

This is where believing in your ideas at all costs and relying on your founding team will get you where you need to go. Resilience is a key skill all entrepreneurs need to have if they want to be successful.

Also, do not hesitate to speak up and voice your concerns with your close ones. Articulating the fear of whatever you are facing is what might just give you the strength to pull through. And you might realize that it is not as bad as it was playing in your head.

Denise’s take on how to be a successful female founder

An opportunity for female founders is definitely networking in Denise’s eyes.

Needing help is not a bad thing, and it might come with amazing opportunities. If you are in such a situation, speak up and go through your network. This seems to come easier for men than women, but things are changing.

Daring to ask and believing in yourself will open doors for you. There is room for everyone’s success stories, especially for women who dare to raise their hand and transform their ideas into a real, tangible business.

Can’t wait to hear about all these topics and more? Then listen here 🎧or in your favourite podcast app👇

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