Niklas Zennström Facts

Niklas Zennström Facts (Skype) – # 50 FUN FACTS

Niklas Zennstrom Facts - Biography

Niklas Zennstrom Facts – Biography

Early Years of Niklas Zennström

1. Niklas Zennström on February 16, 1966

Niklas Zennström, a famous entrepreneur of Swedish descent, is born on February 16, 1966.

He marries Catherine Zennström and they currently reside in London.

2. Family

Niklas comes from a family where no one is an entrepreneur, he comes from a humble background and both his parents were teachers by profession.

However, even as a child Niklas has a vision to make it big and start his own company.

By becoming such a successful entrepreneur, he not only has set an example for his family but he is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs around the globe.

3. Childhood Activities

As a child, he uses to sail, fish and swim in the Baltic Sea, but with time because of excess human activity, the Baltic loses its appeal and is polluted heavily.

Due to his childhood memories associated with the Baltic, Niklas establishes a fund specifically for the protection and improvement of the Baltic Sea and plays his part in protecting the environment.

4. Recalling his Childhood

Recalling his childhood years, Niklas calls himself ‘nothing but a well behaved child.’

He never thought he could be revolutionary in the truest sense of the word! However, the perfect timing, a marketable niche and the zeal to excel, all combined make him the man he is today.

Niklas Zennström Education

5. Academic Background

Niklas has a tremendous academic background.

He has two degrees, one in business management and the other in engineering physics and computer sciences from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Later, he spends the final year of his university at the University of Michigan.

6. First Job

He starts his career at Tele2 with a vision to expand it across Europe.

Tele 2 is a business idea that starts with merely 23 employees, turns out to be the largest telecom operator not only in Europe but also across 23 different countries around the globe, after the success of Tele2 Niklas ventures into many new projects.

Skype & Niklas Zennström

7. Choosing the Name ‘Skype’

Did you know Skype is not the first of the selected names for the VOIP program that Zennström liked? At first, he decides to name it ‘Sky Peer to Peer’ and later it is shortened to ‘Skyper”.

However, since Skyper was already taken, it was further shortened to Skype, which is now a household name for talking to people via broadband.

8. The Launch

Niklas launches Skype and it becomes a sensation worldwide soon after its launch in the year 2003.

Historically, Skype is known as the fastest expanding Communication technology with one hundred and thirty six million users around the globe and this user base is ever increasing.

Skype expands rapidly and is compatible with almost all the operating systems including MAC and PC and it can even be used on mobile phones.

9. Problems

It is also interesting to note that when Niklas comes up with idea for Skype, no one believes in his venture and he has a hard time looking for investors to invest in his project.

Niklas comments that he and co-founder of Skype Janus Friis have gone to twenty-six firms to convince them to invest a total of 1.5 million Euros in their company.

However, none of the investors want to invest in such a novel concept at that time.

10. Buyout of Skype

In 2009, when an investment consortium buys Skype over from eBay, Niklas supports it.

His financing company Atomico makes tremendous financial injections in Skype and 50 other companies spread over four continents.

11. Microsoft buys Skype

Later when Microsoft purchases Skype for $8.5 billion, it makes the already rich Niklas a billionaire! However, for a philanthropist like him, money is only a means to an end and not the end in itself.

12. Success of Skype

Because of Niklas’ extraordinary business sense and genius mind, Skype is not only an amazingly interactive and innovative business today; it is one of the most sought after business ventures! After being acquired by eBay and then Microsoft, rumor has it; Facebook and Google are up for talks to make it a part of their business portfolio.

13. Passion for Skype

In Zennstrom’s words his passion for Skype was to “… to create a business that can fundamentally transform the telecommunications industry and have a big impact, by letting the whole world talk for free.

We want to create a great, sustainable communication business.”

In an interview with CNBC, Niklas reveals the top four qualities that make Skype a brand name in the telecom industry.

They are teamwork, focus on global standard, perfect timing, and the quest for a larger market.

14. More on Skype

In a recent interview, Zennström reveals that apart from the millions of registered users on Skype, this leading VOIP application gets close to 130,000 new users on a daily basis.

With 50 million downloads as of now, Skype has prepared the world to enter a communication era that was unthought-of previously.

15. Brainchild

For Zennström, Skype is his brainchild and a never failing technology.

He plans for Skype to revolutionize the telecom industry in ways that will leave telecom giants in awe.

If nothing, this wise man is definitely keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive even in times of recession.

Other Work of Niklas Zennström

16. Business Ventures

He is recognized worldwide for his high profile ventures like Kazaa in year 2001 and Skype in the year 2003; he co-founds these online ventures with Janus Friis.

Niklas Zennström establishes Atomico an investment group and becomes a leading figure in the technology industry.

17. CEO of Joltid

Niklas also serves as the CEO at Joltid, a renowned software company that specializes in developing solutions that optimize internet traffic.

18. CEO of Kazaa

Niklas serves as a CEO for Kazaa.

This software becomes the most downloaded software of the world in the year 2003 – creating an incredulous hype about the concept of secure file sharing across various platforms.

19. Cofounder of Altnet

He also holds the privilege to co-found “Altnet”, the most reliable and secure peer-to-peer network that helps in promoting and distributing online content.

It was during his era as the CEO that Altnet becomes the largest issuer of the DRM licenses all across the world.

20. Atomico

Niklas currently resides in London and runs Atomico.

Atomico is also revolutionary in a sense that it invests in expanding technological firms and transforms them completely.

Through this venture, Niklas invests in more than thirty firms including, Rdio, Xobhi and Woome.

21. Joost

Joost, an online video distribution service, is another major venture that Niklas is a part of.

It is in the year 2007 when Niklas along with Friis launches the aforementioned service and makes a mark in the internet distribution service as well.

He launches Joost after selling Skype to eBay.

Niklas acts as the co-chairman in this venture.

22. Motive of Profit

Notably known for his efforts behind the launch and working of Skype, perhaps the one thing that Zennström realizes after spending a decade with Kazaa is that in every entrepreneurial project the motive of profit should be inherent.

Even though it is the only return, it is an important one because even today as Kazaa has 60 million users; it isn’t one of the most recalled ventures in the history of startups.

23. Business Ventures

What does Niklas do? In a nutshell, apart from being the (co) founder of various high tech companies, he is a member of nine different boards in nine different companies that are spread across 11 different continents! Some career Niklas has made for himself!

24. Ravio

One of the most prominent ventures that Zennström and Atomico have taken up for funding has been Ravio, the company behind the online game Angry Birds.

Created by a Finnish maker, this application is, according to Zennström, one of those that can translate large number of users into revenues.

25. SkypeOut

Following the same school of thought, Niklas comes out with a branch of Skype called SkypeOut, which enables Skype users to call non-Skype users for a mere 2 cents per minute.

What is interesting to note is that wisdom behind this strategy! Because Skype is a popular tool among business executives and multi -national companies, the company finds a way to earn regular revenue streams.

26. Expansion of Ravio

With just a little financial help and encouragement, Ravio is more than just a game maker today.

It expands its hold by selling toys and original Angry Birds Merchandise fuels the company’s growth.

This is a prime example of the way Niklas wants to help the educated youth in not only succeeding but also helping the world be a better place.

27. Business Ventures

Other successful startups that Atomico has invested in, with Niklas’ farsightedness, include Wrapp- software that lets you redeem gift cards with your mobile device, Restorando- a collection of famous restaurants and cafes in Brazil and Argentina and file transfer services.

28. Work at Tele2

Do you know, while Niklas working at Tele2, he is part of the team that creates and writes the program called Fast Track? This program is one of the first of its kind that enables peer-to-peer sharing of files, music and images.

All of Niklas’ later ventures revolved around this initial program.

29. Web Summit

Because of handful of experience in the IT sector, a wealth of knowledge and considerable wisdom, Niklas Zennström is a privileged speaker at the Web Summit 2011 and 2012.

Niklas Zennström: Personal Interests

30. Sports

Niklas also actively participates in various outdoor sports and activities, which include skiing, sailing, and travelling.

He is an enthusiastic Yachtsman and is the winner of many titles in World’s major offshore races.

31. Philanthropy

Niklas always comments that Money is not central to philanthropy, although he himself has sold his most sought after business venture Skype to eBay for a total of 2.6 billion dollars just to become a philanthropist.

32. Environment

Niklas and his wife Catherine are keen to protect the environment.

They have jointly set up a charity fund in the name of Zennström Philanthropies, whose main motive is to provide financing for projects that defend human rights, work in the arenas of climate change etc.

33. An Inspiration

He is an inspiration for many emerging entrepreneurs and leading journalists and publishing houses interview him.

His interview makes its way in the Business Week on 19 September 2005, and The Sunday Times does an editorial about him, which features in their issue on 27 November 2005.

34. Responsible Citizen

Apart from being an innovator in the world of information technology, it is not absurd to call Niklas Zennström a philanthropist.

35. Climate Change

Zennström Philanthropies is an active contributor to safeguard the planet against climatic change.

In lieu of this effort, the foundation creates an award by the name of the Green Mentorship Award that is given to Swedish entrepreneurs for their efforts towards Climatic change and a low carbon future.

As part of the award, Niklas himself vouches to train and mentor the winner for a year.

Accolades Niklas Zennström

36. 100 Most Influential People

Not only does Niklas receive several awards for both entrepreneurship and innovation but he is one of the most influential men in the world.

Based on his entrepreneurial and innovative achievements, in the year 2006, the TIME magazine announces and covers Niklas as one if its 100 most influential people.

37. Award

One of the most coveted awards this entrepreneur receives is the “H.M. the King’s Medal of 12th size.”

The award signifies the immense contribution Niklas has made to Swedish Businesses and Industries.

38. Entrepreneurial Dream

A Swedish born Londoner, Niklas is an entrepreneurial dream at the age of 47.

Billion dollar ventures and a commitment to excelling at everything he puts his mind to, Niklas’ net worth is listed at £320 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Views and Opinions: Niklas Zennström

39. Lifestyle

For Zennström, being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle.

His approach to running a business that he has created himself is very practical yet emotional.

Giving a project all you have and having faith in it is what he thinks are the two important pillars of being a successful startup business.

“Often you’re the only one who believes in what you’re doing, none of my family were entrepreneurs, but you shouldn’t be afraid of failure”, he says.

40. Views on Recession

One fateful day at school was all that was needed for Niklas to vow to make it big in the tech sector.

However, his current analysis of the recession is everything but discouraging.

According to him, the recession in the banking industry is a great opportunity for the technology sector to boost startup companies and Niklas himself aims to do just that his Financial Venture company Atomico.

41. Lectures Students

Notoriously known as Zen-Master, Niklas spends a great deal of his time in college seminars to lecture about the benefits and the need for small startups.

According to him: “At a startup, at least you have more control over your destiny.”

He is often seen encouraging students away from finance and convincing them that “it’s pretty cool to be an engineer or work in a tech company,” as he puts it innocently!

42. On Entrepreneurial Projects

Considering the immense talent of the youth today, Zennström voices concerns that countries around the world should become more accommodating and open to entrepreneurial projects.

While the UK is better than many countries, in his opinion, there is still a lot of work to do if we want to launch startup businesses without hesitation.

43. Advice to Youth

The most important advice that Niklas gives the youth and aspiring entrepreneurs is to think global.

In more than a dozen speeches that he has given in lieu of his multimillion dollar startups, Zennström feels there is nothing more powerful than diversity that can help a small business because ‘surrounding yourself with dedicated people’ is the smart thing to do, as he quotes.

44. World Advancement

Zennstrom’s view of worldly advancement, and the way entrepreneurs can help, is summed up in his words, “They have been trying to do it for years but these things happen with smart startups coming up with innovative disruptive solutions, which are going to be very simple apps and peer to peer and they’re going to spread like wildfire in a city.

That’s how it’s going to work.”

45. Understanding Ideas

Learning from the failure of Kazaa, Niklas remarks that being a risk-lover is not always a guarantee for hitting it off as an entrepreneur.

What is important is an understanding of which startup idea is ‘cool’ and which will ‘become a sustainable business.’

46. Advice for Entrepreneurs

Envy and copying of ideas are something very common in the business world.

For Zennström, there is no solution to these other than fighting your way through.

His advice for young entrepreneurs is succinct but carries loads of importance; “As an entrepreneur, if you’re the originator, you need to be faster than ever.

When we look at investing, we always think about ’how defensible is this, how likely is it that somebody is going to copy this’.

E-commerce tends to be something easy to copy because its execution.”

47. Net Worth

Niklas at the age of forty-four years has a net worth of over three hundred and twenty million pounds and his name is in the Rich List of The Sunday Times in 2005.

Niklas Zennström Quotes

48. Talks about Failure

No doubt, everything about Niklas is an inspiration in itself. However, the tycoon’s attitude towards failure is a definite motivator.

In his words, “You shouldn’t be afraid of failure – when something fails, you think, ‘What did I learn from that experience? I can do better next time.’

Then kill that project and move on to the next.

Don’t get disappointed.”

49. Inspirational Quote

Niklas leaves a huge lesson to be learnt by being an individual for whom success and money are only secondary and people are the prime forces of good.

One of his best quotes is as follows: “Surround yourself with smart, dedicated people – to build something isn’t a one-man show.

It’s more important to have smart people who really believe in what you’re doing than really experienced people who may not share your dream.”

50. Niklas Zennström is An Optimist

Niklas Zennström is a devoted optimist.

For him every situation has an opportunity that has to be seized to move ahead.

In an interview in 2005, he says that, “It’s not the big that beats the small – it’s the fast that beats the slow.”

Thereby implying that his thorough commitment to Skype is unfailing and in this era, Skype will only soar to newer heights.

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