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Caroline Walerud

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Caroline Walerud is a 23-year-old serial entrepreneur and natural scientist from Cambridge University. She founded Volumental, the world’s first cloud-based 3D scanning service. The company was born in a hotel room during a Skype call at 3 a.m. in October 2012. Having successfully lead the company on a Kickstarter campaign, she showed her tenacity to succeed having raised $27,362 in order to recruit a specific position to expand the company. Among her significant work, Walerud was recognized as the #1 Super Talent of the Year 2013.

Volumental was founded by Caroline Walerud, Alper Aydemir, Miroslav Kobetski and Rasmus Göransson in December 2012. Since its founding Volumental has grown from four founders to a team of 16 people from 7 countries. The technology is being used by leaders in orthotics and consumer fashion to provide accurate models of the human body. They’ve worked with a number of leading hardware manufacturers, including OpenNI and SoftKinetic, and also demo'ed a proof of concept with Intel at the 2014 Intel Developer Forum. In September 2014, Volumental announced a $3 million seed investment to keep growing our team and pursue our vision of a fully customized future.


Companies and Investments

Volumental (co-founder and CEO)

Lessons Learned

Volumental, my own startup, was born in a hotel room during a Skype call at 3am in October 2012. I was calling three technologists from Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology, whom I had first met just days before. We decided to start the world’s first cloud-based 3D scanning service.

The 3D revolution will change the world, but it requires access both to 3D printers and to 3D models for printing. But those 3D models are still too difficult to create - and that is what Volumental is here to change, from one of the top startup hotspots in the world.

Welcome to Stockholm, birthplace of Mojang and Spotify. We’re an educated, early-adopter people, often described as trendy Germans who speak great English. We’re tech-savvy and, with the help of a supportive ecosystem, our startups quickly go global. Volumental's first customer, for example, was Australian.

Still, we are the land of the 'safety junkies', as described by the Swedish psychiatrist David Eberhard. It pains me to write that Swedes are afraid of failure, but we are. Like it or not, successful ventures are not built in the lab; they evolve through repeated market testing. In that evolution, failure is natural and weeds out bad ideas. Failure should welcome feedback.

Unfortunately even the government is afraid of failure, despite most early capital coming from public institutions with book-long applications. Early grants are earmarked for consultants, pushing the focus away from sales and towards administration and meticulous business planning.

The Swedish innovation agency Vinnova is doing a great job changing that approach, but they can't do it alone. Private funding cannot fill this gap: due to suffocating tax laws on investment Sweden has few business angels, and even venture capitalists are safety junkies in their own way. Because of this, Volumental is focusing on international funding sources, such as our Kickstarter campaign that went live this summer and exceeded its fundraising target.

How do startups compete with big business? That safety dependency means we fight for magical people, but they prefer stability. Instead of high salaries, we want to incentivise with shares and stock options, but tax regulation made this almost impossible to set up.

Sweden must realise that today we are fighting for the rising stars in a global market, losing start-ups to the speedier Silicon Valley. In that 3am call, I took the leap into Volumental. It was the first of many late nights when we were only a team of techies with a cool idea, months of hard work with no pay and constantly firefighting problems.

We’re still learning from our failures, now with customers, funding and a team of eleven, and getting closer to success. This is part of Stockholm - a capital iterating on its failures, and getting better every time


Inspiring Quotes

Caroline Walerud's Quotes

Our vision is to make tailored products the norm rather than a luxury.

Caroline Walerud

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