Catching Up With Christian Arnstedt
I had the quick pleasure to catch up with the Managing Partner of Blazar Capital Christian Arnstedt, to discuss what's next on his list and to find out how he makes the most of his day and his favorite Nordgreen watch.
Among his astonishing accolades, Christian Arnstedt is the youngest person ever to become an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company. He made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018 in the Finance category. Most recently, he’s been a tv persona appearing on the fourth season of the Lion's Den <<Løvens Hule>>, the Danish version of the UK's 'Dragon's Den and the US's 'Shark Tank.'
Interviewing Christian Arnstedt wasn't a one-shot situation of me asking a few questions and then scripting a straight-forward piece of writing. Our first meeting entailed his assistants and others in the Blazar Capital office calling on his input, all while he was preparing to leave for the airport, on a flight to NYC.
15 Minutes of Fame
I tried to keep the conversation as casual as possible as I could imagine the pressure of remaining poised for the scrutinizing eye, which he went right along with, even though he was quite busy with people calling for his attention:
Me: Tell me about your experience with 'The Lions Den'…
C: It was a privilege to meet all of these entrepreneurs coming in with great ideas, they had all prepared well, so it was, I think it was some great conversations, and it was interesting to hear all of their pitches. I feel that it was a great honor to see all of that and to be able to help drive the agenda of entrepreneurship in Denmark. Entrepreneurship is close to my heart, so I'm hopeful at being able to give additional momentum to Denmark by helping some entrepreneurs, which is something I see as a big privilege to work on:
Me: Is that part of your inspiration, your motivation to reach out to as many startups as you have?
C: Yes, it's interesting to work with, and it is also what we do here in the house (Blazar Capital offices), that is, working with building new ventures, so I think it was a natural fit to participate in the program.
Me: What's next?
C: I think what's next is that we keep on working with the companies that we have. It's a long journey to build a company. Our own company (Blazar Capital) is also still relatively young, so it's about putting in the everyday work to further strengthen and build on the momentum that we have.
Getting the Scoop On A Busy Fellow
I thought since the young lion was jet setting off on a business trip that I'd catch up with his executive assistant, Daniel, to gain some external insight on him and to find out how he makes the most of his workday. According to his assistant, Christian travels bi-monthly for business. But when he's back in his home city of Copenhagen, he doesn't skip a beat, attending meeting after meeting, trying to find the next startup to join the Blazar Capital family.
On any given day, you might find Christian going around to one of the startups in-house to connect with employees and to lend a hand with shaping the next campaign or business deal, but if you wait too long, you might miss him; he's off again!
Follow Up Conversations Across Different Time Zones
I had to track down the globetrotter over the phone, with some follow up questions to help me piece together a fuller image of his enigmatic persona, which can seem elusive but isn't. He understands that time is a scarce resource and told me, "it's the only thing that we never get more of, so use it." So that got me thinking, "what does he do when he's not working? Does he have time for that in his life?"
If I only see someone working and seemingly always on the move, I have to wonder about how they spend their free time, uh, perhaps not 'free time' when it comes to Christian Arnstedt, but a perfectly balanced work-life combination, so again I dared to ask him.
In My Down-Time, I...
As most of us can attest to 'vegging out' in front of the television after a long, hard day at work, if to have a mindless moment, Christian foregoes the Netflix or tv thing all together so that he can focus on what truly matters to him.
It's a natural outcome that someone of his business stature would have a super private life with time for only the closest of friends and family, and of course that special someone. He spends his 'free-time' with his newlywed wife of nearly a year, five close friends, and of course, a close relationship with his family; everyone else needs to compete for his time.
His Favorite Nordgreen Watch
I was curious to talk with him about the fastest growing startup at Blazar Capital and which Nordgreen watch was his favorite, in hopes to get a feel on his thoughts about startups and his fashion sense, and it was no surprise to learn the answer.
Me: What're your thoughts on Nordgreen?
C: I feel very much for Nordgreen. It's a company that's close to my heart. I think the products that we have made in Nordgreen are of excellent quality. I believe they (the collection) are great designs. We were incredibly lucky as a new company to get a global international design capacity as Jakob Wagner designing our collections. Working with someone like him is a significant source of inspiration, and it's fantastic to see the watches on people's hands when you walk the city landscape, especially the latest model, the Pioneer. I like that one.
Me: I can see that you're also wearing one, can you tell me about yours?
C: So basically, my favorite Pioneer is the one with the black rubber strap. I think that it gives a sporty look and feel and I can use it when I do sports and I think it's just, it feels nice. I feel like this is my watch. So my preferred is either with a white or black dial, I also have it with a blue dial, but I wear it most with the white dial, but I genuinely like this watch.
I love the gunmetal case, as I think that it's made very nicely and looks super cool. So, I feel like, for a couple of thousand kroner, you're getting a watch that the look and feel of this is equivalent to a 50k kroner watch and with the sapphire glass and all the design work from Jakob, I think that the product that you get here is worth way beyond the price tag.
So basically, his taste in fashion is versatile for business, yet is sporty, which suits his on the go pace of living. But what's more to someone who seems to have it all? If you guessed giving back, then you're right!
Taking Time to Back a Good Cause
If you've purchased a watch from the Nordgreen collection, then you're aware of its 'Giving Back Program' where a portion of your purchase goes to one of three NGOs (Water For Good, Pratham UK, and Cool Earth), of which you get to choose.
Christian Arnstedt is no different than you or me when it comes to caring about doing more for our planet and those in need. So when he shared with me which of Nordgreen's NGO partners he has chosen to give back to, I felt that much more connected to knowing that he participated. Reforestation is his passionate environmental focus and has given back to Cool Earth, an NGO creating solutions to combat deforestation in the South American rainforest.
A Proud, Hopeful Leader
C: I am proud around what everyone on the Nordgreen team is doing, I think they're doing a great piece of work and all of them working on their part of building the company and it's fantastic.
It's a joy to see the momentum that Nordgreen is having as a result of everyone's work. And building upon some of the first bricks that Jakob made with these extraordinary designs, and then having all of this good work being put into getting this design to the world and hopefully over time, making Nordgreen a Danish design icon.
So, what my aspiration-hope would be for Nordgreen would be that Nordgreen will be a Danish design flagship that will be known both in Denmark and internationally for great Danish design and quality.
There's no doubt that we'll be hearing more from this entrepreneurial wonder, but if you want to keep up and can, check out what the startups (Nordgreen, Project Nord, MessyWeekend, and the Plant Era) he's been working with are doing!