Originally published in #NordicMade magazine.
When Sofie Lundström was growing up, she did a great deal of sports. It is during that time she got her strong character and zest to be the best at what she does. Later on, in life she turned this passion into a career in finance, advancing in her work with the motto: "to make the impossible possible". This experience in the finance sector gave Sofie a solid base and inspiration to found her own company in fintech called Toborrow.
Toborrow is a digital loan intermediary that serves as an alternative to banks and offers an easy loan process for companies that are growing and in need of capital. Lenders and borrowers connect without the traditional intermediaries, and the money lent by private individuals and companies goes to selected companies that are approved by Toborrow. Such models allow more flexibility and, therefore, more starting businesses can get access to needed funds.
On opportunity from a crisis
The idea of Toborrow appeared in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when interest rates jumped up making it impossible to take loans for many groups of individuals. Sofie, who at the time started thinking of creating her own company, got in contact with Andreas Thorstensson. The new team put their rich experience together and decided to focus on creating a simpler way of giving and taking loans using modern technology and co-founded Toborrow.
The whole idea with Toborrow is to democratize the loan market. A lot of the time entrepreneurs do not have the time to go through complicated processes to get a loan from a bank. With Toborrow this experience becomes easier, which enables many people’s dreams to come true. And for Sofie, who is keen on doing meaningful jobs and inspiring others, this is one of the key drivers.
"When you can help another company to implement the dream they’ve been trying to achieve, it feels fantastic!" says Sofie. Of course along with the excitement of helping others, there is a great deal of learning involved in running your own company. During her journey with Toborrow, Sofie highlighted two important lessons: dare to try and fail; and be open and ask for advice of those who have done their journey.
"This is something that is well established in Silicon Valley. Startups often talk to each other and by working together you can create a lot. Many synergies appear as a result of such co-operation," says Sofie. Sofie says the startup community in Stockholm is also about creating a culture of openness and cooperation, which are important factors for growth. Fintech sector is also on the rise as Sweden, and the capital in particular, offer such advantages as easy access to information, possibility to get in contact with politicians and connection to other entrepreneurs.
Presently, Toborrow is building a strong base in the home market, but with a vision to democratize the loan market the company aims to grow and expand in the future both in Sweden and abroad.