I covered Stardoll in the Deal Radar series. Here’s the story from CEO Mattias Miksche.
SM: Please describe your personal background : Family, upbringing, early career, etc. leading up to this venture.
MM: I have a multicultural background. Austrian dad, German mom – they came to Sweden during/following World War II. I was born & raised in Sweden, grew up speaking German at home, Swedish at the playground. I also spent a year as a high school exchange student in Halstead, Kansas (population 1,017), which was a huge culture shock but a great life experience. I am still very close with my ‘American’ extra family.
I did my Masters at the Stockholm School of Economics which included a semester at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA in 1994. That’s when I took a ‘new media’ class that really changed my life. Instead of going into investment banking, I followed my heart and instead joined maverick Scandinavian media company Modern Times Group in ’95.
I started to work in broadcasting but quickly fell in love with the Internet in 1995. We launched one of Sweden’s first websites, ztv.se, and did some really fun stuff like launching a fake reality show online.
Three years later, I became one of the founders of E*TRADE Financial in Europe between 1998-2002, first as a stand-alone startup where we licensed the E*TRADE brand and technololgy, then in 1999 we were acquired and became a wholly owned subsidiary. I started out as head of product & bizdev, later becoming Managing Director for Sweden and then Germany.
I left E*TRADE in 2002 to start Boxman.com, a DVD-subscription rental service a la Netfix, which I merged with U.K-based Lovefilm in 2005 to form Europe’s leading DVD-rental and download company. I joined existing website paperdollheaven.com in late 2005 and revamped it into Stardoll in 2006.