martin-lorentzon

Who is Martin Lorentzon?

Martin Lorentzon is a Swedish entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of the music streaming platform Spotify and digital marketing company Tradedoubler. Lorentzon’s passion for business harks back to his time at primary school. There, he reportedly told classmates of his ambition to become a billionaire by selling one matchbox to every person from China.

Early career

After a brief internship at Swedish multinational telco Telia, Lorentzon moved to San Francisco in 1995 where he landed a role with AltaVista and then with investment company Cell Ventures.

Lorentzon’s first business success came from a company called Netstrategy which he founded in 1999 with Felix Hagnö. Lorentzon had met Hagnö whilst working at Cell Ventures and, as it happened, Hagnö was the son of the owners of Swedish clothing brand Joy and thus realized that eCommerce was the next big thing.

Netstrategy would later become Tradedoubler, the first European-based platform to capitalize on the emerging affiliate marketing trend in the late 1990s.

After winning numerous awards in the early 2000s, the company held an IPO on the Stockholm Stock Exchange for SEK 1.3 billion in November 2005

Lorentzon sold his Tradedoubler stock options for around $70 million soon thereafter and moved back to Sweden.

Lorentzon meets Daniel Eck

In 2006, Tradedoubler acquired advertising company Advertigo for SEK 10 million. The acquisition precipitated the meeting of Lorentzon and Advertigo founder Daniel Ek, with the two subsequently becoming good friends.

While both entrepreneurs were comfortable financially, they felt they lacked purpose and needed to do something different.

After leaving Tradedoubler and transferring 1 million euros in seed money to Ek, the pair started a new company called Spotify in June 2006.

Spotify was founded because they feared the music industry was in decline despite millions of users listening to an increasingly diverse range of artists online.

Securing investment funding was difficult in the early days, so Lorentzon used his own capital to fund salaries, offices, and music licenses.

His large investment in Spotify meant his share in the company would later grow to be worth around $4 billion.

Lorentzon served as Spotify CEO until 2013 and remained on the board of directors for another three years. 

Subsequent endeavors

After stepping down as Spotify CEO, Lorentzon joined Swedish Prince Daniel’s Fellowship Project in 2013.

As part of the project, he traveled to secondary schools, universities, and colleges to inspire the next generation to adopt more entrepreneurial mindsets.

Three years later, he became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences which promotes collaboration and exchange between government, research, and business entities in the country.

Between 2013 and 2018, he also returned to Telia to serve on its board of directors. 

Key takeaways:

  • Martin Lorentzon is a Swedish entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of the music streaming platform Spotify and digital marketing company Tradedoubler.
  • Lorentzon’s first business success came from a company called Netstrategy which he founded in 1999 with Felix Hagnö. Lorentzon met Hagnö at Cell Ventures in Silicon Valley and together, they decided to launch Tradedoubler to take advantage of the emerging affiliate marketing industry.
  • Lorentzon met Daniel Ek when Tradedoubler acquired his firm Advertigo in 2016. The pair were wealthy but unfulfilled, so they founded Spotify to revolutionize the music industry and give their lives purpose. Since his success with Spotify, Lorentzon has been involved in university programs to encourage the next generation to become entrepreneurs.

Read Next: Spotify Business Model, Spotify Advertising Business, Spotify Model.

Scroll to Top
FourWeekMBA