The moment I met Daniel Dabozcy, I instantly liked him.
There was an easy, yet purposeful look about him, as he walked him. After a couple of minutes sitting with him in comfortable discussion, he launched into an anecdote of how his mother, who lives back in Sweden, had skyped him from her phone. When his tea arrived in a nice looking mason jar, he paused to snap a photo of it on his iPhone. When I queried: “Instagram?”, he answered in the affirmative, and quickly pocketed his phone.
But it wasn’t just his purposeful walk, or his love of quirky jars. I realised that I liked him when I started talking to him, I started notice how he spoke about his work with FundedByMe the same way he spoke about his family or his interests. I had looked into his LinkedIn account before I met him, and one phrase struck me that I founded difficult to believe, but started to realise was very true – Daniel eat, sleeps, and breathes FundedByMe.
Art Curation And Its Link To Finance
Daniel didn’t have your typical start of a story – he started learning Latin in high school, which propelled him into taking Latin in university. He eventually switched to an Art major, which according to him “was almost as strange because it was hard to get jobs”. While studying, he began working in a gallery, mainly selling paintings of animals – “birds and wild moose and stuff like that”.
“I was paid really, really bad, but I loved it, I felt like I found my calling.”
He moved to Stockholm, and eventually joined an art institution, starting at the bottom as an intern and eventually heading the institution 6 years later.
He shared an anecdote of a videographer who filmed monks meditating. Usually, a traditional set up for a video art exhibition would be set up with a big screen, projection, with a huge sign explaining the art piece for you. But Daniel and his team went for a different approach.
“We filled 800 square meters with water, almost 8 tons, creating a mirror effect, and made a small podium at the entrance and we just let people be there, alone in that water with the projection 30 meters ahead without any explanation – just them and their experience. People started crying, they were saying they had this huge experience. That simplifies what I used to do.”
The way he explained his work as a curator, it seemed like there was a distinct link between his work as a curator and an entrepreneur. When asked, he explained the two goals he had, he brought from his work as a curator into his experience as an entrepreneur: never do something somebody else has done, and to rethink and reinvent the way you tell stories.
“In everything you do in life, you have to give people keys, keys to unlock their own story. You can’t tell somebody what they should experience. Today when you go into a museum, people tell you what you should see, but what we found is that we need to give people opportunities to find out for themselves. And every two persons are different, so you need to give them individual stories. What I’m doing now in the really complex financial field, is that I’m explaining it to heavy stock brokers and to my mom at the same time. And I’m basically giving them keys to unlock their own stories regarding the financial industry.”
This philosophy is translated into what FundedByMe does, and how it differentiates from other crowdfunding platforms. As mentioned before in our previous FundedByMe article, the way it works is almost like a crowdfunding-incubator hybrid. The european company actually curates businesses, and then guides them through the process of creating their campaigns and improving their businesses. By opening the possibility of funding to the public, it invites mass participation that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.
“I believe that pure participation is ownership… Our goal is to help people understand that the next wave of businesses is not selling items, but is empowering potential fans and engaging the epic raving fans to become a real participant.”
The Lifestyle Of A Successful Entrepreneur
When I asked Daniel what his idea of a good entrepreneur was, he pointed out three things: ability to understand risk, a hunger to succeed, and the right lifestyle.
“A good entrepreneur is somebody who understands that your company is not your job, it’s a lifestyle. You need to understand that it’s something you’re entering for a lot of years of your life. The balance doesn’t have to be that you work 20 hours a day, but you also can’t just shut down your computer at 5 o’clock. You need to be there – it’s almost like nursing a baby. For the first year, the baby doesn’t eat for itself. The second, the baby doesn’t walk for itself. Year three, the baby starts to talk. Year four, the baby wants independence. You almost have to treat the company as a baby.”
“I would say that I work all the time, but at the same time I would say I never work. I am my lifestyle.”
This was when I understood what he had meant when he said he ‘eat, sleeps, and breathes FundedByMe’.
He prioritises his needs, so he sacrifices a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep for a solid 6 hours. If he doesn’t have time for other hobbies, he pursues new hobbies that are connected to work and his company. If he’s not able to meet his friends without talking about his business, he creates a new set of friends who are a part of his company life and inspire him.
As for his family, he confesses that he merges his family life and his work life often. The result? His ten-year-old daughter may be on her way to becoming an entrepreneur herself.
“I try to mix business with pleasure so I bring my kid to work as often as I can, and I travel with her. I would love if I can inspire her to be an entrepreneur! So when she’s old enough, she would think, ‘Yeah, I want to start a company!’ and I’m glad that at ten she already has ideas and inventions! And I love that, because when I was 10 I never had inventions, and I never thought about how to sell my inventions to the general public.”
“One day she said, “Why do we have to take out butter with a knife? Why can’t we take butter out as a gluestick and rub it on?” and I thought, ‘That’s a great idea!’ We found out that someone else has already tried it, but for her to have that idea, it’s great.”
What’s Next For FundedByMe?
FundedByMe has just arrived in Singapore, and is looking to grow on the little red dot. Eventually, they plan to expand to other countries in Asia, starting with Malaysia. With Daniel leading the reins, it’s easy to trust that FundedByMe would be passing on the same entrepreneurial spirit to the businesses they plan to work with, and with the right curation (by a professional curator no less), you may want to keep an eye out for businesses coming out of FundedByMe.
Let’s see if they pass us the right keys.