TTT #12: "Starting a Business" with Malla Tedroff

The Tomato Timer Apr 13, 2020

Technology has been advancing substantially, and with how dependent we have grown on it, the trend is here to stay. However, amidst this rapid rate, do we have the necessary guidelines and policies to keep pace? Or is our complacency giving rise to deeper problems?

Malla Tedroff, pursuing her masters in digital technology policy, addresses this problem in today’s episode. She mentions the need for firm legislation and strengthening of transparency amidst a plethora of concerns arising due to technology, such as privacy, security, fake news, etc.

Malla was involved with a student organization related to entrepreneurship. Feeling disconnected from the real world and the lack of space for the expression of what she wanted, she began a blog. She interviewed founders, getting to know their experiences, recording their stories, and forming a connected network. Eventually, this landed her a freelance job in Danske.

She came across a pertinent trend, the dominantly centralized approach of the commercial world. Despite not being based in Stockholm, so many founders preferred investing there. And the concentration of investment in just one location meant fewer opportunities for ethnic minorities.

Eventually, she came across BackingMinds, a start-up to help under-represented areas in entrepreneurship. She approached them for an internship and worked with them for two years.

Further, she moves on to talk about venture capitalism and the support it can provide to young companies. Getting investment from a VC, especially when just starting, can be challenging. There might not be an objective estimate of the risks involved, and one might not have weighed in all possibilities.
To secure investment, besides all these technicalities, Malla believes that we need to have our ideas validated. Provide evidence for the need to bring your ideas to life. Also, staying transparent is a must. It is not possible to not have barriers, and denying the existence of that means you haven’t thought through your project well enough. Instead, be honest about the problems you might face and ways you can tackle those.

Malla provides small grants to ease people to stop worrying about such expenses. Instead, she hopes for them to be able to catalyze their efforts into creating something meaningful. After having completed a round of providing these, she talks about one red flag she came across through her multiple experiences. Competitors exist, and we can never be the first person to try tackling a problem. Be realistic in your approach, and instead of saying why you are different, talk about how you do things differently.

Malla’s career graph has seen diverse moments, and none of it would have been possible had she chosen to stay rigid. She believes in going with the flow and taking in opportunities as they come. Be flexible and open to trying different things to work out where you see yourself fit.

Sometimes, when you try doing everything, you end up doing nothing.

Malla mentions the need to assess what your priorities are. Instead of taking up everything that arises, you need to question and choose. Saying no at times may strike as missed opportunities. But ultimately, you are preserving your time and energy for the stuff that matters to you.


Ritika Singhal

Along with Zubair Junjunia

Senior year student passionate about social justice and inclusive reform | she/her