Sara Rywe from byFounders is Signing Contracts for a Living—and Loving Every Second of It!
Contracts are a cause for celebration. They're the milestones on the path to every company’s success. In this series, you'll see the most important contracts companies signed. Because every time you say “It’s a deal!” you’re one step closer to your goals.
Growing up, Sara Rywe’s favorite TV show was Dragons’ Den (a TV show where budding entrepreneurs get a few minutes to pitch their business idea to a group of investors). Sara was fascinated by the way the investors enabled the founders to follow their dream: “Watching the show and seeing the investors empowering visionary founders to do what they love—not just with money, but also with the support they needed—it seemed like such a precious job.”
From flipping burgers to flipping deals
For as long as Sara can remember, she has had an interest in entrepreneurship: “I’ve been curious about entrepreneurship from a very early age, and I actually started my first real business, a dancing school, when I was 17. Nothing fancy, but it was the first time I tried to have employees and was able to decide exactly how I wanted to run things.”
In spite of her young age, Sara already had a lot of experience working for others—she had flipped burgers at McDonald's for a few years, worked in homecare for elderly, and at a factory.
However, Sara came to the conclusion that working for others was not where she found her motivation: “I found out that I was able to run a business the way I wanted to, and that was very special to me—to have autonomy and freedom.”
After living out her dream of running her own business at a young age, Sara continued her entrepreneurial journey and built one of the largest networks for young entrepreneurs in Sweden, where she grew up.
This is also where we leave Sara’s journey as an entrepreneur—at least for now. Because Sara started working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company to gain experience and network. But her favorite TV show from when she grew up, Dragons’ Den, was still on her mind—Sara could not shake the thought of how amazing it must be, to be a venture capitalist.
“After working in consulting for a few years, I reached a point where I wanted to look for a job similar to the investors’ jobs in Dragons’ Den. Basically, I wanted to spend my days supporting founders fulfilling their dreams'' - Sara Rywe
If you can dream it, you can do it
Sara started to look for a company that matched her values and discovered byFounders—a venture capital fund established by founders, for founders. “The fact that they put founders first and run their business as founder-friendly as possible really resonated with me and my beliefs. I thought to myself—this is a brand and a fund I could feel proud representing. So I targeted byFounders directly, and I was lucky that they welcomed me with open arms.”
Just before joining byFounders, Sara was completing an MBA in France, which was where she received the good news.
“After getting the call that I landed the job, I received the contract—through Contractbook of course—and celebrated it French style, with champagne” - Sara Rywe
Sara continues: “After receiving the call and contract for my first job as a VC at byFounders, I had this genuine feeling of excitement. Finally, I would be able to work with something I knew I had always dreamed of. And I just felt so lucky. Lucky that I would be able to do this for a living, and lucky that it was also my biggest passion. I have never felt as grateful as I did at that moment.”
Sara works with contracts almost on a daily basis since she spends her time investing in startups and raising money to the fund—but there are three specific contracts that stand out to her—and there is no doubt about which one is at the top: “The most important contract I have ever signed is definitely my marriage certificate, she laughs and continues: But on a more professional level, the contracts that really stand out for me are the employment contract at byFounders—since I landed my dream job—and the so called limited partnership agreement for our second venture fund in which I became a partner,” Sara elaborates with a smile.
A few years after joining byFounders, the company had to raise money for their second venture fund. Every four years, byFounders raise a new fund so they can continue to invest in startups—and this time, Sara was asked to become a partner and take on the main responsibility for the new fund.
“That’s probably in my top three of the most important contracts I have ever signed. For sure. A lot of hard work—but I also knew how many founders and startups we would be able to help with this money. And the fact that the investors trusted me and my team to invest their money in visionary founders felt incredible” - Sara Rywe
Here’s to many more contracts getting signed
When taking into consideration Sara’s young age, hearing her story and how much she has accomplished, you might think she is content with where she is now. So it seemed obvious to ask Sara whether she believes she has reached the height of her career, or if there are more important contracts for her to sign career wise. To that she shakes her head in response: “I have definitely not signed my last contract. There are many more contracts to sign, and I am far from being at the height of my career. I have so much more to learn, improve, and grow from with time. I hope there will be many more contracts to sign in the future, but for the time being, I am committed to byFounders, and I could not be more excited about being here.”
byFounders is an early stage venture capital fund investing in software startups at pre-seed and seed stage. They have, among others, invested in Contractbook.
byFounders are backed by 75 of the most accomplished founders and operators from the Nordics and Baltics, and are working around the clock to support their portfolio companies and make good investments. Sara joined in 2019 as an investor and became a partner in January 2022.