“It is something exceptionally with entrepreneurs, we are very driven, ambitious and we do what we love!” says Nina Nordling, the person behind High Heaven. A platform for women with focus on adrenaline and to push the female role models forward.
Can you tell about the background story around High Heaven?
Without telling about the background first, what we want to do and are aiming for is to bring more adrenalin to women in the world.
The market in this area today is under-exploited, where women today has a huge interest and high engagement but nowhere to go. I have felt a frustration over this over a very long time now and every different platform that I have joined or had such huge focus on men.
Thats when I decided to do something about it so I did my own research on the market, saw a huge potential. High Heaven is a platform for women with an active lifestyle with focus on adrenaline. The platform is reaching all over the world, you can search on events and on places what and where you want to do.
When was the burning point when you felt like “This is really something we should do something about”?
When I realized things in the action sports market were evolving too slow. I arranged free motocross track days for girls and women who wanted to try dirt bike riding. No one believed there would be any interest, so I had a hard time getting sponsors. I’ve heard everything from “the pedals will be too far down”, “can they switch gears?”, to “shouldn’t you use small PW 50 bikes instead of big bikes?
Over the years, more than 400 girls joined us, and they all learned how to ride in one day. The idea of creating a digital meetup for women in action sports started forming.
Another time I went to a girls only skate night, when a mother and her daughter came in. They were there for the first time, so the mother asked her daughter what she wanted to try, and her daughter said: “Hmm… Skateboard!” I was so happy to see her stoke, but it quickly turned in to disappointment when the guy behind the counter replied: “I think you should do inlines instead, it’s much easier.”
This really is symptomatic of the issues of the industry: You can’t be what you can’t see! – So when people ask me why High Heaven is needed, I try to help them see the bigger perspective of womens health, of the development of upcoming generations .
Cool! Is it angled towards girls or only girls that can do these activities?
It is aimed towards girls that are already in to, or just curious about, the active lifestyle of action and adrenaline sports. Anyone can browse all content on the website, regardless of gender, but if you want to join the forum and the conversations, you have to create a profile- and we only allow females in the community. There are plenty of other sites dedicated to men, so no one is left out. The site is completely free to use, and always will be.
Have you got more insights during your journey? Did you change something in your plan or communication?When I pitched to investors from Silicon Valley, they completely got the business idea. They saw a very clear niche – and when I explained that over 30 million women aged 15-40, like “action sports” on Facebook, they understood the need for female led and focused businesses in this field.
We thought about bringing hard money on board- But we want to solve social problems with traditional business strategies, and the revenue that we earn must never be gained at the expense of our values, so crowdfunding really made sense to us.
Who are you behind High Heaven? You are the one who started it, right?
Yes, I also have a co-founder, Katja Möller who is also CMO with a background in marketing and PR. We have grate help from some of our investors too: We have an awesome Interaction Designer Advisor; Joel Månsson, Economical Advisor; Virve Skullman and Business Advisor Niklas Hall.
We also have ambassadors for each sport, spreading the word and the stoke of cool events and content within their field.
Can you tell us about your journey when you started the company?
When I first got the idea, I took my sketches to my local nyföretagarcentrum, who pushed me to proceed in building a business. Almi helped me out with a innovation grant, so I thought; “Wow, maybe I should really do this?”
I quit my job, started the company and figured the financial part would have to be solved somehow. I was really naive when looking for investments at first. I did not asked for nearly enough money, and the company really wasn’t ready for an investment.
Anyway, the company actually got an investment offer, so we did a due diligence process for many months, but in the end I decided to back out. It just wasn’t a good match, it wasn’t smart money. That might have been the hardest and best decision I’ve made for the company so far.
During that time I had met Catherine from FundedByMe to talk about crowdfunding a couple of times, and about a year later, we launched our crowdfunding equity campaign. When you decide to go in and do a crowdfunding campaign, you have to not only plan and execute the whole thing well, but also take on responsibility towards the investors for the rest of the company’s development . But I have not regretted it once!
It’s really nice of you to share some of your obstacles that you have had, can you also share a tip or two to other entrepreneurs?
I have so many tips! Many people think that a startup is just a few (usually male) friends starting something great from a closet or a garage or whatever, without any funding whatsoever, launch it, make it and then just sell it and become millionaires after the first round. That is far from the truth! In most cases, everything takes twice the time, even tripled the time you had in mind: and most startups fail. But the crowdfunded startups might be better equipped, since the power of the crowd is a mighty thing!
If I had the chance to do everything again, I would not spend so much time chasing money. Easy to say, hard to do when you have bills to pay. Low cost is key. And even if your beta product is not as perfect as you’ve imagine it, get to market anyway! If you aim for your goal and work at it, you will achieve it sooner or later.
How do find your energy again?
There is a magic pattern! Every time my energy is low, and I feel like it’s impossible to continue, I get an email, call or comment from someone who says; “High Heaven is such good initiative, I want to help, what can I do?” or “I have been longing for a platform like High Heaven for ages- Where can I sign up?”
If I didn’t have the power of the crowd, girls that are giving me so much support, I would have probably given up a long time ago. But this platform is too important not to launch; for women’s health, girls self-confidence and body image, women’s empowerment, democracy in sports, and so much more. So we will make it happen.
How is this a bigger issue than that the platform does not exist?
When one of the world’s most famous skaters Nyjah Huston can get away with stating that: “Some girls can skate, but I personally believe that skateboarding is not for girls at all. Not one bit” – There are some real attitude issues that needs to be addressed.
When a female board sports brand like Roxy, can replace their female founder with a man and launch a campaign video only showing images of a half-naked womans body- We nned to start asking ourselves what message we are sending to the next generation of girls.
At High Heaven we state the the world needs more female role models. Not more bikini models.
What do you want to achieve with your platform?
That the community grows so strong that we can’t even keep up!