Martin Lorentzon is a Swedish entrepreneur best known for co-founding Spotify with Daniel Ek.
I use Spotify pretty much every day. I think it is excellent for playing music or putting on a podcast to unwind for an hour. Given how much I use this streaming service, I wanted to compile a Martin Lorentzon bio to show you the life behind one of the men who helped create a platform that has over 180 million paid subscribers.
Before I tell you about Martin Lorentzon’s early life and significant success, here are some quick facts about this Swedish businessman.
Martin Lorentzon Bio Facts
|Full Name: Sven Hans Martin Lorentzon|
|Birth Date: 1 April 1969.|
|Birth Place: Marieholm, Småland, Sweden|
|Partner / Spouse: Tara Derakshan|
|Net Worth: $2.6 billion|
|Social Media: Twitter, Instagram|
|Companies Associated With: Spotify, Tradedoubler|
|Last Updated: 2022|
Martin Lorentzon Key Facts Summary
- Co-founded Spotify with Daniel Ek in 2006.
- He has a current net worth of $2.6 billion, much of which has come from his time with Spotify.
- Lorentzon made $70m by selling his stock options in Tradedoubler, a company he co-founded in 1999.
- He was named International Swede of the Year in 2014.
- He served as CEO of Spotify from 2006 – 2013 before stepping aside for Daniel Ek to take on the role.
- Lorentzon was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 2016.
- He aims to help young entrepreneurs and students by talking at schools, colleges, and universities as part of the Fellowship Project, run by Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland.
Martin Lorentzon Birthplace and Early Life
Martin Lorentzon was born in Åsenhöga, a small village in Småland, a province in southern Sweden. His father, Sven, was an economist, and his mother, Brita, was a teacher.
Lorentzon grew up with two older siblings, and the family relocated to the city of Borås when he was one year old.
I think there were a few early indications that Lorentzon would go on to achieve success as a business operator. He told his classmates at the Särlaskolan primary school that he would become a billionaire by selling a matchbox to every person in China.
Also, I think his father’s profession as an economist played a significant influence on his early life. Lorentzon studied industrial economics at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg before attending economics classes at the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law. He also went to the Stockholm School of Economics and Stockholm University.
Martin Lorentzon Early Business Success
The main reason I know of Martin Lorentzon is his co-founding of Spotify. Still, the more I researched his life, I found that he achieved notable success before helping to start the streaming service millions of us use daily.
After finishing his economic studies, Lorentzon started working as an intern at Telia, a telecoms company that operates in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
In the mid-1990s, he moved to San Francisco and worked for AltaVista. AltaVista used to be one of the most used search engines when the internet was still being rolled out to the masses, and I remember using it frequently in the late 1990s. It quickly lost ground when Google came onto the scene, but I found it interesting that Lorentzon worked there for a period.
Lorentzon’s first business success came with Tradedoubler, which he formed with Felix Hagnö under the name Netstrategy in September 1999. Hagnö parents own the extensive Swedish clothing line Joy, and Tradedoubler was the first European-based platform that helped drive the growing affiliate sales and marketing business.
While affiliate sales and platforms are commonplace now, this wasn’t the case in the 1990s, particularly not in Europe. I think this foresight during the early years of the internet becoming mainstream allowed Lorentzon and Hagnö to capitalize on a growing industry. The company quickly became a very profitable venture and won numerous awards for its performance, including:
- Swedish Guldmusen prize for “IT-rookie of the Year” in 2001
- “Achievement Award” from the Swedish Trade Council in the United Kingdom in 2002
- Export Hermes prize in 2004
I think it is pretty clear that Tradedoubler achieved significant success for Lorentzon, and he took the company public in 2005, with the company listed on NASDAQ Stockholm.
In 2005, Lorentzon sold his stock options in Tradedoubler for $70m, which I think solidified how successful the company and he had become.
So, from the mid-90s to the mid-00s, Lorentzon went from being an intern at the Swedish telecoms company Telia to being worth $70m through co-founding and selling his stock options in Tradedoubler.
However, his most significant success was yet to come.
In 2006, Tradedoubler bought the advertising company Advertigo, which Daniel Ek created. I’m not sure if the two Swedish entrepreneurs knew each other prior to this, but I think it is a good demonstration of meeting by chance and going on to create something special.
The two quickly became good friends as they had both generated substantial wealth in recent years but felt that they didn’t have a purpose. Their similar experiences brought the two entrepreneurs together, and they decided to start a new company – Spotify.
I found it interesting that Lorentzon used his own money to fund developers, offices, and licenses for streaming music. Partly this was down to Lorentzon having issues with the terms laid down by potential investors in Spotify, but I also think it showed how committed he was to this business idea.
Lorentzon served as CEO from 2006 – 2013 and also chairman of the board of directors until 2016. Spotify has grown hugely since it launched internationally in 2010.
In 2011, the streaming service had 1 million paying subscribers, rising to 30 million by 2015, and then to 188 million paying subscribers and 433 million total users in 2022.
This is an unbelievable amount of growth. I think a lot of this has been down to several things. Firstly, the idea of streaming music easily is a brilliant one. Ek and Lorentzon have remained best friends throughout their time with Spotify, which, I think, has also helped.
Martin Lorentzon Videos
Martin Lorentzon Business Failures
However, I discovered he was outed as dodging taxes in his native Sweden. In 2005, before he sold his stock options in Tradedoubler, which generated significant wealth, he set up a company in Cyprus. This meant that he avoided paying 25% in corporation tax, and many of the shares Lorentzon owns in other businesses go through this company registered in Cyprus too.
According to various reports, Lorentzon owes around 6 million euros worth of taxes.
Apart from his issues with tax avoidance, I haven’t come across many business failures on his part. Spotify is a thriving venture that has experienced significant growth in terms of its user base; however, profits have been harder to come by. The company has yet to post a net profit throughout its history, even with revenue of €9.66 billion in 2021, which was a 23% increase on the year before. In 2021, they made a $39m loss.
So, while I don’t think Spotify is failing as a business, there are some concerns over how it will sustain its business model going forward, especially as some competitors are emerging.
Martin Lorentzon Family
Martin Lorentzon grew up with two older siblings, although I don’t have much information about them or what they do.
His mother, Brita, was a teacher, and his father, Sven, was an economist. I think Lorentzon took a lot of inspiration from his father as he studied economics and several higher education institutions, including the Chalmers University of Technology, the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law, and the Stockholm School of Economics.
Lorentzon keeps his private life secretive. He isn’t as elusive about his personal life as John Mars, but there isn’t a whole lot of information out there.
I found out he has been in a relationship since 2017 with Tara Derakshan, and the couple has launched their own perfume brand – Malo. However, they keep themselves and their life very much private.
Martin Lorentzon Career Earnings
Martin Lorentzon has a current net worth of $2.6 billion.
Before properly researching his bio, I thought his wealth came from co-founding Spotify. While the majority of his net worth is down to Spotify and a large number of shares he owns (over 12%), he did make a significant amount of money prior to co-founding the popular streaming service.
Lorentzon co-founded another company in the late 1990s called Tradedoubler. This is an affiliate marketing network, and it was the first of its kind to be based in Europe. The business grew extensively in the early 2000s, and went public in 2005. Just before he decided to kickstart the concept of Spotify with Daniel Ek, Lorentzon sold his stock options in Tradedoubler for $70m.
His net worth has fluctuated a bit recently as Forbes estimated it at $2.7 billion in 2020, $6 billion in 2021, and $2.6 billion in 2022.
Martin Lorentzon Real Estate Holdings
I have found trying to detail Martin Lorentzon’s private life difficult, as he doesn’t disclose a lot of personal information.
This is true for his real-estate holdings, as there is very little public information about Martin Lorentzon’s homes.
I know he lives in Vasastan, a neighborhood in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. Lorentzon also has an apartment in the ski resort, Åre, which is located in central Sweden
Martin Lorentzon Quotes
Here are a few quotes from Martin Lorentzon that show you how he approaches business and his thoughts on success.
“I read a great deal, catch a lot of information around me, try my way onward and encourage others to be more solution-oriented. I also say that a problem is not a problem and the value of your business is the sum of all the problems that you solve.”
“Read as much as you can, learn economics, technology, rhetoric, take language classes, network – all of these things are some of the best investments one can make.”
“If you’re to create something of value it’s an advantage to be showered with problems as the more you solve these issues, the more the value of the company increases”
Frequently Asked Questions – Martin Lorentzon Bio
Question: Does Martin Lorentzon still own Spotify?
Answer: Martin Lorentzon co-founded the streaming music service Spotify with Daniel Ek in 2006. He invested a substantial amount of his own money in the early days, and it is estimated that he holds 43.3% voting rights in Spotify and owns 12.7% shares.
Question: How much is Martin Lorentzon worth?
Answer: According to Forbes, Martin Lorentzon has a net worth of $2.6 billion. This has been generated first by selling his stock options in Tradedoubler (a company he co-founded in 1999) and owning a substantial part of Spotify, which he co-founded in 2006.
Question: Where does Martin Lorentzon live?
Answer: Martin Lorentzon lives in the Stockholm neighborhood of Vasastan, while he also has an apartment in the popular Ski resort of Åre, in central Sweden.
Question: Is Martin Lorentzon political?
Answer: Yes. Martin Lorentzon has expressed many political views and has been involved in the Swedish Moderate Party. Alongside Daniel Ek, he has criticized the Swedish government for failing to develop start-ups.
Question: How many people use Spotify?
Answer: Spotify has grown considerably in numbers over the past decade. In 2011, there were 1 million paying subscribers, and this has risen to 188 million paid subscribers in 2022, with 433 million total users.
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