Johan Staël von Holstein

Lars Johan Magnus Staël von Holstein (born 5 May 1963 in Halmstad, Sweden) is a Swedish entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author who co-founded dot-com companies such as Icon Medialab and LetsBuyIt during the early dot-com boom in Sweden.[1]

Johan Staël von Holstein
JSvH at SIME Awards.jpg
JSvH at SIME Awards
Lars Johan Magnus Staël von Holstein

(1963-05-05) 5 May 1963 (age 57)

Early lifeEdit

Staël von Holstein studied information technology at Lund University, in the south of Sweden. In 1989, at the age of 25, he began studies at the Stockholm School of Business, Stockholm University in Sweden, where he majored in marketing management. He also attended a summer session at Harvard Business School, taking two MBA course units, "International Business" and "Doing Business with Pacific Rim Countries", and spent a semester at Lynn University in Florida.


He began his career at media and finance conglomerate the Kinnevik Group as apprentice to Jan Hugo Stenbeck.[2] Staël von Holstein worked his way up to his first CEO position at start up ITV (Interactive television), having been a marketing director of Z-TV, the Kinnevik Group's flagship TV channel for young people. He grew InTV to become the largest teletext company in Europe with offices in six countries. Staël von Holstein was vice president of Inlux, in Luxemburg, and then went on to become responsible for Banque Invik's sales and credit card operations.[3]

At the end of 1995, Staël von Holstein left the Kinnevik Group to found website-design company Icon Medialab together with Jesper Jos Olsson, Erik Wickström, and Magnus Lindahl.[4]

He moved back to Stockholm in 2004 to start IQube, which quickly grew into one of the largest private business incubators in Europe[5] with a portfolio of more than 100 companies.

IQube was recognized as a value creator and major investors included Investor, the Nordic region's largest industrial holding company, as well as Sjätte AP-Fonden, a Swedish pension fund. Staël von Holstein during this time was recognized as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by Chief Executive magazine and elected as one of ten board members on the Swedish Government's Cultural Board, a government agency with the task of implementing national cultural policy.[6]

He was an independent, right-wing columnist for the Stockholm-edition of the newspaper Metro until 2000 and is now back.[7]


Icon Media Lab CEO (first two years)Edit

At the end of 1995, Staël von Holstein left the Kinnevik Group to found Icon Medialab together with Jesper Jos Olsson, Erik Wickström, and Magnus Lindahl.[6]. The company went public in 1999 and continued rapid expansion with a US$70 million investment into the Asian market in 2000. At its peak the company had over 3,000 employees in 32 offices in cities around the globe. In 2001 its shares plunged more than 98% from their early 2000 peak and it axed around 500 jobs. In December 2001 shares of the debt-ridden company were suspended from the Stockholm stock exchange. The company was merged with rival Dutch web company Lost Boys in a reverse takeover to form a new Dutch-based company under CEO Rens Buchwaldt, and re-capitalized through a £12.4 million rights issue.[8] chairman and founderEdit

In 1998 Staël von Holstein founded LetsBuyIt, an online price comparison platform that enabled its users to share, compare, and buy various products. LetsBuyIt floated on Germany's Neuer Markt in July 2000, raising about US$60 million from a planned target of US$180 million in its initial public offering. It sought protection under the Dutch Bankruptcy Code (Faillissementswet) in December of the same year.[9] After deferring bankruptcy through 2001, on 4 March 2002 it declared bankruptcy. Its staff had been reduced from 450 to 25.[10][11][12]

IQube founder and CEOEdit

In 2004, Staël von Holstein started IQube, which quickly grew into one of the largest private incubators in Europe[7] with a portfolio of more than 100 companies. IQube was wound-up in 2009.[13]

MyCube founder, chairman and CEOEdit

Staël von Holstein founded MyCube in 2008, a digital life management tool for exchanging, sharing and selling content. MyCube was the first decentralized social exchange that prioritized privacy, ownership, and user freedom to monetize on their own creativity in contrast to centralized networks as Facebook etc. MyCube raised over US$8 million in funds in May 2011, then in August 2012 filed for voluntary liquidation.[14]

Crowd1, CEOEdit

Staël von Holstein was CEO of this company in 2019.[15][16][17] Crowd1 is a multi-level marketing company that aims, ostensibly, to develop an online entertainment industry. The company is based in Spain where it trades as Impact Crowd Technology S.L.[18]

In November 2019, Norway's gaming and foundation authority, Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet, determined that Crowd1 operates with a pyramid structure to generate revenue.[15] In January 2020, in Burundi's largest city Bujumbura, Crowd1 was raided and over 300 people arrested, 17 of whom were placed in custody for promoting Crowd1, described as a Ponzi scheme.[19][20] In Paraguay on 6 February 2020 the Comisión Nacional de Valores (CNV) issued a securities fraud warning against Crowd1, advising against investment. CNV identifies Crowd1 as an unregistered securities offering. Promoters of Crowd1 in Paraguay face up to three years imprisonment or a fine.[21] On 21 February 2020 the Bank of Namibia declared Crowd1 a pyramid scheme and warned the promoters to stop their activities immediately. The bank stated "Crowd1 does not sell tangible products or render any service of essential value, but the primary source of income for Crowd1 is the sale of membership packages to new members". On 12 May 2020 the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directed Crowd1 Asia Pacific to immediately stop its “fraudulent” investing-taking activities. On 5 June 2020 the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority added Crowd1 and Impact Crowd Technology to its warning list due to concerns they may be involved in or operating a scam.[22][23][24][25]


  1. ^ Ibisom, David (28 April 2008). "Sweden's Enterprise Evangelists". Financial Times.
  2. ^ Latour, Almar (21 January 2000). "Iconoclast: Internet Millionaire Crusades to Overturn Swedish Social Values – An Unapologetic Capitalist, Mr. von Holstein Rattles The Leftist Status Quo – The Spirit of Gordon Gekko". The Wall Street Journal Europe.
  3. ^ Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Heller, Richard (19 March 2001). "The new face of Swedish socialism". Forbes. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  5. ^ Oh, Boon Ping (22 March 2009). "S'pore 'a best place for start-ups today'". The Business Times. AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  6. ^ Buss, Dale (April 2008). "Global Leaders of Tomorrow". Chief Executive. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  7. ^ Helander, Magnus (17 December 2008). "Staël von Holstein kickad från Metro". Resumé. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  8. ^ MacMillan, Gordon (20 December 2001). "Icon Medialab merges with Lost Boys". campaign. London. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Letsbuyit finds saviour". CNN Money. 25 January 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  10. ^ " to meet with bankruptcy in the wings". China Daily. Beijing. 2 August 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  11. ^ Vaughan-Adams, Liz (5 March 2002). "Jobs go after LetsBuyIt axes Swedish operation". The Independent. London. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Neuer Markt's Birthday Blues". DW. Berlin: Deutsche Welle. 11 March 2002. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  13. ^ Savage, James (11 September 2009). "Swedish business incubator Iqube closes its doors". The Local Sweden. Stockholm, Sweden. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  14. ^ Kwang, Kevin (27 August 2012). "Facebook challenger MyCube ends operations". ZDNet. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  15. ^ a b Jordheim, Hans Mortensønn (18 January 2020). "Nektet for å være sjef i pyramidespill – så kom nyttårshilsenen". E24 (in Norwegian). Oslo, Norway. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  16. ^ "My vision. CEO Crowd1 Johan Staël von Holstein". Crowd1. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Meet our people". Madrid, Spain: Impact Crowd Technology S.L. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Our Business: Crowd1". Madrid, Spain: Impact Crowd Technology S.L. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  19. ^ "17 linked to Burundi 'get-rich-quick' schemes arrested". Independent Online. African News Agency (ANA). 17 January 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  20. ^ Sylla, Aissatou; Lou, Ying (26 February 2020). "Regulating Cryptocurrencies In Africa And China – Where Are We Now?". Mondaq. Hogan Lovells. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Advertencia para el publico en general" (in Spanish). Asunción, Paraguay: Comisión Nacional de Valores. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  22. ^ Bogdanova, Steffy (5 June 2020). "New Zealand FMA adds Crowd1 and Impact Crowd Technology S.L. and others to its warning list". LeapRate. London. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  23. ^ Dumlao-Abadilla, Doris (18 May 2020). "SEC orders CROWD1 to stop illegal investment scheme". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Makati City, Philippines. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  24. ^ de Wet, Phillip (24 February 2020). "Namibia just banned the Crowd1 get-rich-quick scheme as a pyramid. SA is its biggest market". Business Insider South Africa. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Outcome of the Investigation: Crowd1 Network Limited" (PDF). Windhoek, Namibia: Bank of Namibia. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.

External linksEdit