CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Linn-Cecilie Linnemann, CEO of Katapult Group

Linn-Cecilie Linnemann is the CEO of Katapult Group, a global investment company focusing on early stage impact driven technology startups.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am currently the CEO of Katapult Group. Katapult is a VC company, focusing on highly-scalable, impact-driven companies. We have 147 companies in our portfolio and made 39 investments this year. I have been working with Katapult on strategy and communications for the last two years. 

Previously I founded a communications agency, which I exited in 2015 to a larger marketing group, and stayed on as CEO through a growth period. I also Founded SHE Conference together with Heidi Aven back in 2014.

SHE is now the largest gender equality initiative in Europe. I have made 9 direct investments into Nordic startups through an investment company I also founded; North Venture, and have spent the last decade supporting startups and the community through board positions, advisory roles and more.  

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Haha, I don’t think this last month has been particularly representative! As my role is rather new, and we are looking at how to adjust our organisation to be more scalable and sustainable in the future, there are many parallel processes at play. 

Anyhow, I get up fairly early, and drink coffee on the ferry that I use to commute into the Oslo city centre. It is a beautiful start to the day. Getting into the office, my day is normally quite booked up in meetings.

In between I try to support the team where I can add value. Meetings are a big mix of internal organisation, investment meetings, new projects, and also supporting portfolio companies.

Right now we are in the process of ending a three month acceleration program for 23 Ocean- and climate companies, so it has been extremely inspiring getting close to these founders and teams. I have been “point of contact” for one of the companies, and I really like to have deep conversations around business strategy and the plan ahead.

Some days end at the office, while others end in dinners, after work drinks with investors, colleagues, partners and so forth. In the evenings if I don’t have anything planned, I try to hit home earlier and spend time with my family between email and calls.  

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To me it is all life, work is such a big part of my life, and it truly is my passion. To work with impact driven companies who truly want to make the world better is very rewarding and inspiring.

I think balance is about your own energy and how satisfied you are with your life and choices. For example, I  get energised by spending time with my teams and founders, and it does not cost me much energy to take a call late in the evening to discuss one  case or another. I think the trick is to work with something that gives you energy and drives your passion. 

My personal superpower is sleep. I always sleep well, even when travelling or when things are stressful at work. This gives me so much more energy as I always feel rested, and that in itself is a gift. It means I have more energy and surplus to handle difficult situations or stressful days. 

I also love to read literature. That is my meditation. It really puts my brain in a very different mode and I can forget about everything else, including emails and missed calls. Literature also offers different perspectives on human behaviour and I believe it creates empathy with other people’s choices. 

In addition to sleep and reading, nature plays an important role in my life. It can be something as simple as a short evening walk in the forest or a swim in the ocean before breakfast. Other times it can be longer hikes or skiing in the mountains during weekends.   

For me, balance means a level of autonomy. I believe that this is sometimes more of a feeling of choosing oneself, rather than having a real choice of how the day plays out.

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4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

It is about being realistic. One can not exercise like a top athlete, be Martha Stewart at home, Mary Poppins with the kids and a top executive at the same time. So it is about prioritising and being realistic with time.

As I am in my forties I have had my routines for a while, and I know what works for me. I think we are all differently built and need to do what works for us as an individual. Find out what gives you joy and what makes you relax and rest. 

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Many! I read everything. My favourite book of  the last year was The Ministry for the Future, a sci-fi that hits very close to home. In the same genre I also enjoyed reading Jennifer Egan´s The Candy House earlier this year. For scifi The Three-Body Problem was an all time favourite. 

As it is soon Christmas, I am reading an old classic by Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, although it is probably better suited forEaster. I love old classics and believe we should all have read a few of them. My favourite love story is The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. I highly recommend it.

I also have a taste for the bizarre and love Haruki Murakmi, I’ve probably read most of his books. My favourite author when it comes to writing beautifully is Salman Rushide, with The Golden House being my favourite book by him so far. I can talk for hours about books, so I will leave it at this. 

6) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think it is important to have fun and also set aside time to do what you love! And also don’t have so high demands for oneself. It is ok to lower your shoulders and be human. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.