Denmark diary

Wedged into a Boeing 747 heading across the Atlantic, I worried that meeting Morten Lund would be a waste of time. I had tracked him for more than a month, seen his deals, read his blog and cornered Europeans at Silicon Valley cocktail parties who might have heard of him.

My boss wanted a cool personality profile, something Hunter Thompson-esque, only with more VCs and less drugs. We settled on Lund—the subject of this month’s cover story—because he is so “out there.” He has bet on a plethora of Web 2.0 companies, from Skype to Zecco, as well a bunch of companies that you’d never find in a traditional VC portfolio, such as as a startup that makes a one-handed condom applicator and a company that genetically alters plants to detect landmines.

I shadowed Lund for a week and was struck by his enthusiasm for doing, his desire to take risk and his openness. He’s a doer and likes other doers. We had lunch with an entrepreneur who muddled his way through a misguided pitch. Things weren’t going very well by the time we finished the meal. Neither Lund nor I could get the waiter’s attention to get the check. Lund became increasingly frustrated until the entrepreneur got up, walked over to the cashier and collected the bill. Lund couldn’t stop chuckling about his audacity. Now the two are working closely.

Risk ran like an underground river through my time with Lund. On my first night in Copenhagen, locals protested the demolition of an old building in the Christiania enclave by lighting a bonfire, throwing stones and shooting fireworks at police. As we ate at a nearby restaurant, Lund observed: “It’s so good, that even in this nearly socialist state, people have opinions.” As we drove by the conflict on the way home, Lund asked his wife to pull over so he could get out and watch the riots, as though they were a roadside attraction.

Nothing was off-limits with Lund. He took me to his childhood home to have dinner with his parents, drove me around in his three-wheeled bicycle and let me sit in on all his meetings.

I regret that I couldn’t fit in a detailed description of our trip to a George Michael concert, an analysis of his political views or a report on his cooking.

I opted instead to focus on what Lund does that makes him successful. He fits an archetype I’ve known only from the histories of Silicon Valley. He’s closer to the roots of real venture capital than most on Sand Hill Road and stands as a beacon for how to earn money from early stage investing. —Alexander Haislip