02 Jun 2023

Johan Hedevåg: Ex-Director of Product at Kry, Founding Partner at 4scale Ventures, Professional Poker Player

Damn, where should I start - maybe with the fact that Johan was a professional poker player and, as a medical student, would spend nights playing poker to earn some money on the side? Or with the fact that he also worked as a warehouse worker, as a nurse, and was a semi-professional soccer player?

Suffice to say, there are so many interesting things about Johan that one hour’s worth of time in the podcast only enabled us to scratch the surface. Still, I really enjoyed scratching the surface by talking to Johan for an hour and I hope that other people find our conversation similarly fun and insightful.

Johan Hedevåg is a doctor, product manager, co-founder of and advisor and investor in Healthcare companies. He also worked as a warehouse worker, as a nurse in a hospital, as a teacher and was a semi-professional soccer player and a professional poker player and coach. He is best known as being the Senior Director of Product at Kry which is a telemedicine company from Sweden. He left Kry in 2021 and has since founded his own company called 4scale Ventures. With 4scale Ventures, Johan supports companies to reach their ambitions on growth, efficiency and leadership. Concretely, they invest in companies and offer consulting and coaching.

I actually met Johan virtually when he was trying to recruit me for Kry. That recruiting obviously didn’t work, but we got along pretty well and loosely stayed in touch in the following years.

Our conversation was not limited to the typical “medical misfit” questions on why he didn’t end up working as a doctor, but we also went further and talked about Digital Health in general. If you’re interested in that, too, you should definitely tune in!

Things we talked about

  • Why Johan first worked as a doctor but then left the hospital because working as a doctor doesn’t scale and it’s hard to have a larger impact
  • Why it’s hard to change a hospital from inside
  • His first job (scholarship) after leaving the hospital which was about identifying problems in hospitals and how to solve them
  • Building his first own Healthtech company producting wearable sensors for patients in hospitals
  • Being a professional poker player, doing that during medical school, and what made him stop
  • How the knowledge of poker is useful in other aspects of life
  • Why he didn’t aim for good “grades” in exams
  • What a product manager actually does and how to learn it
  • Why many doctors underestimate their usefulness
  • “The rise and fall of Europe’s largest telemedicine provider”
  • Working at Kry while it grew from 60 to 1.200 people
  • In which areas you could build successful Healthcare companies now
  • What he’s doing at his own company, 4scale, now
  • The pros and cons of venture capital (VC) funding for startups

Listen to the Episode

  • Johan on LinkedIn.
  • Johan on Substack where he publishes his writing: Big world - Small world and Mini mental models.
  • 4scale Ventures: Johan’s company which he co-founded. They support companies to reach their ambitions on growth efficiency and leadership. They also invest in companies and offer consulting and coaching.
  • womanly: The female health ecommerce startup which Johan is currently building.
  • Kry: Telemedicine company where Johan was the director of product. Kry is available in Sweden, Germany, Norway, France and the UK (slight correction here as I didn’t mention the UK in the podcast).