Duncan Davidson is General Partner at Bullpen Capital. He is a serial entrepreneur known for many successful projects. He served as the SVP of Business Development at InterTrust and led the IPO in 1999 and the secondary in 2000. He spent four years as a managing director at VantagePoint Venture Partners where he focused on digital media and telecom investments including Widevine (acquired by Google) and Livescribe. Prior to Bullpen, he co-founded one of the first mobile social app companies, Xumii, later sold to Myriad Group. At Bullpen he focuses on SaaS and IoT investments, and is an advisor to or sits on the boards of Grin, Hologram, Ripplematch, Wheels, GoodTime, Barn2Door and Skywatch. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I had several startups in the 1990s and two of them went public. Another 2 of them were bought. Obviously, the […]
Gilman Louie (Alsop Louie Partners): The most powerful thing about venture capital is that it is filled with optimistic people.
Gilman Louie is a Partner at Alsop Louie Partners. He is the former CEO of In-Q-Tel, a strategic venture fund created to help enhance national security by connecting the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. intelligence community with venture-backed entrepreneurial companies. He built a career as a pioneer in the interactive entertainment industry, with accomplishments that include the design and development of the Falcon F-16 flight simulator as well as being the person who licensed Tetris, the world’s most popular computer game, from its developers in the Soviet Union. He has served on a number of boards of directors, including Wizards of the Coast, Netwitness, Ribbit, Zephyr Technologies, the National Venture Capital Association, the CIA Officers Memorial Fund. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It started because I was an entrepreneur. And as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley in the 80s, particularly […]
Ashesh Shah is the Founder of The London Fund. He has 20+ years of global operational experience in building, integrating, and managing enterprises from concept through IPO. He has managed a venture capital portfolio of over $1.5B AUM and returns in excess of 30%. As a serial entrepreneur, he has overseen the high-profile exits of solo sciences, Good & Co, Black Duck Software, Draft.com, Frigo RevolutionWear, and StarStreet among others. He is an active participant in the global entrepreneurial community and specializes in sourcing transactions often unavailable to the broader investment community and ahead of institutional exposure. He holds patents in intellectual property, licensing, consumer loyalty, couponing, and payment technology. He has served on a Presidential task force for the CIA, holding top secret and special clearances, and as a VP of R&D for Razorfish. He was on the Advanced Research Board at Partners Healthcare and is a graduate of […]
Wal van Lierop (Chrysalix): We are more than just a financial investor; we are a very active contributor to scaling up companies.
Wal van Lierop is the Executive Chairman and Founding Partner at Chrysalix Venture Capital, one of the most respected and recognized venture capital firms that focuses on energy technology and industrial innovation, and is located in British Columbia, Canada. Prior to founding Chrysalix in 2001, Dr. van Lierop had a number of positions in the energy industry, from being a university professor to corporate executive to international consultant and founding New Ventures BC. Especially passionate about the cleantech space, he has won numerous awards from Canada’s Clean50 and Clean16 contests, contributed to Forbes, and participated as a speaker at events like the Cleantech Forum, Energy for Tomorrow, and many more. At Chrysalix, he continues to actively support startups by investing, advising, and scaling up companies with breakthrough solutions for the energy transition. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been involved […]
Warner Philips (Rubio Impact Ventures): Don’t just do it because you think there is a market opportunity, do it because you believe it solves a problem that is close to your heart.
Warner Philips is a Managing Partner at Rubio Impact Ventures, an impact fund based in Amsterdam and focused on passionate entrepreneurs who can change the world through a commercially scalable business model. With over 25 years of experience in ImpactTech and startups, Warner has been both a VC investor and an entrepreneur, investing in or starting over 50 companies. In all of them, he was a founder, shareholder or an active board member. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? When I graduated from law school in 1996, I was looking for a job and had never heard of venture capital, but I ran into some people who were active in venture capital. I decided to speak to a fund, and managed to get into it. And ever since I’ve been in start-ups! But I started off on the venture capital side […]
Brett Martin is General Partenr at Charge Ventures. He is the founder of Sonar and also helps AppFund, a NYC-based, seed stage incubator build game-changing mobile technology companies. Prior to AppFund, he co-built an automated social media monitoring platform for SMBs after he spent a year researching resource allocation in early stage start-ups as a Fulbright Fellow in Milano, Italia. Before that, he worked at an IPTV startup as an internet marketing associate and at an investment bank as an equity research associate. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Aside from a brief stint on Wall Street after college I’ve either been building or investing in early-stage companies my entire career. Even when I was in college I took Venture Capital classes and won the business school playing competition. My buddies and I always talked about business ideas to start. When […]
Peter Harris (University Growth Fund): When you do the hard things, it’s very impressive because VCs know that those things are hard and it will give them more conviction to back you.
Peter Harris is Founding Partner at University Growth Fund. He assists in the deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio management of the fund. He also spends much of his time recruiting, training, and mentoring students in the program. Prior to UGF, he was a principal with University Venture Fund where he participated in funding several companies including Instructure, Lineagen, and Workfront. He has also worked as an international business consultant, helping launch over 10 microfranchises around the world. He has been a loan committee member for the IRC Refugee Loan Fund and a frequent guest lecturer at several local universities. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Growing up, I really wanted to be an engineer, like my dad. When I was at the high school, he left engineering work at Lockheed Martin and started doing some real estate investing. When it happened, […]
Scott Nissenbaum (Ben Franklin Technology Partners): We do encourage companies to look at the social aspects – what is the social good of this business, how does it make the world a better place, how can you measure this good by whether it is hiring people from my disadvantaged background or curing a disease.
Scott Nissenbaum is President and Chief Executive Officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Prior to this position, he served as its Chief Operating Officer through 2020, and previously served as its Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President, where he led the organization’s investment group, making seed and early-stage investments across IT, Digital Health, Life Sciences, and Advanced Manufacturing. He has raised capital for six different funds, served as a board member for 14 private and public companies, and was the Chairman of Philadelphia Game Labs. He has been recognized as a leader by Philly Tech’s “Thirty under 30” Award, Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 under 40” Award, American Carbon Registry Innovator Award, and the Eastern Technology Council. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I started my VC career somehow luckily when I was 25 years old and just finished my MBA […]
Fabian Sacharowitz (EIT InnoEnergy): the energy transition is one of the most important and striking megatrends that we are seeing right now globally
Fabian Sacharowitz is the investment director at EIT InnoEnergy Germany, a company aimed at accelerating sustainable energy innovation through investment in startups and curation of a strong industry network. After originally starting out as an entrepreneur, he made the shift towards investment when he transitioned into his job at InnoEnergy. InnoEnergy’s investments are partially funded by the EU and are mostly centered around sustainable energy. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It was strongly dependent on the job that I took here at InnoEnergy. I was not from the very beginning in the investment arena. I was more on the other side – I started as an entrepreneur, I founded a company together with my brothers. It is still existing, but I left the company in 2013 due to organizational reasons. It was at this time a small company with three […]
Emanuele Levi (360 Capital): Our history of finding successful companies that we have been able to support since their very early days and have worked with for many years speaks for itself
Emanuele Levi is General Partner at 360 Capital. He started in Venture Capital in January 2000 in Milan and has since made over 30 investments in France and Italy, mostly in the digital industry as well as in the e-commerce sector. Emanuele has held board positions in various companies such as Aramis Auto, Bergamotte, Cubyn, Leetchi, Quitoque, Regate, Tediber, Venere.com, Withings, Yellow Korner, and Yoox. Since 2007, he has been living in Paris and has invested almost exclusively in France. He started his career in 1993 at Unicredito Italiano Group in London where he spent 4 years on cross-border M&A advisory. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It was back in January of 2000 when the Dotcom wave from the US came to Europe. I used to work at Lazard investment bank and I decided to join Pino Venture, one of the […]
Renana Ashkenazi (Grove Ventures): To be a good VC, you have to be curious and comfortable with making decisions when there are more unknowns than knowns.
Renana Ashkenazi is a General Partner at Grove Ventures, a technology-oriented venture capital based in Israel. Renana has a strong technical background and unique experience in global innovation, strategic marketing, and technology spheres. Prior to joining Grove Ventures, she worked at Applied Materials in managerial and technical positions. Currently, Renana is also involved in several companies, supported by Grove Ventures, as an investor or an observer. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? That was actually not that trivial. I’ve started my career at Applied Materials. My Bachelor’s degree is in Engineering, so it’s a pretty natural decision to make. After a few years in Applied, where I started in R&D, I moved to Chicago to do my Master’s in Electrical Engineering. I also worked at the Center for Innovation and Global Health Technology, developing diagnostic devices for poor-resourced countries. After a […]
Harry Haeck (SmartFin): We prefer to have a limited number of investments we can support decently rather than a large portfolio.
Harry Haeck is Investment Manager at SmartFin. Before joining SmartFin, he worked for several years in the Private Equity team of BNP Paribas Fortis, where he focused on both direct and indirect investments. Before that, he participated in the Senior Talent Program of BNP Paribas Fortis where he worked on various strategic projects across different business lines of the bank. He started his career as a business lawyer at Liedekerke and Deloitte Legal (formerly Laga), focusing on banking and financial law. How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Since I was young, I’ve always been fascinated by technology – both hardware and software. Nevertheless, I decided to study law and finance, and actually started my career as a business lawyer. After a few years, I decided that I wanted to be closer to the entrepreneur – rather than the legal department of a company – and went […]
Kai Chen (OceanIQ Capital): Investing is the ability to participate in the success of an entrepreneur without being in the trenches
Kai Chen is the Founder and Managing Director of OceanIQ Capital, an SEC-registered global multi-family office that specializes in both, venture capital and equity investments. After graduating from UCLA with a BA in Business Economics, he spent 15 years working at Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management and Credit Suisse, focusing on asset allocation and investment strategies, before starting his own firm. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I was really interested and fascinated by the world of finance in general and finance investing. I love reading about Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, etc., even back in college. So I just felt that it would be nice to work in a space that I truly enjoy and get paid at the same time. I studied Business/Economics as an undergrad at UCLA and one of my first jobs was working at Goldman Sachs in […]
Rishi Garg (Mayfield Fund): We’ll try to be the most trusted, consistent, and powerful partner that our companies have.
Rishi Garg is Partner at Mayfield Fund. He co-leads Mayfield’s Consumer investment practice, after a career helping to build many great consumer platforms. As Global VP of Corporate Development and Strategy at Twitter, he executed its most active M&A program, including the acquisitions of Periscope, TellApart, Niche, Zipdial, and others, greatly expanding Twitter’s technology and product platform. As an early executive at Square, he was the first Head of Corporate Development and earlier, served as Head of Strategic Partnerships, working across the company on a wide range of M&A and business development projects during the company’s hypergrowth phase. Earlier, he co-founded FanSnap, a leading venture-backed live event ticket search company acquired by Nextag. He also served in impactful Business Development roles at Google and MTV Networks. Rishi has been a personal investor and advisor to several companies including Opendoor, Netsil/Nutanix, and others. You ask to ask you about growing up […]
Jacek Łubiński (Market One Capital): listen to your potential clients a lot to nail the value proposition and provide an experience which is ten times better than what they have right now.
Jacek Łubiński is Principal at Market One Capital, a Pan-European early stage VC firm that specializes in digital platforms and marketplaces. Jacek has been a venture capital investor for more than 8 years. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I was always interested in technology and started my professional career as a software engineer. Later on, having interest in finance as well, I switched to a more corporate finance role, and I tried this for a couple of years. When an opportunity to join a VC firm arose, it seemed like a place where I can combine my passion for both tech and finance, so I jumped on the occasion and it’s been a blast for me ever since. What was the most unusual startup you have ever supported? Or, maybe, your favorite one? It’s difficult to name just one, because […]
George Spencer III is Founder and Senior Managing Director at Seyen Capital. He has over 30 years of experience in the venture capital industry. Before founding Seyen Capital in 2007, he spent seven years as a Partner at Adams Street Partners (“ASP”) where he helped to architect the spin-out from Brinson Partners. At ASP, he was a key player in the direct investing group as a lead IT investor. After leaving Adams Street Partners in late 2006, he continued to serve as a Senior Consultant to ASP, managing his prior investments with the firm. He was also a co-founder and Executive Member of JK&B Capital, a Chicago-based venture firm. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I got a job in venture capital in 1990, when I get out of Business School. Just like that? Yes, I work in VC since my Business […]
Adrian Lloyd (Episode 1 Ventures): We want to see people who clearly could get extremely highly paid jobs in other technology firms, but have chosen this one.
Adrian Lloyd is Founding Partner at Episode 1 Ventures. He has a management and strategic consulting and entrepreneurial background in Europe and Asia and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. After his MBA he spent 2 years working on on- and off-line startups before founding Episode 1 Ventures with Simon Murdoch and Damien Lane. Immediately prior to his MBA, he established Marakon Associates’ presence in China. He speaks Mandarin fluently. He is also a mentor at TechStars London. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? In my early career, I worked as an advisor to large multinational corporations, mostly European and American, on their long-term strategies, organisational design – all the kinds of things a consulting firm would advise on. I felt that all this world was far too removed from the coalface of what was really going on in those […]
Peter Redford (Band of Angels): Talking to investors is not that easy – you need to be on different levels of abstraction when you talk to them than what you normally operate on.
Peter Redford is Partner at Band of Angels. He is a veteran Silicon Valley tech CEO, Xerox PARC alumnus and IP litigation expert. His patents are licensed by most of the world’s top computer, consumer-electronics and media companies, and are used everyday by billions of consumers worldwide. As the inventor of the 2nd screen concept, now called AirPlay (used in AppleTV), he is often referred to as the “Father of the 2nd screen.” His technology credits also include all of the original patents for AutoPlay (used in all DVD players, Blu-ray players, video game consoles and Microsoft Windows), the personal computer sound card (CreativeLabs), Flash (Adobe), the LeapPad (most popular toy ever sold), and one of the original patents for the graphical user interface (GUI). How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Since I was a child, I was always entrepreneurial. When I […]
Christie Pitts (Backstage Capital): People who are not actively doing something about their networks to include diversity will be left behind.
Christie Pitts is General Partner at Backstage Capital. She is an experienced early stage investor. She is also a co-founder of Backstage Studio. She joined Backstage in August 2017, and went on to assist in sourcing and investing in more than 80 startups led by underrepresented (women, people of color, and LGBTQ) founders, helping to bring the firm’s total investment portfolio to more than 170 companies. She built and led the Backstage Accelerator program, with a global cohort in London, Detroit, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Prior to Backstage, she led a multi-faceted career at Verizon, where she was a manager on the Verizon Ventures team, patented a connected IoT device, and led marketing and sales operations for a $4B P+L. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I started in venture capital through a corporate VC firm, at Verizon. I worked there for […]
Neeraj Vohra (Naples Technology Ventures): The biggest surprise is the number of interesting companies you can see in a week, and some weeks it could be non-stop.
Neeraj Vohra is Chief Investment Officer at Naples Technology Ventures. A forward-thinking seasoned executive and board director with 20 years of strategic, financial management, and capital markets experience and a record of success achieving company objectives. He demonstrates the ability to create shareholder value through organic and inorganic growth as well as cost and earnings improvements. He is a founding member of FBR’s technology investment banking practice and leader of the FinTech/Tech Services group. Chief Investment Officer – this is not something very usual, what is the difference with CFO? CFO is more internal looking, controlling the financials of the fund – paying the bills, making sure you are in compliance from a regulatory perspective, doing the financials, and reporting to the LPs. Chief Investment Officer is a little bit unusual in the venture community but it’s very typical in the public market community. My role is pretty much like […]
If you ever wanted to find funding or maybe a company to invest in, you definitely thought about introduction and communication. Unicorn Nest analytics did a massive survey to understand introduction principles and ready to share them. A startup needs to know that there is no one most efficient way: all funds have different ways of getting an introduction for a startup. For instance, 22% of responding funds get the most introductions through colleagues from the other funds; close acquaintances and portfolio startups are also popular options picked by 18% of the respondents. But what about other sources? Workplace, schools, cold emails? Well, a small teaser is “it all works”. But let’s check how. Fraternities and sororities There is a pretty popular opinion that sharing the same college or school can seriously influence your future because of networking and close relationships while being young. According to the provided survey, sharing […]
Thomas Wisniewski (RosePaul Investments and Newark Newark Venture Partners): Every company is unique but the situations and things they are going through are 90% the same.
Thomas Wisniewski is Partner at RosePaul Ventures and Newark Venture Partners. His professional career began as a programmer at Morgan Stanley in IT, followed by several years in investment banking. After business school, he joined a start-up management consulting firm, the Mitchell Madison Group (MMG) which was a spin-off from McKinsey. At MMG, he focused on the intersection of Strategy/Operations/IT for financial services, tech, private equity/VC clients (1993 to 2000). Following MMG, Tom joined Walker Digital, an internet incubator run by Jay Walker, founder of Priceline. During much of the next decade, he advised VC and PE firms on portfolio company turnarounds and evaluating new investments. On two occasions, Tom joined the management team of the companies he was serving, to lead turnarounds and major company expansions. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I don’t know, it was so much of a […]
Amos Ben-Meir (Sand Hill Angels): As an entrepreneur or investor, it’s always better to be transparent and honest
Amos Ben-Meir is an active venture & angel investor and a Board Director at Sand Hill Angels group, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to entering the investment world, Amos was involved in six startups, either as a founder or as an early employee; four of them have had successful outcomes, and two failed. Currently, he takes different board observer and advisor roles in some of the companies he invests in and offers mentorship for entrepreneurs. Amos is passionate about the intersection of technology, business, and innovation; as of 2021, his portfolio includes over 300 companies. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I had a long career in the high-tech industry, most of it here, in the SF Bay Area, California. Most of my career was spent at startups. I was either an early employee or a founder in six […]
David Gardner (Cofounders Capital): We have a joke that if we don’t understand something in the first 2 minutes, we won’t invest.
David Gardner is General Partner at Cofounders Capital. He is a serial entrepreneur, writer, adviser, and early-stage fund manager with over thirty years of experience in creating and building software technology companies. He was the founder or co-founder of seven companies including PeopleClick and Report2Web. He served as the Executive VP and Thought Leader for Compuware, a Fortune 1000 Corporation. He is author of a popular book on entrepreneurship called The StartUp Hats. Among other firsts, David is credited with founding and launching the first software-as-a-service venture in North Carolina. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve never planned to be an entrepreneur. I studied philosophy. I often say that the best thing higher education did for me is that it left me with absolutely no marketable skills, so I was kind of forced to figure out how to pay back student […]
Lee Greene (HealthInc): The health industry is very complex – we call it “tripod”, that has to have 3 legs in order to stand up.
Lee Greene is Managing Director at HealthInc. His specialties are Startup growth acceleration, corporate startup collaboration, investment, digital health, coaching, startup advisory, internationalization, pitching ideas, developing strategic partnerships, networking, innovation management, impact tech and life sciences. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I am a serial health entrepreneur for many years. I started my career at age of 18 by buying a restaurant. Then I sold that and I created one of the first telepathology companies, uSCOPE.com, back in the late 90s, then sold it as well. I stand in Digital health for my entire career creating several more companies along the way. In 2015 I’ve created a telehealth company Steward. At that point, I decided that I wanted to go on outside of startups because I had a long career there. Fortunately for myself, I had some exits, so I was […]
Steve Berg (Lytical Ventures): I would sadly say that I haven’t really invested in crazy or exotic things, but my normal world and companies there are super interesting.
Steve Berg is Partner and Managing Director at Lytical Ventures. Prior to joining Lytical Ventures, he was the General Partner of Antecedent Ventures and was part of the RTP Ventures investment team. He has held positions in strategy and corporate development at Emulex (NYSE: ELX) and as a sell-side analyst covering technology at Punk, Ziegel & Co. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I would see that there is no single glide path – there are so many different ways into venture capital. My career started as a sell-side analyst on Wall Street is covered storage in storage networking companies. I am CFA and MBA, so the time value of money doesn’t come hard to me at this point in my career. I then run corporate development for a public company for a number of years and started doing some mezzanine stage, […]
Neil Callahan (Pilot Growth Equity): You need to put your own money and time into your company because you make better decisions and you are more focused.
Neil Callahan is Founder and CEO at Pilot Growth Equity. He has over 25 years of technology investing and operating experience and is a successful bootstrapped software entrepreneur. He has advised many of the world’s leading technology companies on strategy, product management, sales & marketing, infrastructure and operations. Prior to Pilot Growth, he was Co-founder and CEO of Sitaro LTD., which was acquired by CoActive Marketing Group. At CoActive, he was a member of the executive team as the President of the Digital Business Unit and as the EVP of Business Development where he led M&A and strategic partnership initiatives and completed several acquisitions. He Neil was also a Vice President of Marketing Technology & Strategy for Young & Rubicam / Wunderman where he created integrated digital and media investment strategies for AT&T, Citibank, IBM and Sony. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment […]
Sonia Nagar (Pritzker Group Venture Capital): Start building relationships with investors as soon as possible and build those relationships over the long term.
Sonia Nagar is Partner and VP at Pritzker Group Venture Capital. She founded a mobile shopping app called Pickie. After much success, the app was acquired by Retail Me Not, where she became the vice president of product and head of mobile apps for the coupon shopping site — and earned a Webby Award for Best Shopping App! Upon relocating to Chicago she was preemptively meeting with VCs about future potential investments when one thing led to another and she was offered a position that was too good to refuse. Today, she is the Vice President at Pritzker Group Venture Capital and is responsible for sourcing the firm’s investments in consumer enterprise and emerging technology. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I took a very meandering path to get in VC, it was non-linear. I started off as an engineer – I […]
Christian Lassonde (Impression Ventures): We’re looking for businesses that have built version 1 of their technology, which works, and they had acquired their first customer.
Christian Lassonde is Managing Partner at Impression Ventures. He is a tech founder and CEO, having built and sold Virtual Greats, a luxury online IP rights broker, and Millions of Us, a digital agency. He has also taught high-growth technology entrepreneurship at The Next 36 to over 30 companies. He spent a decade in San Francisco selling and building software for Second Life, LucasArts, and Electronic Arts to customers Sony, Nike, Warner Brothers, General Motors, Coke, Intel, and many more Fortune 500 companies. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I am 4 times a founder and a software developer by training. I’ve spent 10 years in the Bay area where I’ve built 2 out of those 4 companies and raised pretty good venture capital at the time. Then I moved back to Toronto and had my “unemployed years” which weren’t really unemployed – […]
Bilal Mekkaoui (JOBI Capital): To be a good VC you need the mindset that you have to help the business you’re investing in, to help founders to achieve their goals.
Bilal Mekkaoui is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at JOBI Capital. He has 17 years of Investment Banking and Investments experience. He was Head of Investor Relations at Delivery Hero, responsible for evaluating the possible IPO and securing on-going financing, and Managing Director at Rocket Internet, raising over $3B of private capital over 3 years. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve always focused on tech to a certain degree when I started my career in investment banking, where did M&A TMT focusing on the tech sector. I ended up joining UBS for equity capital markets, which is looking at companies, preparing them for IPO, and going public. I really shifted in the tech space in 2012, when I joined Rocket. It was kind of going into incubating tech businesses and going into the VC space. Having done that and working for Rocket […]
Amy Coveny (Quake Capital Partners): The founder needs to have the right kind of emotional intelligence to sustain being a founder and getting through all of the trials and tribulations.
Amy Coveny is Managing Partner at Quake Capital Partners. She has extensive experience building revenue, products, and market strategies for startup companies. Since the beginning of her career at the newly-launched Fox News Channel, she has contributed to six acquisitions, three IPOs, and two early-stage fundraising cycles. During her tenure as the Global Head of Audio for Rubicon Project, she worked with Spotify to extend programmatic audio to international audiences. Her years as Vice President of Catch5 saw her develop a video content syndication model in the health and wellness space in order to customize brand experience. Amy has been an adviser to Quake Capital since the launch of its accelerator program in 2017, providing market insights and tips to companies including eSports One, DataGran, and Frenzy. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been an operator before in my career and […]
Bengt Walerud (Walerud Ventures): We like a startup to have technology that can create barriers to entry and superior skills among the founders, so they can do something unique that is hard to copy immediately.
Bengt Walerud is Partner at Walerud Ventures. He founded his first pricing and strategy consultancy company in 1983 and sold it 15 years later. Another one founded in 2003, KW Partners, was sold 6 years later to Capacent, where he recently worked part-time as a director in Business Strategy and Revenue Management. His primary focus as a consultant was improving competitiveness, pricing strategy, pricing implementation, and business development for larger Nordic corporations and for start ups. So, you are a part of your family business? Exactly! This is a family company – me, my wife Jane, and our daughter Caroline are doing this together. And we invest our own money, so there are no external funds involved. It’s completely private. How it all started for you and your family? How you decided to enter VC world and why? Both I and my wife Jane come from families where entrepreneurship is […]
Vikas Malhotra (StartUp Hub Poland): My first advice to the founders: Don’t raise investment too early.
Vikas Malhotra is Chief Strategy Officer at StartUp Hub Poland. He switched track to the non-profit sector in 2013 after Masters at Stanford that followed 11 years in the for-profit technology industry in heading operations, international expansion and business development roles across the globe: India, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Hungary. He is constantly trying to open new geographies for the Polish entrepreneurs. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I spent 11 years in the corporate world and, frankly, got tired. I was spending my time working so much, I was getting promoted, I was getting money – but I was not getting anywhere. I decided to do something different with my life, something more meaningful. To discover what “meaningful” means and what should I do with my life I earned my MBA from Stanford University, it’s called MS in Management, and I […]
Stephan Morais (Indico Capital Partners): Entrepreneurs may not realize that this is a “Winner takes it all” game: you’re either going to win the lottery or you’re busted.
Stephan Morais is Co-Founder and Managing General Partner at Indico Capital Partners. He was formerly an Executive Board Member at Caixa Capital, the Private Equity and Venture Capital fund management company, a Non-Executive Director, and an Independent Board Advisor in numerous companies. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I was doing my MBA at Harvard Business School and I found out this being a professional investor. I had already founded a startup before when I was in London, but it’s very different – being in the world of startups or actually being an investor. It’s similar but it’s very different in many senses. I actually understood that this was a profession better when I was at HBS. And I had this idea that one day I would become an investor, but in the meanwhile, I did lots of things with were very […]
Don Rainey (Grotech Ventures ): The storytelling component is very important in the VC world, that’s how you identify what it is you seek to create.
Don Rainey is Partner at Grotech Ventures. He is an experienced venture capitalist with a track record of successful enterprises. He has been involved with Internet based companies building large audiences and businesses for 20 years. Areas of investment include ecommerce, fintech, networking technology and social media-related startups. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I did a series of startups myself. And friends of mine, that I worked with on those startups, had their own startups. I was involved in a startup company that did very well and got to know some of the VCs who were on board, so I was invited by one of the firms to join them – originally it was a venture partner and within 18 months I became a full-time partner there. That all started in May’99 and I’m still here, after all these years. What […]
Massimiliano Sulpizi (HSMI Corporate Advisory): I will never invest in a person from a rich family because entrepreneurs should have this hunger, a need to succeed.
Massimiliano Sulpizi is Founder and Managing Partner at HSMI Corporate Advisory. He is an avid venture capitalist, merchant banker, entrepreneur and executive. He is also the creator of EquityMatch.co. He currently serves as an advisor and board member to numerous EU healthcare and technology startups and growth-stage companies. Previously, he founded and sold his merchant bank, Milano Merchant Bank and brokerage insurance firm, Absolute Capital S.p.A. with €20M+ revenues in a multi millions exit. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I started 4 companies, all related to corporate finance, brokerage, insurance, and finance. I had also been an angel investor for some time. Because of that, I’m still doing a lot of advising for companies. After being an Angel, deciding to become a professional VC (now I’m rising my first venture capital fund) was an obvious move: I want to do it […]
Bas Rieter (Dutch Founders Fund): We are not always only sunshine and rainbow, because we are founders ourselves, we know how things are done, and we have walked that road.
Bas Rieters is Head of Operations in Dutch Founders Fund. He was a Director at ASIF Ventures, Foudner of Cheap Bikes Utrecht, Co-Founder of Beginbaas, Community Builer at Leapfunder. How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I actually stumbled upon the world of VC by accident. I used to be an entrepreneur – I ran my own business providing indoor plants. We raised some money and that was the first time I’ve got acquainted with the world of investments. And then I finished my bachelor’s and was thinking about what I’m going to do. I felt like I still need to gain some more professional understanding of what I wanted to do and therefore I decided to apply to ASIF Ventures, an Amsterdam-based VC fund investing solely in startups founded and led by students. It’s actually a VC fund that leads and runs for and by students. […]
Arnaud van der Wyck (Concrete Venture Capital): You can have 10 companies addressing a similar problem in the same competitive landscape, but ultimately you’re making a bet on people.
Arnaud van der Wyck is General Partner at Concrete Venture Capital. He is a specialist in identifying, creating and developing cross border relationships, investment opportunities and go to market solutions for investors and entrepreneurs with a passion for Environment Social and Governance (ESG). He started his career as an investment banker in London at S.G. Warburg and later SBC Warburg and then UBS with a focus on M&A and capital markets within the Telecoms, Technology and Media sector team. He then spent 10 years as the managing Partner of Capital Alliance Partners advising institutional investors and family offices on real estate private equity funds. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I joined the VC world because my background has been in finance and real estate, and VC was something I’ve always wanted to do from the very start of my career. When […]
John Frankel (ff Venture Capital): I would tell anyone who is thinking of starting a company: Think about this from the customer side.
John Frankel is the Founding Partner of ff Venture Capital. He founded the firm in 2008 and has been a seed and early-stage investor since late 1999. Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering, and capital markets. At Goldman Sachs, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge fund managers and developed a keen understanding of emerging technologies and portfolio risk/return management. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Venture capital is a peculiar business. It gets a lot of column inches and a lot of interest out there, but it’s really very small industry. I sort of stumbled into it because I started angel investing about 20 years ago, when I was still at Goldman Sachs, and by the time that I left Goldman I […]
David Lau-Kee (London Venture Partners): We want founders to be as well informed as they can about what matters to us and what matters to them in order to build a strong partnership.
David Lau-Kee is Co-Founder and General Partner at London Venture Partners. He was the Founder, President & CEO at Criterion Software Group, including RenderWare & Criterion Games. Before Criterion, he co-founded Canon Research Europe and headed multi-million dollar R&D in computer graphics, image processing & UX. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? By accident rather than by design. Many people in the VC world come from an investment banking background. My background is as an operator. I worked for many years as a founder of a startup, growing and developing my company. In around 2004/5 I sold the games’ company that I’ve been building to Electronic Arts – one of the biggest games publishers in the world at that time – and I worked for a few years to integrate the company in. After working as an operator and a founder I […]
Kate Batz (Longevity Capital): We are interested in 4 industries. The first 2 are Biology of Aging and Precision Medicine and Preventive Medicine. We are also interested in AgeTech and Longevity Related FinTech.
Kate Batz is Managing Partner at Longevity Capital. She is also a Director of Strategy and Business Development at Deep Knowledge Ventures, Aging Analytics Agency and Deep Knowledge Analytics. She is an experienced corporate attorney by background, licensed to practice law in California (2003), New York (2004) and Russia (2000). How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been with Deep Knowledge Group for over 2 years now. I have been fortunate to join this great team. My story is somewhat unique because my background is in Law. I managed to go through 3 different countries – Russia, the US, and the UK. I’ve been practicing mostly corporate law since 2003 in the US. Later on, I really got interested in the Longevity space, that’s how my roads lead to Deep Knowledge Group, where a co-founder is Dmitry Kaminski – one of the […]
Guillaume Kloof (CreateStartupsHere): I would always prefer B2B model, but I may consider B2C startups if they already have a product-market fit.
Guillaume Kloof is Founder of CreateStartupshere accelerator. He helps startups with their product/problem fit and with their product/market fit. Especially when it comes to launching or rolling out a new product/service, Guillaume can guide your startup through the lean methodology, to improve your chances of success. With experience as CTO, the emphasis is on product development and overall business development. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I actually started out on an entrepreneurial side, as a web developer. I’m mostly functioning as an accelerator, working and collaborating with entrepreneurs and helping them get funded. That journey started in 2018 when one of the companies where I was CPO needed funding and we went through all of the steps of arranging this finding. It was an incredible journey, I’ve learned a lot about the whole VC world. Fast forward to 2020, I set […]
Ulyana Shtybel (HighCastle Investments): We provide an all-in-one solution for private companies to raise capital, close a deal, and manage communication with shareholders.
Ulyana Shtybel is Co-Founder and CCO of HighCastle Investments. HighCastle provides growing companies and investors with a unique SaaS solution to manage investment workflow and securities lifecycle finally in one place. She’s served as Senior Executive at the investment services companies and organizations. She has over 15 years of experience in project management, capital markets and finance, financial market transformations and reforms, investors and government relations, multi-stakeholder collaboration and international relationships, research and analytics. She is also a founder and CEO at emerging company Impactsee, portfolio mapping and management software that enables institutional and private investors to track, discover, rebalance and gain a tax benefit from impact portfolios. Would you, please, describe the platform you’ve founded and are leading? I co-founded HighCastle which is an equity management and capital raising platform in 2016, and since that time we’re building this solution with a number of pivots, experimenting with different technologies […]
Rob Kniaz is Partner Hoxton Ventures. He spent most of his career in Silicon Valley, then came to London in 2008 to join the investments team at Fidelity Ventures, focusing on consumer internet and software-as-a-service sectors. Prior to Fidelity, he was on the new business development team at Google and was previously a lead product manager for AdSense’s front-end systems. He began his career in Intel’s highly selective technical sales program where he worked to grow their entrepreneurial reseller channel in the Federal Government vertical and later in Latin America from Bogota and Miami Beach. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I spent my career in Silicon Valley, before I came to Europe – a lot of time with pre-IPO Google, for example, with Intel, etc, and before that in Stanford. When I was at Google, as a product manager, we were […]
Stuart Chapman (Draper Esprit): As a venture capitalist you’re working with your entrepreneurs to help them to get into as many different positions to get lucky as you can.
Stuart Chapman is Director at Draper Esprit. Before that, he was a Partner of 3i Ventures. He was also a founding partner of 3i US. Stuart had 13 years of venture capital experience with 3i in Europe and the USA. While he was at 3i US he was responsible for 3i’s investments in Still Secure, CollegeNet, and Appshop. Following his return from the US in October 2003 he was responsible for 3i’s investments in The Cloud, Telecity, and Searchspace, the IPO of Pixology, and the sale of Magic 4 to Openwave. He is a member of the British Venture Capital Association Council. Prior to 3i, Stuart was involved in software and systems implementations in the Banking sector. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I took that well-worn path of luck if I’m being brutally honest. I left the University and worked for […]
Claudine Emeott (Salesforce Ventures): We invest with the same core strategy as other Salesforce Ventures funds, meaning that we’re looking for enterprise software companies that can integrate their technologies with our platform
Claudine Emeott is Senior Director of impact investing at Salesforce Ventures. In 2011, she left a consulting job in Chicago to move to Kathmandu as a Kiva Fellow, which opened her eyes to the power of technology to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. After spending a year in Nepal, she moved back to the U.S. for a full-time role with Kiva. She joined Salesforce in 2017 to lead the company’s first Impact Fund. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My career has always been in impact. I spent the first half of my career in economic development consulting, both in emerging markets and in the US. Later I pivoted into this intersection of tech, impact, and investing. I spent 5 years at Kiva, one of the earliest crowdfunding platforms, with their investment team. Kiva is unique for its credit […]
Greg Rice (Activate Media): We’re kind of unique since we run a startup studio, or incubator whenever you want to call it.
Greg Rice is Co-founding Partner at Activate Media. He spent the first 10 years of his working life in Silicon Valley, and then extend his carrier to dispense Silicon Valley ways in Europe. He has been involved in many start-ups in various capacities. He likes working with companies to develop solutions and help them realise their goals. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. I’m not one of these people that just skipped University and went straight to business, creating the first one in a dorm room. Essentially I started early in the business, working all the way through my high school and university. Two and a half years after graduating from the university I’ve started my first business – I kind of had this type of blood flowing in my veins anyway. And after 40 […]
research about venture capital (“VC”) syndication, so it is time to go deeper and understand key features in syndicated co-investment. This type of investment is a quite common process for VC deals; however, their structure is quite diverse: it depends on investor type, startup specialization, geography, stage of development, and many other factors. To make a deal, both the startup and the fund must understand what side encouraged joining the syndicate, what part will be covered by the lead investor, and the reasons forcing the funds to join the syndicate. The UN research team asked those questions to 210 foundations worldwide and found a lot of outstanding insights that describe in depth the behavior of investors in the syndicate, its context of geography, industries and investment stages. Would you like to know more? A closer look at respondents Among the 210 funds the Unicorn Nest decided to ask, 56% comes […]
Nick Kingsbury (Amadeus Capital Partners): We are a DeepTech investor, so we do like things with solid IP and outstanding technical teams behind the product.
Nick Kingsbury is Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners since 2018. His current investment focus is on cyber security, artificial intelligence and B2B software businesses. Nick started his career with a UK software house before setting up his own software and consultancy company sold to Staffware in 1996. From 1999 to 2007 he moved to the investor side of the table as Global Sector Head for Software for 3i plc. Since 2007 he has advised and invested in several technology companies including two public companies, Accumuli and Objective Corporation where he remains a director. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I spent most of my career actually on the other side of fence: I was a software engineer when I left University. Then I set up my own company and I run it for about 12 years. It was a software and consulting […]
Kjetil Holmefjord (StartupLab Oslo): There are rules, but there are too many exceptions because working with startups is more about finding exceptions than following rules.
Kjetil Holmefjord is Partner at StartupLab Oslo. He was one of three founders of StayAtMy in Bergen, then Incubator Manager at StartupLab Oslo. Now he isa partner and a part of the investment team in FoundersFund 2 at StartupLab, one of the leading tech incubators in the Nordics to support top Norwegian early-stage tech entrepreneurs. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It was somewhat random. I was going to start my own venture, but before I’ve even got to that point, during my studies, I met the founder of StartupLab, and he invited me to join. It seemed to be a very good platform to start a company from because I would be exposed to the front networking in Norway. I was living in Denmark, so it was a nice way to get home and get access to the network and resources […]
Andreas Goeldi (btov Partners): We believe that being a great salesperson is a great skill to have for the founder, but it’s not the only qualification we’re looking for.
Andreas Goeldi is Partner at btov Partners. He is an Internet technologist, entrepreneur, and investor with 23+ years of experience from St.Gallen, Switzerland. He has been involved in 6 startups in software, AI, digital media, digital services. He was a CTO at multiple SaaS and Internet companies in both Europe and the United States. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I entered the VC world relatively recently, about 2 years ago. Before that, I was an entrepreneur myself for over 20 years. I’d started and built 5 startups in both Europe and the United States. Also relatively early I’ve started doing Angel investments, in various software and internet-related businesses. That brought me to venture capital because when I left my last startup in 2018 and was considering what to do next, I’ve got approached by an old friend, a co-founder of btov […]
What do company owners think about syndication in venture? This phenomenon looks complicated, but financial scientists started to research it a long time ago. In their attempts provided all over European and American universities, specialists try to discover and test hypotheses about the underlying reasons for the fund’s cooperation into syndicates. These attempts were successful, as they managed to identify top-3 reasons for syndicate forming: risk sharing, portfolio diversification, and the option to access larger deals. But there are still a lot of in-depth insights. For example, researchers got evidence that a lower level of experience and expertise fosters the need to syndicate an investment, so the VC-funds join syndicates for the syndicate partners’ selection and value-adding skills. Thus, Unicorn Nest decided to get more data by starting to analyze syndicates. This research aimed to increase understanding of the venture capital market based on a comprehensive and verified dataset of […]
Hanns-Peter Wiese (former GP at GLSV and owner of VIRETUM CONSULT): Now I advise Hi-Tech grown-ups and help them in refining their business plans, investor decks and fund raising.
Hanns-Peter Wiese is a former General Partner at Global Life Science Ventures and Owner of VIRETUM CONSULT, a M&A, corporate finance- and investment advisory firm. He has a rare experience in both private equity and in venture capital, which he gained investing in Europe and the United States. His exposure to early stage investing reaches back to 1996 when he advised HypoVereinsbank as co-sponsor of GLSV, a venture capital fund focusing on the life sciences, appointing him Managing Director upon its inception. He entered into private equity in the late 80s, having been an Investment Controller and Manager with 3i Investors in Industry plc. in their Frankfurt office as well as Director and acting member of the executive team in the restructuring of Euro Synergies in Paris, a private equity fund then focusing on pan-European transactions, cross-border investments and Management Buy-outs. How it all started? How did you decide to […]
Daniel Saunders (L Marks): Programs that we run are very much about identifying challenges and themes within organizations that are open to disruption
Daniel Saunders is an Early-Stage Investor and Chief Executive at L Marks. He is a technologist-turned-investor and an experienced advisor in applied innovation. He has worked with dozens of global industry leaders, identifying and implementing pioneering technologies. As a software engineer with an MSc in Computer Science, he was previously at Symbian OS, acquired by Nokia, and Global Research and Consulting, acquired by ICAP plc. For almost 20 years, he has designed, discovered, or integrated the latest technological advances into large complex organizations. Immediately prior to L Marks, Daniel served as Chief of Staff for Economic Development at the Israeli Embassy. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My background is in technology, I’m a software developer by training. I spent a few years in finance, then I worked for the government, before L Marks. So, it was a mix of finance, technology, […]
Nicole Glaros (Techstars): There are about 26,000 applicants for Techstars every single year, there were 518 transactions last year, and over $2.5B was invested.
Nicole Glaros is Chief Investment Strategy Officer at Techstars. She’s spent over 15 years working with and funding early-stage web software companies. She’s an expert in growing global organizations, building startup ecosystems, working with early stage startups, venture capital, and more. She sits on boards, has invested in over 90 companies. Entrepreneur Magazine called her “One of the 7 most powerful women to watch”. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I stumbled into it, to be honest. I started my first company when I was in college, and it ended up being a pretty good exit for me. But at the time I started the business through bootstrapping – I just didn’t know there was such thing as equity financing. I started the next two companies using the proceeds I’d generated after the sale of my first business. Neither one of those […]
William Goulding (Arbor Ventures): We’re a global fund, interested in SEA, Middle East and Israel, and the US.
William Goulding is FinTech VC Analyst at Arbor Ventures. Before joining Arbor, he founded Skipiit during his final year of college, a Fintech and AdTech platform that significantly boosted revenue at hospitality venues. He raised $400k from angels and scaled the platform from Washington DC to New York. Since then, he has helped source exciting US and UK startups for an Asian private equity firm. He brings a passion for technology and real startup operating experience. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I was at university studying International Affairs in Washington, DC, at an entrepreneurship course. To pitch a business as part of a competition, and I already had this idea for a mobile payments company. While I was doing an internship in a bank in London, I ended up pitching the manager of the bank, whose daughter had raised $10M from […]
Maciej Sadowski (StarFinder Capital Fund): Before you meet an investor make three evenings long sessions of understanding your market. It is simple and requires only Google. Sometimes it costs $15 but usually, it is $0
Maciej Sadowski is co-founder and CEO of the Startup Hub Poland Foundation (2012), which advocates innovative Central Eastern European high-tech talents in starting up a global venture in Poland. He is Activist of the high-tech startup industry supporting talents in finding investment and proliferating their solutions. Maciej is IP transfer specialist and R&D commercialization panel expert. In SHP Maciej searches for best early-stagers from all hard-tech and IP-based sectors. For best teams the Foundation prepared a soft landing program, non-equ grants to €50k and exclusive VC/industry bootcamps. In 2013 Maciej Sadowski worked as a due diligence analyst in a Israeli-Polish VC, Giza Polish Ventures and later as an investment manager and Managing Partner in two seed-VC ([email protected], StarFinder VC). Maciej worked on ~60 investment processes, invested in 14 hard tech startups. 13 out of 14 attracted next round of financing, from which 3 brought to Poland additional international investment capital […]
Basil Moftah (Global Ventures): We look at companies in the Middle East and Africa. Sometimes we look at the US, Asian, and European companies expanding into the region.
Basil Moftah is a general partner at Global Ventures. He was the President of the Intellectual Property & Science (IP&S) division at Thomson Reuters. He repositioned IP&S as a platform business by integrating its content and technology into a single micro-services architecture. He then prepared the business for sale to Onex PE in Canada. Prior to this position, Basil managed emerging markets for Reuters. He successfully grew the business organically, through strategic acquisitions, including the purchase of Zawya in the Middle East. He was a founding advisor for Reach Mentoring. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It’s an interesting story. When I first started my career in 1997, I joined the company that I guess I didn’t know very much then, called Reuters, which was a news agency and seemed to be very interesting to me, global, etc. I was on the […]
Marc Penkala (Mountain Partners): Never go alone. Surround yourself with people which are better than you
Marc Penkala joined MP in 2013. He is responsible for the international deal flow as well as the execution and the global roll-out management. Prior to his time with MP, Marc gained more than five years of entrepreneurial experience by founding two companies. Previously, Marc worked as the assistant to the executive board of Bilfinger Berger AG and assistant to the CEO of Rollbo Transport GmbH. Marc studied business administration at Freie Universität Berlin, University of New South Wales Sydney, LSE PKU Beijing and CBL Business School Dubai with a focus on international taxation, strategic management and entrepreneurship. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’m coming from an entrepreneurial background. I founded two companies before I actually started doing venture capital. The first company was completely offline, which I actually managed to sell in the first year of university. I was very […]
Damien Lane (Episode 1 Ventures): Hire ahead of the growth of your company. Hire business leaders earlier than you think you should do, because you need people with experience of managing 50 people
Damien Lane has spent the last 20 years investing in private companies, both in Private Equity where he was a partner with Electra Partners, then at Octopus Ventures where he was a senior member of the investment team. Having made a number of angel investments, Damien co-founded Episode 1 with Simon and Adrian in 2012. While at Episode 1, Damien has led investments in Carwow, Scurri, Touch Surgery, Attest and Zipcube and loves working with early-stage teams of entrepreneurs; helping them develop their early-stage startup into fast-growth enterprises capable of raising more funding from later-stage investors. When he is not trying to help businesses to implement an optimal approach to growth, Damien can mostly be found running around Hampstead Heath or the Coastal paths of Great Britain. Having trained obsessively to run a 2:52 Marathon in 2015, he is now trying to dip below 2:50, in the spirit of continuous […]