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 […]