Vanessa Larco (New Enterprise Associates): Before investing I have to play with a product, I have to believe there’s a real strong focus on the customers and their needs and those people will love using it.
Vanessa Larco is Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA). She joined NEA as a Partner in 2016 and focuses on enterprise SaaS and consumer investing. She is passionate about well-designed products and services that enable people to be more productive and fulfilled at work and at home. Prior to joining NEA, she was the Director of Product Management at Box where she worked on building the next generation of productivity apps across web and mobile. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I fell into it. I’d never really thought about going into VС. My background is in product, I went to School for Computer Science at Georgia Tech. I thought I meant to be a software developer. When I was interviewing for internships at Microsoft, they recommended me to look for a PM position there, told me about the role and what it […]
How it’s all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I came into Venture investment from the telecom industry. In 1995 I started working for the startup of Omnitel-Vodafone, in 2000 I started working for the Fastweb. Then I left Italy and from 2002 to 2010 I contributed to the launch of HanseNet Telekommunikation Gmbh in Germany and was working as a Member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Supervisory Board. So, I had more than 15 years of experience working in startup companies when I came back to Italy and join Earlybird Italia. I wanted to establish a center that could work and could spread knowledge about social innovation. Earlybird invests in all development and growth phases of technology companies. Among the most experienced venture investors in Europe, Earlybird offers its portfolio companies not only financial resources but also strategic and […]
Fabian Westerheide (Asgard): I consider companies who do customer support and customer communication.
Fabian Westerheide is Managing Partner at Asgard. He advises governmental institutions including the European Commission, European Space Agency, German parliament, Chinese ministry of technology, etc. He is also founder of Rise of AI, the European network for 30,000 leaders in AI. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I always say that I failed to become a consultant. While I was at university I wanted to become a strategy consultant to learn how to run companies and then to go to private equity and to learn how to buy companies. When I was in University I didn’t know anything about startups and venture capital, and no one was talking about this. I didn’t get accepted. So I joined a young company of friends in Berlin, which was a company for building companies at this time, it was one of the first company builders we […]
Herty Tammo (Startup Wise Guys): We invest at early stage, where the team is the most important feature of a startup.
Herty Tammo is Co-Founder and General Partner at Startup Wise Guys. He started as entrepreneur in 1995 and established 5 companies with 150 investors involved. He started investing in the technology sector in 2007. He co-founded Startup Wise Guys business accelerator and helped to raise funds and develop 185+ companies accross CEE. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1995. And I have made some mistakes. I have been always very passionate about entrepreneurship, so I just wanted to show young entrepreneurs how to avoid these mistakes. This is how we established Startup Wise Guys accelerator in 2012 – we wanted to go and find the new ambitious founders from Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe. I am looking for a technical founders and we help them to realize how to scale their software companies globally. This is our […]
Laura Orestano (SocialFare Center): Social innovation is not only designing new models, products and services, but also creating social enterprises and social changes.
Laura Orestano is CEO at SocialFare Center in Torino, Italy. She helps start-ups from Italy and other countries to develop and scale. She was a key player in many strategic projects: from automotive to sports, from tourism and entertainment to FMCG, in large companies as well as in start-ups. Because you are involved in social investment activities, could you please explain the difference between ordinary charity and social impact investment? The main difference is that charity is a grant making, meaning that you actually support good projects aiming for social good, of course. You give money away – not waste – and do not expect any return. Impact investing means that you invest your money into an entrepreneurial initiative that is expected to bring back not only social return, but some financial return as well. I would say that both charity and impact investing share the vision of supporting or […]
Alain Dib (Knuru Capital): We like serial entrepreneurs, and we tend to invest in companies that have an unfair advantage, something that gives them an edge.
Alain Dib is Founder & CEO at Knuru Capital. He has 25 years of experience in Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Private Equity and Venture Capital. He has held senior positions with Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas across multiple asset classes and more recently was COO/CIO of Waha Capital. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been in investment banking and private equity all my career, doing leveraged buyout, financing leveraged buyout. I decided to go into into VC because my latest investment, when I was a CIO in an open investment company Waha Capital, was a tech company. I decided that was very successful investment. I decided to partner with the founder of that company to launch Knuru Capital. What was the most unusual startup you ever supported? I would say that somehow it is the nature of the startups, in which we […]
Jorge Dobon Montagut (Demium): We have created from scratch 450 teams in 7 years, about 180 – the last year.
Jorge Dobon Montagut is CEO and co-founder at Demium. His aim is to match the best local talent with global business opportunities to create startups from scratch. He helps to create over 100 startups per year across 6 countries in Europe with 11 incubation hubs in fast-growing markets: Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Greece, and Spain, and investment hub in London (UK). How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I am 30 years old right now, so it started when I was 23. I’m from Madrid, where I started my first company when I was 20. But I failed. It wasn’t a startup, just a traditional company in the food and beverages with my two friends. I was in the university by that time, and it failed, with personal debts when I was 22. It became the tipping point in my professional career. I found […]
Andreas Winiarski is Chairman & CEO at awesome capital Group. He was Managing Partner at Earlybird Venture Capital, one of the leading VC funds in Europe with about 1.5bn USD capital under management. Prior to that, he served as Managing Director & SVP for Rocket Internet. Furthermore, he served asManaging Partner and Senior Advisor at Hering Schuppener, the #1 strategic comms consultancy in Germany, and is a digital advisor to the German government. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I got an offer by the Samwer brothers, founders of Rocket Internet, in 2012 to become their first spokesman. I had luck and honor to build up the communication structure for Rocket Internet over the years – not only for the company itself, but also for the portfolio companies. This was my beginning, as I’m originally a media guy. Over the time it turned […]
Andrew Romans (7BC Venture Capital & Rubicon Venture): Our basic rule is if we cannot add value, we will not invest
Andrew Romans is a General Partner at 7BC Venture Capital and Rubicon Venture Capital. During his career, he was a founder and the CEO of several VC-backed tech ventures as well as a successful investor. By the age of 28, Andrew raised $48m+ for the startups he founded. Andrew Romans is also an author of books on VC, FinTech and digitalization of workflows. He also serves as an advisor to governments and corporates on VC, CVC as well as FinTech. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I had little businesses running in high school and college. And then I stumbled into the computer business where my first job was in the Unix industry. And then I got into telecom. I was even building telecom networks in places like Bosnia and Herzegovina right after the […]
Giusy Cannone (Fashion Technology Accelerator): We invest only in the fashion industry vertical, and we are looking for digital startups, introducing B2C and B2B innovations.
Giusy Cannone is CEO at Fashion Technology Accelerator. She has 10+ years experience in the investment and startups area. In the last 4 years she has been active in the Fashion and Luxury industry, investing in several digital startups across different countries. She has been Investment Manager at Italian Angels for Growth. Before, she was innovation specialist at Intesa Sanpaolo bank. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I started working with the startups right after my degree in engineering, and I had that experience in the United States, in the Kauffman Foundation. I’ve got an opportunity to see how entrepreneurship ecosystem works in the United States. Also I spent 2 months in the Silicon Valley. I am really passionate about it. When I came back to Italy I continued with these activities. After 2 years I was working at the business angels group […]