Venture industry itself is risky, full of surprises and requires attention. Information is a new air, but it can be used in different ways, and sometimes might be harmful for the market. COVID-19 is a perfect example that happened only half a year ago: internet and media were overdosed with materials predicting the future of all VC industry and startups market. Eventually, all this data could influence a company with premature decisions and intensify the crisis. That’s why it is crucially important to define and understand the media landscape. For this purpose, one of the methods of automatized linguistics is being used. It is called sentiment-analysis and together with the UN we will discover how big is its power. Meet the basis Sentiment-analysis already entered your life, starting from Barack Obama election campaign back in 2008. There are definitely a lot of examples even before, but Obama’s social media campaign […]
Maarten ter Keurst (PureTerra Ventures): Focus more on who you need to know rather than what you need to know
After leading a successful turnaround for a large direct marketing organizations Maarten moved to Shanghai in 2013, where he has consulted foreign SMEs in the water technology sector on market entry strategy in China as a run-up to PureTerra. Maarten is an expert in deal structuring, financial modeling, managing Chinese networks, partner selection and has an intimate knowledge of the global water technology sector. He holds a MSc in Economics from Tilburg University and has attended executive courses at London Business School. How it all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I came to China more than seven years ago. Very quickly I joined the mother company of PureTerra Ventures, which was founded by two Dutch entrepreneurs who came to China 25 years ago. They set up a number of businesses and did very well for themselves. With one of their businesses they organized the […]
Jacqueline van den Ende (Peak Capital): We look at 4 main criteria, we call it T-Score. We evaluate Team, Thesis, Traction, and Timing.
Jacqueline van den Ende is Partner at Peak Capital. She is an entrepreneur and investor passionate about building high impact ventures. In the Philippines she founded Lamudi Philippines and over the past 3 years grew it to be the clear market leader in online real estate. Prior to that she worked as an investment professional in a leading private equity firm. Prior to HAL Investments she founded a non-profit company which now employs over 200 students in three countries. How it’s all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I personally have a bit of a mix career as an investor and a venture builder. As a student, I started my first company and then I accidentally ended up in private equity. I wasn’t looking for a role in investing, but I’ve got an opportunity to join HAL Investments. I worked there for 3.5 years and […]
Jessica Rameau (Wellstreet): I don’t think you should do what you love. I think you should do what you are good at
Jessica Rameau is a British-French investment professional, with experience in supporting fast-growing businesses. She’s currently a Partner at Wellstreet, a Stockholm-based super-active early stage investor, which has been part of creating successes like Tibber, DanAds, Regily, Scrive, and roughly 30 more companies. Lately, they have been recognized for opening The Factory, the 14,000+ sqm glass building on the outskirts of Stockholm, becoming the biggest innovation and tech hub in the Nordics. Jess is the Fund Manager for Wellstreet’s first Ventures Fund, Wellstreet’s early stage investment fund. She oversees the portfolio of over 30 companies and is responsible for sourcing new investment opportunities. Previously, Jessica managed Synergy Growth LLP’s startup portfolio, has co-founded Five Years Time, an educational platform for entrepreneurs, and has acted as an advisor to the UK’s Department for International Development on innovation. She has actively supported the London and Stockholm tech ecosystems, where she has mentored hundreds […]
Rick Segal (Rethink Capital Partners): We favor technology SaaS companies because we want the impact that we make to be scalable, and technology solutions are the ones that scale the most from the smallest investment dollar
Rick Segal is CEO at Rethink Capital Partners and Managing Partner at Rethink Education. He has a long history of investing in real estate and venture capital investments. Prior to Seavest, he was a partner at Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn where he managed the firm’s private investments. He has served on the boards of many public companies including Hudson General Inc., Air Express Int., and Penn Traffic. He also has served on many private company boards including Schoolnet, Civitas, Wireless Generation and Smarterer. How it’s all started? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I entered the VC world in early 1980s – mostly because I was hired by a money management firm and, as a young kid on the block, when the idea of alternative investment strategies was emerging, I was asked to learn something about opportunities that we as a money manager could be offering to […]
Jessica Liu is a partner of AppWorks, leading the company’s efforts in Southeast Asia and the region’s burgeoning blockchain ecosystem. Specifically, she has been closely watching the development of consumer Internet applications, especially as they intersect with the increasing ubiquity of deep technologies. Jessica loves helping visionary founders realize their full potential. She holds B.B.A from the University of Southern California. Jessica, how did you find yourself in the venture investment business? I have been active in the digital industry since 2010, starting my career managing online marketing for Standard Chartered Bank’s cross-selling strategies before joining AppWorks in 2014. Here I served as an Associate in charge of the company’s Accelerator and Southeast Asia initiatives amongst many other major projects before becoming a Partner in 2019. At what stage you prefer to enter and what’s the geography of your projects – Southeast Asia or maybe other countries? Our company provides […]
Natural Fiber Welding, a sustainable material science startup company, founded in 2015 by Dr. Luke Haverhals and re-incorporated in July 2020, with HQ in Peoria, Illinois, raised $13m Round led by Ralph Lauren Corporation with the participation of Central Illinois Angels and Prairie Crest Capital. NFW is a disruptive chemistry and technology company poised to offer sustainable alternatives to non-renewable plastics and produce high-value materials from low cost, highly functional naturally occurring fibers. Previously the company was funded by US Agencies including U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Ralph Lauren Corporation is a “global leader in the design, marketing, and distribution of premium lifestyle products” who focuses on the sustainability and integration of zero-waste principles across its business. They decided to support NFW because they have “revolutionized the reuse of natural fibers – such as cotton waste – into patented, high-performance materials”. Both NFW and […]
Thirty Madison, who already developed a treatment for hair loss, migraines, and chronic indigestion problems, founded in 2016 (turns 4 on August 29th) by a former Google employee, re-incorporated in March 2017, with under 100 employees, HQ in Greater New York Area, mastered Series B investment of $47m from Polaris Partners, Northzone, Maveron, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC. The total amount of investments in this startup reached $69.8m with 8 investors. Thirty Madison positions itself as “The human-first health company bringing specialized care and treatment to everyone.” Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Not only Education is heading to digitalization, but also Healthcare. Participation of a Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC (a venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson Innovation) in the Series B of Thirty Madison (parent company of Keeps, Cove, and Evens) proves the importance of the area. The company provides continuing care after diagnosis and […]
Labster, virtual reality science simulation lab software developer for high schools and universities, founded in 2011 in Demark, and re-incorporated into Labster ApS in 2012, with HQ in Copenhagen and offices in Switzerland, USA, and Indonesia, and 113 employees as of August 2020, attracted $9m from GGV Capital, Owl Ventures, Balderton Capital, and Northzone, totaling $44.7m of venture investments (excluding $10m grant). Up-to-date revenue is estimated at $18.8m. Their lab simulation apps are widely used for educational purposes in a range of universities including CSU, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and so on. They are currently running a pilot fall program at the University of Toronto (Canada). Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights In our report on Skillshare’s latest round, we mentioned that online learning is on fire right now, and the Labster’s Round just confirmed the trend. Since March, the usage of Labster’s VR product has increased 15x and their apps will no […]
GoSite, San-Diego-based online platform for helping 12m SMB in the US on their journey online, founded by Alex Goode in 2013, with under 100 employees has just summoned $16m of Series A investments from Longley Capital, Stage 2 Capital and Ankona Capital, who joined existing investors Serra Ventures and SaaS Ventures; the total money raised reached $19.8m. The money will be used to expanding Gosite’s footprint on the global market and hiring more specialists, including Frank Auger as Chief Customer Officer. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Considering the global digitalization of businesses, this is a very smart investment into a company offering everything businesses need to go online. Gosite attracted players who are active in this area (Software and SaaS). There is one exciting moment: SaaS Ventures, Serra Ventures, and AC have CRM and Advertising background, and it may mean GoSite will get a good kick to generate income more efficiently. […]
Allergy Amulet, creator of the smallest food allergen sensor that can fit in your pocket, founded by Abigail Barnes in 2016, a company with less than 10 employees and 13 investors, and with HQ in Great Lakes (Midwest) just received $3.3m during Seed round from TitletownTech (leading investor), Great Oaks Venture Capital, Great North Labs, Dipalo Ventures, DeepWork Capital, Colle Capital Partners, Bulldog Innovation Group (total funding reached $4.8m). Allergy Amulet is developed to avoid allergic reactions by checking food for known allergens in seconds. This problem affects 32 million people in the United States and about 220m-520m worldwide. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Another Co-founder and Scientific Advisor of AA is Dr. Joseph BelBruno, a Dartmouth chemistry professor emeritus. Graduation from the Gener8tor accelerator of Wisconsin in 2016, AA raised funds from a couple of investors – Bulldog Innovation Group (Yale alumni-led venture capital firm, Barnes got her Master’s Degree […]
Skillshare, online learning community with thousands of classes and 5+ millions of members, and 10+ millions of website visits per month, founded in 2010, with about 500 employees and HQ in New York City, has enlarge their financial power with some $66m during new investment Round led by OMERS Growth Equity with participation of all existing investors – Union Square Ventures, Amasia, Burda Principal Investments, and Spero Ventures, totaling investments to almost $117m. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Skillshare decided to rebrand in early 2020 and started focusing mainly on the content of their platform and provision of more features and better usability. So no wonder that OGE joined the funding train as they are happy to invest in confident growth of companies, and Skillshare attracted another late stage investor to the gang. Considering the average exit period in USV (they used to exit after 7.5 years, and they invested into […]
Shigeru Handa is Director at Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd. He is a seasoned professional with over 20 years in business development consulting experience in the private sector as well as in international development. He has extensive experience in leading multi-national management teams even in fragile states. He has worked at Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Boston consulting group (BCG: Japan), Natural Lawson and United Nations Development Program. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been working in international business development and finance, both in public and private sectors. I helped to evaluate business opportunities and have been working with an aim of creating opportunities financially or job creation. Unlike others, I’m not an entrepreneur. Once I joined a team to develop and grow new convenient stores, and we managed to expand from 10 to more than 100 stores. There […]
The number of cross-border venture capital investments has increased by 5 times since 2000, and it continues to grow. At Unicorn Nest, we decided to examine the trends in cross-border investments in the latest period, since 2014, and here are some of the key takeaways. But firstly, let’s clarify what we are writing about. Cross-border investing refers to a financing arrangement that occurs outside a country’s borders and could help to find resources beyond domestic borders. Cross-border venture capital investments play an important role in scaling up high-growth companies. Policymakers express concerns that foreign VC investments transfer the majority of economic activity to the investor country. The startups however welcome foreign capital, expertise, and networks that usually go along with cross-border investments. Startups are often wary of international investments, especially from VC-funds located far from a startup’s incorporation country. This article also explains geographical connections between VC funds origins and […]
StreetLight Data, a company utilizing big data for mobility and transportation insights, founded in 2011 by Laura Schewel, with HQ in San Francisco and offices in Richmond, Virginia and Vancouver, BC, Canada, that makes 6000+ transportation machine-learning analyses per month of 5m+ roadways, sidewalks, bike lanes and 40b+location datapoints per month, paved a new development boost of the services provided with $15m Round D from new investors Macquarie Capital and Activate Capital, and existing investors Osage University Partners and Ajax Investment Strategies. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Founder Laura Schewel graduated Ph.D. at UC Berkley, a core partner of OUP which focuses on investing in startups that are commercializing pioneering university technologies. So it is the third investment from them, and Fund’s partner Marc Singer, a VC veteran with vast experience in CleanTech, got a seat in the Board of SLD. AIS focuses exclusively on solving climate change problems and they […]
PandaDoc, a SaaS document automation platform, organized by Belorussian founders Mikita Mikado and Sergey Barysiuk in 2013 as a successor to their successful 2011 Quote Roller project. HQ is in San Francisco and offices in Minks, Belarus, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Manila, Philippines with 300+ employees, and over 20,000 b2b customers, aggregated Round B ($15m in 2017) with additional $30m. The Round process involved 5 investors: One Peak Partners (lead-investor), Savano Capital Partners, M12, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, David Sipes. PandaDoc needs the money to enter the space with many competitors. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights PandaDoc declares the collected money will go “to take on competitors”, “expand to new businesses, such as education and health care”, but no doubts they need a piece of the Document Management cake. They can do it with CRM and ERP integrations. PandaDoc started offering some of their services free of charge during […]
Zencity, Israeli general and social media monitoring developer, whose system collects data from various sources (social posts, news, government communications, etc.) with the goal to provide local authorities with insights on the public sector, attracted $13.5m for further development of their products. Zencity services 150 local governments, including 40 cities in 29 US states and 4 countries. Salesforce Ventures and TLV Partners led the round, Canaan Partners Israel, Vertex Ventures, M12, i3 Equity Partners joined the party. The total VC investments attracted by Zencity reached $21m. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Two existing investors Canaan Partners Israel and i3 Equity Partners are focused on the IoT vertical and geographically are interested in Israel only. I3 participated in the seed round while stood aside during Round A in 2017. They are not active recently, so this follow-on was quite a surprise. Another interesting fact is participation of M12 (venture arm of Microsoft), […]
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 […]
Michele Novelli boasts more than 25 years of experience in the startup and venture capital industry. In 2011 he founded and became Managing Partner of Earlybird Italia, one of the most successful Venture Capital funds in Europe. Since 2013 he has been Partner at Digital Magics. In recent years, he has focused on the Fintech field by investing and contributing to the growth of several Italian companies. 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 […]
Palmetto, a solar energy implementation company with HQ in Charleston, SC and offices in San Francisco and Seattle, founded in London in 2009, has just closed $29m Series B. The round attracted a wide range of investors with interests in various verticals, including Evergy Ventures, Arctern Ventures, Shell Ventures, Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau, Box Group, Falkon Ventures, and the Leto Family Office. In 2018 Greycroft led Round A when Palmetto got $6m investment. Palmetto builds and deploys simplified software systems to help consumers handle their energy expenditures. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights 5 out of 8 investors of Round B did not take part in Round A, so they are new: EV, AV, SV, FV, and LFO. No surprise they decided to enter because they are known for investments into Clean Energy. EV and SV are venture subsidiaries of major companies in energetics and fuel. And are closely connected to each other. […]
Lemonaid Health, San-Francisco based company found in 2013 is b2c healthcare platform to help people in the US to minimize health care expenses and “bring ultra low cost healthcare to everyone in America”. Generally, Lemonaid Health is a medical group enabled by technology for online interaction. They charge $25 per online medical consultation, they already serviced over 1m patients with plans to service 10m in the next few years. They currently have 75 employees. They attracted $11m Round A financing in 2017, and now $33m that totals investments to $55m. The Round B was led by Olive Tree Ventures, with participation of Artis Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Hikma Ventures, and Sierra Ventures. New money will help them to expand their MD network and medical areas covered (incl. treatment of asthma, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and some mental problems. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights The most participants of the round are famous of […]
Remitly, a global mobile payment platform through their Android and iOS apps, operating in 45 countries and transferring $6b a year, just raised another $85m round with company valuation at $1.5b from PayU, DN Capital, Generation Investment Management, Owl Rock Capital, Princeville, Stripes, Threshold Ventures and Top Tier. The total investments almost reached $400m. The company was found in 2011 to transform the global remittance industry. The company’s office are located in Seattle, Spokane, London, Cork, Krakow, Manila, and Managua, the number of employees – 1000+. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights Remitly is already named a real Seattle unicorn. The company is currently valuated at $1.5b, it was in the top three world innovative companies list and top50 best FinTech companies in 2019. All the investors in the round already invested into Remitly before joining the club during the last 5 years since Round B. For all investors FinTech and Mobile […]
Stack Overflow, an online platform to help establish collaboration between software developers and customers, owned by Stack Exchange, Inc., with 120m monthly visitors, has raised $85m Round E totaling the investments to $153m. The round was led by GIC with the participation of already existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures and a new one called Silver Lake Waterman. The new money will go to expand their knowledge management and collaboration environment Stack Overflow for Teams. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights The old investors supported Stack Overflow since the very beginning. Only Bezos Expeditions did not take part in the round as they stopped investing in collaboration space at all (were investing in 2008-2015). All the current investors traditionally support this space and related verticals, with special focus on Enterprise Software; that’s why the round was arranged. One investor looks unusual – GIC – as they […]
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 […]
Talkdesk®, Inc., a cloud contact center (Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)) for independent dynamic businesses with 1800+ clients and 30,000+ users in 75+ countries, and with 6 offices in USA, Portugal, and UK, attracted $143m during Series C fundraising from existing and new investors, causing a re-evaluation of the company to $3b+. Franklin Templeton, Willoughby Capital, Skip Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Top Tier Capital Partners joined Viking Global Investors and Threshold Ventures in this investment trip, totaling investments to $268m. Unicorn Nest Dataset Insights For Lead Edge Capital, Top Tier Capital Partners, Threshold Ventures the vertical of Talkdesk is a priority domain due to top-10 interest and frequent investments, though TTCP does not invest in the area for over a year, while LEC invested in #1 Salesforce native DevOps platform called Copado (Copado may be a reason why Salesforce Ventures stopped investing in Talkdesk). The other involved investors do […]
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 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 invest, […]
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 […]
Great lockdown recession is often compared with 2009 crisis and predicted to be the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. According to IMF report in June, global growth will fall by 4,9 percent; global economic recovery is expected to be 5,4 percent in 2021, but this forecast might work only if pandemic fades in the second half of 2020. All three IMF scenarios infer negative dynamics for 2020 and uncertain growth in 2021, depending on COVID-19 possible outbreaks. Venture capital investments is being on a list of sensitive spheres instantly responding on every economic turmoil. However, the research, provided by EXPERTORAMA in partnership with Unicorn Nest, displays that investment funds are more optimistic about the end of crisis, comparing to IMF data. Losses and reduction Based on research provided with surveying 250 funds mostly in North America, Europe and Asia, almost 19% of representatives decreased number of deals. […]
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 […]
Whitney Sales (Acceleprise): We want people who have indicators of perseverance and who are passionate about the space and the market
Whitney Sales is a managing partner at Acceleprise and an angel investor at Mapped. She is the founder and creator of a consultancy The Sales Method, which helps businesses find their target markets, get products to those markets, and build really efficient sales teams. She has over 10 years of experience in the startup sales area and successfully led four of the companies she worked with to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It was kind of by chance actually. I was running a b2b SaaS consultancy (I’ve worked in early-stage venture most of my career, specifically working with founders on go-to-market) and I’ve met my business partner Mike about 3 years prior to when I’d started the business and he’d started Acceleprise. And over those years we’ve spent a lot of time getting […]
Seth Levine (Foundry Group): We occasionally start businesses ourselves, when we have an idea we like and can find a management team for realisation.
Seth Levine is Managing Director at Foundry Group. His career spans venture capital investing as well as operational, transactional and advisory roles at both public and private companies. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, Seth began his venture capital career at Mobius Venture Capital. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? For me, it was a long time ago. I had lived in New York City for a little while and had been an investment banker. When I was still around 23, I decided that I want to have a life change. And I moved to Colorado and worked for a couple of companies here, including .COMs. After .COM burst, I end up in a company I was running pretty large portion of the business. That company was moving into some different direction, and I wasn’t excited to stay. It was part in being manager […]
Bill Trainor (Mutual Capital Partners): Even with the best technology, you have to have a world-class management team and a board of directors around them
Bill Trainor is a co-founder of Mutual Capital Partners who leads b2b practice there. He is also a co-founder of Access Ventures Fund and has been an angel investor for over 20 years. Before starting his two funds, Bill held a position of Senior Vice President-Head of E-Commerce Investment Banking at McDonald Investments, where his area of expertise included retail, healthcare, consumer, and service companies. He also serves on several non-profit boards, including Flashes of Hope and the Pennsylvania Venture Capital Association Board of Directors. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? Back in the 1990s, I was an investment banker at a small regional firm called McDonald Investments that later became KeyBanc Capital Markets group, their investment banking group. Before that, though, in 1997 I made my first angel investment, and I didn’t put a lot of money in, but to […]
Gerard Casale (TYLT Ventures): We’re really interested in anything that’s got great momentum, big enough market and best people.
Gerard Casale is Managing Member/Co-Founder at TYLT Ventures. He is an Angel investor and securities lawyer that has led over $1 billion in capital formation over the past 28 years. Formerly Founder and CEO of X-Laboratories, VC-backed tech spin-off at Hughes Research Labs that partnered with Boeing, GM, and Raytheon; Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Law at Pepperdine University School of Law and Founding Member of Crown Preparatory Academy [now www.stem-prep.org]. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I practiced law as a corporate M&A attorney in Los Angeles and really enjoyed that. I’ve practiced in different areas while I was doing that having started as a litigator and then moving fully into corporate/transactional and M&A work– I’ve been in a bigger firm, smaller firms, and I had my own firm for a while. In the midst of it all, I co-founded a […]
SC Moatti (Mighty Capital): Don’t try to be different because what is going to make you stand out is the quality of your team, the size of the problem you’re solving, the defensibility of your solution and your revenue traction
SC Moatti is the founding partner of Mighty Capital and of one of the biggest networks of product managers in the world, Products That Count. She is also the author of the bestseller “Mobilized: an insider’s guide to the business and future of connected technology”. SC is a technology visionary and entrepreneur. She has a rich experience of building great products for Facebook, Electronic Arts, and Nokia. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve spent a dozen years building products and companies as an entrepreneur and an executive. I’ve built products for Facebook, Nokia, and Electronic Arts. And then, after I sold my last company and spent a few years at Facebook, I left Facebook because I was invited to write a book on what makes a great product, it’s called “Mobilized: An Insider’s Guide to the Business and Future of […]
Csaba Konkoly (Tiller Partners): Mostly we want to see domain expertise. I’m looking for cognitive diversity, for people that play nice together.
Csaba Konkoly is General Partner at TillerPartners. He was Partner and Co-CIO at the global macro hedge fund Commonwealth Opportunity Capital where he focused on asset allocation and risk management. Before that, he was co-founder of GATKO Partners, a global, top-down equity hedge fund with offices in London and Singapore. He is also President of Capital (captec.io)). How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? My background is in traditional finance. I was a hedge fund manager for tMy background is in traditional finance. I was a hedge fund manager for the first 15-16 years of my career. By 2010-2012 it was obvious to me that the hedge fund industry has changed and the return aspects of public markets are significantly worse than the private markets. I was very constructive on world economy, probably, back in early 2010. I was looking for the highest leverage, […]
Bernard Moon (SparkLabs Group): We’re a global firm. We have 10 accelerators: in South Korea, Taiwan, China, Australia, Singapore, US.
Bernard Moon is a Co-founder & Managing Partner at SparkLabs Group since 2013. He was a Director at iRG, a leading boutique investment bank in Asia, VP of Business Development & Marketing at HeyAnita Korea, Co-founder & CEO of Vidquik, Managing Director at the Lunsford Group, Co-founder & VP of Business Development of GoingOn Networks. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? It started when my co-founder Hanjoo Lee approached me to start an accelerator back in 2012. It was SparkLabs Korea. I thought it was a good idea to start an accelerator and then a year later we started our first venture capital fund. That’s where I went completely full-time in a year later, at the end of 2013. It wasn’t that much of a stretch because I was an entrepreneur, already co-founding four startups. Our first one was such a difficult experience, […]
Ash Fontana (Zetta Venture Partners): We enter at the seed stage. We like to be the the first and most important partner of the company.
Ash Fontana is Managing Director at Zetta Venture Partners. Ash launched syndicates at AngelList – the biggest startup investing platform in the world that now manages over $2B. He previously co-founded Topguest, a Founders Fund-backed company that built customer analytics technology for companies like United, Virgin, and InterContinental. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I was always very interested in investing and in computers, so I just combined these interests. When I started a company I worked in finance, in law, because I’ve studied law. This idea was a sort of coming about in lots of different ways. I’ve built the relevant skills and experience as an entrepreneur. I came my way to Angellist, that, obviously, is a pretty interesting place to be in the ecosystem. And I started investing. What was the most unusual startup you ever supported? Or, maybe, your favorite? […]
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl (Social Venture Circle): Our criteria are very strong on impact, but we also expect the financial return, this is not a philanthropic giving
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, of Cherokee ancestry, is the Executive Director of Social Venture Circle, a network of impact investors, entrepreneurs, and capacity-builders that solves big problems. Valerie is the owner and a founder of Red-Horse Financial Group, Inc. and has a reach in-depth experience in finance and investment banking, but also in the tribal government sector. She holds seven FINRA registrations. In more than 30 years Valerie has raised more than $3 billion in capital for tribal nations. She teaches Entrepreneurialism for Racial Equity and Social Impact at Stanford and is the founder of several non-profit organizations. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I started in finance many years ago. I am Cherokee Indian, so that means I’m part of the tribe, and there are over 500 nations indigenous to America. And I started years ago, when I was young, working […]
Anurag Chandra (Fort Ross): We’re not conservative, we’re not aggressive, we’re Fort Ross, we’re no different today than we were before COVID started
Anurag Chandra is a Venture Partner at Fort Ross Venture, who has been a member of the Silicon Valley tech community for about 20 years. His experience includes investing (NXT Capital Venture Finance, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Galleon Crossover Fund) and operating (senior executive roles at venture-backed companies). Anurag Chandra serves on the Board of Directors at Upaya and is a mentor at accelerator Imagine H20. He is also a Trustee and Investment Committee member for the San Jose Federated Employees Pension Fund. Anurag Chandra has also been a coach to Astia (women’s technology cluster) companies. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It’s one of these things that’s more organic. I had been doing some stuff in my mid-twenties. I tried to raise money for various types of form direct investment projects in India. And I was struggling to get any of […]
Peter Rojas (Betaworks Ventures): We are really focused on people who can build. We are builders and we build products and lead teams who build products to scale.
Peter Rojas is a partner at Betaworks Ventures. He is a successful four-time entrepreneur with deep operating experience. He was VP of Strategy at AOL and co-director of AOL Alpha, co-founder of Weblogs Inc. He created and was the founding editor of tech sites Engadget and Joystiq, music discovery site RCRD LBL, gdgt, and gadget blog Gizmodo. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I started as a technology journalist. In the late nineties I worked in a magazine in San Francisco, called Red Herring, which was a magazine that covered the business of technology, but very focused on venture capital. The idea behind the magazine was “If you want to see the future of the technology industry, you need to look at the companies which venture capitalists are investing in.” And 20 years ago that was a very novel idea; I think, at […]
Julie Maples (FYRFLY Venture Partners): We invest in data, intelligence and enterprise software that is not really sexy part of the market.
Julie Maples is Co-Founder and MD at FYRFLY Venture Partners. She has over 20 years of venture experience as both an investor and operator. She is founder of two venture firms in the seed stage arena achieving top percentile returns. She is Founder and Chairwoman of the Wine Celebration, Board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, V Capital Campaign Committee. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? Actually, I entered the venture capital world right out of college. I came to California between my junior and senior years from Philadelphia, where I studied for an undergraduate degree. As I did a summer internship, I found my passion for this career that I just loved. I just love being in the industry. I always thought I would be working in the consulting, financial, maybe banking industry in New York. Finding VC world in Silicon […]
Sergey Gribov (Flint Capital): Nobody in the normal mind would invest in a company that has more chances to fail than to succeed, but that’s what we do
Sergey Gribov is a partner at Flint Capital with a rich experience of being a tech entrepreneur and investor for more than 20 years. He was a founder and a top manager in more than 10 startups across Israel, USA and Russia. Sergey has an expertise in IT, namely in cybersecurity, software development, VoIP, finance and bioinformatics sectors. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My original background is technical, I graduated in Computer Science. While I was in university, I started to work for a company called Compugen, which is in Israel. It’s one of the success stories of Israeli startups that appear in the “Start-up Nation” book. I was an employee №1 at Compugen where I did a bunch of different things. But I realized I could never work for a big company and liked startups. And at some point […]
Phil Nadel (Forefront Venture Partners): We’re not working to hit Grand Slams every time we invest, we’re happy with hitting doubles and triples with occasional home runs.
Phil Nadel is Founder and Managing Director at Forefront Venture Partners. He has been a serial entrepreneur for many years, having founded and exited several startups. He is also a published author, frequent conference speaker, and one of the co-hosts of “The Pitch” podcast. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? Over the years I have started and sold several businesses myself, and when I exited a few businesses, friends and relatives had asked me if I could help them with their startups – both in terms of advice, but also with investment. So I started investing in startups on casual basis with people I knew. And that quickly grew to investing on more professional and full-time basis over the last 10-15 years. Because I started as an entrepreneur and a founder, it gave me a really good basis for understanding of other businesses […]
In light of recent events, many startup owners are thinking about how to survive in times of crisis and how to raise money. We recommend listening to Denis Dovgopoliy, who during his career managed to be both on the side of startups and the side of investors. Also, he witnessed the global financial crisis of 2008-09 in Silicon Valley How it was in previous crises Of course, the current crisis is very different from the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, and from the Great Recession of 1999–2000, but it is worth paying attention to many significant trends. In particular, the fact that those investors and entrepreneurs who successfully survived the 1999–2000 recession, when the entire industry collapsed, worked much more efficiently. As soon as the crisis came in 2008, the sub-primes collapsed and the market experienced a shock, startups who raised money shortly before the crisis were in absolute gain. […]
Riyad Abou Jaoudeh (MEVP): Our fund is focused on the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey region.
Riyad Abou Jaoudeh is Managing Director at Middle East Venture Partners VC (MEVP). He has more than 6 years of strategy and management consulting experience in the telecom and media sector in the Middle East. Prior to joining MEVP, Riyad was a Senior Associate with Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company). Riyad also helped launched an e-commerce platform focusing on toys, was country manager for Qatar at Careem, and launched a mini-burgers restaurant in Beirut. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? It was a funny story because I did not make that decision. This opportunity came to me through my network. I went to do an MBA at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, and about a year and a half later I was at the alumni event for the School and met there Walid Mansour, who was – and is – a […]
Matthew C. Le Merle (Fifth Era & Keiretsu Capital): We are working very hard on supporting teams that are transitioning the world to a digital world
Matthew Le Merle and his wife Alison Davis are co-founders and Managing Partners of Fifth Era, which manages Blockchain Coinvestors. Matthew is also Managing Partner at Keiretsu Capital, the most active early-stage tech investors in America, Chairman at CAH and Securitize (Europe), Vice Chairman at SFOX, and an advisor at Warburg Pincus. Matthew has been an advisor on growth and innovation-related issues for giants like Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Cisco, eBay, and HP. He is an expert in a broad range of industries. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My wife and I grew up in England, and we started our careers as management consultants with McKinsey & Company. We came to California more than 30 years ago to attend business school at Stanford and then had careers as senior partners at other big consulting firms including Kearney and in my case […]
Sasha Mirchandani (Kae Capital): VC is pretty much like basketball: there are only 6 people playing, but there are always a bunch of people involved.
Sasha Mirchandani is Founder & Managing Director at Kae Capital. He is a Co-founder of Mumbai Angels, India’s first Angel Investment group. Prior to this Sasha was the Managing Director for the India operations of Blue Run Ventures. He is passionate about working with startups and also interested in the development of entrepreneurship in India. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I made my first investment during the dotcom era somewhere around 2001. The first company I invested in was a comparison-shopping site. I realised within a few months that the idea didn’t make any sense. However I liked the team a lot and told them that we should immediately shut operations and try to come up with a new idea that was more fundable. They came up with an interesting business plan for Analytics. Though Analytics was very early in 2001, I […]
Hernán Fernández Lamadrid (Angel Ventures): I think that this COVID crisis will be a very important test for many founders, and a capability to survive will guide them through the rest of their founding life
We had an opportunity to talk to both Hernán Fernández Lamadrid and Camilo Kejner from Angel Ventures about their fund and their preferences in investing. Hernán Fernández is a founder and a managing partner at Angel Ventures, the leading Angel Investment Network in Mexico. Hernán started out as a lawyer but got fascinated by entrepreneurship, which resulted in him becoming one of the most influential investors in Latin America. Camilo Kejner is a managing partner at Angel Ventures. Prior to raising AV’s first fund, he was a board member, a chief operating officer, and a consultant for several startups in the technology and retail sectors. Camilo has also held several management positions in the entertainment industry. How did it all start? How did each of you decide to enter the venture investment business? Hernan: We started back in 2008 as the first professionally managed angel investor network. So, between 2008 […]
Venktesh Shukla (Monta Vista Capital): In Silicon Valley we don’t say “failures,” we say “valuable learning opportunities.”
Venktesh Shukla is General Partner at Monta Vista Capital. He has been involved with numerous start ups as an executive, investor, board member, or adviser. As President of TiE Silicon Valley and Chair of TiE Global, he has had transformational impact on the organization in Silicon Valley as well as at TiE Global. As the founding President of Foundation for Excellence for the first 17 years of its 20 years existence, set the stage for its current success in providing scholarship to thousands of talented but poor students pursuing engineering and medical education in India. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I used to be an entrepreneur myself, and I had some successes and some failures. In Silicon Valley we don’t call them “failures,” we call them “valuable learning opportunities.” So my last startup was a valuable learning opportunity. One learning I took […]
Keith Teare (Accelerated Digital Ventures): A startup has to be a believable transformative idea, that is practical now.
Keith Teare is US Partner at Accelerated Digital Ventures. He is serial entrepreneur over the last three decades (RealNames, EasyNet and TechCrunch). Spent more than 20 years in Silicon Valley building companies and angel investing. Keith is experienced in helping European companies prepare for US expansion and approaching top tier US VC firms. He helps our portfolio companies think about their unit of value; their narrative; and their follow-on fundraising plans. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? The truth is I got too old to do startups. The startup ecosystem is pretty ageist, and when you get to the age of 60 and you walk to a VC and say, “I’ve got this great idea,” the chances of you walking out with the check are very low. They assume that your company is going to take 10, maybe 15. years, and you’ll be […]
David Hornik (August Capital): Startup is a group of people, that hopefully gets bigger, so you need people who can inspire, pursuing something big and interesting that hopefully gets bigger
David Hornik is General Partner at August Capital. For the last 20 years, David has worked closely with technology companies to help them grow and prosper. David joined August Capital in 2000 to invest in a broad range of software companies. Since that time, he has invested in dozens of companies across the software spectrum, including a number of enterprise software and SaaS (Splunk, Fastly, GitLab), consumer services (Evite, Ebates, Drop), and financial technology companies (WePay, Bill.com, PayNearMe). How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? It’s a kind of luck and it wasn’t direct, wasn’t planned. I grew up as a kid who thought he was probably going to be a lawyer. I did end to be a lawyer for a period of time, but along the way I did a lot of things interesting to me. I didn’t think there were career things, […]
Ira Weiss (Hyde Park Venture Partners): “Entrepreneurs need to know their market really well and have a compelling value proposition”
Ira Weiss is a partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners and a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (he holds a Ph.D. in accounting), where he teaches MBA students. Ira has a rich experience as an angel and venture investor and is primarily interested in tech-enabled services in the Mid-continent. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’m an academic professor by training. I had a Ph.D. in accounting and I’ve started teaching at Columbia Business School in New York in 1999. A lot of my students were going off to work at technology startups, and together with my colleague, I started investing in technology startups on the side of being a professor. I just really fell in love with early-stage companies, with entrepreneurs, with the excitement of working on the next great thing. I was thinking of […]
Patrick Polak (Newion Investments): I am a very optimistic person and I always look for the opportunity and growth, because growth is in my DNA
Patrick Polak is co-founder of Newion Investments in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is jointly responsible for managing the company. His tasks include defining the firm’s overall investment strategy, investing, managing portfolio companies, fundraising and investor relations. Patrick is closely involved in Newion’s investments and is holding various board positions to help portfolio companies accelerate their growth. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I’m in this business for 23 years already, since 97. Before that I ran a company active in high performance computing in the US and got in a contact with venture capital back in 1996, quite a few years ago. When I sold my company, I was 30. And I’ve got very much intrigued by VC world, all those venture things, the hint of a flavor of which I’ve got. I tried to get into the industry, and through an introduction […]
Vijay Tirathrai is a Managing Director of the Techstars Dubai Accelerator called Hub71 which was created to support entrepreneurs through special mentor-driven programs that help them succeed. Vijay is an angel investor and a serial entrepreneur, so he has a rich background to lead the growth of selected startups. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years and I’ve built many companies, some successful, some not so successful. And as an entrepreneur, I’ve gone through different scenarios in a startup skilling up as well as in building sizeable business mostly in the brick-and-mortar business rather than in the tech career. One of the things I was very keen on is how can I channel my experience, my skills into helping others grow and succeed in a productive way. So, of course, mentoring comes to mind, […]
Enis Hulli (500 Startups): “We only invest into entrepreneurs who we feel like they are smarter than us”
Enis Hulli is a General Partner at 500 Startups Istanbul. Educated as an engineer he has a firm grasp of the technological aspect of the startup world and the ambition and knowledge to see the global potential in the regional startup scene. That is why, rather than venturing on the civil engineer path, he founded firstseed, a network of investors focusing on early stages investments He aims to cultivate and grow the Turkish startup ecosystem, help talented entrepreneurs of the broader region and the diaspora in building explosive businesses that will integrate with Silicon Valley. His goal is to position 500 Startups Istanbul as the leading actor in the region in order to re-shape the future of innovation at EMEA. 500 Istanbul is an early-stage VC fund within the San Francisco based 500 Startups network, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator with over 2,200 investments in […]
Nowadays there is almost no startup left that would work in one narrow field. All the successful cases appear at the intersection of different industries. Therefore, the task of each fund is to determine in its strategic direction the set of industries that will not only be required separately in the future, but also within the interaction between its elements that will cause a synergistic effect for the entire portfolio. At the same time, the apparatus for making key decisions of the fund consists of employees (partners), each of whom has a unique set of skills and past experience that gives this employee expertise in a particular area. In this article, we analyzed how widespread are the differences between the fund’s strategy for selecting industries for its portfolio compared with the industries that its key employees are interested in. To accomplish this task we compared the top 10 most popular […]