EUVC Lowdown | 01.11.2022
The show that wraps up the week in European Venture with some of the key people making the headlines.
Welcome to this week’s edition of The EUVC Lowdown 🗞️ The show that wraps up the week in European Venture with some of the key people making the headlines. Today, we’re super excited to announce:
😍🎉🎊 Cathy White is joining us as the new host of the Lowdown 🎉🎊😍
Cathy is an absolute rockstar 🤘 and has worked worked with VC’s across Europe as well as investing actively an Angel investor 😇 As a startup & venture communications specialist she’s our go-to partner for PR, content creation, and social media so when she accepted the challenge to join us as the host of The Lowdown we were more excited than you can imagine 👇
She’s previously worked for Tech Nation and Seedcamp, and has supported funds that include APEX Ventures, Aldea Ventures, BACKED VC, Creator Ventures, Five Seasons Ventures, FOV Ventures, and Terra Ventures among many others. Needless to say, we love her 😍 but now, let’s get back to business:
Today we’ll cover
This week’s events
This week’s podcasts
The European VC
Tim Draper, Draper Ventures
Bo Ilsoe, NGP Capital
Panel on why angels should invest into VC
The Urban Tech VC
Luisa Haxel from Evernest
John Collings, Intercom
This week’s GIFs & MEMEs
This week’s LP syndicate news
500 EE Syndicate closing on 9th of December 💸
First LP syndicate meeting held with Acrobator Ventures 🎉
Tip to make your travels work for your firm’s future ✈
This week’s stories
Mosaic’s Christopher Rainville: Sketching the European Unicorn founder
Forbes: Focusing on unicorns is the wrong approach - or not?
Sifted: Ali Parsa revealing: My biggest mistake was taking us public
This week’s funds
This week’s hires
Listen & subscribe to the accompanying Lowdown podcast here 🎧
Do let us know if you have news, opinions or GIFs you want us to share on the Lowdown! We’re here to amplify the EUVC community 📣
This week’s events 🥳
Wanna connect with adtech/martech startups with investors, and connecting later stage companies with strategic buyers, PE firms, investment bankers etc. We should have about 200 people attending, including a strong mix of founders, angel investors, VC, PE, Corp Dev teams etc.
Thx to Rich, you can get your EU💙VC complimentary tickets here 👇
This week’s podcasts 🎧
The European VC, #122 Tim Draper, Draper Ventures
Meet Tim Draper, founder of the Draper Venture Network, one of the world’s leading network of VC funds. He funded Baidu, Tesla, Skype, SpaceX, Twitch, Hotmail, and numerous other well-known unicorns at the seed stage. He is a supporter and global thought leader for entrepreneurs everywhere, and a leading spokesperson for Bitcoin, Blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
In this episode you’ll learn:
The origin story of the Draper empire and why Tim built and scaled via a completely different model - including a TV show that now has 11 million viewers!
How Tim thinks about succession and partnership structures as well as putting his name behind the business
How Tim thinks about Europe and what our biggest opportunity & challenge is
Why Tim thinks the EUVC LP Syndicate model is “very interesting”!
The European VC #121 Bo Ilsoe, NGP Capital
In this episode you’ll meet Bo Ilsoe, managing partner of NGP Capital. From his current base in Geneva, Switzerland he has developed NGP Capital from initial commitments of $25M to an AUM above $1.6B with an investment mandate to invest across Europe, the US and China.
In this episode you'll learn:
The origin & development story of NGP, the highly successful VC-arm of Nokia
Why NGP has focused on the Series A and onwards stage
How Bo thinks about innovation horizons and how it affects the investment thesis of NGP
How Bo thinks about firm building, decision making and winning as a global team of 25 of which 15 are investors and 5 partners
Why Bo believes VCs owe founders to push them and be wary of becoming too founder friendly
The European VC #120 Why should business Angels invest in VC?
This is a special EUVC episode straight from the Engaged Investments conference in Prague, hosted by our friends from Depo Ventures. Shout out to Petr who was kind enough to invite us. This is the recording of the panel “Why should business Angels invest in VC?" which had the participation of our host Andreas Munk Holm; Petr Sima, partner at DEPO Ventures; Mikk Orglaan, founding partner at Fstage.vc; Vojta Rocek, partner at Presto Ventures; and Tobias Rataj, who is an angel investor.
The UrbanTech VC #04 Luisa Haxel, Evernest
In this episode, we’re happy to welcome Luisa Haxel, co-founder and COO of Evernest, a Tech-Broker that is changing the german real state scenario, combining start-up culture with many years of industry expertise. Luisa is the head of business operations, finance and personnel in Hamburg.
In this episode you’ll learn:
That buying a pizza via app you usually get more notifications than buying an apartment
How important the image of stakeholders is to create trust and foster collaboration
What is key in stakeholder management
Churn.fm #180: John Collins, former Content Director at Intercom
We’d love to introduce you to Andrew Michael’s podcast Churn.fm 💘 In his latest episode, you’ll meet John Collins, former Content Director at Intercom, startup consultant, and advisor.
In this episode, John shares an overview of the early days at Intercom and how they laid down the foundations for their content team with the primary focus on delivering value. They then ran through Intercom’s content team structure. How they used events and content to drive adoption and expansion within their user base and we discussed how the same principles were applied to a different business model with success during his time at Ramp.
This week’s GIFs & Memes 🙊
Why do you love VC?
It’s obvious. I can send stuff like this to my business partners 👇. Thx for being an awesome group everyone 💗
Bridge rounds explained in one gif 👇
Crypto unicorn’s Web Summit warm-up party - unfortunately, one week after the big lay-off 🪓
Secret footage from offsite of late stage VC’s DD-learnings from ‘21
VC tending to portfolio during VC event season
This week’s LP syndicate news 💸
We’re closing our syndicate into 500 Emerging Europe Fund II on the 9th of December! 🥳
Just wanted to make sure you were all aware that the opportunity to participate in our LP syndicate into 500 Emerging Europe is closing on the 9th of September. Here’s the TL:DR
Fund I Track record:
Fund I: $ 10.6M, 4.7x Gross TVPI & 53% IRR
40 investments in founders from 11 countries with a cumulative $ 500M annualized revenue & 97% of the revenue coming from foreign markets.
85% raised follow-on, $ 1.1B+ raised (and counting) and 5 exits created. Downstream investors counting funds tier-1 like Sequoia, GV, Riverwood, Brookfield and many more undisclosed to the public.
For every € 1 Enis and his team put in, follow-on investors came in with a whopping € 125 😲
Fund II thesis & strategy:
Fund size: € 70M, targeting replication of fund I’s success.
All LPs from fund I re-investing. The LP-base counts 25 founder-LPs, 3 European & Global GPs as well as one of Europe’s renowned emerging VC specialist fund of funds.
30 initial investments of € 750k to € 1M investments & follow-ups of € 1.5-2M (60-70% being reserved for follow-ons).
Investment strategy tailored to the Eastern European ecosystems focusing on their Emerging Talent Thesis and the population paradox of CEE.
Access to the best founders ensured through a renowned brand reputation, solid track-record, and global connections. This is coupled with a massively aggressive deal sourcing strategy with every team member sourcing deals 50% of their time & an approach of guaranteeing founders GP-presence at any second meeting held - and an investment decision within 3 weeks.
First LP syndicate meeting held with Acrobator 🥳
Damn it was awesome to see the interaction and the value add already happening, we’re especially hyped about:
Intro already made by Syndicate LP to potential key partner for one of Acrobator’s portfolio companies 🤑
Acrobator has an LP base of 66 LPs by design and are building some awesome tech to ensure their value add is brought to bare for the portfolio companies - so cool and exactly the type of partner we’re looking for in our syndicates.
Some key people that it’d be amazing to be put in touch with - also by you reading this 💘:
VP of Sales with experience in Pharma
VP of Sales with experience scaling a B2B SaaS company from 1 - 10 Mn ARR
Connections into professional audio tool providers
Strong female candidates for venture partner and/or venture scout roles 🦸♀️
Feel free to reach out directly to GP Joachim Laqueur if you have any recommendations for the above.
Traveling too much? Here’s an idea that’ll make those trips work for your firm’s future.
God knows we as VCs travel a lot. Many would say that it’s even to a level where it’s making it harder to grow and tend to the firm. Reading Cristobal Alonso’s latest blog post on recruiting tips from growing the SWG accelerator & VC from 4 to 65 people, I stumbled on a great tip to making these trips work for the growth of the firm: always have 1 or 2 coffee chats with potential future hires, focusing on the below:
Focus on people who fit roles you might potentially want to hire for in the upcoming 18 months. This gives you the time to develop a relationship that’s ready for when you have a concrete role at hand.
At the coffee shop, spend very little time on the professional path or skills of the person - get to know HIM or HER.
Don’t make it an interview, understand the culture fit and what the life drivers of the person are. You want to do this before they go on sale mode.
Try to tease out and offer some common topic on which you can follow up with them and build that strong connection over time.
Often, you will not be able to afford those amazing people you’ve met in the first place. Make sure you find ways to engage them with the company. Be creative. You want this person to get excited, fall in love with the opportunity to join you. Now or later.
By doing this (👆) when you finally get to make an offer, you’ll be doing so to a candidate you’ve been eyeing and nurturing for months.
This week’s stories 🗞️
Mosaic’s Christopher Rainville: Sketching the European Unicorn founder
A ran into Chris Rainville great article dissecting the European Unicorn founder based on an analysis of 197 founding CEOs of European unicorns. Here’s the key take-aways, his own caveats reposted for intellectual integrity:
Before we dive in, a caveat: we know that analysing the past doesn’t necessarily predict the future. The next generation of successful founders won’t necessarily have backgrounds similar to those of existing unicorns.
Secondly, for consistency we’ve focused only on founding CEOs (“Founders” hereafter). Not every company has a founding CxO other than the CEO – so we’ve decided to focus on CEOs to compare apples to apples.
Sketching the European unicorn founder
As we embarked on the mission to find common traits and backgrounds of founding CEOs of European unicorns we found that they were most likely to have:
Prior experience as a founder (~65% were repeat founders)
No previous industry experience in the sector of their unicorn business (~55%)
A Master’s or PhD degree (~55%)
More than 10 years of work experience before founding the company (~35%)
Perhaps even more interesting is who and what European unicorn founders/CEOs tend not to be. They are:
Very unlikely to have worked for another unicorn (only ~10% had)
Very unlikely to have worked for a FAANG or Microsoft (~5%)
Unlikely to have skipped college, including dropping out (~10%)
Unlikely to have studied at a small set of highly represented universities. The top 5 alma maters accounted for only ~15% of founders in the sample
Unlikely to have a technical background (~35% of founding CEOs are technically oriented)
One surprising result is founders who’ve built long-term value in Europe rarely have experience at other unicorns or “big tech“ companies.
Forbes: Focusing on unicorns is the wrong approach - or not? 🤷♂️
In today’s Lowdown, we went quite deep on this discussion, going at it from both a policy perspective and investment strategy perspective. Listen to it here:
But let’s visit the main conclusion of the article that Forbes put out this week:
Rather than focus on mythical unicorns, policymakers might be better off focusing on the much larger pool of small and medium enterprises that make up the bulk of the economy.
Personally, I hate this statement. Though our Lowdown panel was quite a bit more lenient to the perspective. So why do I hate it? The primary reason is this:
The European population is notoriously socialistic. If we want ANY hope that we’ll get better conditions for founders & investors in Europe we need to double down on the stories of greatness that resonate with “the common man”.
Without it, that type of legislation will always be perceived as “the rich getting richer” .. not the type of message any politician wins general elections on these days. Look at Ms Truss 😂though a lot could be said about execution and other things there…
Another thing that had me angry with the article was that it revealed a flawed understanding of startup/VC economics. It argues:
The tech media is awash with stories about funding rounds, in large part because the VC community is happy to share press releases around each funding round because they want future investors to pump up the value of their original investment.
As if a media announcement had ever “pumped up” the valuation of the subsequent round 6, 9, or 18 months later 🤦 I literally checked if the author was an overly self-important journalist - turns out he wasn’t.
As Vcs, we obviously shouldn’t be chasing valuations. But that's not what VC is about - even though one can excuse the average media bystander to infer from the headlines that it is. But someone publishing in Forbes should know better.
Rather than chasing massive valuations, VC is about chasing massive outliers. And law makers should care as the impact of such companies is massive. And equally so - the impact of not having them.
Right now, the US benefits heavily from having both the majority of the unicorns - but more importantly; the majority of the decacorns and whatever the level above that is, e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, etc. etc. etc. The below video perfectly shows why European lawmakers should care about unicorns. And I would argue: much more than they do.
Sifted: ‘My biggest mistake was taking the company public’: Brunch with Babylon’s Ali Parsa
Kai Nicol-Schwarz put out a great interview with Babylon’s founder on their SPAC deal and dealing with the pressure of leadership and how he’s changed in two decades as an entrepreneur.
I’ll leave a couple of quotes standing here together with a warm recommendation to read it - and a huge acknowledgement of his bravery.
“As the CEO of a public company I have to choose my words carefully,” Ali Parsa says after a brief pause. “I should be given the award for the worst time and worst method of taking a company public.”
“We’re dealing with a generation of investors and entrepreneurs who have never seen tough times,” Parsa says “They were not around for the [dot com bust], their mummy and daddy put them through Eton and they ended up in Oxford. They have no coping mechanisms — apart from panic
This week’s funds 💵
🇦🇹 Fund F by Female Founders - €20m, fund 1, diversity - Vienna
🇫🇷 Satgana - €30m, fund 1, climate-tech, first close - Remote/Paris
🇧🇪 V3 Ventures - €100m, fund 1, 🌍 Global, consumer - Brussels
🇫🇷 Shift4Good - €100m, fund 1, sustainable mobility - Paris
🇫🇷 CosmiCapital by Karista - €38m, fund 1, 🌍 Europe, space - Paris
This week’s hires 👩💼
💻 Planet A Ventures - VC Analyst - Online
🇬🇧 Giant Ventures - VC Analyst - London
🇬🇧 Ananda Impact Ventures - VC Analyst / Associate Tech - London
🇪🇸 VentureFriends - VC Associate / Principal - Madrid
🇬🇧 Entrepreneur First - Polaris Founder Fellowship - Cambridge (UK)
🇩🇪 Westerwelle Foundation - Program Manager - Berlin
🇩🇪 27pilots - Venture Associate - Munich
🇩🇪 468 Capital - Finance Associate - Berlin
🇪🇸 Nauta Capital - VC Analyst Internship - Barcelona
🇩🇪 Allianz X - VC Internship - Munich
🇩🇰 byFounders - VC Internship - Copenhagen
🇩🇪 High-Tech Gründerfonds - Senior Investment Manager - Berlin
🇳🇱 Endeit Capital - VC Internship - Amsterdam
🇩🇪 Comgy - Chief Revenue Officer - Berlin
🇺🇸 3x Capital - Partner - Miami
🇺🇸 H/L Ventures - MBA Investment Internship - New York City
Thx for reading and being awesome 💗 we love you for it.
That gif of VCs learning DD cracked me up