On exit strategies and their role in VC with Jonathan Sibilia, Partner at Molten Ventures & EUVC Awards Judge 🧑‍⚖️

On why way too many investors are focused on “doing deals” vs generating DPI, how Jonathan shows up as an LP, and why competition between LPs is way overrated by most.
Transcript

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Today, we are joined by Jonathan Sibilia, Partner at Molten Ventures and one of the judges at the European VC Awards. He is an important player in our ecosystem as one of the main LPs. He has made over 80 fund investments, 2200 underlying portfolio companies with Molten Ventures, and 2B in AUM.

Jonathan joined Molten Ventures in 2009. Prior to joining the company, he was a senior associate in the technology group at Jefferies International, advising on high-profile cross-border M&A, debt & equity offerings.

Previously, he worked at Rothschild & CIE in Paris. He also worked at Apax Partners Corporate Finance in France. Jonathan holds an MA in Management from EM-Lyon and the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and an MA in Advanced Corporate Finance from the University of Paris IX Dauphine.

Molten Ventures is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, developing and investing in disruptive, high-growth technology companies.

Watch it here or add it to your episodes on Apple or Spotify 🎧

Scroll on ⏬ For the chapters & core learnings 🧠

The European VC Awards are about community and collaboration, and your involvement is key. Nominate before February 28th, and you’ll join in our raffle for a free ticket to SuperVenture. Your nominations will help shape the awards & ensure they truly represent the best of European VC.

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Chapters:

  • 00:01:42 The Journey into Venture Capital

  • 00:06:08 The Role of a Public Model

  • 00:13:43 The Future of AI in Venture Capital

  • 00:19:46 The Importance of Exit Strategies

  • 00:20:13 The Role of Founders and VCs in Exit Strategies

  • 00:33:07 Understanding the Importance of Realizing Gains

  • 00:33:43 The Philosophy of De-risking Investments

  • 00:35:03 The Reality of Today's Investment Environment

  • 00:35:45 Shout Out to Collaborative Partners in the Ecosystem

  • 00:36:45 The Importance of Collaboration and Sharing in the Ecosystem

  • 00:38:51 The Role of LPs in Building the Ecosystem

  • 00:42:06 The Challenge of Making Venture Capital Understandable to All

  • 00:42:27 The Mission to Democratize Retail Investing

  • 00:44:26 The Importance of Trusting Your Instincts and Talent

  • 00:55:58 Tips for Emerging VCs: Differentiation and Discipline

  • 00:58:20 The Counterintuitive Truth about Venture Capital

  • 00:59:51 Closing Thoughts and Uncommon Beliefs

Q: Advice for a 10-year-old younger self.

  1. Trust yourself.

Buy more bitcoins. 10 years ago I did, but not enough.

So, trust your instinct, your ideals and your talent if they lead you towards something. In our field of work, your IP is your judgment. This is your product, your asset, and if you don’t trust yourself, nobody will do it.

Back in 2001, I tried to start my own company. I was still in school, and doing it with a friend of mine. We built a network for students, pretty much what Facebook was 3-4 years later.

We were taking picture of people, and gave them the ability to comment on them. It was called Planet TM. We thought we have something, and we tried to go to ask a few people and raise 5000 EUR. We failed, but deep down I knew we were on into something.

We closed the project because we couldn’t raise the money, and each of us went into different directions. Not raising the money killed out motivation. People didn’t believe in us, so we thought it’s never going to work.

We should have trusted more our instincts, and what we were doing. So, my advice is to follow your dreams, no matter what, or you might regret it later.

  1. Have a sense of urgency.

I think most people underestimate what they can do in one year, or in 10 years.

Take a step back and think carefully about things. Give yourself some time. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. A marathon with a lot of hudles.

Q: What are your top tips for emerging VCs across Europe who are fundraising?

Ask yourself why you are different. What’s that unique thing you bring to the table?

If you don’t have a track record, fundraising might be an unphill battle. The lack of a track record can be compensated in my opinion by exceptional vision and talent in different ways.

In this case, what makes me very interested is someone coming with a very different approach, something unique. I’ll also add what I said before, to trust your instincts. I call it the power of three D’s. Drive. Determination. Discipline.

I think it’s also impotant from time to time to break your own rules. Don’t do it all the time because rules matter, but have the flexibility needed.

One last think I would add is to not raise more capital than what you think you can deploy with discipline. We’ve seen it in our program, funds that have returned and raised significantly higher, but doesn’t necessarily more performance.

Q: What’s the most counterintuitive thing you’ve learned in venture?

This is going to be controversial, but I think in an industry where ego is usually very high is that we are not the kings of the lands. VCs are not the kings of the land. We just count it.

Obviously, we’re not philathropists, so we need an exit at some point, right? Most of the time, however, we are making it about ourselves, and I don’t think that should be the case. That is why I always shy away from events, podcasts, and things like that.

It’s not about me. It’s about the entrepreneurs. It’s about the people I am trying to serve and help.

Q: Your uncommon belief.

You talk to many different people looking for capital, right? The only thing that they talk about is track record, track record, track record. When it comes to dollar returns.

There’s not a lot of people in our ecosystem that have a truly great longstanding track record of returning proper capital to their Lps, especially in early-stage. There are a few, and I am glad we backed them.

But, what I am hearing is a disproportionate sales pitch compared to what actually has been done. Which makes me think about this. You’re talking to people, and you’re like, «Wow, you must be so rich!», when in fact you haven’t returned a single dollar to investors.

It’s controversial, and I can probably get killed for that online, but that’s okay.

👋 Upcoming in-person events we’re hosting

There’s nothing we like better than getting Europe’s best and brightest together around good food, drinks and conversations that go truly deep.

Fund Modelling Workshop & Mixer | 11th of March | 🌍 London, UK | Join waitlist.

Fund Modelling Workshop & Mixer | 5th of June | 🌍 Berlin, Germany | Join waitlist.

European VC Awards | 4th of June | 🌍 Berlin, Germany | Get tickets.

📺 Virtual events we’re hosting

From time to time, a podcast is just not enough. Check out our roundtables and live events below.

Fireside chat with the Winner of the Hall of Fame | 25/6, 12-1 PM | Register here.
Hear firsthand from a true giant upon whose shoulders the European tech ecosystem stands tall.

Investing & scaling in Romania and beyond | March 18th, 12-1 PM | Register here.
Speakers: Bogdan Iordache, Founding Partner at Underline | Karolina Mrozkova, General Partner at Credo Ventures | Dan Mihăescu, Founding Partner GapMinder | Jakob Stein Investor at Creandum | Enis Hulli, Founding Partner at 500 Emerging Europe | Marius Istrate, ex-UI Path CPO & Chairman at TechAngels

🗓️ The VC Conferences You Can’t Miss.

There are some events that just have to be on the calendar. Here’s our list, hit us up if you’re going, we’d love to meet!

0100 Conference DACH | 📆 28 - 29 February | 🌍 Vienna, Austria

Odense Investor Summit | 📆 13 - 15 March | 🌍 Odense, Denmark

0100 Conference Europe | 📆 16 - 18 April | 🌍 Amsterdam, NL

SuperVenture | 📆 4 - 6 June | 🌍 Berlin, Germany

Nordic LP Forum & TechBBQ | 📆 September | 🌍 Copenhagen, Denmark

North Star & GITEX Global | 📆 14 - 18 Oct | 🌍 Dubai, UAE

GITEX Europe 2025 | 📆 23 - 25 May 2025 | 🌍 Berlin, Germany


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