As every year over the Christmas break, I took a step back to reflect on the areas where I added the most value as a VC to my founders with the aim of doubling down on these in the coming year.
(Featured Image: Yannick Oswald, Principal at Mangrove Capital Partners / Image Credit © Silicon Luxembourg / Anna Katina)
My 2019 resolutions are simple:
‘Spend even more time with my companies – even more attention, even more cheerleading.’
‘Listen even more carefully to founders, discover their unique insights.’
Four founding teams gave me the opportunity and trust to partner up with them in 2018. All four of them pitched me a unique insight that blew me away. Three were in spaces that I had been looking at for a while (elderly care, audio entertainment, healthcare) and one in a space that I had not focused on directly (AI powered SaaS in the workplace).
‘These insights are unknown unknowns. They are simple, but extremely powerful ideas that, if unlocked, will provide us with new ways to solve massive problems and make trends come alive, much quicker than anticipated.’
Let’s be clear. VCs like to talk about how they can predict the future, but they don’t really… Great VCs are good at identifying the best innovations among the many that they come across and at figuring out if the near future is ready for them. They may use trends they believe in as a filter but the true super forecasters are the entrepreneurs.
The true visionaries are the founders out there with unique and realistic insights – secrets that others do not see, but which, if implemented correctly, will have a material impact on the world.
Where early stage VCs come in is the ‘if implemented correctly’ part. It is our job to help bring those secrets alive, move the product from concept market fit to product market fit to a scalable business model (yes, startups are real businesses 😉). It is our job to provide this direction and advice. These four brilliant founding teams chose to partner up with us this year because they value our knowledge and network in four areas (in no particular order): business models, storytelling and brand building, fundraising and recruitment.
So ask yourself: What special secret did you discover that others do not see or do not want to see? Do you think that this insight could be the foundation of something big? 🤷♂️ 🧐
Opportunities are everywhere – it’s just that most people are too busy focusing on winning by someone else’s rules (‘We are the Uber for Massages’ or ‘We are like WhatsApp for Healthcare’) to truly look. When you discover a secret, most people are not going to give you very much encouragement. This is where we come in. If you think you are on to something, let’s discuss what story, brand narrative, product and business model we can build based on this special insight. Looking forward to hearing from you!