Edit: I stopped working with 500 startups late 2016.
I’ll invest in startups as a Venture Partner for 500 Startups
TL;DR: I’m joining 500 Startups as a venture partner and will invest in European startups. As part of this, I’ll run an AngelList syndicate where accredited investors can join every deal I’m doing.
My main activity will continue to be at AngelList, where we are rolling out syndicates in more countries in Europe, and are scaling up deal flow in great European startups. I’m excited to be investing again and can’t wait to back some great companies.
How did this come about?
I’ve worked with Dave and the team at 500 Startups for years now, since visiting the 500 offices in Mountain View and San Francisco during my Seedcamp days. I love the team, and I love the approach of building a huge portfolio across the world. I’ve helped organise some Geeks on a plane and 500 Startups events in Berlin, and When Bedy & Dave approached me to help them find exciting startups in Europe, I didn’t have to think twice. Like AngelList, they’re working on shaking up the venture capital industry (Disclosure: 500 is also an investor in AngelList), and make things better for founders everywhere.
What does that mean? Are you a VC now?
I’m thinking of this more like angel investing, and it will not be a full time effort. I will make a limited number of investments, and will mostly invest in companies and founders in my extended network. I have learned that I get access to the best deals that way. I will support companies I’m investing in like a good angel investor should – focusing on support for the founders and the preparation of the next round of funding.
What kinds of deals will you do?
I like investing in great founding teams that know what they’re doing – founder/market fit is probably my most important criteria for investing.
I am not confined to a certain industry. However, my thinking remains the same as I have laid out on my AngelList profile:
“My investment strategy is to back founders that are scrappy, absolute nerds about what they are doing, and great engineers and designers.”
Founders and companies I’ve previously worked with like this are Geoff & Julia at EDITD, Kristo & Taavet at Transferwise, Jörg, Kai and Christoph at Lieferando, and Ankush & Arush at Try.com. Hundreds of other entrepreneurs I’ve spent time with at AngelList, Seedcamp, and DuMont showed me that personal passion and unique insights from previous experience are a killer combo that is hard to beat.
I like consumer products that have an excited early user group, I like SaaS products that are helping companies focus on their core competencies, and I like “prosumer” products that make people better at what they do, be it professionally or in their hobbies.
I don’t like drive-by founders, non-technical teams, or clones. All of these often result in boring companies that are easily replaced by a better financed competitor.
My focus will be on Berlin and London, since I’m there most often, but will also look at companies from other places in Europe, since great founders come from everywhere.
Can I co invest with you?
Yes, join my syndicate. Now, let’s get back to work.
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