Reflecting over a year of venture capital around the world while jetlagged
First of all I really need to thank my partners and our LPs for the journey so far. I am incredibly lucky to be able to invest in entrepreneurs around the world, and give them hands-on help in the forming stages of their startups.
Series A/B+ rounds are exciting because you really see hypergrowth and impact, but at Seed you see ideas germinate, being validated, and something created out of nothing. I loved this part as an entrepreneur, and love it at scale as an investor.
After 12 months of Zeroth there are few things I have observed, and wanted to share them in no particular order:
- There is a generational gap, and it’s around the world. Millennials are digital natives, use phones as computers and not as phones, and don’t want to deal with the broken infrastructure of their parents. They expect stuff to work, and not have weird physical forms, wait for information that can be accessed immediately. Services that will cater to that generation and will speak their UX language are going to be the titans of the next decade. Incumbents that do not change quickly are going to be reduced in size to the point of unsustainability.
- Some businesses are going to have several competitors in their regions, while others are going to be the sole supplier of a specific technology on a global basis. The hard is figuring out which is which, and have us on the venture side give the correct advice.
- SoftBank is really disrupting the whole venture stack. I don’t know what is going to happen next.
- In general, I am discovering the depths of my ignorance, and so far it’s bottomless.
- Entrepreneurs are coming up from all over the world, I interviewed CEOs from every continent for the Zeroth 04 cohort. Most of the time these founders do not have any support from their governments (Finland being the obvious exception). They all have the same needs, so accelerators can work at scale.
- Germany has the weirdest laws for early stage financing. As a result one portfolio CEO relocated to another country to start a company, and we avoid investing in the country if possible for now.
- There is a lot of activity in the startup space in every country we operate in. And there is a healthy angel investor/VC scene. Unthinkable 10 years ago. At the same time the global players fail to engage and localize their offering.
- There are some problems that exist in developing countries, that are enormous, and that we don’t really think about in EU/NA. I have funded a couple of companies working towards solving them and they have attracted significant funding from top tier investors. This is going to be a recurring theme in venture funding.
- I invested in @profjeffjarvis’ new startup, and everything we tweeted (one investor calling it “Tinder for documents”, or discussing adding a cryptocurrency gambling mechanic to document sharing) really happened unironically.
I’m sure there is more, but I have slept 8 hours since Monday so that’s it for now.