Posts tagged ‘Development Stage’

My personal paradigm shift: from an entrepreneur to a Venture Capitalist

From 1999 until the end of 2006 I founded several technology startups. I am also a business angel and have invested in several startups since 2001. During this time I learned a lot about the startup business. How to raise money? How to build execution driven management teams? How to market products? And how to work with VC’s? (I painfully felt the drawbacks as well as the joys of having a VC investor on the advisory board.) I also learned how to bootstrap a startup as well as how to sell a company (exit). And a lot more…

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In 2007 I joined Target Partners, a Munich based Venture Capital firm, as a Venture Partner. Since then I fully immersed myself as an investment professional and was always treated as part of the team. Early this year, I joined Target Partners as a new Partner.

People often ask me how to become a venture capitalist and why I decided to become a VC instead of founding or joining another company. To be honest – it just happened.

After two years of working on the other side of the table as a VC I have to emphazise that this move was a rather large paradigm shift for me. The entrepreneurial mind-set is more like “Yes, I can fix it” or “Come on, just do it”. As a VC I can’t operationally work in a startup as part of management, meaning, “I won’t fix it”. The entrepreneur/management team members are responsible for the operative business. In my new role “I have to let go”. Now, I am standing on the sidelines watching the game and hoping that my advisc, tips and voice might be heard and used by the team.

Seen it – done it

However, let me point out one important quality a VC should have. This insight is based on my work with VC’s as an entrepreneur as well as my experience working as a VC over the last two years:

  • A good VC should have an entrepreneurial background.

Sure, there are exceptions, but statistics show that a good VC usually has a background which includes growing companies and/or developing and marketing products and services. Why? Because he will understand the needs, the problems, the daily work of a startup much better than a VC who has only seen it from the sideline and wasn’t part of the game.

Is the entrepreneurial background and experience enough to make a good VC investor? Definitely not! Venture Capital is a detail driven business, which demands additional talents and skills (e.g. curiosity, networking, accuracy, gut feeling, readiness and a lot more).

Conclusion: It was the right move

During the last two years I have enjoyed working with driven and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. I have seen interesting business cases and some not so interesting ones. I will focus on this chapter in an extra post.

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March 29, 2009 at 9:22 am 2 comments


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This blog is a view from an VC investor, entrepreneur as well as from a private person. You'll find posts about Startups, Technology, Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship and about life and fun. If you enjoy and if you don't please send me your critical comments.

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