How many years have you been a Founder and been in your current role?
I've been a former founder for 10 years and an investor now for 5 years.
Are you a first-time or serial Founder?
What's your backstory. How did you come to be where you are today?
I started my career building startups back in 2009 and have been in three co-founding teams since. After building companies for a decade my curiosity took me to the other side - investing. My experience at Startupbootcamp managing ecosystem and portfolio took me to Founders Factory’s investment team, and after that I joined early stage fund The Venture Collective. I’ve been investing for five years now, mainly through funds and accelerators but also as an Angel. The majority of my investments are in female founded or co-founded businesses. After numerous investment committees and hundreds of conversations with founders, I realised there’s a huge gap in European venture capital ecosystem - the lack of the venture capital funding flowing to female founders. That led me to build Sie, and I was very lucky to meet my Co-founder who had the same vision as I did.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Every day is different, and the journey so far has been quite a rollercoaster. You learn something new every day, and meet exceptional founders and investors. Meeting incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring people is probably the highlight of my career and current role.
What has been the lowlight of your career so far?
No matter how much you do, or what you achieve, it’s never enough!
How did you come across Landscape?
I met Joe via Backed VC community that we are both part of.
Biggest challenge right now/thing you need help on?
More time would be great. At this very moment we are actually looking for someone to join us at Sie for a 3-month fellowship to support our team over the next 3-4 months, getting experience interacting with founders and VCs, and learning on the way.
What's the biggest mistake you’ve made so far and what did you learn from it?
I try not to regret anything in my personal and professional career, therefore I don’t believe in big mistakes. I think we all have our own path to go through, and everything happens for a reason (as philosophical as it sounds). Starting my journey in the founding teams of startups when I was 21 and already leading big teams definitely taught me a lot. I wish I had a mentor, something I’ve never had and might have been useful throughout my career.
What piece of advice would you give to others who are in a similar role as to you?
Learn how to prioritize your time. It’s the greatest asset you have and incredibly important. I’m still learning how to do it the best way possible, and haven’t found a silver bullet yet.
What is the most frustrating thing you find about the startup fundraising ecosystem?
There’s a lot of bias and discrimination in the processes, and very little transparency. Venture Capital is still operating primarily on hype and FOMO. We also have a bit of a mindset problem in Europe when it comes to taking bets in early stage startups and ideas. We don’t have enough VCs with deeper pockets who are willing to take the risks early enough but instead tend to double down on the safest bets.
What you would like to see change in the startup fundraising ecosystem within the next 5 years?
I’d love to see more transparency, more equality and more money flowing into the early stage. I hope to see more funding going into businesses that are trying to solve the real problems, big problems that our society and climate is dealing with.