WE Founders
WE Founders

Episode 路 1 year ago

WE Founders e6: The Changing Face of the European VC Industry


Ivana Jelic is an experienced 饾棭饾棖 饾椂饾椈饾槂饾棽饾榾饾榿饾椇饾棽饾椈饾榿 饾椇饾棶饾椈饾棶饾棿饾棽饾椏 & 饾棪饾榿饾棶饾椏饾榿饾槀饾椊 饾棓饾棻饾槂饾椂饾榾饾椉饾椏. Gaia Montelatici and Ivana talked about her experience from founding her own business in Brazil to managing the investment portfolio in VCs.

Find out more about the changes that the venture capital industry is undertaking and which benefits can we expect. 

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Host: Gaia Montelatici 

Guest: Ivana Jelic 

Produced by: Impact Hub Belgrade 

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Welcome to the we founders podcast. We are women entrepreneurs, founders and investors, sharing our stories about how we raise funds, invest and build our businesses from the Western Balkans. I'm your host, Guy Montelatchi, general partner at studio ex ventures. Even I is really someone that has a lot to share with us. She's from Nawistad. A while back, when she was before her twenties, she left on different adventures that took her from an international degree to building her business and into the vic world, and she really is one of the very few women in this industry and I'm really proud of her for that, and I have a lot of questions about how she's been joining the adventureship with her entrepreneurship. So even I know that, you know, we have a lot to talk about. I don't want to take too much time introducing you, but I would love for you to share with us a few words about yourself and then jump rid into your first adventures and how I actually they've been shaping and driving your your professional career. Sure. Hello everyone. Hello Guya. It's a great pleasure to be here and thanks a lot again for the invite. We had a chance to meet very recently but cleaved very well. I would say. I'm very honored to be invited to be here. I am from AVA. Sad left when I was seventeen. Since then have been going around a little bit. Say I was very lucky and fortune to be able to code finish last year of my high school in the UK stay there to study. Couldn't decide on one thing, so thematic and chemistry decided. I was not really born to be an next Albert heinsign or whatsoever discover something important. So I was in finals and law. Finals was a short term way. So I went to IM period of the master finance and back then somehow everybody was going into banking. Unfortunately, started world was not such an obvious choice. I wish was, and I went then into banking. I was there for a year and half. In London. I was looking for an invest in bank with the purpose, so I went in out of the bank. Didn't really do much purposeful things, but that's fine. I saw products who could do a corporate such as ness, Latekenn etc. And then I was twenty five and had a big train to live in Latin America. Ideally would have been transfer by the bank, but they didn't really want to transfer me because he didn't speak a word of Portugiese. They wanted to transfer the Chili, which is not exact. Can say is Brazil. Then I went alone for an adventure on absolute yeah, this creation of my parents is you can imagine. Who told we sent you to a country like UK you would end up in Switzerland and I are going to Brazil, but I'm happy. But RESIL, why Brazil? You want to? It's a good question. And when I still cannot answer, because I was the biggest. I lended theirs of how low and was interviewing for jobs in all the investing banks and Resil was just going very commediently into the recession, so very good timing and the biggest set the business. quasure was always why? Why would we leave London? Why would we a stable job? It was just my mother would say, because I was for eighty eight and there was the Song Blambada. They came out of eight eighty nine. I would like absolutely memorizing. Wanted the TV and dad and she said it's all fult to that song. She like that explanation? I don't know, but something through me...

...there. It was very much of that feeling, I have to say, and I'm happy I followed it. Also I was in an age for that, even though the timing was really wrong, but I have to say emerging markets go to women bus but simply I said twenty five now, it's now the time. Well, obviously there was a World Cup in Olympics also coming along, so I thought it was a simple kind in terms of that. So I learned Portuguese really quickly because you can't really get along with English there, and finally enough, working small fund very short time and then was invited to join the bank because of learn language. In the meantime there are had a very interest position which was structuring in product so I got to go to the random at parts of Brazil to visit this huge soil being shorter producers which kind of have a land size of Serbia, so that was very interesting, and go go to a lot of exposure to the country, to culture, etc. After around two and a half years or so, because I haven't really went to work in a bank, I always wanted to to have my own business and I was always very drawne to food, just maybe also being from Voivodina, and when I was five, I said I would, I would produce food and exported. So I think I had this idea there is this part of the world which has amazing natural resources, produce so much, but somehow only experts commodities to Germany and Netherlands and then they had the value and they just export grows stuff, or maybe Hawai honest, but that was about it. So I said I would like to find this more producers and work with them and help them to export their products and brands to European market, Asia, your America, etc. That didn't really go for a little the plant. It doesn't, because I found this small producer in the south and then they offered really so other product into do idea what it was, great powders I. I took it and went to La to trade there and offered it to everybody, even able n what it was, but all ask me the same thing. They're like, you have a say, do you have come Cammo? So I went like to solve owl and Google though this stop, what is that now, and found this whole world of ingredients, and this is really where everything started, like my business, but we can go into that later. From Brazil, I left Brazil because I thought it was the right time to dig it, because I started missing Europe and I started missing everything functioning, even though I was making found resilience first two years, but that's nothing special, that everything functions. But obviously there are parts of lifestyle and things will they for granted in Europe, like safety, being able to walk at night at ten alone, that I started to miss and it was always a plan to come back. Some very close with my family and want to want to be closer to them, which is when I actually went back. was been between Brazil and serve. The actually comes to business, we can go into that a little bit later, and some learnings from there, and then ended up in Paris and then, very accidentally, in Munich. So and this is where I'm currently and we'll probably stay, as hard as it sounds, but even I tell me a little bit more about Your Business. You know, what is it now? What's happening? Who is running it? How long did it take you to make it into a sustainable business? What's happening there? Yeah, so a few contracts are still running that are kind of legacy contracts for me, but let me say a little bit what it was. So essentially, the idea of it. Haven't seen how difficult it was for me to find suppliers of these specific ingredients, which are essentially organic ingredients. So their relations of exotic fruits, mainly from amazonainfest the mean mainly from brasilient per rule d are used in food industry, also in hosbetics industry, so that would be powders, pops, all those etc. So the idea of the business was to centralize the sourcing of these...

...ingredients from different Latin American countries, from reliable suppliers, and also to combine the shipments and send it to Europe us and, as I mentioned, it was one client in Singaporeum as one client in Hong Kong. It went well. It was a very nontechy business. I have to emphasize that the utalily was better relationship based because essentially on one side there or suppliers, smaller or larger, in Latin America, and intend to speak English when I re experty. So there was a lot of also the whole learning and and kind of how do you export? What? What are different regulations countries, etc. And then there was there was almost the buyers, which imports, distributors. So food companies, that the companies, etc. It went well. It was profitable pretty much from the beginning, which is very unusually startup world. Take doubts at least, but it was also limited into a scalability and the problem with that kind of business is that you're in the middle of the supply chain and and or you actually find the production, which was stricky one, because I suppliers in the most reliable ones. There were long problems and on the other side, or you actually import, and that was a point where I said, do I important Serbia, like what survey is not EU doesn't make sense. I had employees, actually had an office in a sad so the company was in Brazil and also registered in in in Serbia. And that was actually point, probably hard decision of my life was to walk away from me, to leave it where it is, to honor those contracts that there's still were going on and those ones that still had like year two, three of like actually shipments. But then I said or the third option actually was to have my own friend. I was going to international trades pretty much every second month all around the world for my late Hong Kong, which was great, but there was so much of everything in the market that I quite frankly, it was that point where you look at it all and nothing really feels right. And this is where BC came along, which was a five seasons when US Food and every fund from Paris was a new fund, and I kind of said this is a great opportunity. Let me see, like, let me jump off and maybe there is more things I need to learn in order to be actually successful entrepreneur, because looking back, it would it takes some time. I think anybody who's been to that can relate. It's very easy to see it's a failure. Then, after some time and also identifiers up, look with the company, which is a mistake I did, and then to also look at Oh my God, I mean every see mistake in the book of entrepreneurship, but then when you look back to realize it's very classic mistakes for first time pound there and there's a lot of learnings that actually today's we see I can also apply. So absolutely, but that's a big shift. By being a founder and now I actually sitting on the other side of the table. You know, brought the first bactive of someone who is used to the side. You know, what are the worthy business of for investments, you know. So what does it take to to to that mind shift and maybe actually, you know, it's really something that entrepreneurs and founders can take back to the vcy world and they can sort of strengthen it more. Yeah, well, I think. Well, let's got it this way. I didn't really know much about easy world and I was very lucky to join actually a new found that was just creating investment strategy and even though I...

...have a very similar specific topics and entrepreneurial residence, I had a chance to ship to a partner who had twenty five years of experience. So I had I had a chance to learn a lot from his stories, but also to see that, because my view, quite friendly before, was investors are just evil people. They come in, they give you money, they take stick in your company, they tell you what like. This was my very ignorant way of looking into it. They all think that way when their entrepreneurs and founders. Of Yeah, probably, but then I learned that a good investor can and add so much tribule, so much because investor has been there, has seen so many, so many different business models, and you in nevitively from many things you see you applied them to your portfolio companies. Also, the more experience they have, like they seemed pretty much whole. So many things in a different or maybe get stuck a VC special experience, v see and really find a solution very, very easily. So today I believe, and again I don't think every startup and I don't think every business is should be reasy bact. You should go for reasy funding. Like my type of business I did absolutely was not this and I would never have invested in my business because it's this wasn't scalable about so it didn't really I almost anything I look for, starting with the one thing. I was the only founder, which, if I was doing it again, I would have never done it. But few learnings that I took and I think those apply maybe regard regardless. It's that business, in which kind of sector, that I'm very now about. When they look at the teams, and also when working for the companies, is, as I mentioned, you don't invest in one one under you expect the team, because it's the team that makes it. And, for example, big red flag would be somebody's one man show kind of thing. Sometimes you really have man of three teams that there's the one man showed, because one wants decide everything, which is never put the every good thing. Second would be ahead of vision. But now looking it wasn't clear enough and it needs to be clear enough, it needs to be big enough and it needs to be then broken down into what and how can that be achieved? And I think at some point, and maybe that also happens to other runners, they head it, but somehow things change and then they lose a vision, and that's a very winter situation to be because even if business is running and going well, unless you know where you're heading to, kind of how are you going to ride? And the third thing, which I think is very useful, as D see, because investing in rather seriously a stage where you already have subtractions on customers and stuff, I've learned how easy it is to fool yourself by thinking you have this big pipeline, says pipelinees, this funnel and these are the qualify leads and stuff, and at the end of the day the only thing that matters who actually converse into customers, which once you actually monetize. And it's very easy to get caught up and busy in this whole thing with this is moving, especially to be because I think be to be right. I was saying to forward, essentially, which most of those are that unworked. We also do. You have a lot of stakeholders. You need to navigate them. You can get stuck with people's that cannot make a decision, lose a lot of time and I think this learning has been really helpful because now I can actually look and be like, okay, this is the pipeline, but what's actually happening, like, are we actually moving somewhere or we need to change this its charge. Yeah, so I'm going again a bit deeper into your experience in working in the vacy world.

How do you see me changing? You know, there's a lot of talk about, you know, the democratization of the industry, the diversification of the industry. Now, you know in in the corona world, you know a lot of my advisors, you know tell me you know it's not anymore at the time of the dinosaurs, it's the time of the mice, you know. So let's stop thinking in terms of Amazons and googles. We can not only build those, right. Do you see these sort of philosophy, reasoning, modeling going in that direction. What's happening. So I think, and I've been speaking to I've been very lucky to now indistribution, speak to partners of some really great funds and here there, you or on the market and they've been in it for twenty, twenty five years. So there's a lot of wisdom there, a lot not see and some of them invested in the ninety nine before the doctor bubble, and they actually see that. They see the part they say that is the problem repeating, because there's a lot of money in the market, incredibly much. It somehow sees that everybody starting to Bec Fund like some sort of a recy fund, Invest Starters, which I think is great on one end because there's a lot more money, a lot more money to fuel and do fund innovation, and that also easy. A lot more startimes are being started, etc. So it's a boiler. But what we now see is the size of sea round is now a size pre see round the subside with rounds are getting a lot bigger, a lot more competitive. They there's a lot of form on on bceds to jump on that next uniform train. There is valuations that are high, high a lot of times on maybe you justify. There's some business models that are raising like incredibly much money that you sometimes wonder whine. So I'm a bit maybe contrarian when it comes to that and maybe if it's skeptical, because I think so. I think the good thing is that now we have a lot more players. So now I have accelerators, incubators, venture studious venture builders, microphones, it's like all sorts of things, which is great because that means industry is maturing and that means if you have more players in the game, so the startups can maybe today because you have a lot more specialized vcs. So, for example, impact these scenes, because impact investing topic is becoming huge and I believe also is the future organized that cave or too, because it has to be like they're being specialized. So like then you have health investors, then you have so I think that's great because that means that you can do more right matching, because actually there's the same in Paris. Like I've heard a lot that start up in investor when they speak, it's like dating and then there is a relationship because you know and then they decide to get married, because the truth is, you don't really get out of investment easy lie at all and you want to make the right decision. So I think on the first place their matched well enough. So it's, for example, let's with it this way. If a founder doesn't want to build the next Unicorn and the investor wants to invest only Unford the while, you have a mismatch and founder will be pushed into doing things the way they don't necessary envision for their business. Investor will become frustrated and you you have a problem. So I think in that sense it's a good thing. Maturing market, more players, more money, but the bubble of huge valuation and huge rounds and today the success is how big year round is. I's not something I necessarily... positive because also not every business can be a unicorn and should not be a unicorn. And I think we have what we need to do in Europe, especially because it's lugging behind the US. We need to have first time founders that then exit. So what, since two hundred and twenty million exits a bad business and bad, bad, bad, anything right, and then they will become second time found a turn them are age investor. So again you get the bull rolling and the system becomes more and more mature, etc. So I believe that also another factor is dead as badly is not have enough money to start up. Having too much money is equally as bad, because that I've seen this first hand. They some poppy don't really need to reduce ravenue because they will have so much money like laying there. Yes, they can scale their cost but the deployment of money in these big rounds and I will be cautious. And the third thing. I believe that, and going forward, I think it's going to be more emphasized on novel Ubers that make incredibly big loss on expense of reseas that are funding it and a few other examples. But they also now push to raise prices and become go towards profitability. I think they will be expectations to come to profitability rather sooner than later. Yeah, I think that's a positivity. Yeah, no, I w with you totally. You know that. In terms of monetization, I think that that's a much, a much more strength and focus right now. What we say usually is, you know, let's Takeok, take little money right now, and so what you can do with that. So it's great that you can do a lot of things with smaller money. So then you're ready right for for the next for the next round, and you come with much better valuation, which is which is not inflated right as as you were saying. But you know, going back again, I'm you know, I don't know many women right who work in the VC world and you told me yourself that you were really the only one in the table, of the table with other colleagues of yours. So do you see that this is sort of changing right now in Europe at there are more women jumping on that train. Does that reflect into some decisionmaking processes? Are Investment decisions better from the VC side, or is it too early to sort of to sort of assess such things? I think changing, but I think it's slow. It has more to do and me being the only actually the funds where I've been at worse sort of well diversified in terms of the team's problem was more management team sides. So the whole board meeting and I've actually seen very, very, very few times when there was a woman c level. How the whole Daynam exchanges, the way the business is talked about, it just really changes and I think if it's so so important to have a femail. I'm not a feminist. Is Not about that, and I believe you also don't invest in women. Just invest in it because she's a woman. Absolutely not. or a woman should work in a BAC. Just know. But I think you get the burst opinions, and this is really crucial. There was always this thing,...

...of which I think we mentioned Riley. There was always if more women were management wards of these banks, like the twenty crisis wouldn't have happened, because I think management, I think we very much complement each other, we need each other and but I think we have some maybe different skills to bring on a table and that's why I think it's really important, as as a woman, especially these man professions, not to try to be a man, because I think being a woman and seeing things maybe from sometimes more empathetic way, in different ways, in a different way, not better, not worth different, I think has a lot of value. In DC's there's definitely more money, there's like no no doubt about that, but I think there's few reasons for that. I think it will change, because we see has been changing because before, I mean I've had eight years of other experiences and then went to BEC sometimes I wonder why being I discovered earlier, but actually there is also value having done different things to bring value to the founders, you work with, etc. But today you could do an interest it. You can be twenty two, twenty three and going to receive the record from university. So I think they're it's going to come down to going forward to how does BC industry truck to women? So maybe it's going to be be similar, like called as investment banking. When I was starting there and I was the only woman on my graduate like amagic graduate class in the bank. How well do they try? Because they're specific professions, maybe a bit more intense, maybe I don't even know. So maybe people to specifically agrees go into it, maybe not whatever. So I think there is going to be a point of how many women go in, but then we have the same things like banking has. One thing is how many women going, but how many women the phone off in a mean time on the way? How many actually get management positions, in this case decision makers in DC's depends on the D see right, but essentially depending on to REC doesn't matter. Even more, your associate can influence the decision a lot, but ultimate decision makers are partners. So if you have partners, and I think this is also now changing, but if you have partners, for it's a fifty plus, and I can talk about more traditional college called like countries like I'm not currenty in. They have specific way of seeing things. Many Times this partner's actually we're not into the nurse. They came from banking, local southing or etc. And even if they are very eager to fire a women, once a woman comes to the stage through, let's say, become a mother, you have a problem because they expect that nothing is going to change. So you're still going to work called fourteen hours a day and you really just see, which is not possible because simply the prioritist is not going to be the same. With more flexibilities an option, that woman maybe would stay as an investor, wouldn't move out, but I think it would comes down to the mindset, because many of these partners, and I'm not saying this any but they their wives to care the children. They never had to adjust anything or what today you have more and more entrepreneurs and younger people, even thirty five, forty foot five, who had a very different experience when really have a lot more equal partner. So they have seen it when they have seen it first hand. There wives as they go to that. I I think the mindset and approach is very different. So I think it depends, at the end, which kind of culture you are joining. This, for example, for me now a very important one, for for like new position. I'm going to start you with the AX summer. It's also what is a mindset do I need to want to have a family? To I need to give a BBC, because that's actually that jump is really important for more women to become decision makers and also, of course, ultimately, for women to start their own bunch of funds. It's amazing. So tell us a little bit. How does...

...your day look like in the V see you work for? How do you manage the Portfil you? How? How do you work with the companies? I think we see is a say this is a very predictable job. I always joked it there was no there's no really way of landing the week, current day, because work, it startups, is always happen. They their own direction. So there's a lot of yeah, control Ike, but when it's trying to structure as much as possible, but then they're always urgency. This, I think, really depends when we see. That's really hard to generalize. I've been working with few perfor the companies, only six before the companies bear hands on most of the times, planting before the company is really helping them, from setting up reporting Kpis to working on specific topics with them, on strategy, going international markets, business development, like fundraising, like every possible type, and this is what I've loved because it's very operationally. It's like being the BC but with one leg in each startups really nice to combine entrepreneurship and that other side right because, as we see, the truth is it really makes sense to be an entrepreneur and going to Bec because you were focused on one business and then you have a chance to see if so many different businesses, so many different business models, to work with different companies, and what you do need to have is a thesis. So it's combination of being able to see the picture and then boiled down very much details and will keep this work. So you have to see the vision. At the same time you have to be it's a people's business. It's very much people's business. You need to be able to to assess the team as well. That after you need to be able to not going to say manage it gives you to manage them, but to help them in the best possible way, because management he just have found conflict someone founders and in all sorts of things right, it's just human behavior and human nature. So there is there is those those different things, and there is anolytical skills that come along even in early stage investing, which is a little bit more art and science, because you don't really have another data. But still you need to be able to look at them on that and you need to be able to assess, to find a logic, to find a patterns, to to say, okay, you need to be rational realistic, but then you have to be also optimistic, because otherwise you can always find and I had that an a started I found every business more than absolutely amazing. It's going to change the world. But then I became a lot more skeptical time and then I sweep they went into another extreme, I canto psychical, and then I said okay, so now I need to find a middle ground. There is always going to be potential risks, but in the other bench comptes a risky business right you're always going to have risks them. Things can go wrong. I think in early stage investing the end it's do you think that thing can make it so if any product changes, even in circumstance, can change it? Can that team, individually and together, actually executing pivot? Can They Change Direction? Can they are the culturable enough to also listen to other people's opinions and things like that? Because that's also where investors should come along, because in master is a high level support. It's not and it shouldn't be micro manager in the business that one really smart investor told me honest if I told I could run the business better than the farmers and microphity companies die, I would have invested in them, because what's the point? And I think it's that kind of fine combination. But no day is the same. So there can be days that there is a lot of pipeline calls, so called deal flow, a lot of new companies, and one can structure that by always doing that the specific one two days. There's a lot of obviously there's board meetings, there's...

...a lot of different sessions and some just once once with for fully companies. I believe there is also a lot of it's really important to do networking, so to say, and create relationships with other investors, because that's where the does, does deals all comes from. From my experience. So I would, for example, try to every week have I have someone once like with specific investors and we always exchange deal flow then with one on one every four weeks, and also get in touch and speak to new investors, few new investors, every week, and that has shown to be a very habit. It gets a nasty a lot right when you get into and the quortability parts. So what are the successes that you mentioned that you can share with us in portfolio companies or in work with with them both? So, because I've worked at very specific so very specific topics, I would say, and I think this is a this is a good approach to have, because you count. Again, you're not trying to do business that should be there should be clear line. You can be a spirit, spirit partner, you can work with specific teams and a specific thing that atteople call is there's but in my case I've been, for example, say, one company was building a sauce model with them very closely. Another one has been monthly, like something about to strategy, instance, is really like where we going? WHAT'S THE VISION? What's into year respos for years one, it's five years, and those are proper brainstorm sessions, like hours long, and it's incredibly fruitful because so many things, and also because once they have this level of trust and comfort to actually then really be themselves, because there's also a little bit of investors started between moved and just have they founder seam once in three months. The tendency is to be a little bigger case, allowing it to be to show the best picture possible. But when you're closer to them that they start opening up, and this is a bit very important because being a especially CEO, is a very lonely role. So I would find a successive when they call and they tell you their own problem and they're struggling with something, whether that's a team, whether whatever it is. I've always been really, really happy about that and those are kind of be seen the right maybe coaching majorship roles. There has been more difficult experiences, specially sus successful like reducing the burn ray and having to identify all the analyze on the cost of a company and literally decide what it's going to be cut and stuff like that, together with see a goal and Seeo. But then in the end the sometimes can be to the company, say financially. So that's also a success, even though a hard one. Then setting up, let's say, our health platform for specific company that kind of has a product and it's to evolved, and that really takes looking at the competitors, looking at different industries, coming up with ideas and then again, for example, that's been really great because my experience with co investors has been amazing and I think that's really also co invest respond specific for folio companies because, let's say, I've had the one is very like there's a also a lady in the in another fund that invested. And then see chief product officer was also the only woman on a Bantry team. So we had this like bi weekly eat easy, three of us, and it was great because it would be like so will be first, also natural. We would just throw ideas share screen. It was one zoom fortune your grown up, but so many Woldis came up for that, as so many, and they've been doing really well. So those are kind of peas.

There's a question from our audience. I think it's Alec and he's asking to share a little bit more about the management of the portfolio, especially in terms of the requirements of the startup, and maybe to sort of contact contextualize. You can tell us what kind of companies and what stage of development they're in, because obviously when we are here in the western Buntons, we always think in terms of very early stage, right, and usually if you here companies goes look for up to one million, more likely between three hundred and five hundredzero. So yeah, when it comes to management of portfolio, so it's a once you invested and I've never really had a stuis companies earlier than pre series a. So we're talking about stage that the company already has. Let's say last year would have already had an in caase half a million, depending a business prob that with maybe a billion revenue. So you would be really there is a product, Marty fate, there is a traction their first customers or depending on obviously health care is a bit tricky because sale cydements are so long. But then, please, their pilots in place, all eyes, things like that. At death stage, especially like that, there's a tendency to be the first kind of institutional master smart money. What happens that? Usually well, there is a board, but it still nes be in a bit set up. There is usually no really monthly reporting or anything like that, no really set keypis ETCA. So, for example, what I've done with all of them was to set up the monthly reporting and there's a lot of value. That actually can't sound really like I'm going but there is a lot better because it also helps them to track. So there is this how they strike unique structure. It simple, not too long, but it gives investors for some investors are up to date. And what happens when you do whether you send it monthly or you'll do a call also to explain. They're no surprises on board meetings that the pub of the were meeting is lost in that discussion. But there's also this thing of let's say you have hiring needs. Some he hied. It's a lot because then you can cook. There is a more regular communication and you can always have this let's say. We always this slide of like hr or and then they would be like we are currently looking for you know, we would ask for investors to suggest if they know somebody. Stuff like that. Also in comes to business development, we are looking for what our client do. Somebody have, doesn't matter what it is, while in healthcare is very specific, but I think that applies to any industry. And so there's that part, the more bureaucratic part, and one that's but once it's set up it works quite well and every tend to be happy. And then obviously there is this, as I said, but that really depends on investor because also people that have thirty before the companies, I mean, they can't really be involved that that much. So, as I said, it's rather specific topics. So strategies one I think investors can and do how po lot, especially because you are not involved on a daily level. So sometimes you see things in your don't because you just kind of have mu see the big picture. You're not so bung down in details. So something that can be beneficial. There is a hiring, especially key hires. There is the whole sale strategy, the all what I was also mentioned for sales funnel and stuff. So that's that's a really important one. And those deep dives are kind of should be very regularly done. And obviously country thing fundraising essentially starts one the last one is done but it's more about definition...

...of milestones. What has to happen until the next fund raising? What what needs to be achieved and what are the KPI? So those are kind of the most important ones and that sort of tracked. And then closer to fundraising before there's a lot of involvement, all lost. If a investor is invest you doing follow, then you're completely active involved in it right. So you know, you've sort of depicted up a picture, you know of what's happening. You've sort of explained to us, you know the profile of the companies, what you do and you know this trend of having more and more money on the market and what we see from the Western Batt and that is definitely an emerging market, is that there's going to be a lot more money in here coming. We are looking at at least three to five funds, you know, arriving and opening up in the next six months or so. The companies, a startups are more mature, and I've had a previous conversation with some founders and about this and they're more of Steven into preneurial type. You know, the people you were mentioning earlier on, the ones who started something failed, they sold something and now they are trying something. You know right, there's a lot of technical talent here. Yeah, and definitely everybody is is is recognizing this at an international level. What's your take from your perspective? You know, you're you know, inmmunate, your pretty post. You know geographically you're from here. Do what do you see in terms of opportunities? So I need to give this caver. I haven't really been very involved there and I've been a bit removed also in my current role. There's really unfortunity. Know there was my last rowing was really impossible to kind of even look at about them reaching or any other lit school its upping light countries in Europe. But and I started to become familiar with the region really from the beginning of this year and kind of followed the more and also getting touch, and there is also obviously Serbian entrepreneurs and participately with can those kannels and get to know some startups and some people getting after some of our see we all our entrepreneurs who've been in the US, etc. And kind of have this do want to either contributing system or start a company or whatever. I think that it's definitely maturing. Extremely happy to hear about, especially in the last few months, like the deal specific investments that I happened. Being local, patriotic, confusion. When it's not resid it's doing better. But, like like, I'm very happy to see that a lot of Serbia, the whole region, but also some exits something positions. I steel believe it's an overlooked, an underwear region. I still believe that only the great funds really go. It's still, and I believe this is there's a little bit of gap maybe in the markets, and this could be my view. Might not be the case because also I don't have it inside information was coming in me six months so maybe we are wrong, but I think that there is. So,...

...for example, and I've given an under a country that can rebe comparable, which is Portugal, and I hadn't been planned to move to Lisbon, but that didn't work out. I ended up a UNI so anyways, but I still love the country and I still know the old the least is there. So what I part from them is that there is this kind of there a small country and there is they also have a very similar syndrome. Again, same room. Not Everybody might agree with this, but of being a small country and kind of looking up to Germany, UK excep and being like well, you know, it's hard to bring an investment. So they have very similar problems, while, for example, German investors, I know because I've been suggesting some, some, some some Portugee startups, looked it from a different way. They say, but how can I contribute to them? I don't know the country, I don't really have a network Po Portugal or, let's say, Serbia. Well, I think it's a little bit of this match. It's not like necessarily don't want to invest, but they don't really know the market, they don't know the culture, they don't know the languages and all the people there is simply, and also they sometimes overlooked that the fact that maybe they're a German BC or French WEC or the KBC is maybe good enough because being in the specific country, for example, in Germany, let's say there's a health that started from Serbia. A German BEC knows has very good net been health care. A Serbian startup can never rely just in Serbia as a market. That's an advantage of small country. You really immediately think about international markets. Germans can have a privilege, a luxury to say, of apos of Germany. It's an eighteen mile of country, be like a people country. So I think there is a supportunity. So the models when they're good, and I read technical skills are great, our education is Great. I think we have a lot of deeptech models as well. So there is that part at people are really good, but there is a little bit of maybe tenidation with a lea. We don't really know the West, we don't really know the investors and investors kind of don't know them. So I think what can be a bridge, and maybe this is happening, but I don't know, is that we maybe need more investors in the cud like in the region. So there is south central menials, I mean there is, but there is very few. So maybe by having locally sees, local investors that have would contact investorn countries. So will be those first investors in preceding seed and, let's say good angels, which could be the Serbian successful entrepreneurs that have made it abroad, let's put it that way, or whatever. Then they can give that deal flow to these investors they know and it's a lot easier for German investor to have a good local partner. It's a lot of here effort that actually so many times they like, but we need a local recy to co investor. Yeah, and so I think that would be definitely a nice bridge. I haven't really received many models from the region, but, that said, not from eastern New York in general. When I put I can count your like one hand how many times I've reserved. That's, I think, been Slovenia and Poland. I don't about the helpeg specific world. Actually could do. Thank you for all your actually comments and sharing of what you think that structurally is missing into our ecosystem, and I couldn't agree more. It really is the seed investment seen and you know, I've actually you know, think that we can have a whole new discussion on our next pot cast about how that is coming about and what the opportunities are opening in that in that perspective, because something very interesting is is emerging...

...from from that perspective. I would love to ask you a last question from from my side to actually sort of move word discussion forward for next times. And you know you're interested into into meeting founders and and early stage start up companies from from Serbia, and you know I'm I'm thrilled by that and I would love for you to sort of share your motivation to do that and you know what you expect from from these experience. Sure. Well, I think I don't have any specific expectation, but I would love to. I did really very early. I never really directly work it sort even when I had an off stare, and I very much feel like I belong everywhere where I live, but I'm first informal Serbian. So I would love to somehow be involved and I always had that neat and now I've been kind of I'm finally go way through this whole BC career that I kind of stumbled upon a little bit in the startup I system. That's actually what I was just saying in the previous one. I think we have so much a problems, so much potential, but sometimes, and I think I've learned it on my own example and general, that matters the most is your mindset, in your approach. So I think, especially because many of them have so many scalable solutions, I think that our found Serbian and the region need to make it in bigger maybe need to be more optimistic when it comes to ads in these financial projections, because sometimes that's we're actually it fails off immediately when OVCC's and I've seen that now a few times. That's why I'm saying it now, that in five years the company is going to make ten million, and I can see that has so much more potential and can make ten times that. But if the founder doesn't see then there is a little bit of a problem there, right, and they always the same amounts, for we don't want to we want to under promise or deliver, which is always the best thing. Because, yeah, so I think my where I would like to be be help is what I was saying about this whole bridge between West and ease. There is all ongoing to help it, I think, with maybe experience from from from other countries and also experience from the season journey in and France just kind of will be also investor network when it comes to that. That's how I would like to contribute, but also because I've been now taking on some advising advisory roles as well, and those are all in very early stage startups, because that's actually what excites me the most, because there's the most to be helped and done in those stages. So I think in the whole product market fit in a whole creation or go to market strategy, especially in this case, go to market always needs to mean international markets. Why this market? Why not, etc. Obviously what needs to be achieved for next fundraising, because it fundraising is on a consequence. If you do everything right before and you have your good to market clear, then then and you do fundraising in a structural, a good way, then it's kind of you have the customers and you or you have a clear path how to get to them and you have a product, and so that's kind of the most important and is think what found should focus on. Right fundraising is a second crucial but comes as a concept that a nice feech that comes as a result of being clear on what's going to market. How is it going to be monetized, water, this revenue channets, etc. So those are the types of things that sometimes...'s a Besti it's very clear, but it's not percly responder, especially if you're reason for the first time. So I think this is something you maybe absolutely even a thank you for being our guest. It's the first time that people hear you and they'll hear you a lot more because we take you on your words for your advisory and mentorship. So thank you again so much. Looking forward to our to our next meeting and everybody. Thank you and again sorry for the power failure follow us on we founders donet. See you soon guy. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure. Thank you for following our we founders podcast. Subscribe to or Youtube Channel, listen to our episodes on podcast dot R S and founder, and check our websites for updates on we founderstnet.

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