The view from an outsider in the VC hemisphere.
I’ve been reading up a lot about Venture Capital funds of late, and while it has been an intimidating world to go through, I’ve realised that not all is as scary as it sounds. I’ve recently been taken into the fold of a uniquely operating Venture firm called Kavedon Kapital.
What makes it unique? It follows the principle of circular economics as its core philosophy.
I come from a scientific field where peer capability is central to having an experiential background, yet life’s twists and turns led me down a path of Sales and Marketing — and this bred a different type of creature. One that finds and seizes opportunities, but understands the tough technicalities of products, the market and everything in between. To top it all off, I had started my own business prior to the COVID-19 downturn, initially in order to bring in more income for myself, but the business, a media production company, is now 2 years strong and growing.
Now add this to an already diverse range of analysts and team members — each coming from different experiences — and put it together in a hand-picked unit. You have the Kavedon Kapital core team that analyses opportunities, understands scenarios from a different perspective and helps minimize the risks involved in making the right investment decisions.Having a multi-disciplined team that can bridge gaps between the investors and the founders is a crucial piece that is missing from most of today’s firms.
When approached by Kavedon — I was put through a series of interviews that sought out my ability to connect with people who did come from a financial background as well as bring in a fresh, outside-of-finance approach on business opportunities. My deep understanding of technology and science proved to be a boon with the team, who are skilled in their own respective fields. Through the process I was asked to go through over 30 pitch decks and select a couple of start-ups that held promise. I had selected 3 out of the 30 after a deep dive through the science and the business sense involved behind these 3. Today, one of those 3 are already receiving collaboration with the United Arab Emirates government and universities. (https://breathonix.com/dubai-to-roll-out-new-covid-19-breath-test-with-results-in-seconds/)
Curiosity, optimism, analytical yet hungry and being a constant asker of ‘Why?’ are some of the traits seen in the best of Venture Firms to date — this great article by Teddy Citrin provides a lot of insight into someone in a similar situation. A lot of great leaders in the industry came from diverse backgrounds with little to no prior experience in the field they were getting into — (Read: Tesla, Uber, AirBnb and more)
Venture firms have largely followed the first principles set in the late 1940’s by General Georgies F. Doriot, often referred to as the father of Venture Capital. Kavedon Kapital is gearing towards disrupting the old models of ‘Buy and Sell’ to a more sustainable approach in this field. Many Venture Capitalists and Founders often have tense relationships, as the ‘VC Math’ generally heads towards — figuratively speaking — burning the company down in the hope it becomes a unicorn, rather than to sustainably grow the firm and its Founders into an incredibly lucrative model for all shareholders involved.
Understanding the core aspects of the firm’s value was the most important step — believing in the idea of circular economics and the full weight of the firm behind building and nurturing a Founder — giving that EQ and IQ accordingly while guiding them throughout to become the next generation of Founders leading new Founders.
But looking for those new Founders is not always an easy thing when you receive upwards of a 100+ pitch decks a day. The numbers, the pitch, the idea — they might all seem to be geared towards the financial side of things — to impress their hopeful Investors. But for someone who understands the different characteristics involved without relying purely on past statistics, sees things in a much different light without a financial background, there are things that we look out for — the Founder itself — whether the potential is there to be nurtured, whether the EQ is present at levels that make a great leader, whether the Founder is the right fit with the Partners, whether the idea in question would work in layman’s terms.
I’ve been through forums and boards trying to get data about the utilisation of non-industry employees working in VC and was met with a lot of resistance including some saying that such ideas are ‘outlandish’ and ‘…ineptitude from such employees poses a risk to the company they’re in due to the lack of experience’. For me personally, it means that we at Kavedon Kapital are approaching the market in an industry disrupting way but armed with more than technical analysis. We are armed with the right people with different technical backgrounds but united with the same goal of a circular economy.
Google, Uber and other great tech companies were not founded by people with a financial or commercial background, yet they were able to bring to table by attempting something revolutionary. I did get feedback saying that ‘you don’t hear about the companies that failed because they failed when they sought something new’ or ‘they found investors who were from a financial background and knew that the product would be revolutionary’ but I say bring on the challenge. Many will still disagree with this approach but I will let it rest at the famous words that Yoda uttered — Do. Or Do not. There is no try.
These are some of the views I had brought out during my interviews with the team at Kavedon Kapital — bring a fresh set of ideas and eyes to an otherwise slow-to-change industry.
Why are different skillsets important, marketing brands, build a startup, experience in other areas crucial to the overall success of of the model proposed, collaboration of different parties with different ideas, don’t necessarily need a financial background, how multiple backgrounds can assist in minimizing risk towards decision making of asset investment.
Graduating with a Masters in biomedical science research, he moved to the UAE spending over 5 years with the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, leading sales and marketing. At the same time he co-founded Last Minute Productions, a digital media production company.