Jalak Jobanputra, FuturePerfect Ventures: European Startups and Venture

Transcript follows & video below. This is Part II of the interview.  You can view Part I here

I loved the image & symbolism of Ganesha that you used on your blog ‘What the Elephant God Can Teach Tech Entrepreneurs’ to highlight the qualities that entrepreneurs & venture capitalists need.  I understand that Ganesha symbolizes prosperity & success in the world.  Would you comment on what women entrepreneurs need in particular when sourcing venture capital?  And also what venture capitalists need no matter what gender in regards to women entrepreneurs & startups?

I wish I had that post in front of me.  The first thing that came to mind & I think all those qualities are important.  But the thick skin is key, combined with the ability to move beyond setbacks.  Women tend to really analyze things & see things from numerous different perspectives & I think that’s one of the real values they bring to business & growing a business & building a team being sensitive to the dynamics that are happening around a team or a board.  However it can also result in paralysis so I think the ability to just take criticism, not take it personally, move on especially when you’re doing something innovative.  You’re going to have a lot more no’s than yeses out there & just being prepared & not taking it personally.  And going out & finding the people who are going to be supportive & persevering in that process.  I think that’s true of entrepreneurs & I think that’s true in the VC world in terms of if you really want to be innovative, you’re going to have partners & other people around you who may not see it, that you are going to have to convince a little bit more.  And I think its a good quality to have that resilience.

Jalak Jobanputra

I note that you have also written in your blog about the Startup Visa.  Would you have any advice for European Entrepreneurs who face many more obstacles in sourcing venture than US entrepreneurs?  Its more conservative the whole market in the UK & Ireland which is where I’m based and also women are even more outside the box because of that conservative old boys network that happens in the UK.  So I wondered if you would have any advice for European entrepreneurs in their struggle because I know you have travelled widely & had venture sourced from other countries?

I actually did invest in the UK & the Netherlands so I do understand the lack of especially early stage funding in Europe.  Luckily I think that is starting to change.  You have Danny Rimer with Index Ventures who started a seed fund along the lines of some of the funds that we’ve seen in the US.  But I think the bootstrapping becomes  even more important when there are less funds that will invest at that early stage.  So its about becoming more resourceful as an entrepreneur.  And this is happening here too, you just need to figure out a way to get your business some customers & traction without getting some external funding.  There are startups here, I don’t know what the government funding scenario is like in Europe, but there are some that have technical products that can access grants etc & use that to bootstrap.  Then its really going out & networking & finding out who the funders are.  I think you have money coming from all around the world now interested in finding good startups.  While its still a very local business, I know there are funds in the Middle East & there are funds in Asia that are very interested in accessing some of the European markets.  So I’d say think a little bit creatively on where you are finding some of those sources beyond just the traditional funds.

Jalak Jobanputra

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