I made the switch from entrepreneur to VC
And I genuinely didn’t expect to! When ARM bought Nymbly, my second startup, my first instinct was to find a third startup idea. At the same time, I heard about Aster and their ambition – bridging the startup and corporate worlds – which caught my attention. The goal seemed both scalable and financially sustainable and I was in. I joined Aster in March 2018 and started up our activities in the UK. What’s exciting is that Aster itself is now growing like a startup.
Startups aren’t pokemons
I often hear VCs talking about catching ‘em all – or at the least the best ones – like they’re chasing pokemons. At Aster, we believe that it’s not about catching startups; it’s about helping them evolve and preparing them to compete against the very best.
In that sense, entrepreneurs are like elite athletes. The journey to become an Olympic champion is hard, to say the least! It’s not just about that one race or that one event. It’s about all the effort and training that goes in to getting there – setting goals and training your body and mind to become stronger.
I tell entrepreneurs to see us as their Olympic coach. It’s our job to give them everything they need to succeed: development plans, goals, training sessions, advice and so much more. We stand by our founders throughout their journey. Making intros is not enough. If founders are not prepared to deal with their customers, they will have no impact.
Three ‘don’ts’ I like to share
I have learnt – with a lot of pain involved – three things that got me here and will still be driving me for the rest of my career.
1# – Starting a company is easy. Running it successfully is challenging. So don’t start a company because you think it’s cool.
2# – There’s no such thing as the perfect start, so don’t waste time worrying about that. The best founders are those who aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They’re the ones who’re driving to improve themselves every minute, every hour and every day – and as fast as they can.
3# – Don’t try to do it without mentors! Learn everything you can from people who’re far better from you in their field.