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Agustin Lebron, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Essilen Research

Interview with Agustin Lebron, Managing Director, Essilen Research

“People emulate how their leaders think and act. If you seem never to change your mind, if you institute a hierarchical culture where people only speak up when they’re sure they’re right, those are the people you’re going to get. In a competitive undertaking like trading, the best ideas have many parents. The image of a lone genius sitting in a corner dreaming up profitable strats is, in 2020, just wrong. Leaders who participate as equals with their team reap the benefits of that collaborative culture”

Alberto Furger, CEO, READ Enterprises Holding

Interview with Alberto Furger, Founder, Amara Holding Ltd

“Whoever comes up with an idea must present a business case to the team that lays out how the idea aligns with the strategic objectives of READ based on factual argumentation, i.e., data-driven research. The business case is then circulated and discussed within the team”

Brad Feld, Founder, Foundry Group

Interview with Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group

“The best board members “work for the CEO as long as they support the CEO.” If they don’t support her, they should do something (which could mean changing the CEO, or working hard with her to get back to a place of support). For me – that’s the fundamental “trick” to being an effective board member”

Bradley Tusk, Founder, Tusk Strategies, Tusk Holdings, Tusk Ventures

Interview with Bradley Tusk, Managing Partner, Tusk Ventures

“For us, we really try to focus on and add value around our core skill set both because founders want and need it and it’s something we know really well. That can happen as a board member (we have seats currently on four boards) but doesn’t necessarily need to – we just need to be able to offer our expertise and ideas and make sure they’re taken seriously. Obviously, transparency and honesty is the key to a healthy relationship between the board and the CEO”.

Dennis van der Veen

Interview with Dennis van der Veen, CEO & Founder, Hamster

“I’m a people person and I care about my team and the individual members. That means in good times and in bad times. I’m a strong believer of reciprocity. Give and take. I give individuals and teams a responsibility and trust. If they can handle that I’m easy on people if they can’t perform on their normal level because of circumstances.”

Dr. Walter Tonetto, Co-CEO, Nusantara Trust

Interview with Dr. Walter Tonetto, Founder and CEO, Nusantara Trust

“Burnout should be staved off if at all possible. It’s better to take frequent breaks and be productive than to burn the candle at both ends. Different individuals will desiderate different remedies, so being sensitive to individual needs (without getting burdened by micromanagement) is always to the fore”

Giuseppe Donvito, Partner, P101 Ventures

Interview with Giuseppe Donvito, Partner, P101 Ventures

“In my experience adding value as a board member has always been key; this means contributing to value creation with a very pragmatic, hands-on approach. Giving strategic counselling to companies’ boards, looking for potential clients and partnerships and contributing to the development of strategic business agreements.”

Harry Jarn, Chief Sales Officer, Movi

Interview with Harry Järn, CSO, Movi

A good board member takes into account the company context. Early stage ventures need very different help from a board than more mature companies. So being an experienced board member even from the same industry doesn’t necessarily mean the person is the right board member for your company.

Jason Kraus, EQx Fund

Interview with Jason Kraus, Partner, EQx Fund

“It is crucial to every board that the relationship be clear and transparent and avoid the two extremes we have seen cause problems in startup ventures: being the cheerleader board with not enough oversight like WeWork and Theranos or being the board with an adversarial approach that fires a strong leader like Steve Jobs. The key is maintaining distinct roles, transparent communication and creating an environment where both successes and failures of the business can be discussed.”

Jing (Gabriel) Zhong, Investment Director, Cash Capital

Interview with Jing (Gabriel) Zhong, Investment Director, Cash Capital

“The relationship often falls in two ways: sometimes investors become micromanagers haunting the growth of the companies, sometimes investors can’t even get involved. The first thing to remember is to keep the right distance, stay on board, but don’t give companies the feeling of being micromanaged. Try give a call every other week on daily matters, give some advice but control the big picture”.

Johan Attby, Founder, FishBrain AB

Interview with Johan Attby, CEO, FishBrain AB

“Entrepreneurs should put a lot more responsibilities on board members and not be afraid doing so. If the board is only for corp gov and you reporting to them you’ve failed”.

Marc Wesselink, Partner, VentureRock

Interview with Marc Wesselink, Co-Founder, VentureRock

“We only work with seasoned entrepreneurs who went through the rocky ride themselves and will always adding value during board meetings. These board meetings are always as transparent as possible and is only focusing around strategy”.

Matthew Le Merle, Managing Partner, Fifth Era

Interview with Matthew Le Merle, Managing Partner, Fifth Era

“Every investor is different and their personal skill sets will also be different. Good investors know what they are good at and what they are not good at. Then they figure out how to get their companies everything they need. Even if they themselves are not good at it”

Nell Watson, IEEE, Singularity University

Interview with Nell (Eleanor) Watson, Co-Founder, QuantaCorp

“Many excellent firms have their follow-on funding pulled simply because the market needs time to mature until they can cross the chasm, and the VC needs to close the fund. All of that technology, carefuly nurtured team, and a great culture ends up wasted, or acqui-hired for a pittance, whilst the staff ‘phone it in’ until they can vest and escape”

Pedro Ceia, Managing Director, Faraday Venture Partners

Interview with Pedro Ceia, Managing Director, Faraday Venture Partners

“We deal with eventual conflicts and/or lack of alignment with the CEO, before we enter the deal. Our approach to deals is made in such way that everyone’s interests are fully aligned, and we use very straight forward and measurable metrics regarding performance. We keep an open channel with all our portfolio, so these issues can be approached in different angles”

Pete Hartigan

Interview with Pete Hartigan, MP, Marketplace Funds

“Having been on both sides – an approach of “no surprises” helps create a productive work environment. Like any good relationships – the key is communication (proactively), & getting into business with people with the same values”

Richard Webb, CEO, Cataliize, Venture Capital Companies / Venture Capital Firms

Interview with Richard Webb, CEO, Cataliize

“We believe the best cultures are ones which empower the founders to be focused and collaborative. We have simplified and productised our management reporting systems which give all stakeholders access to consistent objective data. Our partners success is directly related to the founders and all stakeholders interpretation of the same operating data”

Sébastien Derhy, Founder and Former VC

Interview with Sébastien Derhy, Former VC

“If I had to choose, companies with an average performance would probably be the ones where I would invest less time, because by definition, things move slower for them”

Tim Mayeur, VC

Interview with Tim Mayeur, Angel Investor

“Realize first and foremost that they are people; treat them as such. If I’m making an early stage investment, I’m making an investment in the founders and I only benefit when they succeed. With exits averaging 5-7 years, that’s one hell of a journey that I’ll be a part of and I go into it considering them friends”

Tom Horsey

Interview with Tom Horsey, Co-Founder, Connected Mobility HUB, StartupLabs Spain

“At the end of a day we are startup in effect, so the main focus is the team, and part returns are proof of our ability. The specific “unique” angles and specialisms that we follow at any one time need to adjust to environmental conditions (regulatory, economic, competitive, cyclical..) and the fund’s ability to pivot depends entirely on our ability as a team”.

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