Embracing Diverse Ecosystems in Venture Capital
Susanne Najafi began her journey in venture capital with a distinct perspective: capital often remains in tight networks, missing out on the potential of diverse founders outside of these circles. “Almost all capital remains in very tight networks,” Susanne explains, highlighting the opportunity in investing beyond these circles for better valuations and the creation of new ecosystems. She underscores the importance of reaching out to founders who might not traditionally have access to venture capital, thus tapping into a broader range of innovation and opportunity.
The Poker Table Networking Strategy
Networking plays a crucial role in the venture capital world, and for Susanne, a poker table was more than a gaming surface; it was a networking hub. She shares an anecdote about how playing poker led to meeting her co-founder and first investors. “We actually met when playing poker,” she recounts, emphasizing the unconventional ways one can enter business networks and the importance of being present where potential investors are.
Proactive Deal Sourcing
In a venture capital landscape where most firms are reactive, waiting for deals to come to them, BackingMinds VC distinguishes itself by actively seeking out potential investments. They employ a methodical approach to deal sourcing, focusing on identifying significant issues such as carbon emissions and targeting companies that are developing solutions to these challenges. This hands-on strategy allows them to uncover groundbreaking startups and technologies, demonstrating their commitment to proactive investment discovery.
Investment in Underrepresented Entrepreneurs
One of BackingMinds strategies is to focus on groups that are often overlooked or underserved by the traditional VC ecosystem. Susanne discusses their investment in Transfer Galaxy, a fintech company addressing the high costs immigrant populations face when sending money home. “It’s a shame that the people many times with the least money have to pay the highest fees,” Susanne remarks, shedding light on the potential in catering to the needs of diverse communities.
The Future of VC: Diversity and Data-Driven Decisions
Susanne is a strong advocate for diversity in venture capital, not just as a moral imperative but as a business one. She highlights that data shows diverse teams perform better, with a 25% higher return. “It’s a question about return,” she says, emphasizing the need for the VC industry to broaden its perspectives and leverage data to overcome biases and tap into a wider pool of entrepreneurial talent.