A new player is in town, meet Rubicon, the VC who have co-invested with notable VCs and angels such as Eric Schmidt, Peter Thiel, Google Ventures, Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital, Menlo Ventures and other prominent seed stage investors. Rubicon is now hosting two events where you learn about Venture Capital from leading active VCs and Andrew Romans, venture capitalist and author of the McGraw Hill published book – THE ENTREPRENEURIAL BIBLE TO VENTURE CAPITAL: Inside Secrets from the Leaders in the Startup Game. The panel will consist of Hans Otterling (General Partner, Northzone), Staffan Helgesson (General Partner, Creandum), Per Roman (Cofounder & Managing Partner, GP Bullhound), Kerstin Cooley (CEO, MOOR) and David Sonnek (Head of SEB Venture Capital).
– The Future of Angel & Venture Capital Investing (Wednesday, June 4, 2014 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM)
– The Future of Raising Angel & Venture Capital Funding (Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM)
I decided it would be a good time to have a chat with Andrew Romans about what their background and expectations.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what got you into the business?
Started as an entrepreneur. I founded The Global TeleExchange (The GTX), a venture-backed early VoIP and bandwidth trading company where I personally raised $27m from Lucent Technologies and an additional $50m from leading venture capital firms, built and managed a team of 90.
I then founded Georgetown Venture Partners in London where I advised many companies including Swedish startups Efftel, an enterprise VoIP company and SWAN – Scandinavian Wireless Access Network – which had a Wimax license covering most of Sweden. I also met a million times with TeliaSonera and all the other broadband providers over the years. I have been to Sweden over 50 times.
What is your goal with the event would you say? Is this an initial step for Rubicon or have you done investments in the region before?
I know the region having been to Sweden and Denmark many times and to Noway and Finland a few times. We want to start making investments in Swedish and Scandinavian companies and help them go global. Goal for the events is to get 2 to 5 Venture Partners to join Rubicon Venture Capital and be able to source the best deals from the region and keep close relationships with the local VCs to see which of their portfolio companies are ready to enter the US market.
“We want to start making investments in Swedish and Scandinavian companies and help them go global”
What makes Rubicon different from other VC’s already in the region, why should companies choose Rubicon?
We have a well developed CEO / entrepreneur and other valuable business network globally. Just as we are growing it in Stockholm we are actively growing it in places like LA with deep connections to the music and movie entertainment business as well as places like San Diego where there are some amazing successful business people that are well positioned to help startups become successful. Of course we are strongest on our home fronts of San Francisco / Silicon Valley and New York, but we also have very well developed networks in London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, etc.
What has been your biggest challenge or failure so far, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was building The Founders Club. I managed to get 42 VCs from the US, Europe and Israel to join the advisory board and send us deals. I got access to top deals from Europe like Spotify, Wonga and Criteo, but they were hard to close. Now I want to invest cash into the next generation of winning businesses and bring the same value added network to support these deals.
What we are doing is different compared to most VCs. The number of companies we invest in is large compared to their smaller portfolios. The amount of cash we invest is small compared to them. We don’t typically insist on taking board seats, but we always get observer seats and our successful entrepreneur investors and venture partners take board seats for our fund. This collective roladex of our own investors makes us different. We raised money from successful entrepreneurs and other members of the technology and startup ecosystem globally. These folks collectively source, DD and support our deals. So we do a good job of finding and qualifying deals and then we add enormous value post-investment.
“What we are doing is different compared to most VCs. The number of companies we invest in is large compared to their smaller portfolios. The amount of cash we invest is small compared to them”
I think if you have already raised funds from a Scandinavian VC then it makes sense to have support in other locations. I hear Hans Otterling from Northzone is moving to London and Par-Jorgen is moving to New York to deliver this kind of value.