Is going Dutch your style?
Interviewfest – a website devoted to covering inspiring, influential, and innovative people in the arts, film, technology, and start up culture/investment in a Q&A format – interviewed Patrick de Zeeuw (co-founder SBC Amsterdam) about his reasons for interest in “the crazy world of start-ups”, his predictions for investment trends by 2020, gender diversity at SBC Amsterdam, and many more. Here are some extracts:
Coming from a media background, and in a former life you were once a professional snowboarder, what made you go into venture capital? Was there a distinct moment? Was it through someone you met? What compelled you to go into the crazy world of start-ups?
My background has made me realize that everything you want in life is possible to achieve as long as you do it with passion and tremendous drive. In Holland we do not have any mountains, nor do we have any serious snow. I was very passionate about snowboarding and lived my dream snowboarding around the world. Same thing when I was part of the team that expanded Endemol from a local TV production company to the biggest TV production company in the world.
I do not see myself or Startupbootcamp as an venture capital business (guy). We help high potential start-ups from around the world do things better and faster with a mentor drive program. The fact that we provide them with some cash is merely pocket money to be able to live 3 months in a city with a team of 2-4 people. Our mentors and our knowledge with setting up businesses and expanding them is the real value of SBC. This is what most VC’s claim to provide but I only know a few that really do so. Most of them provide serious amounts of cash but limited mentoring/coaching.
There is much emphasis for a start-up to find its product market fit. But we live in a day and age where we are literally inundated by a new gadget, launch of another website, what is the compass you use to gage which ventures are making a real impact in people’s lives?
That’s a good question. Of course good ideas and product evolve all around the world at the same time. There are however only so many companies that can really make an impact. In most cases it’s the teams that decide if the product really makes an impact. There are other things which are really important and define success for example timing and luck. But even these two go back to team.
Does gender diversity differ regionally? How many women led ventures have participated in Startupbootcamp Amsterdam program so far?
I’m not sure. The only thing I can say is that I would love to see more women in the star-tup world. Most start-ups are started by coders and techy guys. Therefore I would say 85% of the people in startups are men. We will have about 3 teams (out of 10) with in total 4 ladies participating in Startupbootcamp Amsterdam which is not so bad. I think women add a lot a value to the techy coding guys and can really make a big difference within any start-up by bringing skills most men normally don’t have including the e-factor.
Startupbootcamp starts with a nominal amount of funding. Is there a longer term trajectory for building a bigger financing pool or a fund based on the entrepreneurs that produce strong results and grow their businesses over a number of years?
The follow up funding of our teams is provided by angel investors or early stage seed VC’s. We help angels and VC’s by providing them interesting investment opportunities that have already been looked at by lots of skilled entrepreneurs and mentors. We do not see ourselves as a fund that provides follow up investments.
Read the full interview on interviewfest.com