Startupbootcamp Spotlight is a series of interviews profiling inspiring stories from our extended network of partners, mentors and investors at Startupbootcamp in Amsterdam. Today, the spotlight is focused on early stage Dutch VC Johan van Mil from Peak Capital.
Johan van Mil is a serial entrepreneur turned investor. He is a co-founder and managing partner of an early stage venture capital fund Peak Capital based in the Netherlands, which invests smart equity capital in fast-growing marketplaces, SaaS and data companies such as Catawiki, Channable and StuDocu. Earlier investments include Radionomy, exit in 2015 to Vivendi (EURONEXT:VIV), and IENS, sold in 2014 to TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP).
As an entrepreneur, he was a founder of various TMT companies such as data driven advertising company Adatus, social marketing business ReturnSocial (exit to Uberconnected in 2015), MailMedia and Yourleads (exit to OMG in 2009).
Tell us about the fund, when and how did it get started?
I started Peak Capital 10 years ago after writing my book about being an entrepreneur together with 5 befriended entrepreneurs. We put our own money in a fund and just tried how it would work out running an investment fund. We were all running our own companies and managed the fund on the side. After our first fund, we have launched a second fund with a professional fund manager and 2 years ago our third fund THE ENTREPRENEURIAL INVESTORS. I am running this fund together with my partner Stefan Bary.
What makes you different from other VC firms?
We are entrepreneurs so we understand what it is to build, scale and sell a business. So we actively help you in every step on the road. From hiring to scaling and funding. As we are backed by seasoned entrepreneurs, we offer a huge network and great knowledge to help you to make the right decisions and focus on real value generation.
As we focus on the Netherlands we are working closely with the companies we invest in. When we invest in a company, we meet on a bi-weekly basis and have daily contact.
How many companies have you invested in so far and how much do you typically invest?
We have invested in 14 companies to date, with 3 exits and zero failures. We invest between 500 thousand and 2,5 million EUR and we are typically looking for SaaS, Data and marketplace companies based in the Netherlands with a ready product, making revenue and ready for scaling up.
Do you have any specific companies you’d like to mention you’ve been working with?
What are the top three things you look at when considering a new investment?
The Team, Traction, and The Opportunity:
- Team: Is the team complete, committed and execution driven?
- Traction: Is the product ready, making revenue, with happy customers and where the growth is?
- The Opportunity: Is the market big enough and scalable, and what are potential hurdles on the way to becoming a dominant player?
From a founder’s perspective, what advice would you give to a founder fundraising for the first time?
Attract the best investor for the phase you are in and focus on the value they bring to the table. Check their track record and references. And check our funding landscape in the Netherlands to see you talk to the right one!
How can you bring value to the startups you are working with? Is there something that particularly inspires you?
We are inspired by working with ambitious entrepreneurs with lots of energy to rule the world. We help them by giving them the right advice, connections and help so they will grow faster.
What’s next for you in the upcoming months?
We want to close our sixth investment in Peak Capital III so eager to meet fast-growing Dutch marketplace and SaaS companies. Continuously we help our portfolio on their road to success. Plus hopefully, enjoy some holiday with my family at the end of the year.
Johan van Mil will be running Office Hours at Startupbootcamp Amsterdam on 23rd of November 2017. He is looking to meet prospective startups with:
- Complete founding team (Hacker, Hustler, and preferable Hipster)
- Internal tech and marketing support teams
- HQ in the Netherlands
- SaaS, Marketplace, and Data oriented
- Younger than 7 years
Sign up for 1-1 meetings here.
Interested in investing in any of Startupbootcamp startups and alumni, or being featured in Startupbootcamp Investor Spotlight yourself? Get in touch!
Curious about finding out more about successful startup collaborations with our corporate partners? Read more about it here