We are 4 today. We will be 10 next year. We are looking for missions that bring us alive – those that are so motivating we’d have considered joining full time. We aren’t going to be a detached financier – we’ll only invest when your mission matters to one of us personally and we are compelled to do everything in our power to further your mission.
We will each take on a tiny number of projects each year – 2-3 typically. For each company we partner with, we are able to spend up to a day a week if you need it. You can rely on us to be close enough to deeply understand what is happening with your business and proactively support you vs just turn up to board meetings. For each start-up we back we draw up an SLA so we can hold ourselves accountable to being the best possible partner to you.
As a group we have worked with over 10% of the European start-ups valued at over $1b.
I started as the first employee of Skype in 2002. Little did I know about building companies then, however when I left 7 years later I had gone through a whirlwind tour of product and company building. Next up I cofounded TransferWise. It made no sense to us as founders that moving money around the world should be as expensive and slow as it was. Powered by a little bit of naivety and lots of entrepreneurial drive we started building in 2010 and then launched the first version in early 2011. Today Wise has more than 3000 employees and went public in the first ever direct listing in Europe in 2021. Scaling a company at this speed is inevitable a journey full of highs and lows that leaves you feeling a bit numb in the end. While Wise looks like a story that went always from strength to strength and up and to the right inside there are many dozens of episodes of failures that are less celebrated. The mistakes I made of hiring wrong people or being overly aggressive on marketing have been compensated by the right hires who’ve been given room to execute and decisions about expanding the product in multiple dimensions.
In the end this comes down to people for me – I’m attracted to entrepreneurs that have the desire to change their industries and keep learning and iterating at a very high speed. People building products that are not 10% better, but 10x better in multiple dimensions. In order to make a dent we need to channel the best entrepreneurs to the biggest problems we’re facing. And there’s an opportunity in the cross section of the biggest problems and practical solutions that turn into huge viable businesses.