Mindset. 'Ecosystem' #5

Your weekly guide on tech news, early stage fundraising and venture capital.

Welcome to another ‘Ecosystem’ newsletter! Thank you for being part of this journey from the very beginning! For access to all monthly events, archive and expert-led workshops become an annual subscriber.

What you focus on expands. Mindset is the underlying factor to success often left undermentioned. Your attitude affects your achievements. The world may put many obstacles in your path but none will be as big as the ones you create for yourself (negative mindset). On the contrary, a growth mindset will help you push your own boundaries to go ahead.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Success (as relative as this term is!) may take years of hard work and countless sacrifices. What I see as an essential trait is grit. The ability to persevere. To see challenges and setbacks as opportunities or reasons to learn. To build your abilities. To stay on track. To be (pro)active.* Because if not you, then who? 

"You win in this game by showing up, being nice and working harder than anyone else." - Harry Stebbings(Founder, 20VC Fund and Founding Partner, Stride.VC)

“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.” - Angela Duckworth (Founder and CEO, Character Lab)

#EcosystemGiants events

The #EcosystemGiants session with Hussein Kanji last week has been one of my favourite conversations yet! We spoke about raising a VC fund in Europe, the common trait billion-dollar startups like Deliveroo and Babylon Health shared early on and how the venture community has changed in recent years. Premium subscribers can watch the recording here.

The next ‘Tuesday Talks’ #EcosystemGiants event will be following week - 11 August 2020 at 2pm BST. I am beyond excited to welcome Maren Bannon (Founding Partner, January Ventures) and Yvonne Bajela (Founding Member and Principal, Impact X Capital) - two female investors who are changing the industry for the better by improving access to funding for diverse and underrepresented founders. Early ‘Ecosystem’ members may RSVP here.

Our conversation will cover the current trends at (pre)seed investing in the US & Europe (future of work, digital health); the differences and similarities in the challenges faced by female VCs/founders and why investors are missing a trillion-
dollar opportunity by not investing in diverse entrepreneurs(and industries considered ‘taboo’!).

The #EcosystemGiants series highlight the ecosystem members who are transforming the investment and startup landscape. Who should I invite as a speaker next?

Innovation Ecosystem Updates

Whether you are an investor, a founder, an operator, a corporate or a friend. My top 5 news stories this week which you may find of interest too.

Is the clock ticking on Tik Tok? Microsoft remains committed to acquiring the U.S. operations of the popular Chinese video-sharing app and the final discussions are to be completed no later than 15 September 2020 as reported via The Verge.

More news on Big Tech. Will Facebook and Google need to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system? Australia is the first country to implement the change that will become law by the end of the year as reported via Reuters.

A new fund created by Stanford classmates to invest in their fellow students’ startups. Will they get first access to deals and short-circuit VC firms? The story via Techcrunch.

TechHub, one of London’s most iconic coworking spaces is closing down for good. From hosting Silicon Roundabout’s first initiative to filing for administration - the news via BusinessCloud. Elizabeth Varley (Founder and CEO), reflects back on a decade of bringing together the tech industry here.

While the U.S. economy suffered its worst quarter since the 1940s (with GDP falling a historic 32.9%!), Amazon, Apple and Facebook earn record profits. More on how Big Tech earnings have surged during the pandemic via The New York Times.


How to build a customer-first culture and increase customer retention ? Cassie Young (Operating Partner, Primary Venture Partners) on the 5 processes for companies looking to minimize churn.

What is the future of work and how is tech supporting the gig economy? Li Jin (Former Partner, A16Z) on unbundling work from employment, rebundling and the massive opportunity for digital platforms that lower the barriers to micro-entrepreneurship.

How diverse is the European LP ecosystem? Are there only very limited options for emerging managers? (Ha Duong, Investment Principal, Ocean Investment) shares his thoughts on the negative second-order effects of risk-averse capital allocation of the ‘money behind the money’ in European tech.

What can sports teach us about business? Sarah Nöckel (Seed Investment Manager, Northzone on improving the odds of success, the similarities between founders and athletes and becoming the leader of a high-performing team.


What makes a modern social network successful? Sameer Singh (Network Effects Advisor, Author & Investor) argues user engagement is a consequence of your network structure, exploring the concepts of creator-to-consumer ratio (yes, he looks at TikTok!), the density of a network and the strength of user connections.

Does your company know what to do with all its data? James Mayfield (Co-Founder, Transform) on how Facebook & Aribnb build trust in data and creating a “Core Data” island of truth within the big data lake.

Content is central to the lifecycle of a customer. Richard Holmes(Department of Product) on the commercial benefits of product managers, designers and UX content writers working closely together and why you need to have a product content strategy

Making the wrong business decision(s), hitting rock-bottom and failure. The only way you can go is up. Ryan Deis(Founder and CEO of The Scalable Company) shares the lessons on business growth he learned from a near bankruptcy.

Twitter Highlight(s)

Polina Marinova Pompliano, Founder and Author, The Profile

Sarah Guo, Partner, Greylock Partners

Startup of the week

Impli, an implantable technology that makes peoples’ lives easier and more convenient. Its innovative product helps users to manage their medical data in the safest, most convenient way. Impli is now available to purchase and you can get it implanted in London(more on that here).

Tweet @Impli11 and @AnnaLuisaSchaf1 to let them know they’ve been featured in ‘Ecosystem’!

If you are working on a venture or investing in ‘Future of Work’ tech ventures, I’d love to hear from you! *I am particularly interested in enterprise collaboration/productivity tools; video/audio solutions and network effects businesses. *

Tweet Me!

Startup Go-to Resources

A Guide To Startups :An archive of the best articles from the original blog of Marc Andreessen 

Fundraising in a Pandemic World : Words of wisdom by Semil Shah, founder of Haystack Ventures and Venture Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.   

A Decade of Learnings from Y Combinator Cap Tables

The best of a16z's podcast featurin Marc Andreessen

*I very much recommend the episode on talent, tech trends, culture.

B2B Selling in COVID-19 : 16 key questions to help you sell and survive; a guide by the investment team at a16z 

The ultimate guide to Startup Metrics : What to track, when and why - a must read by Speedinvest Pirates(the growth marketing unit of Speedinvest!)

The All Raise Summer 2020 Reading List : A selection of the favorite books by 26 exceptional funders, founders and operators

The Hierarchy of Engagement explained by Sarah Tavel, General Partner at Benchmark

How to choose a follow-on investor? Speedinvest's Founding Partner, Michael Schuster advises to evaluate, before you accept the offer.

Thank you for being part of the second ‘Ecosystem’ newsletter!

*This took inspiration from a recent tweet by Harry Stebbings. In the comments you will find a meaningful quote about integrity : “You will always be amazed by how much credit you get for doing what you said you would do. “