Mark Suster has a good post on VC platforms and their approach at Upfront Ventures. It reminded me that this was a topic I’d had in mind for this blog.
Earlybird is a European VC firm with broad coverage. We have separate teams of Partners managing our ICT investments in Western Europe and Eastern Europe, as well as a team focused on pan-European health-tech investments. I am a Partner on our Turkey & CEE team, based in Istanbul, where we have four Partners and two Associates in our investment team, and a Finance Manager and Assistant on the administrative side. Each of our teams are structured similarly.
As you can see, we have not taken the platform approach. The reason for this is the breadth of our investment strategy. In our portfolio, we have:
- consumer internet companies, both local (e.g. Vivense in Turkey and Movinga in Germany) and global (e.g. Auctionata and Flipps)
- enterprise software companies (e.g. Hazelcast and Simscale)
- B2B services companies (e.g. B2X and Tapu.com)
- fintech platforms (e.g. embonds and Number26)
- IoT companies (e.g. Enevo and Azeti)
- health-tech ventures (e.g. Miracor and EBS)
In other words, we have a very diverse set of companies we help grow, with very different needs. If we were to bring on a recruiting Partner, she would be hard-pressed to be an expert in both iOS developer talent and health-tech marketing. We feel we would fall short in supporting our companies with in-house teams.
Instead, we look to establish privileged relationships with the most competent service providers in each of our focus areas and geographies, and connect them with our portfolio, as needed. And, we feel that it’s the Partners’ job to procure and facilitate these referrals and guide our Founders through the process.