I started last week, thank you Mr McNabb. As to the first week in the office, it was an easy transition into life at one of London’s leading early stage investment companies (I am biased now!). Instead of the usual description of all the things learnt during week 1, acclamations about the amazing team of people in Episode 1, the start ups we’ve invested in and those yet to come and glorious exciting opportunity pieces about confidence in our fund and success of our portfolio companies – I’ll try to describe the actual experience and a few of the overheard on duty this week.
We share an office with another company – taking a section of a larger co-working space. There are 7 of us – lucky number 7. The team are coming and going – closing our second fund, meeting with companies and accelerators – both new and existing portfolio. We all sit around 1 large desk. Think of it like a kitchen table full of electronics, some bicycle helmets and random bags. That means, there is a realism here – a sense of doing this at a practical level with a history of experience. There are conversations, moments of high energy, moments of quiet and constantly the ability to actually speak to each other – those impromptu chats, stand up ‘meetings’ that add real value.
The week requires a shift from agritech to cybersecurity to retail tech and from business model, to PoCs, to financial structures. There are fashion fails , cups of lemsip (that early October Cold), follow-up conversations with companies, events and discussions on how we balance our activities. The feeling at the end of week 1 is like looking over ledge to the horizon whilst you midway up a hike. The view looking out is incredible, breathtaking, awe-inspiring and a little daunting. You draw a breath, knowing that there is still further to go and yet rest for a few moments to simply memorise the view, with a quiet confidence that this is the place you were meant to be.
Overheard this week – whilst on Episode1 duty
“Why does that dog keep trying to touch me?”
(In reference to an actual dog in the office, who sensing the rejection of a team member who is allergic to dogs, keeps on coming by to say hello. In fact, the dog continued to create much debate. Dogs in office vs no dogs. “Someone should put a tracker on the dog and see if there is a pattern to their walking’ (always thinking about tech)
“Did you know that conkers can get rid of spiders?”
(Words of fine advice as portrayed to one of the Partners by 3 individuals over the weekend. Fine advice indeed – once tried please comment on its actual usability)
“We invest in entrepreneurs with amazing ideas”
(Stopped counting after 10+times, said over the white kitchen table)
“What can we do to make a difference? How do we help them?”
(Said during a Portfolio Review Discussion. Stopped counting after 10+ times – this is what we do)
“That’s a messy cap table situation”
(We help to grow companies, we want the co-founders and management to share in the value that they create – sometimes that can look messy)
“Happy birthday Jess!”
(We know this is the most important quote of the week)