- Interviews by Jason Sayer
- Photographs by Freddie Ardley
What do you do?
I’m a venture capital investor at Samos Investments. I have the joy of spending a lot of my time with people a lot smarter and braver than myself, bringing their ideas to life.
Why do you do it?
I love people, I love tech and I have this intrinsic hunger to keep learning. Working in venture capital allows me to do this. It’s also a unique opportunity to be in a position to help people make real change. Although we can’t fund every start-up we meet, I always try to be helpful.
How did you get where you are today?
I was working in venture debt at Silicon Valley Bank, then, after my second child was born, I started a social enterprise called Mums in Technology, teaching mums to code. It was after this experience of being a founder myself and realising how hard it was to raise money that I started to think about how I could be a part of the solution and influence decision-making.
What barriers have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
The VC network may seem hard to access from the outside looking in, but I learnt very quickly that all you need to do is ask someone to open the door for you. You’ll be surprised that most people will hold it wide open.
What do you look for in an investment pitch?
I spend a lot of time thinking about how big the problem is and why the team are the best people to solve it. I also think about whether venture capital is actually the best source of financing for the business. Very often the founders may not have explored other options that may be a better fit.
How do you measure success?
Success to me is adding value in every interaction I have. As we can’t fund every business we meet, if I’m able to give constructive feedback or make an introduction, that to me feels like success.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Anyone starting a business today has an incredible advantage. There is so much information online in the form of blogs, podcasts and tweets. Read as much as you can. Attend events and meet other founders at the same stage and ahead of you. Don’t be afraid to talk about your ideas. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be scrappy and get your product into the hands of customers and start collecting real feedback.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I am excited about the investment scene changing for under-represented founders. Investors are making more conscious decisions and the right conversations are happening.
What’s the biggest challenge for society today?
Information overload. I personally function best when I have had time to be still and just think. Tech makes it possible to work any time anywhere. It would make all the difference if we were able to find some form of balance and space to disconnect.