Między wizją a rzeczywistością

Wiosną, parę miesięcy po targach w Cannes, przyszedł czas, że wraz Tomkiem Kolbuszem postanowiliśmy stworzyć plan rozwoju dla internetowego portalu horyzontalnego, czyli dla Onetu. Plan chcieliśmy zrobić i dla nas samych, i na potrzeby negocjacji z Optimusem, z którym powoli zaczęliśmy rozmawiać o konkretach przyszłego, wspólnego przedsięwzięcia w skład którego miał wchodzić dział internetowy Optimusa, czyli OptimusNet, Pascal i OPM. Byłem wtedy CEO Optimus Pascal Multimedia, Tomek był CEO Pascala, mieliśmy takie same udziały w obu firmach i widzieliśmy szansę na stworzenie wraz z Optimusem SA “ciekawego biznesu” w internecie.

Początkowo praca nad biznes planem była fascynująca. Pusta tablica i ogrom możliwości. OK, najpierw użytkownicy, OptimusNet, pewnie ma kilkaset tysięcy pageviews, w 3 lata można stworzyć serwisy, które będą miały ogromną oglądalność, pewnie kilkudziesięciu milionów pageviews, ale ile to może być? Potem pytanie o źródła przychodów. Tu jest dużo możliwości, kilkaset milionów pageviews pozwoliłoby na dziesiątki milionów przychodów reklamowych, ale to nie są jedyne przychody. Usługi płatne dla indywidualnych użytkowników są przecież możliwe. Dzięki internetowi można wypromować inne biznesy. Do tego pytanie a co z Pascalem a co z Optimus Pascal Multimedia. Do tego potrzebny jest content, software, serwery. Jak będzie rósł zespół — kilkanaście osób, kilkadziesiąt, kilkaset… Oczywiście możliwe będą przejęcia: a gdyby tak kupić Wirtualną Polskę i do tego wydawnictwo komputerowe… Jak będzie wyglądała nasza praca: jak z przedsiębiorców, założycieli startupów przemienimy się w prezesów medialnej…


Idee są jak wirusy

Mamy rok 1997, jest luty, w Cannes na Lazurowym Wybrzeżu jest piękna pogoda, niebo ma kolor intensywnego błękitu, można chodzić w samej marynarce i cieszyć się słońcem — jest cudownie. Wyjazd w lutym z Polski do Cannes to niezwykłe przeżycie, szczególnie, gdy w Polsce jest ponuro, pochmurno i zimno, samochody są brudne, kolory szare a w Cannes jest piękna pogoda, samochody lśnią czystością, powietrze jest przejrzyste, kolory intensywne a wokół są wszelkie uroki życia śródziemnomorskiego. W latach 90-tych kontrast był jeszcze większy.

Mam 30 lat i od 6 lat zajmuję się startupami: pierwszy z nich to wydawnictwo Pascal, które stworzyłem razem z Tomkiem Kolbuszem i Agatą Wilam a drugi to Optimus Pascal Multimedia, stworzony przez Tomka i przeze mnie wspólnie z Optimusem SA, który był wówczas największą polską firmą technologiczną, na dodatek notowaną na warszawskiej giełdzie. Od roku jestem CEO Optimus Pascal Multimedia i przyjechałem do Cannes na największe na świecie targi multimediów. …


Blog o początkach Onetu

Każda firma kiedyś miała swój początek. Kiedyś powstała, kiedyś ktoś był na początku, zobaczył szansę, zobaczył możliwość i pociągnął do przodu. To jest ten decydujący okres, trwa on parę lat a na początku jest pomysł, który stopniowo zaczyna żyć, wypełnia się treścią, konkretnymi ludźmi, konkretnymi działaniami, konkretnymi odbiorcami, tak by osiągnąć stan swojej pierwszej dojrzałości. Moim zamiarem jest by ten blog był opowieścią o początkach Onetu.

Onetu przedstawiać nie muszę — jest jedną z największych firm internetowych w Polsce. W mojej ocenie jest jednym z pierwszych polskich jednorożców. …


There are plenty of ICOs around. I held two opinions and they are apparently contradictory: (1) There is a bubble in ICOs valuations, and (2) We can learn and earn a lot from blockchain and ICOs. Let me elaborate on this schizophrenia — and on possible positive outcomes. I will also share some thoughts about the recently launched Neufund.

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@ Karsten Wentink

Blockchain Schizophrenia

I missed blockchain and bitcoin in its early days. I was intellectually and entrepreneurially lazy, and I stayed in my comfort zone not even checking what was going on. It was very unprofessional. The second chance was about two and half years ago when I had understood the concepts of distributed databases and immutable database records. It was clear to me that I had to look more closely at blockchain and its eco-systems. However, with the portfolio full of companies and the fundraising for the second fund close by, I just had no time.

Bubble

A year ago, ICOs appeared and shocked everybody: startups, investors, crypto-communities and others. Though familiar with blockchain, when the first ICO began I did not even believe that it was happening. News about the first ICOs just did not fit into my understanding of the world. After a while I researched the topic and, remembering the initial dot-com crash, I concluded…


I always loved dancing but it was only recently that I took it seriously. What happened? Why? I would like to treat dancing as an excuse and share a few thoughts on soft skills in startups and in business.

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@ Filip Pobłocki. On the photo Marta Grabowska & Ewa Świtoń. The workshop with Marta at Kontakt was my dancing initiation.

My story

Each story is different, I will share the one that I know the best.

Thinking

I was an intelligent kid, simply the processor in my mind worked fast. I guess I was in the top 0.1% of the population. I loved thinking and I loved abstraction therefore I did my first two degrees in most abstract and intellectual subjects, that is in philosophy and mathematics.

Praxis

But I was missing something and when opportunity happened I eagerly accepted an entrepreneurial proposal that a friend of mine proposed to me. It was the first level of my personal development. To be practical. To have things done. To sell. To deliver results. Because the resources as in every startup were limited, any delay, any mistake was painful and could be lethal for the business. On the other hand successes were exhilarating. …


This post shows one of the ways how to become an investor in a venture capital firm. This post is also a job listing for Innovation Nest.

The problem of future investors

Let me start from the beginning. Becoming an investor in a venture capital fund is not easy. Therefore, we offer investment experience in VC setup.

On the other hand we see that increasing the talent pool of people who invest is beneficial for VCs who do this. Thus, we made a decision to increase the funnel of talent in Innovation Nest through posting regular position for venture partner at Innovation Nest, and we do not limit our outreach to our network.

Venture Partner

The path to become a VC that I have in mind is a position of venture partner. Brad Feld, one of our role models, describes venture partner as follows on Ask the…


I would like to share how we built the strategy of Innovation Nest.

Building strategy is a long process and very often it is a long and winding road. In our case it began 6 years ago when we started Innovation Nest Fund I. The current strategy, the strategy of Fund II, is a consequence of experimenting that we did in Fund I. Fund I was a sandbox, it was a microfund of €7.5m and it invested in 23 companies from 2012 until 2016.

Fund II begins investing now. The first substantial closing for €24m will take place next week, in June 2017. …


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M25 Motorway, photo by Ian Britton

It is fascinating to look at teams at the beginning of their path. Let me share with you a story that happened to me recently.

A story of Palleter

I am Managing Partner of Innovation Nest — an early stage European VC firm focused on B2B software. Marcin Szeląg from the team of Innovation Nest found Palleter, a company from Estonia, to invest in.

Palleter wanted to solve the problem of empty trucks crossing Europe back and forth. When we talked with the company we became more and more attracted and made a decision to invest. In the three main areas where investors evaluate companies, they scored good or very good:

  • Market — the market for Palleter was big or, the better way to put it, really big.
  • Product — the product was not there yet but the approach of founders convinced us that it would be software and data that would solve the problem that was challenged for decades. …


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All pictures show Koscielec — an amazing peak in Tatra Mountains

The lessons learned building Innovation Nest Fund I

5 years ago Marek Kapturkiewicz and I founded the micro VC fund Innovation Nest and we started to invest in startups.

Today it is a very special moment as Fund I has just finished its investing and Innovation Nest Fund II starts to invest.

Last 5 years were filled with thousands of meetings, emails, rational arguments, number crunching, intuitional guesses, it was 5 years of hopes and disillusions, hard work and, after all, great fun.

In total, we invested in 25 companies, 4 of them are stars and 9 of them are promising companies that with reasonable probability will become stars soon. The fair value of the existing portfolio shows net IRR of 16.4% …


Recently I met with an entrepreneur who asked me a simple question: “how do you decide in which companies to invest?” That question is with me, as with any investor, at least since the first investment. Although it is a kind of an obvious question, the very fact that I was asked made me to revisit the process and criteria. I always ask four questions and I hope these four question will be helpful also for entrepreneurs on the other side of the table.

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Photo by Steven Key

Obviously investment decisions are made differently for companies at different stages of development. What I am primarily interested in are investments in tech startups that have already built the prototype but do not yet have sales big enough to assess them on sales figures. As you see — seed investments is what I have in mind.

First — product

Does the company solve a real problem and does it solve it really well?

It is the basis of anything else — any business to succeed has to deliver value to its customers. Every product must be a solution to a problem. As Paul Graham says: Build product that people want. …

About

Piotr Wilam

early stage investing @InnovationNest

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