Diary of a venture scout: intro

Jan 14, 2014

Looking for great projectsInternet is full of useful information for entrepreneurs and investors alike. Nonetheless, I still see a lot of questions floating around on how an entrepreneur should contact and interact with an investor. It sounds enough for me to add my 2 cents on the internet and give birth to this brief series of posts on the interaction between venture scouts and entrepreneurs.

As I feel I haven’t really introduced myself here, in this initial post I will just set some perspective about who the hell am I and why should I have any authority on the venture scouting subject.

I am a computer engineer by education, which means I’ve always had a sweet tooth about technology. After a few years in consulting and corporate finance, I joined dPixel as a venture capital associate in 2011. Since then, I have been on the front line reading pitches, BPs and (guess!) meeting (aspiring) entrepreneurs. Between dPixel’s own deal flow and a few initiatives we have been involved (one above others: Telecom Italia’s Working Capital), I’ve had between my hands no less than a couple of thousand startup ideas.

The Barcamper Diaries

Enter the Barcamper, the latest scouting initiative by dPixel: a “mobile scouting unit” (i.e. an actual caravan) where entrepreneurs can come and pitch their ideas. Live. No prep, no pre-screening. This program has turbo-charged our ability to meet face-to-face with entrepreneurs (more than a thousand met since summer 2012). And it is an incredible gym for thinking on the spot and providing useful feedback. Hopefully, for the pitcher, it represents also a formative experience. Wanna come on board? Keep your eyes on this page(Italy only, for the moment).

In all of this, I managed to close a few investments in great teams, and I have the luck of collaborating with a few very good (and quite brave) entrepreneurs as board member, board observer or advisor. Not to speak about dPixel’s awesome team. Limitless opportunities to learn.

Yeah mate, why should all of this matter?

Hopefully it should, as I have been thinking for a while about the venture scouting process, and about the interaction between the scout and the entrepreneur. My goal is to create a short series of posts on the subject of setting the right expectations between who is pitching and who is receiving the pitch (at the minimum, all of this is going to be relevant when pitching a project to me!).

In the next post, I’ll talk a little bit about the venture scouting approach.

May the series begin. Have fun!

NicoMy name's Niccolò Sanarico.

I am an Oxford MBA and an engineer with a passion for innovation and startups. I currently work with dPixel, a venture capital advisory firm based in Italy, and advise a few great startups such as Wanderio. Everything you can find here is my opinion alone. You can follow me on Twitter. Find more about me on Linkedin.

P.S.: I'm experimenting with in-browser crypto-mining as a replacement for advertising in terms of user experience, see the box below.

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