Building an engaged community, and investing with DFJ Esprit – #AfterDinnerRoundup
We had two dinners last week, one for the education sector and another for those interested in investment. Here’s a quick overview on what happened at both:
Education startups dinner
Paul Tavner from Mendeley joined us for dinner, at The Clerk and Well, to talk about building and engaging a community. As part of their community team, Paul provided some key lessons that he wanted to share with his fellow diners, most notably was the importance of speaking people’s language. Having a one size fita all personality doesn’t work, you need to be engaging on an individual and personal level. He also couldn’t stress enough the importance of analytics, referring to it as “gold dust”!
Essentially, he encouraged everyone to “leverage existing communities to help with your startup as there is bound to be someone else out there looking to solve the same thing as you are. Use partnerships and collaborations through events like TableCrowd (thanks Paul!) to help your business grow.”
DFJ Esprit on investing
What is it like for a VC to invest? Well, last Wednesday, Jonathan Sibilia – Partner at DFJ Esprit – answered this question and more at a rather male-dominated dinner at Pescatori Italian & Seafood Restaurant in Fitzrovia. With some wonderful characters around the table, there was a lot of banter back and forth during the welcome and introduction; this set the relaxed mood for the evening.
After dinner, Jonathan took to the floor covering everything from where he originates from, and that the word ‘venture’ means ‘risk’ in French. With 9 years of investment banking under his belt, Jonathan now deals more with late stage investment with an average ticket being approx £5-7m at 20% so they’re not massive shareholders in the companies they invest in.
He left his fellow diners with this little nugget of a quote he saw on an American website that he believes sums up exactly what it is he’s trying to do:
If you are trying to build a business and everyone that you speak to and tell about it thinks it’s crap, and I mean absolutely everyone, then come and see us!
Jonathan passed on an article to his fellow diners, take a look at the sound advice from Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner at DFJ in the US: http://bit.ly/DFJ-HeidiRoizen on fundraising and valuations.
Special thanks goes to Jonathan and Paul for speaking at last week’s dinners, along with our partner Mendeley.