Archives for May 2019

- Comments Off on How we built a VC Fund called Nation1

How we built a VC Fund called Nation1

We guarantee you won’t see this happening very often; we started a VC (Venture Capital) fund and stepped out of it before launching it, bringing in a new team which was a better fit…

You may remember that we have said many times that we believe women are the next big thing in tech. Somewhere around the time we started talking about it (reminder: it was the second half of 2016) a chance appeared to receive substantial LP (Limited Partner) funding from EIF (European Investment Fund). This possibility was available for newly established VC funds with new teams in the Czech Republic.

Wow! We were enthusiastic; we thought: “let’s answer this call and talk with professionals about how we can support female entrepreneurs community in Europe”.

We started working on the fund in early 2017 and it was like entering new muddy waters, nothing went easy, but we had enthusiasm and vision why we are doing it. No one from us have ever worked in venture capital (VC) or private equity (PE). We may have provided some funds as LPs (Limited Partners) but we knew very little about the process, people and mechanics of traditional venture capital business. So we called all friends and friends-of-friends working in the space. We gathered some insights, some standard ways of doing things and got a huge pile of advice to follow.

We didn't like most of it so we thought we’ll do it our own way, but it did not resonate well with EIF as a major investor. Focus only on female entrepreneurs or mixed teams — not a good idea; focus on student idea stage projects with high number of small(er) investments — not a good idea; work with several technical and science focused universities to cover their student projects — not a good idea…

And so even though our fund was getting closer to becoming a reality in early 2018 we had to reassess our reasons, why we started this and we had to think about the possibilities how to progress further. It was there when we decided this case is not for us.

We started looking for new team members so we could step out. We stepped out of the fund work at the second half of 2018 to allow new members of the team to settle in.

Why we did that?

Well, for starters we saw that with this fund and with EIF as a major LP investor we can’t focus on our original mission — support of female entrepreneurs in Europe. Then the condition of “regional investment focus = Czech Republic” which we hoped would not be as strict as it proved to be, was kind of a show stopper. For us having singular investment focus on the Czech Republic seemed extremely limiting. Just remember, you have to compare what we say here with our initial idea/vision to improve support for female entrepreneurs in Europe. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to focus on one country, for most people it would actually be a good one, but not for us.

Great news is that even though we let someone else finish the job we started the early stage venture capital fund called Nation1 which is becoming investment-ready and operational these days.

nation1_logo

As I mentioned, it has a completely new team inside except the one person. That one person is actually the only woman in the fund’s team, Petra. We hired initially Petra to help us build female entrepreneurs community and female entrepreneurs deal-flow from across Europe as the first step towards our planned wFund.vc. Petra was always interested in young projects and acceleration of their potential and as a new mother, she’s also heavily vested in the Czech Republic. That’s why we are glad we were able to persuade her to stay with the Nation 1 fund and increase her involvement to a partner level that the fund would become her baby too.

In case you guys and girls reading this are from the Czech Republic or you think you’d consider relocating substantial part of your economic activity (e.g. IT development) there and you are looking for early-stage funding, then you have one fresh team motivated to improve early-stage funding for promising projects: Nation1 VC. Reach out to them!

We wish them tons of promising projects to choose from and the guts to choose successful misfits!


Wanna know what's happening when it's happening? Subscribe to our 42Newsletter to get notified automatically when we publish the next Journal entry...



 

- Comments Off on Valuegraphics: a new approach to customer profiling

Valuegraphics: a new approach to customer profiling

David Allison is a consumer behaviour researcher and advisor who dedicated the past few years to developing a completely new systematic for consumer profiling, named Valuegraphics. What is so revolutionary about it? In this blog article, we take a closer look on Valuegraphics, using the example of environmentally-motivated people.

I was made aware of David Allison’s research in one of the recent episodes of Target Internet’s Digital Marketing Podcast. In that podcast, several reasons are mentioned, why traditional metrics do not work anymore. I find it in my marketing practice, demographic variables such as age, gender, income, marital status, etc. are still used very often, even though their explanatory power is considerably low.

The time is ripe to start describing target audiences using more meaningful metrics. The concept of Valuegraphics is based on three years of research, spent mostly with collecting answers on a survey of 340 questions, using an adaptable algorithm. In the questionnaire, 40 core human values and 340 wants, needs and expectations were evaluated. The large sample of about 75,000 people from several English-speaking countries allowed for a high level of confidence (95%) and a very low margin of error (3.5%). Pretty impressive, in my opinion!

When using only demographic characteristics as segmentation metrics, the agreement levels to the 340 questions of the questionnaire were almost always well below 20%. For example, when it comes to age, the agreement levels were only 13% to 15%. Such low numbers actually make marketers, who state that they are targeting the millennials or baby-boomers, look like fools! When using the peoples’ values as metrics for segmentation however, the agreement levels rise up to 76% to 89%!

These numbers made me curious to find out more about the concept and I was lucky enough to find a video explaining one of the main Valuegraphic archetypes, the environmental assembly. First you might ask, what is an archetype? An archetype is a broad characterization of a personality. Archetypes aren't identical, but they share identifiable traits. We can predict what the person will most likely do, because he (or she) will most likely act consistently with this (or hers) archetype. David Allison’s team identified ten main Valuegraphics archetypes; all of them are shortly described here. Now, let’s take a closer look at “the environmentalists”.

The environmental assembly represents 17% of the U.S. and Canadian population, which is not that little. The primary motivator of their actions is how they influence the planet. They agree 82% of a time to the 340 variables from the questionnaire, making for a pretty large and homogeneous group of customers. They all share an extreme and personal environmental concern. The important factor here is their belief that they can make a difference with their personal actions. Besides the environment, they highly value family, and are motivated mainly by their spiritual and physical health and well-being. Yes, you will have a hard time motivating them to get involved with means that could possibly threaten their well-being. Actually, they have the most family money and the lowest debt out of all archetypes; therefore they can afford buying and paying the premium for green products and services that activate their values.

75% of them want to be more environmentally sensitive, but only 15% of them know how. There is a clear gap and they want to be educated on ways how to do more. Interestingly, they are less interested in social media and incline more to direct mailings than all the other archetypes. They want to be part of a group that is heading to a more environmentally friendly direction. Also, they like rewards. Oh yeah, not to forget, there is one thing that for sure does not work with them - shame. It is crucial to keep the things positive when targeting this archetype.

Pretty interesting, right? Can you as well already sense how could Valuegraphics positively affect your communication strategy? You can find more information on the Valuegraphics homepage or in the book “We Are All the Same Age Now: Valuegraphics, The End of Demographic Stereotypes” by David Allison.

Sources:

  1. Target Internet’s Digital Marketing Podcast Episode 210: Discover Valuegraphics
  2. David Allison: The Environmental Assembly (Youtube video)
  3. David Allison: Which of these 10 personality archetypes applies to you?
  4. Kelly Teemer: What Are Valuegraphics and Why Do They Matter?
  5. David Allison: How to Recognize Ten Different Valuegraphics Archetypes by Their Core Values
  6. The Daily Curier: New marketing method dismisses demographics
  7. The Valuegraphics homepage
  8. Linked-In chat with David Allison (Thank You!)

Wanna know what's happening when it's happening? Subscribe to our 42Newsletter to get notified automatically when we publish the next Journal entry...