The VC Triangle: Hello Amazon! 👋
A few years ago, I sat down with Phil Wickham, then CEO of Kauffman Fellows, to talk about careers in Venture Capital. Many industries have very clear career progressions, but Venture Capital does not.
- Most funds have very few career levels. There are analysts/associates, sometimes principals and partners. And frequently an insurmountable wall between.
- Many funds can’t look back on a decade-long history. They aren’t driven by tradition, but by the lifecycle of their investment vehicles.
- Most funds are composed of people from many different industrial areas and walks of life.
Phil talked to me a bit about the career paths of some prominent VC investors. Especially in the US, many VCs start off with Operations — running and selling their own business. With the earned capital and experience they become Investors. Often later in their careers they want to give back to the society and so they engage in some form of political activism. Phil called it the VC career triangle. Not a path, because the is no fixed sequence between the stages and people often gravitate back and forth between them multiple times. Operations, Investment and Political Engagement define the careers of Peter Thiel, John Doerr, Vinod Khosla and many of the Kauffman Fellows.
In my career I have moved along all the three edges of the VC triangle, but so far I’ve focused mostly on Investment. Now it’s time for Operations!
I am thrilled to join the team of Amazon Web Services as of September. I will develop and grow the AWS business and offering for startups in DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Eying the needs and tapping into the resourcefulness of the most innovate companies in the region will further strengthen the company’s market leadership in the cloud.
The AWS organisation is one of the most impressive in large tech today. Like the rest of Amazon, it has been very effective in integrating customer input into their product. And — despite the amazing growth over the past quarters — there is much more potential for product and market expansion. I am happy to work with Eric Morales and his team to realise that potential!
Farewell, Black Pearls VC
I want to thank my colleagues at Black Pearls VC for the amazing past two years filled with learnings and insights about the CEE startup ecosystem. 2018 has been pivotal for the fund, as we completed two international transactions (Insly & Deep.bi) and established ourselves as one of the most active funds in the region.
Big thanks especially to Marcin Kowalik, Marcin Zagórski and Alexander Lubański for being great and supportive partners. To Aleksander Dobrzyniecki for keeping me always plugged into the Polish ecosystem. , Marcin Popiel, Hubert Szczołek, Bartosz Wawrzynów, Jaroslaw Karwowski, Wojciech Drewczyński, Maciej Skórkiewicz, Tomasz Wozniak and Aleksandra Żełobowska, I am looking forward to working with you in the future!