A very special internship — a glimpse into the Paua family
by Max Lüddemann
After having had the chance to absolve an internship at Paua Ventures I was finally able to distinguish between cutting-edge technologies in the deep software space and lead generation platforms disproportionately frequently talked about in the start-up news. Within a small period of time you will be familiar with business models corresponding with Paua’s investment domains like enterprise software, SME SaaS as well as marketplaces across nearly all branches. Before beginning the internship I flirted with turning daily ideas into founding a company. I would discard all of them now after understanding the key challenges and metrics in a variety of business fields.
An internship at Paua mainly differentiates itself from internships I have done before by the freedom you will experience throughout the time: Imagine you develop a feeling of being obsessed by finding great start-ups and can determine the strategy to uncovering them. You wake up in the morning reading an article about IaaS for machine learning algorithms. By increasingly inhaling the topic of your choice you could become the theme-specific go-to-guy in the team. You orchestrate the pro-active dealflow sourcing, perform due diligence with a partner and even participate in negotiation meetings with potential deals. The borders of your free-time thoughts and work happily vanish over time as you dive deeper and deeper into your position as an intern analyst.
A data-driven approach
Next to seeking great start-ups you will live the culture of a data-driven business. As widely thought, the VC business is a people’s business. However Paua is paving new paths of finding more promising start-ups more frequently than waiting for contacts to chip in an intro. Your initiative concerning these internal business development projects is highly appreciated. Everyone in the team will include you in any kind of project if you have the fierce wish to participate.
“Scio me nihil scire”
Embrace that there is a lot out there that you may not have a clue about. New technologies that outperform the ones of yesterday are popping up faster than you think. The process of gradually conceiving the volume of state-of-the-art technologies and mapping it to my knowledge has sometimes lead to an uncomfortable feeling. This should encourage to dive deep, educate yourself through online courses after work (learn what’s behind the buzzword ML on e.g. Coursera) and catch the wave while lending a sympathetic ear to anyone giving you expert advice. Probably he is not mistaken.
Unseen apparent synergies
Another key learning of the internship has been simple but considerably valuable. In essence there is an abundance of intersecting tech domains in the world of a VC. Numerous portfolio companies may take advantage of a tool framework guide specifically developed for an IoT start-up intending to stimulate the enterprise sales pipeline. A SaaS, apparently managing datawarehouses faster and speeding up query speeds, will be best validated by the portfolio companies having set up e.g. Redshift. A subsequent recommendation to potential customers known to Paua that may be distracted by slow queries will further leverage the chain of beneficial synergies that one should be aware of.
There is no better way of evaluating the internship by highly recommending it to anyone that has the willingness to thrive in the digital space. Jump on that exponential learning curve.
About the author
Max worked with Paua from October 2016 — March 2017, before pursuing his M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, Centrale Supélec Paris and University College London. As an undergraduate he has worked in the German start-up scene, at a management consultancy and German corporation. After his internship at Paua he decided to change his study focus to Computer Science.