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It would be pretentious to say that daphni is the best work place since “best” is based on a personal reflection, depending on your own expectations, needs and goals in your professional life. Let’s take a closer look at what life looks like at daphni — and I’ll let you judge!
First of all, I will just remind you that we are venture capital mutants who are
- mutating a sclerotic sector with a digital platform and a proprietary app supported by a community in order to enhance our customers experience (our limited partners as well as our entrepreneurs). You can dive into Sophie’s last article, to understand better the revolution we started 3 years ago.
- ‘building da city for good’ in investing in startups, which will change our usage and have a strong impact on the next generation and the world as a whole. Have a look at our investment strategy here.
Then, I will divide the article in key words that really define who we are, the daphni team, our daily life, some of our values, etc…!
Transparency is something that really defines us and that we try to apply in our day to day life at work. How?
- Our platform: as I said above, we are building a digital platform to bring more transparency between our investors, us and our portfolio companies.
- Our offices: if you pass by the famous Silicon Sentier in Montorgueil, you won’t miss the purple sign saying “BUILD DA CITY FOR GOOD”, and windows with some mutant statues and unicorn humans …yes this a VC office. We have actively decided to decorate our office differently to what people might expect. What we love in opening our door to our guests, is seeing their surprised and, often, impressed faces — wondering if they are in the right place.
Also, when we say that we operate as a startup, it’s not a lie, we are really doing it! It’s a 250m2 open space office where no one has a desk (not even the partners — yes I need to specify it). We left our boardroom in the hands of Mr ONE Teas for a night, who turned the main wall into street art! Sometimes, the boardroom is also turned into a podcast studio, where I enthusiastically produce & host guests for my own podcast — many hours have been spent during evenings and weekends!
We have also what we called the ‘bubble’, an orange and sound proof room (with only glass walls) when we want to isolate ourselves for calls or meetings in bean bags. Which VCs host their investors in bean bags? We (sometimes) do, especially as they are very comfortable! From there, you will see life in orange, but you won’t stay too long as oxygen levels get lower per minute.
To summarize, to me, our office is the first proof of transparency at daphni! As the space is almost completely open (only place to hide is the kitchen) and everyone can hear and see what is currently discussed, collaboration and involvement are encouraged.
- The team
At daphni, we keep nothing for ourselves — instead we speak out and say what’s on our minds. This is an everyday rule, which we have applied to ourselves to always uphold great vibes and a glowing atmosphere at the office. Our internal organization allows us to work together on specific projects outside of our job description. Our different personalities and ways of working brings a lot of creativity, and our different points of view makes us challenge each other. The VC business requires great transversal skills because we deal with tons of topics.
Perhaps, I should dig deeper into how we are organized and how we work together to allow you to have a full picture (you can also read our last article here to have more info about the launch of the next venture fund)
Like at most jobs, we have all been hired for a specific role. However, this only takes up about 70% of our time. 20% are spent on internal projects, making daphni better on a daily basis and the remaining 10% are spent on personal projects.
Investment team: Cecilia, Charles-Henry, Marc, Paul, Pierre-Eric, Pierre-Yves, Shabir & Stanislas
They are the majority — but hold your horses — this doesn’t mean that they have the last word ;) The investment team focuses on finding rockstar companies, qualifying them, driving them to investment and closing them with grace. Once the investment is done, they will be your pack, helping you to grow your company into the next unicorn. Besides this, they are all owners of internal projects and are collaborating with other people from daphni to turn these into successes. Like “what”, you might be wondering? For instance, it could happen that you end up organizing a cycling tech ride, working on our website layout, a CEO gathering, on our social media strategy, or on the branding!
Product: Sophie, Colin, Joce & freelancers
Sophie and her external devs are leading the mission that we have been created for: being as VC as the platform ;) She is our CPO and our process master! She is the one managing to plug the platforms together to create a kick-ass tool, which makes us innovative and in forefront of the industry. You think you know what a process is? Think twice. Sophie masters the term, and how you can bring structure to various tasks in an efficient way. She works with the whole team on a daily basis, to make our tools (internal platform and application) efficient and powerful! Being a CPO at a VC is not very common. But for us, building an outstanding product is one of the reasons why we all go to work with a smile on our faces. Sophie defines the architecture with Colin, our external CTO who has been working with Allociné, Musiwave, B3G... And there is Jocelyn, our full stack genius without whom the product could not run. And, we don’t forget our favorite freelancers who lead our design, mobile app development, features integrations, web development,...
Community & Communication: Aurelie
I am in charge of the community at daphni which consists of our brilliant investors, promising portfolio founders and our helpful experts — all bringing value to daphni.
My main task is to engage them and refer deals to us, qualify our dealflow and help our portfolio companies! Concretely, you need me when you need to find a sector or market expert! I am also the one making the important business link between our investors and portfolio companies! You might also wonder how you get news our application with an updated application contents, I am behind my computer tracking the last news to share! And recently, I am improvising as a community manager on our social networks. I told you, be ready to put on several hats on your head! Everyday is a new day with new challenges at daphni!
Office manager: Stephanie
Stéphanie is making sure that the office life is running well and that we are not missing anything! Also, at daphni we are all in charge of our own events, and Stephanie supports us with logistics and invitations! Stephanie is the one at daphni making all of our events success stories!
General secretary : Vanina & Weindé
Vanina and Weindé are the spine of daphni! They remind us everyday that we are a management company in a regulated world. Having a digital platform makes us different but also constrained in terms of legal & back offices aspects and with compliance to follow! That how our investors get all the information on their investment we are managing!
Content and events
Content production and event organisation constitute a transversal topic. We are all involved in the writing of articles, reports, investments presentations, stories. It is the same thing regarding events organization. The idea is always to share, to create bridges between different ecosystem and to cross fertilize between people. Also, it is a daily commitment to make it happen and it is the reason why we all dedicated time on those tasks. We may hire someone in the mid-term to coordinate content production and events organizations.
Sounds like a very bold statement, but at daphni it is 100% true. Everyone is given autonomy, as we all work differently and as it sparks creativity! However, it requires that everyone takes responsibility and initiative, is proactive, gets the work done before the deadline and is comfortable in being autonomous. The more initiative you take, the more ownership you take for your project, the more you will learn.
Once again our driver is to apply the startup rules. Just like our startups that have ambitions and international expansion plans, we care about internationalization of our own organisation. We travel a lot in Europe especially to source deals and to monitor the tech ecosystem in other major hubs. Cecilia from Sweden(who did not speak a single French word) joined the investment team a year and half ago. Our objective is to increase the number of investment located outside of France.(You can read her last articles on internationalisation here and here)
WE RATHER THAN I
It is very easy to take ownership of successes in our business. It’s always more complicated to do it when it deals with written-off. At daphni, both successes and failures are common. It means that we are all committed to the collective success. The action of each of us is not delimited in squares. It is extended to our own duties as well as the one of our colleague. We are aware that collective intelligence is much more efficient than pure individual skills. In this context, the success, the failure, the network, the track record, the notoriety, the singularity, … are a common ownership. In summary, talents who belong to the organization and build daphni step by step are more comfortable by using “we” rather than “I” whatever the topic.
At daphni, you are hired for a role but you will never get stuck in it! As we are a small team, you will be able to learn new skills or master ones which you didn’t even know that you had! The more ideas you have, the better it is! If you know how to make corporate videos, you could end up recording one for our portfolio companies. Perhaps you are crazy about cycling, then you could be the one organizing the first edition of TechBikers events from Perpignan to Barcelona. You are interested in IPO, you might organize a roundtable with 5 European experts and our founders. You love poker, you could be the one organizing a VC poker night. You think creating bridges between European ecosystem is relevant, take the lead on our VC Bridge event …
GO BEYOND THE LIMITS
This year, thanks to our investor Stanislas, we organized the first edition of TechBikers Perpignan to Barcelona and trust me, it was such an epic and memorable experience: cycling 320km through the Pyrenees with 50 riders from the European Tech Industry mixing investors, entrepreneurs and executives. I recommend you to join the next time, you won’t regret it, I promise! (read my article on medium, you will understand what I am talking about and reach out to me if you want to have more information about it)
I have also been part of Startup Extreme, an event which took place in Voss in Norway (it probably rings you a bell as we know the water…). How I ended up there, it’s thanks our Swedish investor in the team Cecilia ;) She said come to Voss, it will be fun and good networking she said! And it was! Aren’t you sick of these conference events (that are great sometimes but most of the time you shake hundreds of hands without remembering any names and companies…). That’s why we, at daphni, believe that attending or organizing events with entrepreneurs and others investors where you do 20km hiking, paragliding, experiencing cold therapy session (5 min in a 5 degrees water) is the best way to create relationships and memories that will last forever and the more it’s EXTREME the more you will remember people ;)
You have understood that we are not afraid of anything at daphni, so if you look for adventurous people to join in any exciting events or experience, ping us! We like to go beyond our limits! Always with the objective to meet the best people, to source the more outstanding deals, to find the more valuable co-investors for our startups, to guarantee to our investors and founders the best value proposition we can.
The last one, but not the least — because without it, the organization couldn’t work as well as we do: professionalism! Might sound obvious but it’s clearly one of our biggest strength! We are mutants with a unique DNA, original branding and an unusual office — but we have a golden rule in all projects we see, we do or we support: always be professional and treat entrepreneurs with utmost respect. Without them, we are nothing.
Monday is the day where the whole team is in the office, as we must be available for each other and tackle issues if needed!
This is the day for:
- all team meeting to go through the big topics
- if necessary investment committee for new deals or follow on investments
- Portfolio review on a quarterly basis or more if required
- 1-to-1 or many to many meetings between us to brainstorm on specific topics, resolve potential barriers, to prioritize our tasks.
- Team lunch: start the week with a good meal together!
- Reviewing the dealflow and answering to entrepreneurs who applied
And to conclude, if there is one thing that our management likes — it’s deadlines, and people following them!
We are working in a quickly moving industry, where we have to deliver constant excellence and this cannot be done without goals and timeframes. Honestly, it’s a great point as we enable visibility on our work and we make sure to help each other to get it all done!
Voilà! You have just got into the mutants life and it’s now time to judge by yourself if DAPHNI is the best place to work ;)
Aurélie / Head of Community