Bye Balderton Capital: The Future Is Coming – By Roberto Bonanzinga

roberto-bonanzingaAfter 7+ years as a Partner at Balderton, I have spent the last 12 months in a reduced capacity of Venture Partner. Well… the day has now come to move on and go after new adventures.

Thank you to my Partners and Colleagues….
First of all I want to thank all my Partners for being able to stand by me for so long. My Mom has always told me that it’s not easy being next to me for too long… and being Italian, I quite trust my Mom!

Special thanks to Barry Maloney and Mark Evans. I honestly owe everything to these guys and I learned a lot from them. I feel they are my friends, mentors and partners for life.

I’d also like to thank Bernard Liautaud and Tim Bunting. Bernard has been trying to teach me a bit of Software and Tim, financial acumen. Is fair to say that Bernard has been more successful than Tim… but this is more related to my product DNA than their caliber (both stellar!)

I also would like to thank Daniel Waterhouse and Suranga Chandratillake. I have not had a chance to work with them a lot but they are superb.

For people familiar with Balderton they all know that without Jerome Misso the partnership could not operate. Jerome is a dear friend today and I really look forward to hanging out more with our families.

However, in my sleepless nights around Europe I spent most of my time with Rob Moffat. Rob is superb and, together with James Wise, are for sure the backbone of deal discovery at Balderton.

I’m trying not to think of my life without Amanda Aust…likely she has a new born that I hear is more time consuming than me! 🙂

Leaving the Board….
During these last 12 months, the most difficult thing of all was to gradually disconnect from the entrepreneurs that I backed. I am extremely proud of all of them and this was significantly more emotional than I could have possibly predicted.

Already last year after the announcement of moving into a Venture Partner role, I stepped down from Boards run by Heini (at Vivino), Damien (at Banjo), Carl (at Tictail), Jens (at Wooga) and Paul (at Adludio).

I spent these last 12 months still supporting Runar (at Depop), Sascha (at Contentful) and Nick (at Lifecake, recently sold to Canon). As of last week, I stepped down from the Board of all remaining companies as a Balderton representative. I might be off of your Board guys, but I will be your supporter for life. I love what all of you have built.

Anybody looking at the lucky list of companies with whom I have been involved can only be proud. Whether some of these companies will bring great venture returns, we need to wait and see. I think it’s fair to say that things look promising…

In most of them I invested pre-product and always pre-revenue. Most of these companies today have a proven business model… let’s wait to see the financial returns.

Some New Activities…
During these last 12 months I have been tremendously busy. In addition to my Venture Partner role at Balderton, I started doing some new investments testing some new ideas related with the future (see below) and, as always, working with great entrepreneurs: (1) Navid (at Youpic), (2) Murat (at MarvelApp), (3) Marco (at un-announced company) in the hardware space, (4) Eduardo (stealth company) built between Spain and the US, (5) Carlo (at stealth company) in the payment space and (6) Alex (at Auctionata).

As an advisor I also keep going trying to be helpful to my friend Jens (at Wooga).

A framework for the future…
While all of this has been happening I have been super focused, with a superb team not yet able to be disclosed, on my priority number one: unleashing the potential of the European tech ecosystem.

Soon I will share some more details here here but for now… I want to crystallize some guidelines that have inspired this journey:

1 — I loved my times at Balderton and I did not leave my Partners to start a new traditional fund or join an existing venture firm
2 — I will be connected to the entrepreneurs that I funded for life
3 — I am a convinced Europeanist and I believe Entrepreneurship is the only way to make Europe relevant for the next 100 years
4 — I am a believer that empathy is the key to the founder/funder relationship. I want to connect with the entrepreneurs that I support on the most basic value of any entrepreneurial idea: innovation. I am not going to support the most innovative European startups with a 20-year-old venture model. I will innovate.
5 — The core of what I will build will be closely tailored to the European Tech Ecosystem and natively designed around its strengths, weaknesses and diversities.

More to come soon…

Roberto Bonanzinga blogs at Entrepreneurship at Work  (where this post first appeared) and tweets as @Bonanzinga

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