How Reshma Sohoni built a successful VC firm in Europe

Product Hunt Radio

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35:36

July 2, 2019, 9 p.m.

On this episode Abadesi sits down with Reshma Sohoni, co-founder and managing partner of Seedcamp. She co-founded the firm in 2007 and works with the Seedcamp team and their portfolio companies to help push early stage companies from difficult times to household names.

In this episode they discuss...

How Seedcamp discovers, attracts (and retains!) hidden talent

“We do recruit from odd places. Forty percent of our team are working mothers. On the accounting and legal side, it’s a job you can do remotely and can do with kids. We’ve recruited folks who are senior and could be doing other things, but we’ve given them flexibility and they’ve chosen to work with us.”

Reshma talks about some of the unique ways they have been able to compete for talent that others in the industry miss. She also talks about why diversity is important to the team and how being authentic about their values has helped them find people who mesh well with the culture.

How they’ve built a strong culture at Seedcamp

Reshma explains why they have clearly articulated not just want they want their employees to do, but also what they want their employees not to do. They discuss the rule at Seedcamp that a meeting should never produce another meeting, and some of the other ways that they have differentiated their culture from other VC firms.

“One of the things we say is that you’re CEO of Function X and you should run it like that. Obviously the negative is, how do you get them to work together and talk to each other? We’re conscious of that. We’ve built in online and offline systems to make sure all those pieces connect together. But that autonomy is a huge part of retention.”

Her advice for people who want to work in VC

“It helps to do jobs you don’t like early in your career. It’s huge. You really figure out what your weaknesses are and also therefore identify what your strengths are.”

Reshma talks a bit about how she got into venture capital, how it has changed and how she would advise young people looking to get into the VC game today.

“We don’t do interviews in a traditional style. It’s very much a multi-party dialog around how you’ll fit, what are your ambitions, and how do we help those?”

Why founder mental health has been getting more attention and how VCs can help the cause

Reshma talks about how they’ve taken a different approach to helping founders when it comes to some of the personal difficulties they face in building a company. She points out that some of these issues are not thing that they can discuss at for example, a board meeting. She says that they are investing in companies that can help alleviate some of these pressures generally, both for founders and others.

Which spaces she’s most excited about investing in

“We’ve made a number of investments in personalized health. We think that’s the biggest opportunity humanity has had. We believe a lot in that and we’re investing in it.”

Reshma talks about some of the products she uses from their portfolio companies and why in addition to the healthcare space, why she’s also excited about FinTech.

And of course, they talk about some of her favorite products and what the Seedcamp team uses to stay productive.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Airtable — Realtime spreadsheet-database hybrid.

Curve — One place to spend, send, see and save your money.

Pleo — A company card that does your expense reports.

Revolut — Spend, exchange and send money globally with no fees.

Streak — CRM in your inbox, for Gmail.

Telegram — The best messenger for every platform.

Thriva — Smart finger-prick blood tests you take at home.

TransferWise — Send money abroad without hidden and excessive bank fees.