For some reason, just because I'm German, everyone seems to think that I know the impact of the war in Ukraine onto capital markets. I don't. Well, I didn't. Here we go: Bifurcation of economies; return of regional networks and economies; strong US dollar; bifurcation of energy markets; increased military investments
Last night a dinner discussion turned again to private equity markets, blockchain, stablecoins, and money. The argument went that public markets had less risk because they have stricter audits, governance. In private equity, you also have to find a buyer and negotiate a price and terms of your private equity stake. Stocks that are traded … Continue reading How to think about risk in Blockchain, Private Equity, Public Markets
When I came out of my own startup in 2002, I decided to focus my efforts on public land preservation and low-income housing. I signed a bunch of different (financial) products, and quite frankly didn't know much about US products, closed-end funds, and tax implications. When I had to restructure our family trust, I had … Continue reading $125M Evergreen Fund
A family trust and family investment fund comes with many products I am not as familiar with as I would like to be. Of course, I know the basics of the financial instruments -- public equities, hedge funds, commodity trading, REITs, farmland, etc. ... but that is like saying "I understand what a Preferred Series … Continue reading Public Equities: 2022 Outlook
I often listen to the talks from The Royal Institute, sometimes while driving, like a podcast. A recent one in my playlist was a re-discovered talk by Anil Seth, "Is Reality a Controlled Hallucination?" - I remember his talk at TED four or five years back. We think perception is a process of reading out … Continue reading Data is only keeping our perceptual best guesses in check.
When we due diligence emerging managers, not presenting an investible financial product is the fastest way to come to a "no". It's true that you have to make "good investments" (whatever that means), but unless you are only investing your own money, you need to offer a financial product that attracts LPs. HNIs and family … Continue reading Venture Capital is a Financial Product
In my dealflow I are often see great features, great products, and great companies. But I can only invest in great deals. Passing on your deal is not a judgement on your product, nor on your company, nor on your character. This isn't personal. Great Features. 10x Speed at 1/10th of current cost. Because when … Continue reading Great Product – Wrong Deal.
Aside from the Books I Recommend, I noticed that every two weeks or so someone asks me about good blogs or podcasts to follow. For the longest time I had mixed feelings about it. Books are static. The opinion (and sanity) of bloggers and podcasters might change. I also don't catch every podcast or blog … Continue reading Podcasts and Blogs I Recommend.
Statistically, startups mostly fail. We love to think of ourselves as great investors. But Venture Capital fundamentals still didn't change: Fund returns are driven by outliers, and returns are concentrated in few firms. All VCs are constantly evolving and refining their thinking, processes, conviction. That's why we write long investment memos: Not because be need … Continue reading Venture Capital: Preparing for Failure.
Grab your CEO and have lunch. Chances are, she has once started just like you. And everybody has to eat at some point. Here are some questions that are great for getting some insights on strategy, challenges, and culture -- even if you only have five minutes: What the biggest frustration in your job? What's … Continue reading Lunch with Your CEO: 7 Great Questions to Ask.