What is actually the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs? Between the money and the idea? Together on the panel to discuss this question are Max Levchin (Co-Founder and CEO of „Afirm“), Thomas von Koch (Investor at EQT Partners AB) and Klaus Hommels (Investor with e.g. Skype, Facebook, Xing).
The central question raised by host David Kirkpatrick here is: How much does an investor have to be passionate about the idea he is investing in? Koch has a simple answer to that: „If you don’t feel passionate about an investment, you shouldn’t even start“. Levchin has a quite idealistic approach: „For me passion in business is looking for building a company that lasts. Something, that will be a pillar of commercial society“. To him investors that are not passionate about ideas do not have the DNA to make it happen. Thomas von Koch adds: „Growth is not only about the money you invest but mostly about the people you will get to work for you“.
Levchin’s advice for entrepreneurs successful enough to choose from potential investors is the following: „For every potential investor choose one superpower that you are interested in and stick with it! Don’t expect one investor to fullfill all your needs, don’t rely on one source for everything!”
Another important question debated today is whether there is a fundamental difference between entrepreneurs in Europe and the US. Max Levchin believes that a lot has changed here in the past decade. While 10 years ago certain stereotypes were true about European investors today business culture has pretty much become the same everywhere.