3 years in: HRTECH and all that.
It was three years ago this week that I launched my firm. I was little apprehensive, but I had a lot of encouragement and support in the background. A special thanks to Mike , who introduced me to the world of growth and private equity, and to Luk for keeping me laser focused on what I do best. And to Michaela for making sure that I’m always invoicing.
I spend much of my time working with HRTECH vendors big and small. It’s mix of coaching, product methodology, alliance strategy and figuring out what makes them different. I help product leaders and founders challenge their fundamental assumptions and come out with tighter and stronger product and GTM. We talk alot about ideal customer profile.
And I have a lot of fun doing it. Working with young founders is a highlight, their energy and willingness to absorb ideas is tremendous. Because I’m working with multiple vendors, I’m seeing connections and overlaps between vendors that they don’t always see themselves. I’ve also deepened my advisory network,for instance bringing in experts in demand generation, analyst relations or technical architecture to advise when needed.
I’ve also found myself working more closely with investors, on the buy side with due diligence and post-merger advisory, and then on the sell-side when one of the vendors decides that being acquired the right strategic decision. My understanding of the cogs and levers of finance is coming along nicely. It gives me another perspective on the market.
I’m on three boards as an NED; and each one is different in terms of scale, the opportunities, and challenges for the business. I learn so much from seeing other board-members at work. I’m learning that how you ask the question is often far more important than what you ask.
In late 2020 I began the Oxford Diploma in Strategy and Innovation. I’d hoped that it would on-campus, but COVID put paid to that. Nevertheless, the program was excellent. I have made new friends and I have a kitbag of new tools that I can apply with my clients. Frameworks and models create ways to look at things from new angles. Yesterday I handed in my final assignment, and I look forward to a full on in person graduation week in Oxford next year.
Dave Kellogg and I have been experimenting with podcasting and clubhouse, which has been a lot of fun, and a big learning curve. More of that to come.
The business model is gradually evolving too, and I have a few new ideas for 2022.
What I’ve realized is that learning new things and applying my knowledge to help others is remarkably rewarding. The last three years I’ve learnt something new every day, and I hope and trust that my clients have learnt from me too.
To my clients, thank you, and here's to the next 3 years...
I'm a venture capitalist at Acadian Ventures, investing in the future of work.