Since I announced that I am setting up a Syndicate, I have had some requests on what and how I plan to implement this. And I really happy that 2 people have already committed to support me in this initiative. I think more would join if they understood how all of this worked. I am going to write a series of blog posts outlining how I am thinking about this and why I believe this is the best way to disrupt investing in Iceland. For those of you wanting to see how Angel Syndicate Works, check out this link. FAQ is here.
I had posted a link to a Prezi presentation of the pitch for a Venture Capital Fund in Iceland that I started putting together in 2009, the vision remains. Here is the presentation:
Investment Thesis Prezi
I believe there is enough raw materials in Iceland to build world class companies in Iceland, like everywhere else it takes effort, networks, resources and strategy to execute on that. Iceland has one of the best infrastructures in the world, I am saying that after living in different continents and countries. I believe that software is going to run everything, those who are building software to solve some of the challenges that we are creating are going to create value. My investment thesis is very simple, lets look back each decade for the last half a century. In the 1960, it was companies like Digital, IBM, etc the micro computer manufacturers, in1970s it was Apple, Atari, etc the mini or personal computers, the focus was on hardware and devices, in 80s it was companies that wrote software for those devices like Microsoft, WordPerfect, Lotus, Apple, in the 90s it was the networking companies that connected these computers like Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Juniper Network, Nortel Networks etc, in the 2000s, it was the software companies that wrote software on top of the connected networks or the internet like Yahoo, Ebay, Google, Amazon etc and 2010s it is software companies that are building applications on top of the new internet infrastructure like Apple, Android, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging platforms etc so my thesis is that any company that is leveraging the new infrastructure to build applications in an industry that is inefficient compared to the speed of the internet will be disrupted and value created. The neat thing about this is that the disruption can happen from any part of the world, including Iceland.
Anyone can come up with the above idea, as I have written before ideas mean nothing if not followed through with execution. Through the Angel Syndicate I plan to invest in this thesis. I have a proven track record, and of course I got very lucky with our investments. We sold the first company that we invested in to Jive Software, the second company that we invested in is growing nicely. The third company that I am involved in is moving in the right direction but still a lot of work to do. The thing about what we do is that it is hard to predict success but what we do know to do is work with entrepreneurs to increase the odds of success and reduce the odds of failure. Most of the challenges in Icelandic startups is related to Marketing and Sales, Team development and scaling the product or service. Those challenges are not easy to solve if not impossible. The motivation to do this is always to build a sustainable startup community and ecosystem right here in Iceland, if we are able to make it worth everyone’s while who are willing to participate in the journey so be it.