TechBBQ in collaboration with People Ventures and Pavilion is resuming its successful TalkBBQ concept and kickstarting the series of events this Thursday, the 2nd of June.

May 30, 2022 / 4 min. read

Interview with Christian Damsgaard Tost, General Partner at People Ventures

What's happening?
TechBBQ is in collaboration with People Ventures and Pavilion resuming its successful TalkBBQ concept and kickstarting the series of events Thursday, June 2.

The event welcomes local startup ecosystem players who want to explore networking opportunities, enjoy a founder-friendly atmosphere and hear the panel discussions on the most trending topics in 2022.

What's the context?

"Each start-up founder often knows the direction they want to go, they just need the right help getting there. People Ventures try to do things differently compared to the normal VC world by having a practical mindset in every interaction."

Q&A:

People Ventures and TechBBQ’s collaboration brought back the concept “TalkBBQ”. What do you think such an event can do for the startup ecosystem?
"From the People Ventures' point of view, it is something we would like to do more of, as companies and the ecosystem want to gather but also need to. It’s quite important to make a space for that and a lot is happening already. Therefore we put high emphasis on doing things differently and interestingly enough, so the founders can make something out of it while building relationships. I think the topic and the scenery of TalkBBQ materialize those elements"

What is People Ventures at its core? And why are you necessary to have in the startup ecosystem?
"There is a need for helping more founders succeed. Each start-up founder often knows the direction they want to go, they just need the right help getting there. People Ventures try to do things differently compared to the normal VC world by having a practical mindset in every interaction. We want to support the founders and their companies not just through strategic advice but in everything from commercialization, building sales models, and finance models to recruiting talent and much more. Not just in quarterly meetings but in everyday interactions. "

Which emerging areas can be spun into the next money-spinner with People Ventures’ touch?
"Our legacy has been Digital Health and B2b SaaS and we are still going to focus on that in 2022. We remain open-minded but only invest in companies that positively impact people and businesses' everyday lives. Climate, for example, it’s not going to be an industry by itself but we make sure that it is included in a lot of commercial investments. In our world, it’s basically a ticket to play for companies going forward."

People Ventures has invested in Onomondo, Radiobotics, and Goodiebox. Could you share with us your unique investment philosophy?
"People Ventures typically invest in early-stage companies, where commercialization is our main focus. Normally we invest between 250k-750k EUR in the pre-seed stage and up to 1,5m EUR in the seed stage. Then we follow on series A. Onomondo is one of the great cases, where the founder team has been on a journey for quite a while and finally hit it with some commercial sales about 18 months ago. They are doing a really good job on commercialization and building a company that is going to be a success going forward."

TalkBBQ addresses the challenges of salaries in the startup ecosystem in the Nordics. What are other challenges that early-stage startups need to overcome?
"A great characteristic of founders and entrepreneurs is that they are optimistic and try a lot of things out, but sometimes they need to double down and focus on what they set out to do and create a business on that. Then it’s premature growth on the commercial and the people's side. A lot of founders want to scale up the team after their first investment, but they lack the process and structure to succeed in that. Lastly, a lot of companies believe that the product will hit the market and just get commercial traction. The investment on the commercial side is just as important."

More generally, what advice do you give to startups looking for investments to scale up?
"Hire a COO (Or Head of Operation / Chief of Staff) and a Head of People before you think it is needed. Founders tend to spend too much time on things they are not good at and therefore diminishing the return of the overall company value. I find that the two profiles can accelerate the company through new and smarter processes and give the founders time to focus on product, commercialization, and team development from the leadership side."

Lastly, what do you look forward to at TechBBQ 2022?
"We’ve been part of TechBBQ every single year, but this time we hope to be present with an entire team, just to make sure that we are part of the startup ecosystem since 2013. Additionally, really looking forward to hearing perspectives from the international scene and the VC market and seeing how the market has developed."

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