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Dispatches from a new VC: The best 2022 predictions from après ski

Your favourite (fictitious) European VC is back with their priorities for 2022, including impact, diversity and working with US funds.

Alain Wong via Unsplash
Rosie Wood

By Rosie Wood

Rosie Wood is a (fictional) associate at the VC firm Mild Conviction. It’s a generalist, multistage fund with offices in London, Paris and Verbier. They’re not like normal VCs — they don’t need to do a tonne of due diligence to decide on an investment. Instead, they’re simply looking for companies and founders that are pretty good. Because pretty good is usually good enough. Catch up on her other dispatches here. 

Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had a nice break. I had a restful four weeks off in Plymouth while our partners were vacationing in their ski homes. It was wonderful to be with my family, but I did have a very tough time describing to them exactly what a venture capitalist does. 

I kept telling them that we were reshaping the future, extending human lifetimes and unlocking a creative renaissance in the metaverse, but I’m not sure they got it. They mainly just kept asking me about that AI dog food dispenser we invested in, and if they could get a free one.

Things have already gotten off to a quick start at Mild Conviction in 2022, so I thought I’d share some of our priorities for the year. I like to think that we’re usually ahead of the curve, so these can also serve as some predictions for where the industry, in general, is headed. 

We’re focusing on impact

As I wrote about before, we’ve set up an ESG committee, of which I’m a proud member. I was all ready to get into discussions of carbon offsetting for our portfolio companies, but the group very sagely decided that we needed to get our own house in order before we could engage with the portfolio. 

Back from Christmas break, we quickly took action as per partner guidance. We threw out the old coffee machine and replaced it with a machine that takes fully recyclable, ethically sourced capsules. We’ve also replaced the toilet paper in the bathrooms with triple-recycled bamboo fibre paper. We’ve gotten some critical feedback about the changes, but I think we all need to understand that saving the planet is not going to be easy. The coffee is objectively terrible now. 

I’ve already got in touch with a lot of other VC firms to swap notes about this, and I think we’ll have more firms getting their ESG houses in order this year. 

We’re improving our diversity 

Our managing partner, Rupert Nickerson, tells us he had lots of great conversations with LPs on the ski slopes over the break. He says that quite a few of them are interested in diversity, both in our team and in our portfolio. As one of only two women on the team (the other being Rupert’s PA), I’m really happy to hear that this is finally going to be a priority! 

I told Rupert I was very passionate about this issue too, so I’ve already been invited to a few LP meetings to speak about it. And we’ve hired a consultant who is going to help us put together a video about how much we are prioritising diversity. I’ll be doing the voice-over! 

It’s still a very new area for the team, but we have to start somewhere. If we have a bit more diversity in the team, we hopefully won’t have a repeat of that time a period product company pitched us and one of our partners asked if tampons were a repeat purchase.

We’re working with US funds

Our other priority is working with US funds who can back our portfolio companies at later stages. They’ve certainly come into Europe in full force now, as evidenced by the number of recruiting calls I get from them, for reasons outlined in the prediction above. 

We’re even starting to see interest from even larger US funds, beyond the typical VC players. I had a call with a big US PE firm today that’s hoping to do more in Europe. I thought their thoughts were very indicative of what we might see coming down the pipeline. Won’t say names but sharing my notes…

  • ALL GROWTH NO VALUE
  • Love SaaS and Web3, but SaaS more
  • Proud to be the first money into: bloop, waka, Chaka, FleepFloop, Zing, ALL SET TO IPO IN 2022
  • Kyle went skiing in Austria last year and LOVED IT — so much that he kept singing this song to himself during our call — he wants to do more in Europe because it seems like THINGS ARE OFF THE CHAIN 
  • “Tiger who” 
  • “The pandemic is so 2021”

The Sifted writers shared their tech predictions for 2022, but would love to hear from the readers what they think is in store! Get in touch at [email protected]

In the meantime, let me know how I can be helpful.

Rosie 

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