Today I had the opportunity to be on the other side. Presenting our CiRX idea at mini-seedcamp London; attending as a ‘founder’ and not an ‘investor’ or ‘mentor’ for the very first time. And it was totally worth it. Not only was it valuable in the normal / traditional ways that seedcamp can help a founder but interestingly – although not altogether surprisingly – as an investor, it was very enlightening to sit on the other side of the table for once. I learned a lot. About CiRX of course but also about how a founder perceives the world (as opposed to an investor.) The only regret I have is that I don’t think I did a very good job of being mentored, especially with some groups and wish I could have another go. (Basically I talked too much. I know. Shocking.) Partly because well, I unfortunately do that sometimes, sorry. Partly because at almost a subconscious level, while I was supposed to be the mentee, my default tuning in this context is to be the mentor so sometimes I perhaps did both! And partly because I haven’t yet nailed the best way to succinctly articulate the value we see in the CiRX proposition.)
This last bit was a great takeaway because even though I probably knew that before, I definitely know it now and having muddled through a half-dozen live sessions has already now given me some ideas of how to better describe and deliver the value proposition of CiRX. Indeed it was funny to fall into the exact same trap I’ve (patronizingly? hope not!) warned so many founders about myself: ie to remember that 99% of the people you will speak to about your vision haven’t spent the last 6 months bathed in it and so the threshold of obviousness is much much higher than you think it is. What you take as given, is anything but to most people you will meet. In any event, I would highly recommend that anyone investing in early stage companies walk a mile in those shoes. A bit humbling, but more importantly very enlightening.
I’d like to thank all the mentors whom we met and really underline how much we appreciated their forthright opinions and incisive analysis. Farhad and I got a lot out of it and I suspect that we will tweak our plans based on some great insights and suggestions we received throughout the day. Also at the risk of sounding a bit soppy, I’d really like to publicly thank Reshma and Saul for the incredible job they have done building the seedcamp community and ecosystem. I am reminded of the summer of 2007 when I made a rash decision to invest in this new thing a guy I barely knew named Saul (who admittedly had come highly recommended) was organizing and thinking now what a terrific investment that has been. And that’s before getting any of my capital back!
Finally, I just have to say how impressed I was by the quality of the other teams that were invited. Really really impressive. Not so many in our investment space (although Subsify is a company that caught our eye and we’ll be interested to learn more about) but the two that really stood out for me were Editd and Memrise. Would be very surprised not to see these two make it through to seedcamp week in September. Eyequant too.
As for us, well we certainly have a lot to digest and a lot to work on…but that’s exactly what we hoped for.
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