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Jan Hammer

Index Ventures

Jan Hammer is Partner at Index Ventures, having joined the London office in October 2010. His focus is on growth stage investments across a range of technology sub-sectors. Jan is particularly interested in Financial Services, Data Services and Analytics across all stages. Among the companies he currently works with at Index are Adyen, BitPay, Novus, Robinhood, Socialbakers, Zendesk and Zuora. Jan can be found on Twitter at @janatindex
jan-hammer

Are investors turned off by people jumping on the latest bandwagon?

Inovation vs fad It’s undoubtedly true that outsiders must sometimes look at us VCs ploughing investment after investment into certain ‘red hot’ sectors, such as the Internet of Things or messaging apps, and assume we’re simply jumping on bandwagons. Some investors might be; most are not. When VCs spot genuine innovation or disruption they know…

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How do I raise money if all I have is an idea?

Commit to your idea Contrary to the advice you’ve been given, you can crowd-fund for a project before the product, itself, is ready. Have a trawl through Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other platforms. I think you’ll find the majority of campaigns are raising money by way of pre-sales, whereby you promise to deliver product by a…

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How valuable are pitching events to VCs?

Distill it down Lots of early stage ventures get bogged down in the complexities of writing business plans, and consequently the number of PowerPoint pages created can become unwieldy. For better or worse, a pitching event is an opportunity to boil down an idea to its essentials, re-formulate the problem that your startup is solving…

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When should I start approaching investors?

Approach It is always wise to think about approaching investors as early as possible, given that fundraising can often turn out to be an iterative process. Ensure that you have a story to tell and a compelling vision, which your potential investors can buy into. Do your homework first and only address investors relevant to…

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If I choose crowdfunding will it put off future venture capitalists?

Crowdfunding platforms are an exciting addition to the startup scene and are playing an ever-expanding role in the fundraising mix. The days of viewing them as fringe or marginal are long gone; Kickstarter, alone, since its 2009 launch, has seen 5.4m people pledge $918m (£563m) to fund 53,000 creative projects. Today, few would dispute that…

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A VC’s guide to marketing

When starting a company, it’s natural to focus primarily on honing your idea, creating the early version of your product and identifying complementary co-founders and first hires. With your attention drawn in so many directions at once, marketing is easy to overlook. This is particularly the case in Europe, where there’s a lingering perception that…

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3 things founders need to watch when it comes to salaries

1. Don’t flash the cash. When you raise a seed round, it is exactly the right time both to invest and spend on your product and use the momentum to step up the pace of your company’s development. However, it’s also important to strike a balance and to remember to stay “lean”. The worst misstep…

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Seeking investment: what not to do

Specify Never deliver a pitch which fails to focus on the business plan, but instead slips into serial name-dropping, sound-bites and unintelligible jargon. What truly makes my heart sink are 20-page pitches containing generic references to ‘the industry’, rather than a specific description about which pain point a product or service is solving. Simplify We…

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Investors: what do you typically look for in an investment?

As a venture-to-early growth stage investor, I’m searching for existing mass-markets, which have yet to be disrupted or automated by the Internet. Technology, via the Internet and appstores, is radically changing well-established industries and markets – particularly inefficient ones – and essentially I’m looking for new takes on traditional businesses. Problem-solving with a vision Second,…

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Three pieces of advice from an investor

Clarity The first thing is: clarity is all. Often you’ll sit through pitches in which the entrepreneurs completely fail to explain their idea and business, because they present way too many slides of generic background material. If you cannot summarize your pitch on a single slide or in a thirty second elevator journey, then how…

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