published 31 Oct 2014 in Poland 2 minutes 59 seconds to read

Marcin Szelag

Polish VC Innovation Nest has offices in Krakow and New York and supports European B2B software startups. Meet Marcin Szelag and find out why he also could be a restaurant owner and learn about his vision of every country working in an interconnected mode.

About me. 

I earned my first money with...
working after school at the age of 15. I started young, because I wanted to have the freedom of having my own money and not only relying on my parents.

If I wouldn't be an investor I would be...
a restaurant owner. As with startups, most restaurants fail - so the risk factor is almost the same.

I get annoyed when...
missing the obvious. In startups most things are out there. All one needs to do is google.

You might not believe it, but...
the Polish national soccer team beat Germany - the world champions. On a more serious note - Poland has one of the most talented developers/coders in the world. Many of them winning multiple high profile competitions.

My favourite movie is...
Wall Street.

About passion and profession.

Poland with its central location in Europe and many resources might become a vibrant tech hub."

My investment fund is focused on startups in ...
Europe. We are looking for B2B SaaS companies. Software is eating the world and we believe that Europe will produce many global software companies in the coming years.

I wouldn’t like to work anywhere else because...
Poland with its central location in Europe and many resources (great developers) might become a vibrant tech hub. In Poland there are more and more startups with international funding. I think this is a sign of things to come.

The investment plan for the next years is...
to expand our presence in Europe. We see Europe as a single market. Each country or hub/city should work in an interconnected mode. This is one of the biggest problems we see - how to cement Europe into one large tech hub with many local communities feeding into the bigger ecosystem.

Our business relationship with startups is characterised by...
a hands on approach. Money is a commodity - a startup can get funded from many sources. The resource which is scarce is know-how, experience, added value, network. We work very closely with our portfolio much more than just money.

Besides money we offer...
added value. This might seem like a standard VC slogan but we take it very seriously. One of the core values we are building at Innovation Nest around is how do you help a company grow from a local champion to a global leader. We do this by internal meetups, office hours, and a network of mentors.

About working with startups.

Startups are like experiments and founders need to have that little bit of craziness in order to achieve success."

In a startup I am looking for...
a big vision. Venture Capital is capital of high risk and even higher returns. In order to suceed a startup has to aim really high and that translates into a big vision. Something European founders still have a problem with.

Characteristics a founder team should have are...
Dave McClure once said: hacker, hustler, hipster. If you look at all the successful companies, most founding teams had some of those characteristics. Startups are like experiments and founders need to have that little bit of craziness in order to achieve success.

I was most impressed by...
the fact that Europe has produced more than 30 billion dollar tech companies since the year 2000.

I was least impressed by...
on a more political note - how the European Union handled the Ukrainian crisis.

You get most out of relationship with me when...
you have a clear view as to what you want to achieve and you put in the effort to make it happen.

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