‘’Hire as good people you can afford as early as possible — and fire fast!’’
The statement is key advice from Peter Egehoved, who helps tech companies realize their vision on a daily basis. The team is crucial for startups to succeed. Those founding teams who have the ‘X factor’ necessary for success and go the extra mile to get the venture of ground. The same applies to venture capital companies. It takes great investors to guide and support startups to greatness — and Peter is definitely one of them. Peter is our newest general partner and a significant asset to both Seed Capital and our portfolio companies, bringing 21 years of B2B software experience to the table. Get to learn more about Peter, his work, role and main learnings in this article.
Q: What is your professional background?
P: My background is an odd mix of things, as I guess is the case with many venture capitalists. I’ve worked in tech for 21 years now, in every role you can imagine — from developer to CFO. I started out in software development and operations within VFX and media. Over the years I became increasingly commercial and moved on to do enterprise sales and then management consulting. During the evenings I’ve studied for, first a bachelor and then an MBA, which gave me a good grounding in business and finance, which enabled me to transition to venture capital and a stint as CFO in Forecast. I now have a decent understanding of both technology, sales, and finance, which lends it itself surprisingly well to venture capital.
Q: What made you interested in working within the venture capital industry?
The main thing is without a doubt that you get to work with smart and passionate people every day, that actually are trying to make a dent in the universe — being able to be a small part of that journey, is immensely exciting, and something I’m grateful for every day. Working in the intersection of technology, business building, and all the other fun stuff every day, is just an added benefit.
Q: What is your role as general partner at Seed Capital? And what does it take to succeed as a VC?
The main one is being an investor obviously, with all that entails from screening, investing, working with a company, and ultimately exiting the investments one day.
A VCs success is, ultimately, measured by our ability to return capital to our own investors. We absolutely love the process of working alongside passionate entrepreneurs, which means it’s much more than a financial discipline, but if you do not return capital to your investors, you won’t be able to remain in venture capital.
Q: What is your main field of interest when investing?
I’ve chosen to specialize in all aspects of B2B software, as it’s what I’ve done for 21 years, a tendency that is clear in my current portfolio with companies like Certainly that is leading the conversational commerce space, Penni which helps insurers sell embedded insurance, and ComplyCloud that helps companies with GDPR and compliance.
Q: What are your main learnings or advice that you think are relevant to entrepreneurs?
This is going to be a lot of cliches, but I guess a few things that could be relevant:
For management, hire as good people as you can afford as early as possible. The idea, the business model and even the technology is not interesting to look at, if the team is not able to execute. This also relates to my other advice — fire fast! The most common phrase when a CEO fired a member of management that didn’t perform is “I should have done that a lot sooner”.
Getting VC’s on board can help you grow much quicker but be mindful about if and when it’s time for your startup to raise venture capital. The capital comes with a lot of requirements and a great pressure to focus and grow, so you have to be sure that you want to go on a venture journey before you take the step in that direction. Running a bootstrapped company is way different than running a VC backed company. I see many founders raising money too early, and it’s rarely a success for anyone. So, if it is possible, spend some time building that prototype and interacting with your potential customers, figure out the direction of your company and make sure it can become sustainable, and then you’ll be ready to raise capital. Convincing investors to invest in your business is not a proof of anything — but delivering a product that customers love and will pay for, is a very different story.