From disruptive technologies and funding cycles, to the SaaS scene in Europe, Michiel Kotting gives Iceventure’s Arnbjörn Eggerz the lowdown.
The journey from entrepreneur to VC
Arnbjörn Eggerz: You describe yourself often as a nerd, but you became a VC. Then you are all over the place from Iran to Venezuela. So, who is Michiel Kotting and what made you become an investor?
Michiel Kotting: I have a healthy dose of curiosity and ADD, which makes me love the work of being an investor and meeting great entrepreneurs and ideas day-in, day-out. My experience in tech, starting companies (successfully and unsuccessfully) and running large teams gives me a deep respect for the entrepreneur in front of me.
Arnbjörn Eggerz: For me it is interesting that you directly point in your answer towards the entrepreneur, a role you had yourself. So, I wonder: What was the particular reason that made you decide to become an investor? Was it an opportunity coming up or more mission driven like “I didn’t like the VC model and decided I want to do it myself and improve it”?
Michiel Kotting: It definitely wasn’t premeditated. What happened was that I started my second company with the backing of Accel, which I did as an EIR (entrepreneur in residence). So, when I was starting the company, I was sitting in the offices and I joined the Monday meeting and I was pulled into deals where I had specific expertise or knowledge. So it was a bit like being an investor with training wheels. When the company failed, I had scored really strong ties with the Accel team and they offered me to move over to the investment team.
I was very keen to do so. I was really excited to work with them. It was pure coincidence, but well-informed, thanks to having had the luxury of spending time with them, and seeing what they were doing. So, it was very organic in this way.
Arnbjörn Eggerz: That is a very nice insight into the making of yourself as an investor and the opportunity of an Entrepreneur in residence.
Michiel Kotting: And it is funny, because very often former entrepreneurs ask me how to transition into venture capital, as I turned investor late in life, at 35. They assume that I know how to do it, because I did it. But I had no plan, it was just an opportunity that came my way.
Arnbjörn Eggerz: Could you introduce Northzone and its focus with the latest fund? Which technology do you target? Which rounds & deal sizes do you invest in/prefer?
Check out the full interview on the Iceventure blog.