VenCat's founder Hans Patyne is an ex-investment banker and Startup entrepreneur. Born and raised in The Netherlands his career took him around the world to Jakarta, Paris, Rotterdam, Frankfurt, London and New York. He now splits his time between The Hague, and London. During his last visit to the UK I managed to ask him a few questions...
What’s the most common problem Startups approach you with?
Most Startups lack insight on what investors need to know and lack opportunities to connect to them. We help Startups with the investment process and so save them time and money. We review and help to define the business case before directly connecting them to investors on the VenCat platform.
What inspired you to launch VenCat and what is the end goal?
In the many years I spent on the circuits of events, searching for our next investment, I was struck by the enormous amounts of time, money and energy spent that despite everyone’s best efforts did not lead anywhere. The idea of VenCat is to move at least two steps ahead in the investment process. We want good concepts by good people to shine through quickly. The end goal is to promote new businesses as an asset class, make things more transparent, and save everybody a lot of time!
How do you see VenCat compared to incubators, accelerators in the Startup world?
I see our role as complementary. We are accessible to all Startups and can help many more on their way. No other party allows for checked key data to be reviewed, contacts established and services provided in such an easy way.
Keeping an eye on the numbers in any business is important. How do you ensure that you’re always up to date?
We have automated daily reports on subscriptions, views, interaction, etc. so we can keep track of the numbers as and when they change.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as an entrepreneur?
When innovating, expect the large majority of people to be followers. In my experience in FinTech and Maritime Technology most people/ organisations are only persuaded to adopt a new product or practice if they see others doing the same.
What are your top tips for entrepreneurs wanting to get their business out there?
- Don’t expect anyone to buy into your new idea straight away, also not those who you’d think would benefit most.
- When talking to investors, show logic and clear calculations. Experienced investors will only get excited about an idea if the math works.
What plans do you have for VenCat over the next two years?
We want VenCat to become a new way of working and set new standards for quality and transparency. We will achieve this by growing a community - starting with word-of-mouth and social media.
The next versions of VenCat will include risk profiles and key ratio/sensitivity analysis. This will allow investors to screen even more quickly.
Is word of mouth working to your advantage?
Happy to say word of mouth is our best publicity. We use organic marketing which is developing our brand voice, enabling authentic interactions with customers, educating readers, and driving traffic to our website, and other social media pages.
Any moments where you thought you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?
The life of an entrepreneur is dangling between great hopes and despair sometimes. I remember we invested in a technology that needed redevelopment and subsequently had to be validated by an external party, a recognised authority in the industry. The first test was disappointing, only for us to find the problem could be easily solved, after which the results were great. Hope-Despair-Euphoria all in a couple of days.
What are your thoughts on failure?
It can happen to anyone, for all sorts of reasons. You can minimise the risk of failure by getting experience, growing your navigational skills, and also sometimes having a bit of luck.