What’s it all about?
Money and People, the two main ingredients for a successful business (a damn good product/service is the other). More specifically it’s the RIGHT money and the RIGHT people. The right people is something we specialise in at Hyperion Executive Search, but I love to engage with passionate, experienced and mission driven VC’s and Investors who can provide money and so much more. The right money! Though Patrick expresses that all money is good! We talk about future trends, and how to get the money your start-up or scale-ups needs.
About Patrick Sheehan:
Patrick started the firm in 2006 to demonstrate that venture capital could foster innovation that provides prosperity that is sustainable for our planet. In that time ETF Partner has supported numerous innovative companies that create positive impact. Currently Patrick represents the firm on the Boards of ELeather, Wirepas, Telensa, Zeelo and Tomorrow.
Patrick has worked in venture capital since 1985, when he joined 3i. He was instrumental in founding 3i’s venture capital practice in the early 1990s and subsequently, in the late 1990s, was the founding Managing Director of its Silicon Valley operation.
Prior to his career in venture capital, Patrick was a research engineer in electronics, working on fibre optic signal processing for GEC, and before that advising on advanced antenna designs as a technical consultant for Marconi Space Systems while completing a PhD in electronics.
Patrick was a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Invest Europe from 2007 to 2010, during which time he also chaired the Venture Capital Committee.
About ETF Partners:
Since 2006, ETF Partner, has been investing in technologies companies that help tackling the climate emergency. Our Aim Demonstrating that technological innovation offers compelling answers to one of the most pressing problems of the world, achieving Sustainability Through Innovation.
- ETF Partners on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/environmental-technologies-fund—etf
- Patrick on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-sheehan-76182/
- ETF Partners website: https://etfpartners.capital/
About Hyperion Executive Search:
Hyperion are a specialist executive search firm working with some of the most innovative cleantech companies in the world, helping to find extraordinary talent to enable their growth and success. Partnering with leading cleantech VCs, as well as directly with founders and entrepreneurs in the sector. With our clients we are transforming business and growing a strong and prosperous cleantech economy.
If you want to grow your team, or move forward your career, visit www.hyperionsearch.com, or email email@example.com
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David Hunt 0:31
Hello, I’m David Hunt, CEO and founder of Hyperion executive search and your host for the reason clean tech podcast. This week my guest is Patrick Sheehan. Patrick is Founder and Managing Partner at ETF partners especially as clean tech venture fund. Patrick has worked in venture capital since 1985. When he joined three AI. He was interesting as the founder through his venture capital practice in the early 1990s. And subsequently in late 1990s, was the founding managing partner of its Silicon Valley operation. Prior to his career in venture capital, Patrick was a research engineer electronics worked in fibre optic signal processing for GC. And before that advisor and advanced antenna designs for technical consultant for Marconi Space Systems while completing a PhD in electronics. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Hello, and welcome to the leasing things that podcast Patrick, it’s great to have you join me.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 1:18
Thank you. Nice to be here.
David Hunt 1:20
So whilst most of our guests are CEOs and founders of FinTech startups and scale up, so I like to get a view from the FinTech investment community quite often, or certainly from time to time, partly because so many entrepreneurs listen to the podcast, and partly because you obviously get so many market insights due to the due diligence and market analysis that you would typically be doing so really keen to share some of your broader thoughts and insights, as well as diving a little bit into your fund and how you operate. But before that, you’ve got quite an interesting background is going back very early days. It’s a random point. But I’m actually sat in a former Marconi building in Liverpool as we speak. And I know that your connections were at Marconi GC very early on, but perhaps you could share a little bit perhaps of the more recent experience that led you to founding ETF partners.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 2:05
Sure, of course, we, we founded it over 15 years ago. So I’m thinking back. But I had worked for over 20 years with a firm called three I beforehand. And and, you know, had a wonderful time, though, they let me do my degree, do my own thing, one of which was one of those things was going off to America to set up as a Silicon Valley operation for three I in the.com era. But I was always going to come back to Europe, because we had kids now growing up, but it’s all that’s very predictable. And you can never really successfully go back after such an adventure. And so I knew that in advance, I like had said that I would want to do my own thing. But I found myself back in Europe, from Silicon Valley, wondering what I really wanted to do. And it reminded me that my job is my hobby, and I wanted to keep doing it. But But also, I genuinely believe in climate change. And with having just returned to Europe because of our kids. And I also found myself wondering how it explained to them that I knew all about climate change and did nothing. And so, of course, I looked around me, I thought well, what about using venture capital techniques to to fund the innovations that could make a difference? cleantech wasn’t a word, by the way, but it became a word. As we were launching our Thunder we chose, let’s let’s raise a proper size fund 100 million, and try and demonstrate that venture capital is a great way of funding these sorts of innovations that can make a real difference in the world. And if we succeed, maybe we’ll create a wave and see a catalytic impact of more money going into the area. So that that was that was the idea when we started. And of course, we said, yeah, we said two big institutions. So we said Europe’s the right place to be, this is an important thing to do. And you should find the most experienced team you possibly can that does this and back them. And then we said, oh, there isn’t one. So we’ve created one. And maybe maybe you were the best option for doing this. And that was our whole argument for getting going. So it was very entrepreneurial. Arguably, it was all too early that first wave of clean tech, but but we got going and we stuck with it.
David Hunt 4:17
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I first got involved in cleanser back in 2007. And at that time, you know, the world has changed enormously even since then. So to be looking at, as you say, before, even clean tech was coined as a term I guess, to to raise a fund that guess that was pretty challenging to raise that, given the cost of most of the things that were involved with now is was significantly higher.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 4:40
fundraising is always difficult. I think. Everyone pretends it’s easy, but it’s hard. And it takes resilience and determination, but we did manage it. And and by the way, that first generation of cleantech funds that had pretty universally terribly bad performance and so we were one of the few that survived and it took me More resilience and determination to raise a second Fund, which is doing well on our third Fund, which is which I’m really happy with. And so now we find ourselves because we were a decade too early, we find ourselves in the right place at the right time, actually in a great position. And the opportunity now just so much better than they were
David Hunt 5:19
years ago, it seems interesting how there’s a couple of things that spring from that. One of which again, I often get asked at the moment is, is this another clean tech bubble? We all obviously saw one the first time around where a lot of no funds and investors caught a cold with things that happened. And that’s interesting and Alliance, that I think a lot of companies who are too early do an awful lot of the legwork and speed working in sort of pioneering work. But not too often those early ones actually either survival or reap the rewards of their, their their pioneering?
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 5:50
Well, a few do and I think it does take a certain amount of bloody mindedness right, and determination and resilience. But, you know, I think we look forward rather than backwards. And this is this, this is, you know, to your question of is this now, just another bubble? You know, on some level, in there’s a lot of money floating around the global financial system. So you could argue that there’s acid inflation in general, but within our world of, I would call it sustainability or climate tech, because I’ve never liked the phrase clean tech, sorry. But within our world, I think is profoundly different actually. Right. You know, in that first wave, we and everyone else, we’re backing, very young companies, typically pre revenue, there was a lot of what I would call technology push, you know, we found this great technology, we think it should be deployed, and pushing technology into unready markets. If you phrase it like that, it’s obviously hard work. Today, it’s, it’s the polar opposite, we see. Industry changing rapidly, and industry hungry to adopt, you know, obviously, the current industry is changing in front of our eyes, the energy industry changing, but actually, every industry is, is eager to become green. And that market pool is very, very different. So we see far more accessible opportunities for us and for entrepreneurs. And frankly, it’s much easier to start a business Anyway, there’s so much more infrastructure on tap, that it’s easier for, you know, that the cost of getting going initially at least are lower.
David Hunt 7:32
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And of course, we’re there’s so much more, that’s doable. And so much more of it’s pretty much software based rather than original, a lot of theories, including more more high tech oriented hardware and ciated. With something we can return to. So given the fund is or the the entity is sort of 15 years old, or so. And there’s been huge changes in the sector over that period of time, Patrick, how if at all, as the sort of the mission, the source of the of your funding your work changed? or How would you describe your where you’re at right now,
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 8:06
I don’t think the mission has changed at all over that time period. And that the the reason we started up was to show that venture capital could make a difference to the world, the real world, right? And that mission hasn’t changed at all. The language just changed a little bit. So we talk about sustainability, not cleantech. We talk about the energy transition, mobility and so on. But but in effect, under the hood, we’re trying to find entrepreneurs we really get on with who are probably feeling pretty good about their business, growing or beginning to grow. And we help try and accelerate their growth working with them as partners. So we’re backing innovation, we’re backing growth. We’re backing companies in Europe. And I don’t there’s no plans to change that focus at all. So this is the only thing we do.
David Hunt 8:56
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think we have that. ourselves in my own world. And also with Hyperion, the fact that we’re so raised, laser focused, I think attracts a lot of people to recognise that it’s that there’s value in that. Given the, again, the sort of the changing dynamics of some of the things we’re discussing will go on to discuss, but in terms of where you are right now, what’s the do sort of do lead investments, co investments, what’s your typical ticket size, what kind of rounds do tend to get involved in so we’re generally
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 9:27
very active, we’re always on the boards of the companies we, we invest in support. And so we’re typically a lead investor. And that’s how we think so we’re not waiting for other people to make up the lines. And we’ll invest maybe, at the low end, 3 million at the high end 10 million pounds, initially in a company. And we’ll typically reserved quite a lot of money for what we call follow on investments. And well will often pull in other investors around us as the journey progresses. So we’re quite happy working with others. And if we invest in a company, what matters is to do whatever we can to make sure it succeeds, right. And by the way, there’s the secret of our success, if we have any, is alignment of interest, which is the key thing that we will focus on with entrepreneurs.
David Hunt 10:15
Yeah, absolutely. And sort of going back to the thing that we touched on before, and we discussed this, when we spoke briefly before that there’s an awful lot of. And it’s such an exciting place, this is clearly a good place to be. But so the digitalization of both energy mobility attracts an awful lot of investment and funding. And therefore startups, who are perhaps more SAS or platform based find it may be slightly easier to to raise funds than those who are, or still have an element of hardware in their solutions. And did you do it from your own perspective and perspective? But broad more broadly? Do you think the VC sector still supports businesses that are more capital intensive and have a hardware element? Or is this now do you think the domain of CVC is a more strategic partners?
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 11:00
I think it’s it’s, the people like to invest in companies that are easy to scale, to grow fast. And the more you get into software, the more you know, digital you become. In general, the easier it is to believe that so it’s not so much that the the focus is just on software, the focus is just on scaling fast, everybody has realised that there’s, it’s a lot harder to scale, companies that make things at very high speed. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re bad investments means you have to really look very carefully before taking that decision, so the bar is probably a bit higher. But it’s not impossible. You know, we we focus very much on companies that are digital in some dimension, and they use that digital technology software to to give them an advantage. And so digitally enabled companies can be very attractive. For us, there may be a hardware component as well as a software component. But But in general, the more you get into big physical things, the harder it is to attract venture capital, I would say yes,
David Hunt 12:07
yeah. Yeah. No, I grew up. But I it’s good to see that. I think, Sandy from experience, there are still some VC money at that stage. But there’s much more I think the whole strategic partners and corporate venturing world has changed significantly over the last five years or so. And perhaps for they have maybe not so much deeper pockets, but I guess better, a better geared towards helping companies to find markets for products that are more hardware orientated.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 12:35
Well, that’s interesting. I’m not sure that’s right. But I think they they actually bring their own strategy to the party. And if, of course, if you’re thinking about hardware companies, they’re bringing their interest in hardware to the party. Yes. But I don’t think that there’s necessarily that they will do a better job of introductions actually. No, they they have an agenda. And it can be great if it’s congruent if there’s an alignment of interest. If it isn’t, that’s probably worse, right? So it’s horses for courses.
David Hunt 13:04
Looking broadly at the investment market. Patrick, at the moment, it’s easy to point the finger at things like green hydrogen and mobility and see that they’re very heated interest to see where they’re from your perspective for startups, that’s actually a good or a bad thing.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 13:19
Clearly, there’s a lot of interest these days in the hydrogen economy. And I think it’s, it can be great for people looking to raise money there. But but it’s a fast moving market. And, you know, I think there’s there’s always good and bad news in anything that gets gets a lot of heat and attention. So I think if you’re aiming to raise money in that environment, that’s great. If you’re, but but the there’s a lot of wild promises going on around there as well, which a number of which will not be fulfilled. So I think, yeah, I was talking to an entrepreneur, I’d say, you know, great news, you can raise money, but you have to deliver what you promise. And so you have to keep your feet on the ground as to perhaps all around you those there may be people who are failing to do so. So, you know, nothing is ever easy. But But I think that the credibility of knowing you can deliver is essential. And is essential to convince senior as well,
David Hunt 14:20
when your mind sometimes is not much difference in terms of difficulty when you you’re struggling to get your voice heard, because no one’s listening versus struggling to be heard, because everybody’s talking like so. You know, if you have an innovative for a technology, which is good, I think sometimes the white noise of a big background makes it more difficult.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 14:38
It’s it’s just a different challenge. I think that as ever, I think if you’re if you’re looking to create a business that’s going to have a big impact, you just have to think carefully about, about your own market entry, about about which market you’re aiming to dominate. And you know, sometimes in big markets, we see people come in Along talking about that only, they only need 5% market share to succeed. And that’s not an appealing message, right? We and others wanting to understand why the companies we’re bearing can be meaningful and make a difference in the markets they’re going into. So if you’ve got a big booming market, you need to think especially carefully I think about your market entry strategy. And you know, what, what are you going to be best in your world? That is the regular question.
David Hunt 15:25
And I guess having the amount of experience that you and your colleagues have, and having seen so much specifically in and around cleantech, over the last 15 years, plus, going back to live thing you touched on with strategic partners, I think the insight clearly over the thought was something which again, is your thing with VCs, it’s not about the money, it’s about the right money and what comes with it?
Unknown Speaker 15:48
Yeah, I think it’s a lot of it’s about the money, actually. But if you’re lucky enough to have an option is always between different sources of money, then, of course, it’s, you know, then, personally, I would argue that you’re best off picking your partner really carefully. So I often say to people, you know, we take references, by the way, on everybody we invest in. And so I say to entrepreneurs use to take references of us or anyone else you’re considering. Because it’s really easy to be friendly, when everyone’s selling to everyone else at the start. But you really want to know how people behave when things get a bit tougher. Almost every business will go through a hard time at some stage. Right. And I think it’s important that investors can roll with the punches a little bit and be supportive in difficult times. That and that isn’t the same thing as being just soft. No, it’s it. But it is essentially, someone who recognises that things rarely go to plan, that you can be flexible and adaptable. And in turn resilient. Yes.
David Hunt 16:49
Yeah, I think there’s a core factors in any form of partnership, whether it’s a sort of a personal relationship, or any form of professional relationship is, you know, things aren’t always smooth. There’s there’s going to be ups and downs. And it’s surprising in our world, how many people don’t take references in terms of either the search term they might use, or even more so in terms of the people they bring on board into the organization’s and it’s good to see that kind of Yeah, how do they behave when things aren’t running so well, right.
Unknown Speaker 17:16
And on that, by the way, one, one thing we’ve started to see in the past 18 months probably is founders who are passionate about making a positive difference about sustainability, seeking out investors who they see sharing the same values. And then you know, even three or four years ago, we didn’t see that very much. But now increasingly, we do we see people coming to us and saying, We want you to invest, because that will will reflect well on our brand. And we think we’ll do better because you share our beliefs. And that, I think is just lovely. Really?
David Hunt 17:54
Yeah, no, you can’t underestimate the importance of a shared set of mission and values to help you through what was often challenging times. And I think, again, maybe entrepreneurs becoming a little bit more savvy, maybe there’s more money about and people can be a little bit more choosy, perhaps or whether there’s just an awareness that there’s no the shared values means a great deal and money in and of itself, as you say, clearly it one is good. But it’s so much better if there are some, some alignments over and beyond the money. So looking a little bit into your portfolio in the comments, some of the companies, Patrick, that you have, I’m aware of some of the more certainly we’re off some of them, but perhaps you can share. And it’s always a difficult one about which child you talk about which babies best. But perhaps you can share some information about one or two of the companies in your portfolio why and why you chose to invest in them?
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 18:44
Well, as you say, we love them, all right, and we really try to love them all equally. So. And by the way, when we as a firm make an investment, it’s not, it’s the firm makes the investment. So we all stand behind every company, so I don’t pick my favourites. You know, we, we have a collective responsibility to make sure they all work. But, but thinking about the things we’ve been doing recently that we had been spending a lot of time looking at the software companies in logistics, because this couple of years ago, we thought this is an area that when there’s room for a huge was a huge market beginning to change. There’s room for a lot of environmental benefit with more efficient logistics. And so for various reasons, we looked quite carefully at the whole logistics market. And we met, we made a couple of investments in around that area, which were one pre pandemic, one, immediately post. And we’ve seen that area really grow far more rapidly than we expected, in part, of course, because the pandemic accelerated all all those companies and so that that’s been been really interesting to see. So we’ve we’ve had And mobility companies in general to be doing very, very well in the past couple of years. And we have, we have a companies like shipvio, advancing logistics software. We have companies like Zillow, if you log in, in transportation and mobility. And all those things have continued to do very well. But But in general, frankly, since our focus is on tends to be on digital companies delivering sustainability, we’ve seen a real acceleration of digital through the pandemic. And we’ve we’ve seen vastly greater interest in sustainability in the crosshairs of the two remains very, very attractive.
David Hunt 20:42
Yeah, I think it’s interesting to see that sort of the the sort of knock on effects of some things. And again, perhaps people traditionally think of sort of your clean jackets and your solar panels and wind turbines and some of the obvious things that were visible some years ago. But now I think what’s really interesting, as you say, is that digitalization of industry as a whole mobility clearly is going through, as you said, a transformation on a daily basis, we can see, but even beyond that, you know, how buildings are constructed, prop tech is sort of starting to merge into sort of, into clean tech, and obviously, food, incredibly important to sustainable food generation and agritech in these other areas that you know, I guess don’t necessarily fit under an umbrella, but just the whole way society and the way that we live is is being disrupted by and large digitalization
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 21:29
of it really digitalization is disrupting things with increasing speed. But sustainability as a is cutting across many more sectors as well. And we’ve seen that I’ll give you an example of a company we invested in recently called the modern notman in the UK, and that sounds really old fashioned the Melbourne but this is a company started by a repeat entrepreneur, lovely guy who knew exactly what to do. And, you know, he’d got 250,000 pounds and got going. And and was and has been growing incredibly fast. But his whole, his whole driving passion was to get rid of single use plastics from the delivery chain to your my house, right? And the way he does that is what appears perhaps like an old fashioned meal delivery system. But it’s, there’s no plastic, right? And it’s it’s such a simple concept, but it’s enabled and empowered by very sophisticated data to make things efficient, and this companies is, you know, it’s expanded out of all recognition in the short time we’ve invested. And the prospects look. Very, very good. Yeah. Well, so it’s a nice example to me, because it combines a few things, it combines an entrepreneur who, you know, had a lot of experience and a real passion to to make a difference. And then was driven by that not just money. It’s it, but it’s on top of that it was taking what too many was an old fashioned business and making it modern again, and, and relevant and much more economic. And the benefits of digitalization are so apparent. It’s It’s astonishing. Actually,
David Hunt 23:08
I think it’s really interesting, I think I was looking into I think someone referred to or sort of painted the scenario of Imagine if you could get local produce that’s fully recyclable diverts your doorstep by an electric vehicle. Exactly was something which we knew when I was growing up, we all had that added note when when the milk float. So again, but that element of digitalization, and obviously there’s a lot more to it to make it productive. But I think that just strikes, the element of every aspect of our lives are open to if not already open to an increased sustainability through the use of technology.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 23:40
I really think so. But I also think we’re just seeing the start of it. And what we expect to see is an acceleration over the coming years, because there is a far greater sense of urgency of the need to change, right. And, frankly, I think it’s wonderful, who’s three years saying that need is clear. But now it seems to be clear to everybody. And that’s driving far more rapid change than we ever expected. If I think back, four or five years ago, it was quite hard to talk to the CEO of an energy company in Europe, right. And they mostly didn’t want to talk to us. And maybe they we ended up getting to talk to the marketing department and then and the strategy department. And finally, in the past couple of years, we can talk to the CEOs of these companies. And what’s more, we can say, if you don’t change your toast, and and they’re not offended, they agree. They say yes, we were aiming to change as fast as possible. And so sustainability is, is right at the top of the agenda for many large companies in Europe. And that’s, that’s quite profound. And so we do think that that will lead to an acceleration of new products and services, new ways of doing things. And I think if they don’t consumers will just abandon them. So it’s enlightened self interest.
David Hunt 25:06
I think as you said, there’s a there’s a, there’s clearly now a significant drop both at policy level and perhaps even more so at corporate level for companies recognising that they have to become more sustainable and deal with the way they are their impacts environmental and societal, from a society point of view. Going back to your point there in terms of looking a little bit further down the line, it’s easy to see there’s still lots of leverage still for within and around mobility as an example, but other areas where you’re starting to look a little bit further out thinking when this is of interest to us, or could be of interest to us in the future.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 25:37
Yeah, we we do a lot of what we call top down studies of finding areas we think, should be interesting. And looking around to try and find emergent exciting companies. And, and I’m kind of reluctant to dive into too many of those, we often look and think No, it’s not interesting, actually. But we had. But if I think over the recent past, you know, we had done quite a deep dive into green finance, because we thought FinTech was an area that didn’t have a green angle. And so we looked at that. And I think green fin retic is now term, but it wasn’t when we did actually find and make one investments in a in a lovely company called tomorrow, which is a green equivalent of one of those revolutes. But, you know, FinTech can be green finance should be green. We’ve been looking more and more around sustainable consumerism. And there’s a lot under the hood there. We’ve been looking at software and data in, in agricultural technologies, which, again, I think is, has been slow to happen, but is now becoming much more interesting. So there’s, we have a range of these things we really do try and dig into. And they’re changing all the time. But it’s it’s, I think it’s quite helpful for us to, to see a lot of companies in an area, and then at least when an entrepreneur walks in the door, we can have, we can have some level of starting information. And it’s very helpful to say to someone in Evie charging, yes, we’ve seen 20 companies and Evie charging right, literally can ask the right questions.
David Hunt 27:21
Yeah. And certainly, I think it’s one of those areas where we touched on before where there’s so much potential around finance, you touched on, we’ve been working with an organisation called yova, which is around an investment, sort of ESG investment platform for consumers. And obviously, food we touched on as well, in terms of in terms of Aqua tech, but there’s there’s certainly somebody really interesting places, and sub sectors of broadly fit under the Clean Tech umbrella, if you still use that term. Given the wealth of experience, Patrick, that you have and knowing or the landscape presently, for entrepreneurs who have ideas, there still may be pre revenue, maybe they have an MVP, but what certainly at the earliest stages, what would you recommend? How would you recommend they go about fundraising? What are some of the key things they need to be aware of, and what are the things they really need to be brushed up on and ready to run with,
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 28:16
the key thing is to be able to communicate really simply, and really clearly. And particularly, why what you’re doing or providing or intending to do provide meets a real critical need. And very often when people are starting up their businesses we find, particularly technology companies, people want to talk to us about their technology, right? And, you know, the if this if, if our slides, the first 10 slides are all about the technology and the detail, actually invest, if you want to speak to an investor speak to the investor in the investor language, which is why is there a need? Why is there an opportunity? Why is there room for a startup company to succeed? Because not every market is right for startups, right? Yeah. So So I’m actually most people will not buy from a startup, if there’s any viable alternative. It’s a bit crazy to do that, right. So you need a really, you need to meet a real critical need that’s being met in a way that can’t be met today. That’s the ideal anyway. And then people can have to buy from you. Right? So that’s what we’re looking for if it’s very early stage. Yeah. But that that isn’t about jargon and technology that’s about actual clarity of market entry. Often.
David Hunt 29:31
That’s a very good point. I mean, given what we do, I often get approached by companies looking for seed or AB sort of rounds of funding, and, and obviously, point them in the right direction for the right sort of VCs for them. But often you do find particularly if it’s a very technical founder, that they’re solving problems, which don’t really exist, and spend an awful lot of time and money focus on the technology and not the problem.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 29:53
It can be or actually that there is a real problem, but it’s quite hard. If you’re in it, it’s hard to express it simply enough, so Never worry about patronising investor who can’t possibly make things simple enough, right? simplicity is power.
David Hunt 30:08
Yeah, critical components to to early stage growth, for sure. It’s been good to spend some time with you, Patrick and share some thoughts on the fund. And obviously the areas which are of interest to you. We do buy better, of course, during the course of the podcast, or at the end of the episode, ask a little bit of where your inspirations are, I’m clearly as you say, being quite some many years with a focus on impact, since you returned to Europe, but were there any particular either individuals books are thought leaders are anything which inspired you early on or which continues to inspire you to keep going on your journey?
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 30:43
I tended to think that you can learn something from everyone. And so I found not, you know, I don’t have one inspiration at all. But I think about quite often over the entrepreneurs that I’ve backed or seen, but mostly ones I’ve worked with, and the lessons they’ve they’ve told me a while to have really stuck with me. And I could talk at length here, but I’ll just, I’ll just give you two examples. I remember backing a absolutely lovely guy who, and I went to the business he was in, but every time I went to see him, his factory was a bit bigger. And I couldn’t figure out how he did this. Literally, he was factory was growing in front of my eyes. And so I finally took him one time said, Look, you’ve got to tell me the secret. And he said, it’s really simple. He said, I’m not very bright. So I keep things as simple as possible. And that way, it’s, it’s easy. And that’s sort of stuck with me. But But I’ll give you one other and I know I’ll pause because I could go on at length with another guy who’s a good friend of mine, by the way, 30 years later, who, who said he could never persuade people of the need for change. And he realised he had to show them. So in his particular business, he took his management. He took his management off to Japan, where people were making computers for better and cheaper. And he he allowed them to see. And when they came back, they were always convinced. So you know, the talk doesn’t convince the walk convinces and showing works, whereas telling doesn’t.
David Hunt 32:22
Yeah, yeah. And obviously, I think simplicity, again at the exact quote from Einstein, but essentially it takes he know it takes a genius has been able to explain things very simply, essentially, we’re all too common, or it’s all too common. For me, we’re trying to make things complex, because that makes them feel better and more clever.
Patrick Sheehan – ETF Partners 32:38
And good business is really pretty simple. But the act of creating a great business is often starting with complex thoughts and just refining them and making them simpler and clearer to everybody else. Well, it’s
David Hunt 32:51
been great to spend some time with you, Patrick, thanks for sharing your thoughts. And obviously we’ll point on the episode page to the ETF fund and to yourself, if people want to make any connections or see some of the other portfolio companies in your in your wealth. And yet, it’s been great to join you to join us on the podcast and look forward to seeing some more great investments coming down the line. Good. Nice to see you. Thank you for listening, and especially for those of you who subscribe to the podcast. I hope you enjoyed another great episode. Please do share with your friends and with your community. We’ve got some great guests lined up in some truly disruptive areas of technology and business models. So please do subscribe and I look forward to speaking to you on the next episode.