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VC Profiles: Funding & Failures

Posted at: 03.27.2024in category:Startup Focus
VC veterans Ilan Abehassera and Matt Turk delve into the intricacies of funding startups and the realities of failure in the tech ecosystem.

Ilan Abehassera speaking at VivaTech Ilan Abehassera (right) speaking at VivaTech 2023. Photo credit: VivaTech

VivaTech speaks with Ilan Abehassera, the co-founder behind Origins Fund, and Matt Turck, a seasoned Partner at Firstmark Capital, as they share their insights on the startup ecosystem from an investor perspective.

Funding Meets Influence

Ilan Abehassera is an angel investor and co-founder of Origins Fund with football world champion Blaise Matuidi. This early-stage venture firm is making waves in the investment world with its influence-based model.

Origin’s LPs are mostly athletes, celebrities, and investors with huge social media influence, think of football stars from PSG and Chelsea, or successful influential entrepreneurs from all over the world. The Fund uses the power of their influence to bring awareness and growth to the startups they invest in.

For a VC, there’s no lack of startups looking for funding. However, for Abehassera, the real struggle is finding scalable ones. Abehassera spoke on stage at VivaTech 2023 with Matuidi about their influence funding model and recently shared with us some insights from behind the scenes.

“So the first thing I did after going off the stage of VivaTech was actually to speak with entrepreneurs. In the 5 minutes following our talk on stage, I had maybe 25 different pitches and business cards in my pocket.”

“One piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs trying to pitch VCs is first to make sure that their company is this VC fundable.

“What I mean by that is most companies are not going to have the trajectory that is expected from startups and eventually be worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. And that's completely fine. But you need to know that early on to make sure that you do fit the bill with VCs looking to fund you.”

So, before running with your pitch deck in hand to investors, Abehassera suggests taking a moment to assess the scalability of your project and potential markets.

Matt Turk speaking Matt Turck (right) speaking at the VivaTech Startup Meetup in New York. Photo credit: VivaTech

Failing is Overrated

Matt Turk is a partner at FirstMark Capital, a New York-based early-stage venture capital firm. Partnering with entrepreneurs who are focused on solving meaningful problems. A few notable investments they’ve made early on include Airbnb, Pinterest, Shopify, and Upwork.

We caught up with Turk in our recent VivaTech Startup Meetup in New York. As an investor, Turk often sees startups go through moments of ups and downs and even fail, but for him, it’s not always a good thing.

“I think failure is overrated. There is a little bit of a culture in Silicon Valley and the startup ecosystem in general that failure is a good thing because you learn from it.

“And indeed, the secret of Silicon Valley over the last few decades has been that you can fail and then people will give you a second chance. We've seen repeat entrepreneurs who failed a couple of times but then eventually succeeded.

“Failure is certainly something you can learn from. But the whole culture around failing being a good thing, I don't agree with.

“This is a different answer from what you’re supposed to say as a VC. But failure is not good. It is incredibly painful. And I've seen a lot of people that never recovered from it.”

While failure may offer valuable lessons, Turk's perspective sheds light on its harsh realities. As startups navigate the bumpy landscape of entrepreneurship, understanding the gravity of failure can be pivotal in their journey toward sustainable success.

Go Further

The startup realm has no lack of complexities. For more insightful discussions and networking opportunities with experts like Ilan Abehassera and Matt Turk, secure your pass to VivaTech 2024 and join the global community shaping the future of technology and innovation.

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