Meet: Reshma, Seedcamp
At Curve, we're always looking to help freelancers and entrepreneurs get more from their money - from simpler spending to smarter saving and expensing - all in one place.
Tell us a little about the story behind Seedcamp - What's your background in, and how did it lead you to founding Seedcamp?
It’s all a bit of luck and timing. I moved to Europe in 2002 and after working for a few years across UK/Europe I wanted to get back into venture. So, I joined 3i and quickly realised I was more interested in that earlier stage of a company’s journey. Fortunately in 2006 things were really starting to kick off in London and luckily I met a nexus of the most relevant folks. Mike Arrington of Techcrunch introduced me to Saul (Klein) and through him I kept meeting more and more like-minded folks. There was no one supporting or building the European startup ecosystem at the time and so we really just decided to go for it. It felt slightly crazy a the time, the concept of setting up a dedicated fund for the bleeding edge of funding at pre-seed stage, but it was definitely a risk worth taking.
"There’s so many incredible people doing just that and a fantastic ecosystem of support and like minded individuals to tap into who can help you along the way..."
It’s the confluence of me being ready to give 150%, taking a personal risk when I saw opportunity and little downside, and a group of newly minted Angels, engaged VCs, and more that were poised to give new oxygen to the London and European startup scene.
Seedcamp Partners Carlos Eduardo Espinal and Reshma Sohoni
What was the "light bulb" moment where you realised that getting small businesses (like Curve!) started up was a big problem that needed to be solved?
I wanted to work with businesses at the earliest stage and there was just no one doing that in Europe. I was surrounded by so many inspirational people and could see how if we brought the ecosystem together in a meaningful way, that it would be a lightning rod.
What is the passion and interest that really drives you - what gets you out of bed and into Seedcamp HQ?
I love the variety. We’ve backed over 230 companies to date and have remained true to our initial mission to support the most ambitious founders. That means we work with incredible people building disruptive businesses across everything from health care apps to virtual reality experiences. We’re particularly known for being Europe’s most active investor in fintech, backing companies including Curve and TransferWise but what drives us is individuals and teams using tech to create a better experience for the end user across all manner of sectors: healthtech, legaltech, proptech - you name it.
I’m passionate about supporting great people; connecting the individuals at the companies we back to the best network of smart, leading minds who can assist them with everything from mentoring to investment. Its deeply fulfilling to watch 2 + 2 = 6. When ideas come together to effect powerful improvements in people’s lives.
And what are the biggest obstacles you (and the Seedcamp team) have faced in your journey to do this?
At macro scale, Europe is never an easy place to startup a business. Across its value chain, so many parts are difficult. But our view is we do our part and help others to make this a much better place to start. It may never be cozy like some famous other places, but we can make it better!
At a more tactical level, I think for us at Seedcamp, communicating the real benefit we bring through our network and expertise and how we’re different to other investors, especially as our focus has evolved over the past nine years and shifted away from just the start, can be an obstacle. Almost half of the companies we’ve backed this year have been at seed stage and we’ve raised significantly larger funds since launching in 2007 and increased our focus on helping companies to scale.
Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs or people in a similar position to you? You see small businesses and entrepreneurs from a multitude of backgrounds on a daily basis - if you could offer some advice to them, what would it be?
At the get go it’s about just doing it. That said, we have seen completely different destinies for 2 different sets of founders building the same business. Many founders just do it. The best founders do it hugely successfully. If you feel really passionately about something, can identify a gap in the market and can see how you can build a solution to a problem then bring on the highest quality people to make it happen. Founders don’t build companies, talent does that. There’s so many incredible people doing just that and a fantastic ecosystem of support and like minded individuals to tap into who can help you along the way - just don’t be afraid to ask!
Using Curve day to day
The Curve Mastercard® makes it so much easier for me to manage what I’m spending. It also really helps to split out what’s a work expense and what’s a personal one. I travel a lot for work, often at the last minute, and Curve is amazing for that. I can keep track across which cards offer the best rates and save time having to faff around calling banks to let them know I’ll be travelling etc. It’s a really easy way to track expenses from specific trips too. Recently I had my wallet stolen and luckily I only had my Curve card in there. It felt so much more secure to not lose 5 cards at once, but my Curve card only where I could talk to your team immediately and halt anyone else taking my identity. In general it’s made my day-to-day so much better.
You can find out more about Seedcamp at their website.
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