During the past few years, I have taken an active part in the venture capital industry, and have either co-founded and/or advised many early-stage startups.
About meAfter spending two years at Stanford Business School during the run-up to the dot-com bubble, my appetite was whetted in the intersection of technology and business. Aside from two years at a strategy consulting firm Bain & Company, I have spent the past 18 years at technology startups in the US and Europe. Highlights include two executive roles, including 2 startups, that each exited for over $100M. Today I am Managing Partner of Change Ventures, the first and largest pan-Baltic seed fund, backing ambitious Baltic founders building global success stories.
Outside work, I am a father of four kids, husband to a wonderfully smart and capable lawyer. I co-founded and am on the boards of the TechHub Riga and TechChill foundations and work to support the startup community in Latvia and the other Baltic States. Last but not least - I’m a part time (aka weekend) warrior in the National Guard of Latvia, serving as an infantryman in the 1st Riga Brigade.
As a venture capitalist, when I invest in a company I am investing and risking reputation, as important as the capital itself. Because there are so few investors relative to startups and funds have very few “shots at goal” to return money to their investors, the credibility aspects of an investment are very important. Check out this great article by Chris Harvey that provides more detail: https://lawofvc.substack.com/p/10-episode-the-stories-behind-cap
Pre-seed and seed fund investment should be all about the upside. Too often in the Baltic States we see investment terms that are structured for the investor to try to avoid losing their capital, but which restrict the company in the future from being able to get more investment in order to have a chance to earn the investor a 10x or 100x return. Early stage investing is all about backing winners, rather than salvaging capital from losers, so better to give the companies the freedom to grow later. Great post here from Point9 Capital about the important and unimportant points in a term sheet - At Change Ventures we agree with them entirely.
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