OCCASIONALLY on a Friday night as I review the remains of the week, I wonder why I put myself through it. Last week, one of my portfolio companies nearly hit a wall, and I had to coach the existing investors through their panic to send through an emergency bridge round. Another one of our companies secured funding, and a third closed £500,000 yesterday.
I am privileged to hang out with the big league hitters of entrepreneurship each week too. They had their near death moments too.
Also last week, I had dinner with Jay Fulcher, a Silicon Valley veteran, who is the chief executive of ooyala, a video monetisation company that just inked a deal with the Telegraph Media Group.
Jay has built and sold several giant IT stories. Why does a guy like Jay who has “made it” continue to take on the next challenge?
I also spoke at the launch of the Palm Pre at The Hospital last week. Palm is currently run by an old friend of mine, Jon Rubinstein, who built one of the early Mac Clone businesses, FirePowerSystems, in the early 90’s [where I knew him as I was advising Motorola on Power PC Marketing activities], and then went on to work directly for Steve Jobs in his transformation of Apple, delivering the iPod before he left in 2004. Why does a guy like Jon who has “done it” multiple times set out to do it again? The answer is – because they have to.
Entrepreneurs are people who go back into the burning building. Where others run away, they spot opportunity. They see the flames and smoke, and know that disruptive change breeds unparalleled opportunity.
A taxi driver said to me the other day, “Everything is cricket in England,” and went on to explain that it means that everything is a gentlemanly sport where nothing is shaken up too much.
I don’t recognise that place. The country I’ve fallen in love with has a growing band of merry entrepreneurs that have big audacious goals, and intend to lead the world in their ventures.
We don’t need to worry that Kraft is buying Cadbury. We would have cause to worry if the young British entrepreneurs weren’t up for the task of building the global powerhouses of the future. The under 30’s in this country are the most fearless, driven group you can imagine.
They know that Britain can do “big”. Indeed, it’s been doing “big” throughout its history.
Julie Meyer is chief executive of Ariadne Capital and a Dragon on the BBC’s Online Dragon’s Den.