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Live Interview with Oliver Holle

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Oliver Holle is the CEO and Managing Partner of SpeedInvest. Oliver founded his first tech startup as a university student in 1997, long before “mobile,” “entrepreneur” and “startup” were mainstream terms in Europe. In 2003, he pivoted his company from interactive simulations to mobile content distribution, merging it into 3united AG to become a leader and innovator in the mobile content space.

After a successful exit to Verisign in 2006 and several years in Silicon Valley, he returned to Austria with the goal to establish a different, much more operationally focused type of VC model for European founders. In 2011, Speedinvest launched with its first €10M fund. The Startup Istanbul live interview series hosted Oliver Holle alongside Ozan Sonmez.

In the interview, he talks about the current state of things and how to find a way out for most entities in the startup ecosystem.Just before the pandemic. Oliver’s SpeedInvest was able to raise a $190M new fund. He started the outfit from the need to apply all he learned with various startups and with the idea of starting a truly different fund.

SpeedInvest serves as a service center to the startups in her portfolio, having quite a lot of people engaged to the platform, all with a common goal of growth and development.When asked about how he sees operator-led VCs as against to others, Oliver started by noting that there is no one model that works in the Venture Capital business.

SpeedInvest focuses on very early stage startups including the ones in the pre-seed and seed stage, Oliver’s personal hypotheses validates the need forexperienced partners who are members of the board giving advice to startups. Oliver believes that the only way that an investor-founder relationship will really work is if there is massive trust, respect and openness.

So, his team asked the question” how can we make ourselves relevant?” This relevance will drive the respect, which will in turn get you the trust and openness you need. Ozan mentioned that just about six years ago, founders were forced to take whatever they were offered as much attention was not given to the founder-investor relationships.

A lot of founders actually receive funding and then find out that they are stuck in a bad relationship with their investors. SpeedInvest and a number of new generation investors in Europe are changing this status quo.

Providing more than just funding to these startups, building healthy relationships that are a foundation for essential growth for these startups.Oliver fears that in the coming 2 years, there will be a power-shift to the investors’ side rather than the founders’ side. The past 2-3 years saw the tables turn and founders even had the luxury of making choices when dealing with their investors. Oliver mentioned that he sees this changing unfortunately.

─ May 9, 2020