Interview With Jaime Novoa
Fund / GroupK Fund
Number of portfolio companies60+
Focus AreasSecond and business modelo agnostic, B2B & B2C, variety of industries
Focus GeographiesSouthern Europe and Latam
Stage(s)Pre-seed, seed and Series A
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN PRIVATE INVESTING?
I joined K Fund in May 2016, as we were getting ready to launch our first €50M early stage fund. I'd been working as a tech journalist for more than 3 years and as a result of the network I'd built, the opportunity of joining K Fund happened. I joined to take care of the comms and branding side of the business, but since early on I was also given the responsibility and freedom of bringing investment opportunities to the table.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU VALUE IN AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
It sounds like a cliche, but the team. Most of the deals we do are at the pre-seed and seed stages, when there's not much to look into in terms of analysis, besides focusing on the quality of the founding team and market dynamics. So we often spend quite a lot of time assessing founding teams.
WHAT ARE THE BEST INNOVATION THEMES THAT YOU SEE IN THE MARKET TODAY?
API-fication of a lot of processes and workflows, the intersection of health and technology, robotics, crypto, etc. There's many!
BEYOND ECONOMIC RETURN, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO?
Create jobs. In a country with a high percentage of unemployment such as Spain, I think that creating jobs -and good jobs with medium to high salaries- is a key aspect that funds enable. It's true that many of the companies offering these roles are not self sustainable, but we often invest with the believe that down the line, those companies can become profitable and cash flow positive.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGES OR PAIN POINTS IN MANAGING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACTIVITY?
Protecting my own schedule and time. If you're not careful, you can end up with a schedule full of back to back meetings every single day of the week, and that doesn't leave you enough time to read, think and assess certain opportunities with a clear mind.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST INVESTMENT LESSON YOU'VE LEARNED AND/OR THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT MISTAKE YOU'VE MADE?
Not trusting your gut feeling. This goes back to the importance we attribute to the quality of the founding team. In the past we've backed teams where we were not fully convinced about the team, and those decisions ended up backfiring on us.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE INDUSTRY INFORMATION SOURCES AND/OR SERVICES?
Dealflow.es, obviously :) I'm often on Techmeme and Hacker News, those are the two news sources that I check every single day of the week.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE NON-BUSINESS INTEREST OR HOBBY?
Music and sports, more specifically basketball and the NBA. I'm a big Warriors fan (been a fan more 15+ years, when they were really bad as a team) and I also love discovering new music and going to concerts.
PLEASE LEAVE US A BOOK RECOMMENDATION (BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE).
I really enjoyed reading The Master Switch, by Tim Wu. I like books that give you historical context on the evolution of “things”, and this book is a great read for anyone interested in the evolution of various technologies in the past 200 years.
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET OVERALL?