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Network Updates, 6 June 2017

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We have changed our publication schedule, and will now be sending KF Network Updates and eBulletins on Tuesdays, instead of Thursdays.

Upcoming Events

Log into TENx for complete details and RSVP information for all KF events, unless noted.

  • June 11-16: Summer modules & Vesting Day (graduation), Classes 20-22
    Tuesday, June 13 – Cocktail Reception
    Wednesday, June 14 – Graduation / Vesting Day sessions, lunch, cocktail reception
  • June 23: New York Regional Chapter breakfast
  • July 15 – Fellows Picnic / Family/ Day
  • September 14: KF Women’s Group breakfast. Hosted by Miriam Rivera (Class 15) at her private residence.
  • September 22: NY Regional Chapter breakfast
  • December 8: NY Regional Chapter breakfast
  • International Summit, April 22-27, 2018: Tel Aviv & Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Can’t log into TENx? Contact Remi Morita or John McIntyre for assistance or event details.


  • Studying a conquistador taught Joe Edgar (Class 19) to take “Failure is not an option” literally
  • Kauffman Foundation awards $840K to 8 Midwestern accelerators
  • On the move: Itxaso del Palacio (Class 18) joins Microsoft Ventures in London
  • Portfolio happenings: Kaszek Ventures (Hernán Kazah, Mentor Class 21; Nik Berman, Class 21) closes $200M fund • NXTP Labs (Ariel Arrieta, Class 18; Francisco Coronel, Class 20) signs first anchor investor to new Impact Investing Fund • Alessio Beverina (Class 13) to join board of Alesi Surgical • Evolution Equity Partners (Richard Seewald, Class 16) invests in cyber-security firm Panaseer
  • Podcasts & speakers: Brian Ascher (Class 4) credits KFP for his entry to venture on 20-Minute VC • Cyril Vancura (Class 15) to speak on mobility & CVC in Lisbon • Ramphis Castro (Class 16) interviewed on John Livesay podcast
  • This week’s blog selections: Karim Elsahy (Class 18) writes on the level of human involvement in current AI • Trey Hart (Class 20) offers 20 recommendations for better VC annual meetings • Choson Exchange (Geoffrey See, Class 21) discusses North Korea’s new investment guide for foreign companies
  • Job opportunities: (CONTINUING) Alchemist Accelerator startups with multiple positions open • Matter Ventures looking for 2 Program Coordinators • Accel seeks a Partner in its London Office • PropelVC looks for Analyst, Associate, and Partner hires in London

Studying a Conquistador Taught Joe Edgar (Class 19) to Take “Failure Is Not an Option” Literally

Tall shipIn Small Biz Daily, Joe Edgar (Class 19), a principal with Petros Partners, shares what he has learned about leading a startup from studying Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in “Lessons from a Conquistador: How to Set Sail for Startup Success.” Drawing inspiration from Cortés’s leadership approach (but not his goals), Joe articulates several key lessons. “Determination [in a startup] isn’t just something you agree to. … It requires preparation, thought and order” before beginning. In the early stages of a startup, he says, borrowing money from family and friends provides even more motivation; on top of introducing external accountability, it puts one’s pride on the line.

Cortés famously had his men scuttle their ships after they arrived in Mexico, leaving only one option: going forward. Failure was not an option; he and his men now had the same goals. In a startup, Joe says, one way a founder can be “all-in,” with no Plan B, is to be the lowest-paid person in the company, leading by example and sharing the sacrifices that come with an early-stage startup. It has the effect of flattening the hierarchy and creating an environment where “everyone feels empowered to voice their opinions and even interns become passionate” about the project. Read the full article.

Kauffman Foundation Awards $840K to 8 Midwestern Accelerators

Kauffman FoundationKauffman Foundation announced last week that it has selected eight area accelerator organizations to receive grants and sponsorships totaling $840K as part of the KC Accelerator Challenge. Wendy Guillies, CEO, said, “Our goal is to increase entrepreneurial success in Kansas City through high-quality support programs. … We believe the startups are empowered when they connect to established resources. The KC Accelerator Challenge directly supports organizations that are demonstrably increasing early-stage entrepreneurs’ success.” Award recipients must meet a funding match of Foundation funds. The Challenge itself, says VP of Entrepreneurship Victor Hwang (Class 12), grew out of the Foundation’s “comprehensive approach to address barriers that too many of our entrepreneurs face in Kansas City and the Midwest”—the Zero Barriers movement.

On the move:

Itxaso del Palacio (Class 18) has joined Microsoft Ventures as an Investment Partner to lead their investments in Europe, from the the firm’s London office. Microsoft Ventures invests in Series A–C rounds, focusing on startups “enabling a mobile-first, cloud-first future.”

Portfolio happenings:

  • Hats off to Hernán Kazah (Mentor Class 21) and Nik Berman (Class 21) of Kaszek Ventures. The firm closed a $200M fund this week, its largest raise so far. Based in Buenos Aires, Kaszek invests about ⅔ of its funds in Brazil, which is expected to continue with the new fund. Despite Brazil’s current political turmoil, Kaszek and other LatAm investors are still bullish on the country’s tech sector. Co-founder Hernán Kazah believes that the crisis has resulted in “more committed entrepreneurs”—those who start new companies out of choice, not necessity. The firm’s new fund will expand Kaszek’s focus to include AgTech, education, and health care. Read the full New York Times story.
  • Congratulations to Ariel Arrieta (Class 18) and Francisco Coronel (Class 20), whose NXTP Labs landed its first anchor investment of $5M by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the firm’s new Impact Investing Fund. The fund is dedicated to startups “focused on solving big pressing societal problems by leveraging the power of technology,” and has a target capitalization of $120M for financing in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. NXTP Labs is a seed- and early-stage fund and accelerator, focused on the LatAm tech sector. [Press release]
  • Alessio Beverina (Class 13), co-founder of Panakes Partners, will join Alesi Surgical’s board after Panakes co-led its recent €6M funding round. Alesi manufactures products that improve the safety and outcomes of advanced surgical procedures. The funding will enable the firm to expand into US markets and continue R&D. Alessio hails the firm’s Ultravision product as “a smart and simple solution for a real problem for laparoscopic surgeons and nurses in the operating room, both in standard and robotic operations.” [Press release]
  • Richard Seewald’s (Class 16) Evolution Equity Partners joined the recent $3.25M Series A for Panaseer, whose security product automates identification, measurement, and mitigation of cyber risk. “Panaseer has already made significant achievements to help resolve [the security product] pain-point and we look forward to working with the company to enter new geographic markets and business segments,” says Richard. The firm, which has offices in London and New York, plans to use the new funding to expand its access to the US and European markets. [Press release]

Podcasts & speakers:

This week’s blog selections:

  • Trey Hart (Class 20) wrote “Practical Advice: VC Annual Meetings,” which lists 20 recommendations for the annual meeting he says every VC firm should have “no matter what the size of the fund(s) or size of the team.” Sample tips include “make it an experience” and “invite everyone at your firm whether junior or senior.”
  • Karim Elsahy (Class 18) published “Embrace the Human” on Medium.com to argue that the heavy human involvement “just about everywhere in AI” represents a natural learning curve, as humans provide AIs with on-the-job training. Karim goes on to illustrate how his company, Elves, embraces the process.
  • An announcement from Choson Exchange, founded by Geoffrey See (Class 21), is optimistic that North Korea is “opening up” the way China was in 1981 under Deng Xiaoping. Hopeful that political issues will be resolved to clear the way for U.S. investment, Choson discusses the government’s publication of the “Investment Guide to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” which is intended to serve as a comprehensive guide not just to current business law in North Korea but to the country as a whole, from geography and natural resources to IP protection.

Job opportunities:

If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to post a job at your firm or portfolio company, please email us. Jobs are shown here for 4 weeks unless otherwise requested.

Do you have a news story to share? Please email us: news@kfp.org.

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