Durable investor Neal Dempsey accounts for hundreds of millions of investments and is involved in 11 investment funds. The American wanted to see how the start-up scene in Groningen stands for. Could there be a piece of corn with it?
The well-to-do American is on a reconnaissance mission to see if there are any companies in Groningen that he can string with his chain of investments. But he is also there to help young entrepreneurs get their business in the role.
He does the latter very efficiently, Marro Mijnans of the company Envitron, who builds hardware and software for optimal energy use. Mijnans was one of the exemplary entrepreneurs who were invited by Startup organization Founded in Groningen to meet with Dempsey on Tuesday .
In just five minutes, Mijnans was allowed to tell how he thinks he is making Envitron great. “He interrupts you as soon as a string is hit with him. He brings you out of balance and then starts shooting. You have to be able to handle it, but I really enjoyed it. He peels you quickly to the core, and he wants to talk about that. ”
In the US, Dempsey is nothing less than an investment legend. He gained fame because he was the only lender who saw something in the plan of a young entrepreneur for a coffee chain: Starbucks. Then it went hard. Through his company Bay Partners, he is involved in thirty IPOs of companies that together have a turnover of 2.5 billion.
If your business fails you are miserable, depressed, it seems the end of the world
Neal Dempsey – Superinvestor
Dempsey (77) – small in size, sporty stature, energetic talker – is such a man that you wonder how he can do it all. Because besides the countless projects he accompanies, he runs marathons, climbs mountains and sails around the world.
Not everything that touches Dempsey, however, turns into gold; his first two companies failed miserably. “You feel miserable, depressed, it seems the end of the world,” he said. To add that it is also an important lesson for young entrepreneurs: failure is allowed.
This week Dempsey is in the Netherlands, he spoke with ‘startup prince’ Constantijn van Oranje, special envoy of the StartUpDelta2020 , and visited Amsterdam and Rotterdam. On Monday and Tuesday he moved in for a visit to Groningen. ‘ Fantastic city, great opportunities ‘, Dempsey summarizes his stay in an American way.
There was already a link between Dempsey and Groningen. The American is in the advisory board of the Groningen company Crowdynews, which supplements news sites with information from social media. Co-founder Jeroen Zanen of Crowdynews stimulated Dempsey to come to the city of his company.
Dempsey did not expect too much at first. Judging from the photographs he saw of Groningen, he thought he was seeing a kind of medieval city. Nevertheless, he wanted to see with his own eyes how promising the startup activity is here. He did not mind.
With what the university and Hanze University of Applied Sciences bring to new discoveries, the knowledge that exists there and the lively startup community, Groningen is a suitable hunting ground for Dempsey. Not necessarily to invest in. Earning money nowadays counts less for him than coaching entrepreneurs.
There is no shortage of investors here, but I often miss
Peter Hager – Simplicate
Dempsey is currently looking for innovated locations worldwide, away from the Silicon Valley bubble. “Because I think some of the best ideas for solving technological and social issues are beyond Silicon Valley.” In this way he lands in cities like Valencia, Helsinki, Canadian Saskatoon and Groningen.
‘It is very refreshing to hear how they look at venture capitalists in the US’, says Peter Hager of software company Simplicate. “Dempsey thought it was great that we saved it here. We did not have much help. ”
Hager: ‘In the US it is much more the culture to grow your company together with the investor. They are not cowboys who only give a bag of money. There is real knowledge among investors there. There is no shortage of investors here, but I often miss their contribution to knowledge. ‘
Linda Dijkshoorn of EV Biotech also looked forward to her story, unfortunately the technique failed. She forced the presentation out of her mind. Demspey let himself be wrapped up: “Is this lady famous or something? It was a fantastic pitch. ”
“I had to blush,” admits Dijkshoorn, who will keep the contacts warm. ‘I can knock on his door for a year, then have a second investment round.’
– Do you hold a presentation? Do that in no more than five slides, two is even better. At least not thirty. That still happens too often;
– Are you an it-tech company? Do not make the hardware and software. Concentrate on either;
– Ideas are beautiful, but learn how to perform them;
– Do you see something fail? Let it go and send.