Contents:

    If you’ve ever wondered how small companies get big funding, this podcast episode is for you. I talk with Damir Becirovic, a venture capitalist with Index Ventures, about investing in companies like Bird and so much more. If you have a company or idea in mind, you definitely want to check out this episode to see how VCs like Damir evaluate companies and, ultimately, how they decide to invest in them.

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

    If you've ever wondered how small companies get big funding, this podcast episode is for you. I talk with Damir Becirovic, a venture capitalist with Index Ventures, about investing in companies like Bird and so much more. If you have a company or idea in mind, you definitely want to check out this episode to see how VCs like Damir evaluate companies and, ultimately, how they decide to invest in them.

    Intro

    • Have you ever wondered how companies like Uber, Lyft and even Bird get off the ground? In most cases, they need an investor to help them
    • In this episode, I’m chatting with one of those investors about how he identifies companies to invest in and what partnering with new companies looks like
    • This podcast episode is sponsored by Take 5, and their goal is to get your oil change done in just a few minutes. In fact, Take 5 will actually allow you to stay in your car while they change your oil! Also, they really only focus on basic services like oil changes, transmission fluid, air filters, etc. so you won’t be upsold anything like “blinker fluid” (which doesn’t exist in real life).
    • Take 5 is not yet in California but they are available in the Southeast, and right now Take 5 is offering 25% off oil changes. Find more about it here!

    Interview with Damir Becirovic

    • Have you ever wondered how major companies (like Uber, Lyft and start ups like Bird and Lime) are funded? Behind all of these services is an army of venture capitalists funding the whole thing
    • Damir Becirovic is one of those venture capitalists, and he works at a firm called Index Ventures, which is a huge investor in Bird
    • Damir joined Index in 2015 and focuses on opportunities related to digital commerce and transportation
    • He also manages Index’s investments in Bird, Hollar, Hush and Sharespace
    • Damir and his brother were also recognized by Forbes as 30-under-30 for Venture Capitalists

    What Does a Venture Capitalist Do?

    • Basically, there are four things VCs do on a daily basis: 1) sourcing, 2) winning the company over and beginning the relationship, 3) managing the company and 4) helping the company exit in some way (go public, acquisition, etc.)
    • It’s more than just “handing the company money” – it’s about building a relationship with the founders, who are the company
    • At Index, there is a lot of autonomy and so everyone is exploring their own areas of interest. The end goal is the same for everyone: find great companies and work with them
    • No one really grows up wanting to be a “venture capitalist” – Damir was exposed to VCs and what they do through a class in college, which put him on the VC path at a young age

    What Type of Areas Do You Focus On?

    • Damir mainly focuses on “consumer opportunities” – what opportunities are relevant to the average person?
    • Tries to answer the questions: is this something people will want? Does this solve a pain point in a person’s life?
    • In general, Damir focuses on transportation and eCommerce
    • VCs usually get involved in the early stages, when companies are teams of 3-10 people. In general, VCs seek to build a close working relationship in the earliest days of a company

    Investing in Bird

    • Initially met with Bird in early 2018 and almost immediately were blown away by the company and the market/need it was looking to fill
    • Typically, people were using Bird scooters seven, eight times a day – much more often than people typically use their cars
    • Another thing that pushed Index to invest was Bird founder Travis VanderZanden’s passion for transportation
    • An important question Bird is solving is the first/last mile dilemma as well

    What Makes Certain Companies Stand Out?

    • Damir meets with 4-5 founders per day, up to 25 meetings a week to determine good opportunities
    • Things Damir looks at: who are the founders? What are they building or aspiring to build? Why is their idea a good idea? What is the opportunity there?
    • Currently, some companies Damir is excited about are Aurora (self-driving cars) and Scoop for carpooling.
    • Damir finds companies in a variety of ways: some people pitch him, some are found through relationships with other companies he is currently working with. Looking for companies that solve a pain point for a large number of people.

    Outro

    • Big thanks to Damir for coming on and talking with us about VCs, investing in companies, and new companies Index is investing in
    • For more about Damir, visit his profile here
    • I think this whole area of VCs and investing is really cool, and what came across to me is how passionate Damir is about his job as well
    • Helping move these companies along, working with founders/creators is really interesting – hopefully you learned something about VCs, investing, or new companies/ideas you might have!
    • Also, this podcast episode is sponsored by Take 5, and their goal is to get your oil change done in just a few minutes. In fact, Take 5 will actually allow you to stay in your car while they change your oil! Also, they really only focus on basic services like oil changes, transmission fluid, air filters, etc. so you won’t be upsold anything like “blinker fluid” (which doesn’t exist in real life).
    • Take 5 is not yet in California but they are available in the Southeast, and right now Take 5 is offering 25% off oil changes. Find more about it here!

    Show Notes

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.