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Paul Jozefak
Hamburg, Germany
I am building companies from our base in Hamburg, Germany.
Recent Activity
We live in a "getting shit done" day and age. I won't go so far as to say it's all a scam but after years of experience, I have to say I found out the hard way how important patience is. It's usually just better to wait instead of forcing things. So often in life, things tend to work themselves out and we can't always better the outcome by trying to influence it. Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being focused and taking care of business. That is not what I am gettting at and you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at Babbling VC
So it's been a couple hours now that the news is out: Facebook purchased WhatsApp for €16B (plus €3B on top for employee retention). There's plenty of press out there about this so have fun sifting. Nevertheless, it seems like there are two things missing from the analysis of this purchase. 1. Facebook just made every damn other messaging app that much more expensive. They have WhatsApp now. Good luck if you are a FB competitor and are considering buying one of WhatsApp's competitors. You just found out you have to pony up a shitload more to purchase them. If... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at Babbling VC
I've done my share of reference calls in my career and to be honest, the majority were basically crap. This isn't to say that I am the best individual when it comes to making reference calls but in hindsight I always wondered whether I benefited at all. Further, I always ended up questioning more why the person whom I spoke to was actually given as a reference. My personal opinion as to whom you want to call when referencing me is people who probably hate my guts. Even better, call those who think I'm a complete idiot. They'll probably go... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Babbling VC
Mark's post on what you should look for when picking a VC saw a lot of play the past couple of days. As usual, Mark writes extensively about what he feels he would do when deciding which investor to work with. As usual, his posts give great and thorough advice. Unfortuntely, in this case, I think he's taking the wrong approach to the problem. Further, I agree that I, along with a ton of other VC bloggers, often make this mistake. Telling someone how to pick their VC is basically like telling a fat kid* how to pick his girlfriend.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Babbling VC
Very few Adrian.
1 reply
This is just a theory but I would ponder that the likelihood of a VC's* success is directly related to whether they need to earn their salary or not. If a VC came into the game without needing a job, their decisions are more likely, in my opinion, to lead to homeruns than otherwise. In my eyes, it's pretty simple. If fear of financial failure doesn't factor into your decisions, you will most likely make better ones, all other factors remaining equal. I am of course presuming that the VC is skilled in another way, which is the reason they... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at Babbling VC
Everyone seems so surprised that Nest sold to Google. Specifically, most are surprised by the $3.2B price tag. I am not. It's a smart move for Google and a wonderful step for Nest . Seriously, does anyone think the $3.2b is going to put any dent in Google's account? Having recently purchased my house, I'd love to install Nest here in Europe. Not possible yet but as soon as it is, I will. Further, the idea behind Nest.....to completely wire the house and get everything connected is very much in line with what I want to do in my house.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Babbling VC
Seriously, speak up if you are trying to sell a product or yourself. Have an opinion and share it and if necessary, defend it. It may be a European thing but very few young people I run across lately are truly memorable or bold. There is the odd exception here and there and usually, at the far end of the spectrum. With this, I mean new candidates for positions or folks pitching their ideas or interns and students whose paths I cross. Unfortunately, almost all the rest are meek and meager in their attempts. One thing I learned along the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Babbling VC
When it comes to payment, I have to admit that I am the first person to want to rid myself of cash first and foremost, followed by credit cards. Give me an app that I open and pay with at the click of a button and I'm golden. Now, I bet a bunch of you could point me to ten different solutions that already allow me to do this today. I can probably also name ten off the top of my head. Unfortunately, that's the problem. Even though we could technically leave cash and credit cards behind at this point... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at Babbling VC
I'm sad to inform you that my fifth Jawbone Up has just failed this morning. This has been an ongoing saga for about a year and a half now. After the first one crapped out, I simply went "meh" and happily accepted a replacement from Jawbone. It was a bit of a "process" but they happily and politely exchanged my first broken device for a brand new one. Unfortunately, this process has repeated itself four more times (usually every 4 to 6 months). Each and every time Jawbone was extremely polite, helpful and willing to replace broken devices with no... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Babbling VC
I thought I'd kick off my return to work this year with a blog post. I spent the past two weeks mostly out of the office and in a kind of semi-vacation state. Fortunately, I wasn't travelling during the holidays which used to be the case every year. Time was spent with my wife's family and putting the finishing touches on the house. Time well spent but now I'm ready to get back to my usual routine. Nevertheless, something I am not inclined to do right now is look forward and try to predict what the year will bring. Nor... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2014 at Babbling VC
At this point, we've all probably heard of Bronnie Ware's Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I wish that I had let myself be happier. That's just a summary. If you haven't read about this, go read the whole post or get the book. It really is worth it and if nothing else,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2013 at Babbling VC
Sig, been here a while. I haven't hit a "bitter phase" regarding VC. I haven't even left out the option at some point to return....it was good to me for the almost 15 years I was involved in it. Would I go out though and start a business and look for venture backing right away? Probably not! :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2013 on Signs That You're No Longer a VC at Babbling VC
1 reply
Quite enjoying it Roberto! As to the Gold status, there is that Aegean trick! ;-)
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2013 on Signs That You're No Longer a VC at Babbling VC
1 reply
It's kind of funny that I've already been out of the VC game as a partner for almost two years and regularly still get referred to as one. At the same time, I always revert to my favorite comment that a VC career ended has a shelf-life of about six months. You are still kind of relevant in that world for that amount of time after leaving but then the telltale signs start to appear. These are listed in no particular order: The most obvious sign is that you stop receiving as many business plans. It used to be hundreds,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2013 at Babbling VC
Jason, I couldn't agree more about the mindset. That's a whole different post though when it comes to boosting the German VC scene.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2013 on Tax Optimization As Sport at Babbling VC
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Not only is tax optimization practically a national sport ("Volkssport"), I'd even gander to say that it's more popular than football (soccer for my American friends) in this country. After almost twenty years in Germany, I have to admit that I have spoken of nothing more than all the possible ways to save on taxes. It may be the crowd I hang with but to be honest, it really isn't. It's everyone, from lowly wage slave through to management. Most importantly though, I say this without any ill will. I am not alluding to illegal tax evasion when I speak... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2013 at Babbling VC
It's kind of odd that I write this since I neither feel old nor think I have changed that much in the past 10 to 15 years. At the same time, I realize that I have done many things which I said I'd never do. I ended up getting married, getting a dog, planning for kids, may be buying a house soon and leaving the city for the suburbs. Heresy to my 25 year old self....now something I consider or have already done. I also thought I'd never stay in a job more than a year or two when starting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2013 at Babbling VC
For many of you, this is nothing new. I simply thought to write a post about this since I am constantly being reminded of the fact. When approaching VC's (or incubators/accelerators/Liquid Labs) always read their website beforehand. In addition, read everything and anything else you can find out about them. Best yet, get an intro! For the past year and a half we have received a lot of inbound interest. I am pleasantly surprised and happy that we also finally managed to update our website recently (it was an eyesore before). The majority of people get it and apply via... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2013 at Babbling VC
Thanks David. Never having met your mom, I still felt great sadness about your loss having met and getting to know both your father and then you. Such a loss is definitely one of the things which unfortunately are necessary to snap many people out of obsessive careerism and that's not a bad thing. It's fine to be driven and giving 100% early on in life and a career. There comes a point though where we all consider families, friends and other things that make us who we are. I choose not to be defined by my job (although I love what I do and spend a lot of time doing it). It's a choice I have the benefit of being able to make. I think your situation isn't that different. Keep reflecting! :)
1 reply
Bijan recently had a really interesting post about Steve Jobs and the bio about him. More importantly though he alluded to the fact that separating family and private life from work is a difficult task. I actually tweeted out his post with my opinion: it's "either/or" and not "and" when it comes to private verses career. I know a lot of people will take me to task on this. I stand firm behind my opinion that to do either really well you can't do the other any better than average or worse. I know for a fact that I've struggled... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2013 at Babbling VC
Enough with the excessive "value-add" posts.....please.........begin rant: I have advised to find the best VC when raising capital and not just the ones who give the highest valuation. Nevertheless, I think a lot of VC's are a bit delusional as I may have been too. Ever more VC's are blogging about all this value-add they deliver and the topics of their posts are often so detached from the reality out there that it's comical. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the following fact: VC.....it's not about you....it's about your money! This is OK. It's natural.....you'll get over it. And...sssshhhh....don't tell... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2013 at Babbling VC
Today is going to be an interesting day in terms of funding. A German start-up, NumberFour, just raised €38m for their Series A. It's Marco Boerries, so a seriel entrepreneur, and the business has been around since 2009.....just without launching any products. This is not a post about Marco. He's a rockstar and if anyone should get this size round in Europe, it's probably him. Nevertheless, don't get caught up in the numbers. Everyone is talking about the size of the round. Journalists don't have much to go on so they are focusing on this. Every blog post has something... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at Babbling VC
If you're interested in my panel from the Next13 event with the founder of Eventbrite as well as one of the partners from the Samwer's growth fund, take a look: Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2013 at Babbling VC
Definitely agree with a lot of the things Max said!
1 reply