From founder to VC to founder again: practical advice for startups and investors :: with Alex Giannikoulis
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Alex Giannikoulis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/giannikoulis/) and I discuss his journey from startup land, to angel investing, to venture capital, to founding a new company again. His current startup (https://goivee.com/) builds enhanced in-vehicle experiences. We dive into not only the story of IVEE, but how Alex’s experience as an angel investor and VC has informed his leadership style and practical advice for founders, especially regarding fundraising.
In this episode we cover the following:
1:46 - Brief introduction and tee-up for Alex, when Will and Alex met, and why Will is excited for this conversation.
2:20 - Alex self-introduction, story, journey into startup land, angel investing, VC, and now Founder/CEO of https://goivee.com/
5:41 - Learning from Alex’s past in investing, how did he approach being a CEO of his new venture differently based on his experience as an angel and VC?
8:08 - Advice for targeting investors; commentary on the numbers game when raising capital. Can your company be a billion dollar company? If not, classic VC may not be the right path for you.
12:47 - What did early validation experiences and endeavours look like for Alex? How did he know to keep investing his own time and money into IVEE?
15:52 - What does the current status of IVEE look like in terms of product? What does this summer and fall look like for the company?
18:16 - Coming close to 100k rides for IVEE, where/how did those rides happen? Does IVEE own the vehicles?
20:19 - Comparison to the taxis with TVs in them. Why Alex isn’t a fan of that product/experience.
21:50 - What is the experience of people riding in an IVEE now? Does a user just randomly get selected into an IVEE experience when ride hailing? Is there a way to reserve an IVEE specifically?
25:07 - Are there partnerships that IVEE has in place now that help inform / guide the content and experience for passengers?
26:12 - How has Alex evolved his own leadership practice and style?
28:27 - What’s the frank advice for founders to help them navigate raising money from institutional VC? What are the pitfalls to watch out for?
31:46 - More advice for those perhaps newer to the fundraising process (on both sides of the table), especially re: setting terms for things like dilution.
34:23 - Advice for founders: When do you leave the day job? What advice does Alex have for people considering diving into startup land?
36:57 - Advice for potential venture capitalists. What insight does Alex have for people considering raising a VC fund?
38:48 - Final words for investors and entrepreneurs listening in and watching.