Tuesday night was the culmination of 9 years of work. When I founded Ariadne on the 8th of December 2000, I gave myself a ten year plan. I said by our 10th year anniversary I would have pioneered the model of Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs, and made that the standard in the “financing of entrepreneurship” industry. I said I would have a great team [well that took longer than I thought it would, but got there in the end or atleast over the past couple of years]. I said I would have amazing entrepreneurs as investors, and have 53 of them in total – many of whom have become friends – all of whom I admire. And I said I’d raise our first fund. Got there a year early. When I started that process earlier this year, I thought it would take a very long time. I was pleasantly surprised about how much momentum we were able to get around the ACE Fund. I should have done this years ago!!!
Alastair Lukies spoke at the event [in addition to Todd Ruppert of T Rowe Price and Rob Hersov] about shoots and ladders. Nothing could better explain what the last 9 years have all been about. He said that it was unusual to find a firm like Ariadne that could add the value and care. Sums it up about right. For me, this goes so far beyond Monitise, SpinVox, SliceThePie, NearGlobal, Bview, EGS, Qire, YuuGuu, Enrich Social Productions... I and the team care about the entrepreneurs we back – the people behind those firms, and time will tell, but yes, time will tell that that caring about them enables us to be better business people for them .. not a handicap.
I don’t abandon my friends, and I certainly don’t abandon my portfolio companies when it gets tough. You can’t sign up for the glamour – only for the journey. I know how hard it is to build a successful business, and the entrepreneurs I work with feel that they are going to battle out there every day. Sometimes they are having a tremendous time, but most of the time they are fighting for everything they get. I would not leave them in the trenches when they are attacked, and I have no respect for investors or advisors who abandon their entrepreneurs when times are tough.
The summer of 2005 was probably the worst time of my life. And yet that’s when/where all the learning got imprinted on my brain, mind and soul. All of the bad times have made the ascendancy so much better. Actually the bad time was the prerequisite for the ascendancy.
Great dinner with Michael Jackson and friends last night ... amazing stories of his days investing in Sage, MicroMuse etc.... a true genius backer of entrepreneurs – right up there with the best of Silicon Valley ... I’m lucky as all get out that he’s a friend, an investor and on my Advisory Board of the fund.
Growing Business Awards on Thursday night... the Rock brothers do it again.... great conversation with Ed Wray, founder of BetFair, one of my investors.... gave the Green award out ... wearing my Red dress...
And so another November comes to a close....