Investors: no mistakes means you’re missing chances


Like entrepreneurs, investors also make mistakes.  Any who haven’t made mistakes, aren’t taking chances, according to Peter van der Zee, investment executive at Invenfin.

Speaking at the third annual AHUB event in Cape Town last week, van der Zee admitted to having made plenty of mistakes in choosing startups to invest in – but, he says this is all part of the investor “game”.

“Making mistakes is part of the game.  If you haven’t made mistakes, that means you’re not taking chances,” van der Zee told the conference.

Deciding on new investees is a tricky business, and there’s no science to sifting out potentially poor companies.  However, van der Zee said if he had to distill one common deciding factor separating successful and unsuccessful startups, it is the founding team.

“Team is critical.  If it does go wrong, it’s probably because of the team,” he said.

Considering his own experiences, van der Zee said the numerous “good” portfolio companies he has worked with were all underpinned by exceptional teams, with the capacity to execute.

“They’ve got something special about them.  They’ve got a good team, and they’re executing very well.”


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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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