👋🏾 Hi friends!

Well last week was a bit of a blur to say the least! After landing late into Berlin on Tuesday evening and getting stuck for an hour waiting to get through passport control, I had a super early start the next day hosting a series of talks at TOA 2024.

I’m going to talk a bit more about the panel I was on further down, but overall, it was great to have had the chance to host the startup pitch competition watching around 20 startups do a 2 minute cold pitch without slides which the TOA audience then judged followed by the final 10’s (slightly!) longer 3 minute pitches to the judges the next day.

It was probably the first conference I have attended since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and certainly the first I have participated in to this extent and I LOVED IT!

Also thought it was time for a bit of a personal rebrand and refresh so say hello to my new profile pic cross platform!

I’m also super proud to be partnering with the London Venture Capital Summit this Saturday, hosted by LVCN (London Venture Capital Network).

Come along on the 15th of June for London’s premier forum for VCs, operators, and innovators, and make sure you grab a ticket quick, they’re selling out fast!

Get your discounted ticket on me, here!

I’m well underway writing about all the things I’ve learned from the last couple of decades as founder, CFO and CEO, so sign up for early access to Off Balance – The Book and feel free to share with anyone else you think might enjoy it 😄.

Now let’s get down to business…

In this weeks Off Balance:

🎙️ Tamta Gamezardashvili, founder of Unorthodox Ventures on Nothing Ventured
🔮 Reimagining Work – The Future of Productivity and Value

Do investors have inferiority complexes too???

Check out the latest episode of Nothing Ventured where I spoke to Tamta Gamezardashvili founder of Unorthodox Ventures, an advisory firm that leads capital raising strategy helping VC funds to raise capital by incorporating analysis of explicit and implicit data and human behaviour.

She is also the founder of Founders’ Social, an all-female community of founders and investors bringing together like minded, supportive, high calibre females as well as the host of My Kitchen, Her Story a show that celebrates female leaders whilst cooking their favourite dish.

Prior to founding Unorthodox Ventures, Tamta held senior sales roles at Palantir, Google, Salesforce and IBM.

We got into the weeds of some pretty interesting topics, here were my top takeaways:

➡️ Leveling the Power Dynamic in Venture Capital

Tamta highlighted the struggle that many VCs face when it comes to fundraising. The inferiority complex amongst investors can create a tricky situation where ego comes into play. By understanding the psychology behind fundraising and focusing on building relationships, VCs can level out the power dynamic and approach investors with confidence.

➡️ Empowering Women in the VC Ecosystem

Tamta’s initiative, My Kitchen Club, and the female-focused community she has built are empowering women in the VC ecosystem. By providing a safe space for women to connect, share experiences, and support each other, these communities are breaking barriers and fostering diversity in the industry.

➡️ Understanding the Importance of Empathy and Compassion

One of the key insights from the episode was the importance of empathy and compassion in our interactions. Tamta shared her contrarian conviction that understanding the experiences and backgrounds of others can lead to more meaningful and positive interactions. By taking the time to empathise with others, we can contribute to a better and more inclusive environment.

We also talked about:

💰 How VCs struggle to raise too
⚡️ Levelling out the power dynamic.
🤝 How people buy from people.
⚥ The difference between how men ask for money versus how women do.
🔪 How Tamta is bringing women back into the kitchen.
🙋🏽‍♀️ Tamta’s contrarian conviction – ask the question first.

Listen on YouTube, Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts!

If you have any feedback on the podcast or the newsletter, just reply to this mail or ping me online!

If you like what I’m putting out, do give me a follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

(If you are trying to connect with me on LinkedIn, maybe read this post I wrote and make sure to start your request with “Off Balance” and, importantly, tell me why you’d like to connect 💪🏾)

Now let’s get into it.

This edition of Nothing Ventured is brought to you by EmergeOne.

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If you’re a CFO working with venture backed startups and want to join a team of incredible fractional talent, drop us your details here.

If you’re a growing startup that knows it needs that strategic financial knowhow, drop your details here to see how we can support you as you scale 🚀

Off Balance

My elder daughter has just entered the workforce. She’s not yet in the field she wants to be in, but as we all know, it’s easier to get a job when you’re in a job. Or at least that used to be the standard thinking.

But the reality is that the nature of work has changed substantially over the last couple of decades, even more so since the pandemic and now with the advent of AI.

So it was a real pleasure to try and unpack some of the themes we believed were going to impact how we might think about work in the future on a panel during TOA 2024 in Berlin.

I was lucky enough to be sat with some pretty interesting individuals – Joshua Greene – Founder of Groove, the co-working community app built for a remote world (Joshua used to be Adam Neumann’s Chief of Staff at WeWork), Felix Steffens, Founder of WorkMotion, a remote first business building the EOR built for the DACH region and Megan Knab, Founder of Franklin Payroll the platform that allows you to pay your team in cash and crypto. All masterfully moderated by Caro Henne.

Now 30 minutes is nowhere near enough time to try and unravel the complexity and the nuance around this topic, but we hopefully gave the audience some things to think about. Here’s a bit of a summary and exploration of everything we discussed.

Reimagining Work – The Future of Productivity and Value

Remote work and the skills shortage

At the same time as we are seeing calls to restrict migration from throughout Europe, it’s also never been truer that there is a significant deficit of skills especially in key areas like software engineering. Felix argued that the advent of remote, precipitated and fuelled by the pandemic has meant that Europe has not only had to get its head around the concepts of remote or hybrid work, it has had to embrace it. This has obviously been facilitated by employer of record (EOR) businesses such as WorkMotion, Omnipresent, Remote and others but these tools actually highlight one of the big problems or inefficiencies that as yet has not been tackled – the red tape, bureaucracy and tax systems that are still largely stuck in the old paradigm of working. These make it less viable for smaller businesses to compliantly employ people overseas forcing them to look for solutions in country which may well be more expensive.

What’s happening to careers?

Gone are the days where you would leave university, get a job with a corporate (probably through the milk rounds) and stick with them for most (if not all) of your career. Sure, you may move a couple of times for a more senior title, better money, or more benefits, but the role is much the same, the career is still the career and it’s one job to rule them all. We are seeing the rise and rise of freelancers, contractors, fractional talent and talent from throughout the gig economy as well as the fact that even when an individual lands a full time role they are neither tied to the company nor, in many instances the functional role either. Now I personally think that we are going to see changes as people who entered the fractional world during the pretty bullish 2021 / 2022 period start finding it tougher to secure new roles, but directionally, the whole panel felt that this need for autonomy and to own your own future will just continue. As Josh said, switching jobs is as easy as switching Slack channels nowadays.

Redefining Value

I have long been an advocate for moving away from a model where we charge for our time to one where we charge for our output. But this is easier said that done, it requires firstly the experience to actually know where your value lies, as well as the ability to productise your service. People also are redefining what value they want from their employers, it’s not about the free beer and the ping pong but really allowing them to do meaningful work every day. But taking it back a step even, and thinking about the weird situation where you are effectively providing your employer with working capital via your monthly (or fortnightly) salary is something that can be redifined – precisely what Megan is working on with crypto payroll. Imagine how much more stimulus that would bring to the economy, how much better people could plan and match their income to their expenses on a daily basis and what value that could unleash.

Reimagining how we educate

I am a massive bore on this subject, mention education once in my presence and be prepared to have your ears chewed off for a pretty good portion of time. But, at the risk of repeating myself, we have to change the way we educate our kids, we are not preparing them for the workforce they are going to enter (see below). I have a 23 year old and a 16 year old and I am very proud of the fact that we were able to send them to an IB school which I feel does a much better job of providing them with the skills they’ll need than the standard UK system does. What are these skills? Sales, finance, teamwork, empathy, communication, feedback loops, empathy and many more. Let’s face it, our current system was built to suit the first industrial age 150 years ago – the problem is that we’re now entering the fourth.

The advent of AI

And all of this, of course, leads to the advent, and impact, of AI. None of us truly know the size of the impact that AI will have on the existing and future workforces, but one thing we do know is that it will have an impact. So the best advice for everyone, whether in or entering employment, is to get yourself as acquainted as you can with the new tools that are coming up on almost a daily basis at the moment because whilst the tools themselves may not replace you, the people who know how to use them probably will. But we also cannot underplay the reality that AI will have a dual impact, some negative, some massively positive – on the negative side, it will mean that companies will need less headcount to deliver, but on the positive side, AI means that more businesses will be created as new entrepreneurs embrace the tech which hopefully then means more jobs overall. Whatever the coming reality, the only thing you can count on is that things are going to change fast, so you need to be prepared.

Sadly we only got to scratch the surface of many of these topics given the time we had available, but would love to hear other people’s thoughts on what they think the future of work is going to look like over the next decade and beyond.

Gif by goldenglobes on Giphy

As always, my office hours are open, if you’d like to chat about this or anything else, just grab some time 😊.

I hope you found Off Balance #39 useful. As always, I’d love to get your feedback and understand the sort of topics you would love to hear about.

Just hit reply to this mail or drop me a line at hello@emergeone.co.uk and let me know 😊

🚀And that’s a wrap for this edition of Off Balance – I’d appreciate your feedback so just reply to this email if you’ve got something you’d like to say.

📨 And if you think someone else might love this, please forward it on to them,

🎧 Finally, if you’re a fan of the Nothing Ventured podcast, please don’t forget to like, rate and subscribe wherever you get your pods – it really helps us spread the word.

That’s it from me so until next time…

Stay liquid 🙂


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