That’s why we asked 3 of them, all from different cities and backgrounds, to tell us more on what they enjoy most from their role, share a few fragments from their stories, and of course, a few tips for all of you that are considering becoming agents yourselves.
Briefly, as startup agents, Bilal, Roxana, and Kim are part of a growing community of like-minded people whose everyday work is to ‘hunt’ and talk to the most talented entrepreneurs and most promising agents around the world.
In order to achieve this, they constantly get invited to startup events around the world where they mingle with the brightest minds of the future. And once they get to know them and realize their capacities and talents – they move onto helping them succeed by connecting them with the corporations and investors that will support them.
Keep reading to find out more about the life of a startup agent. And if you start feeling the excitement in your fingers sign up to become part of this unique community, and immerse yourself in the startup world. As an agent yourself you too will have the chance to help startups grow, get incentives from their success, and of course – become a superstar in your startup ecosystem.
Slush 2017 was a phenomenal experience like no other. I didn’t waste a second and told myself that I will make the most out of it. I spoke to as many people as I could, the best ones were always in queues waiting for the “better” coffee. Everyone loved to talk about what they did, it was a venue full of opportunities and knowledge.
I met some great minds who were strongly determined in what they were doing. I’ve made some quality connections, in addition to the amazing team and Agents at Valuer.
I’ve grown up with quite the rebellious nature, not liking being told what to do and not believe in having to go through “the system” to achieve “success”. This was not just in my personal life, but also throughout school, and as I grew older I was determined to do my own thing, live by my own rules. Through a very good friend of mine I got involved in the business world, reading, learning, experimenting – and the result? I found out that most of these business owners had the same rebellious nature.
As the outcome, I have jumped at every opportunity that has come my way and the most recent one has been with Valuer. Valuer has helped me grow my network, meet people with a similar mindset and gain experience that otherwise would have been hard to. A very simple example of that is the fact that we are having this interview.
Have you ever seen Interstellar? Matthew McConaughey portrays Joseph Cooper, a retired NASA pilot living in a “the Earth is dying and is going through a blight” period. Cooper is then enlisted to captain a spacecraft to navigate through the cosmos to find new habitable planets to ensure the survival of humankind.
On this journey, Cooper makes new friends that end up being really close to him. People trust him and his judgments, and he does what he can in order to help others with the goal of saving the people of Earth.
The agent role is quite similar, the goal is to find and help others grow, to be a reason for the success and partnership of the startups + corporations. And to make a large number of amazing friends while you do it!
Three years from now, I see myself as being a key part of Valuer. What this means in terms of position within the company – I don’t know – but I do know that I want to remain a large part of it. After I discovered Valuer in Helsinki I felt like I belonged, the team made me feel like I was part of them as well… Because I was!
I believe 3 years is a good timescale to assume that there will be a global network of agents all serving the same purpose and helping startups grow. I don’t think that it will stop at agents only, but that there will be many different areas in which Valuer will have an impact. In Peter Thiel’s book ‘Zero to One’, he proves the power that comes from combining Computer Intelligence (AI) with Human Intelligence and I believe Valuer will be demonstrating this clearly with what they do in the next few years.
Events. Offline and online. Communities. Targeted search. Google alerts and trending hashtags on LinkedIn and Twitter, followed by looking for content shared by the leadership or management of that startup. Which is tiring. And takes time. Last time I spent two days talking with 100+ people before I found 2-3 startups who could help me with the specific type of service my business or my clients needed.
The first thing I ask a startup is “So, (startup name), how’s your day?” – if I receive an answer lacking energy, this tells me a lot about the present state of that team/company/startup.
I would probably love to have a beer with Naval Ravikant from AngelList (although I can’t drink beer, but hey, whiskey is fine too). I feel like just interacting on Twitter is not enough.
I’d like to know more about his mindset in business and in life. How to keep your eyes sharp and your mind even sharper against all odds. And I won’t take “meditation” as a valid answer.
I often feel like Mary from Equilibrium who manages to leave a deep impression with John Preston, to the point that he rethinks his whole value system and decides to fight against the norm and do amazing things.
Even if her role is short, she sets the direction for the whole story. Imagine that scene with Mary and John talking about their role in life. John says his role is to serve Libya and the system. Mary says humanity’s mission is to feel. Otherwise, time is just a bomb. Ticking. In a way, startups and corporations need to work together, and “feel” each other, in order for time to be more than just a ticking bomb. It may be an extreme way to see it, but if we don’t join forces, the world will never really progress at the speed it should.
The first is that you can help startups get discovered by larger, more established companies. This connection can open up paths for collaborations or investments. This, in itself, gives a fantastic sense of accomplishment. The next is all the events that you have the opportunity to attend as an agent, events you would not normally be able to attend as a regular startup enthusiast.
The last and most important part is the incredible team behind Valuer and being part of the agent community.
A curious person who is already interested and involved in the startup environment. An agent is an individual who can’t help themselves – they just need to be part of it.
Elon Musk, whom I’ll immediately ask – ‘What is your biggest mistake?’
I try and participate in different networks for entrepreneurs, as part of my daily routines both online, but also in the local startup community. It’s always incredibly exciting to hear about people’s ideas or what dilemmas they are struggling with.
I think the first thing I ask an entrepreneur is “What motivates you?”