Brand Embassy, a start-up established by Vít Horký and Damián Brhel in 2011, has become an extraordinarily successful project that has recently gone beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and even beyond Europe… .
Martin Konop came to Rockaway Capital’s start-up division Rockaway Ventures, not quite three months ago from an US start-up with development located in India and global ambitions. He now oversees the performance of six firms in Rockaway Ventures’ investment portfolio, including Vít Horký’s successful Brand Embassy and Yottly.
Author: Jan Strouhal, excerpted from Forbes
The talk is about Martin Konop, the current guest of the Forbes Investor podcast and one of the two main men at Rockaway Ventures, immediately behind Viktor Fischer. And the portfolio of both of these men, and even the entire fund, may expand again soon.
“In the few months that I’ve been there (at Rockaway Ventures), we have rapidly gained traction even in connection with new things. We’re working on several things in a more advanced stage of negotiation,” Konop says in the podcast below (in Czech).
“We are now trying to adhere to our vision of investing in three to five firms on an annual basis,” Konop adds with the awareness that the fund’s investment activity was slightly lower in past years. “If you have a start-up that operates particularly in the area of e-commerce and related technology and you need money, Rockaway is now circling the market like a hawk. However, new fields of interest that are among the current frequently mentioned buzzwords are also emerging.”
“Artificial intelligence and blockchain are something that we are actively dealing with. It’s perhaps too soon to make any announcements about how things are going, but Viktor is taking a more active interest in blockchain issues than he was a year ago,” says the young manager, who started his career as an investment analyst for a private equity fund in Great Britain, from which he gradually advanced to the position of financial manager of the global start-up Keystone. And from there, his path took him to Rockaway in Prague’s Pankrác district.
At the same time, a slight change is being made to Rockaway Ventures’ investment strategy, which will no longer be focused to such a degree on so-called seed rounds, i.e. only on initial investments in start-ups.
“We’re looking at larger rounds. At businesses that have already obtained funding from an investor in the seed round and are seeking additional funding for expansion in the subsequent investment round A, and that have traction and are generating solid revenues. In round A, we’re talking about a ticket worth one to two million euros (in the situation), when a start-up raises four million,” Martin Konop explains in the podcast.
Among other things in the podcast, you will learn how demanding the work of a VC and private equity manager is, how the start-up ecosystem looks in India’s technology Mecca, Bangalore, and how it differs from that of Europe. You can find this and all previous podcasts on Forbes Radio.