There is an old adage that says the days go slow and the years go fast. Such wisdom is often quoted by parents, bemoaning the fact their children have got so big, but it is also true for entrepreneurs, and particularly our five exceptional fellows. Even the casual observer can see that these guys pack a lot into their day. They work hard. They work late. Deliveroo know where they are. It’s almost as if they never leave. An entrepreneur’s work is never done.
This year the Fellowship intake was strikingly diverse. But there was one common thread amongst them. They each have the ability to shut everything and everyone out. All their attention, all their focus is attuned to the problem at hand. For as long as it takes. They may not solve it first time round, maybe not ninth time, but they are tenacious. Oh so tenacious. They let go of nothing. So, the long days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months and, suddenly, this group is leaving us, replaced by a whole new recruit of distinguished, single-minded pioneers in the world of financial services.
We didn’t want to let our fellows go too quietly, so we used our Fellowship Ceremony as chance to say goodbye, good luck and as a platform to pitch their learnings to a larger audience.
- Tobias presented Insure a Thing: a cost-plus business model based on claims settled rather than policies sold, thus only monetizing when paying out.
- Andra made the case that retail banking is changing from a structure of vertical, fully-owned towers, to horizontal industries where partnerships between players enable the delivery of new propositions.
- Josep presented Cover.club: a unique combination of Regtech and blockchain technology to bring specialist, insurance products to the currently under or un-insured, at a significantly lower cost and in significantly less time.
- Diana is launching a venture fund and supporting a new collaboration between a blockchain-based supply system and several international organizations to increase transparency in the import and exports.
- Alex made his case for Beam, a novel approach to homelessness.
Siraj Khaliq, founder of The Climate Corporation offered some inspirational and key lessons to the audience: don’t be afraid to pivot, find a good co-founder, pick investors wisely, fix a big problem if you want big returns, and get rid of dead weight. And for those of us who haven’t lived the dream, we all got a chance to consider the reality of waking up next to Boris Johnson, courtesy of Julia Streets. On a more serious note though, Julia offered some apt advice – that to grow your business, it’s all about culture and leadership. And the art of leadership is to lead without losing that authenticity of you.
Vladimira Briestenska, Luisa Cetina, Jil Schwarz
Here at Anthemis our founder and Chief Investment Officer Sean Park said it best: ‘At the heart is a network, an ecosystem where our main responsibilities are to articulate and evangelize a robust vision – re-inventing finance for the Information Age – and to create a fertile environment where passionate, talented individuals, teams and companies pursuing various components of this vision are provided with the tools – capital, talent, connections – that materially improve their chances of succeeding.’
So whilst each Fellow, new and old, comes with an entirely different mission – the Anthemis Institute is a committed to providing the most nurturing, creative and stimulating environment to manufacture serendipity – whether the focus is on venture building or thought leadership or something in between.
Anthemis Fellows: Back Row (L-R) – Josep Casals, Tobi Taupitz ; Front Row (L-R) Alex Stephany, Hakim Mamoni, Andra Sonea, Alex Ryvkin, Eva Berg-Winters, James Coombes.
In the meantime, here at Anthemis, this Fellowship ‘changing of the guard’ opens up an important opportunity: to reflect and get to the bottom of who’s been drinking all the whiskey. The good stuff.