Interview With Flint Capital Partner Andrew Gershfeld
What is your role or function within the startup ecosystem?
“I am a Partner at Flint Capital, the venture firm from Boston. We focus on supporting entrepreneurs from Israel, Europe, and the U.S. at an early stage of their development and helping them scale business to the U.S. market.
Today I am a board member at Flo.Health, Job Today, Cream Finance, an investor at ManyChat and a few other companies with a European footprint.”
How did you start working within the startup ecosystem?
“I’ve been a part of the VC industry for over 10 years. I am an ex-entrepreneur who turned to venture capital after selling his company.”
What is a common roadblock you see startup founders face?
“I believe the main roadblock is recruitment. Even for experienced founders, recruiting the right team is one of the most challenging tasks. Finding, selecting, and convincing the right candidate can take a lot of time. Startups cannot develop until key competencies are closed, so this slows down their development. Building the right team and attracting the right expertise is key.”
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How did you make the transition from entrepreneurship to investing?
“I was fascinated [by] how venture capital could dramatically accelerate the growth of the business compared to other forms of capital or other forms of growing the companies, like bootstrap, for example, it was curiosity that drove me there and the desire to build actually never left me. So, the investment firm Flint Capital is our own startup. We treat it as a growing company that comes through all the stages of its life. Even though it is 10 years now.”
What is something you brought with you from your time as an entrepreneur that impacts your role as an investor?
“Mainly two things. First thing is the importance of listening to others. That both helps the entrepreneur to navigate the most effective path through all the challenges that they face. And it also benefits the investor's ability to make good decisions and to help their portfolio companies.
And the second thing is understanding the challenges of being an entrepreneur. Investors are very different [from] entrepreneurs. We are not at the steering wheel. So many who have never been there and done that. They don't understand what it means to lead the company, what kind of responsibilities, a company slash leadership. So I think that helps a lot, me and our team, that has that experience, because not only me, but all my partners being founders themselves, to speak the same language, to have the right kind of empathy to our portfolio founders, and to be there for them. That's one of the major learnings.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for aspiring startup founders?
“Make a support circle for yourself. The journey of a startup is long, and it is not without ups and downs. Build a support system – family, close friends, and peer entrepreneurs – to help you through the tough times.”
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