Anissa Zeghdoudi interned with Augmentum as an Analyst for three months over the Summer. Here, she shares her experiences:

VC smart

One of the main reasons I was excited about interning in the venture capital industry was because I was hoping to meet very smart people. I had formed an image of what Venture Capitalists were like based on my readings of Paul Graham essays: excellent analysts, able to acutely dissect an abstract concept and rationalise it with scientific rigor.

I was surprised to see these analytical skills applied to human feelings as well as the numbers behind a business. At Augmentum I met people with incredibly high levels of emotional intelligence, who were able to interact with founders, team members and other stakeholders with a degree of empathy I hadn’t come across before.

I had thought the main learnings of this internship would relate to the technical aspects of VC investing. While I certainly did learn a lot in this area, my main discovery was in meeting investors who inspired me to develop my interpersonal skills. Unlike the traditional VC stereotype, the Augmentum team were patient, gave the benefit of doubt and freely gave their time and expertise without expecting anything in return. This was the case with me, but I also observed these characteristics in the team’s exchanges with founders looking for investment.

 

Every entrepreneur is different

As a former entrepreneur myself, I had an idea of the skills and personality traits needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Meeting so many entrepreneurs during my time at Augmentum opened my eyes wider to how diverse entrepreneurs can be however, in approach, age and experience. From the tattooed ex-rocker to the introverted “techie”, successful entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, yet all embody the characteristics of ambition, grit, a deep understanding of their customer and sector, and a relentless belief for the problem they’re attempting to solve… They just display these in very different ways. My time at Augmentum taught me how to identify these – while it’s crucial to assess certain elements, there’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all model.

 

Augmentum is an ideal place to get a first experience in VC

I genuinely believe that Augmentum is an ideal place to immerse oneself into VC (they haven’t told me to write this!), based on two key reasons:

 

1) The team culture

There were nine people working at Augmentum during my time at the fund, with complimentary skillsets and experience. Despite their immense experience, the team operates with the positive elements of a ‘startup’-like culture, no doubt in part as a result of most team members having founded or taken leadership positions in startups over the years. Unlike the VC stereotype, at Augmentum there is little bureaucracy, instead there is fluid, regular communication between every member of the team. Every voice matters and the team have strong yet open minds, which is important for avoiding an echo-chamber in investment meetings.

I was able to get involved in a wide variety of projects which has given me a thorough overview of the various elements of the business, and how these interact. The team welcomed me to join all the Investment Team meetings and as well as market-mapping and financial analysis I got involved in things such as organising a women in fintech networking event and fund marketing. I felt that the diversity of opinion was sought and I was allowed a good dose of autonomy. Add to this a friendly and fun team and you really feel like you’re hitting the jackpot in terms of a work atmosphere!

 

2) The fintech focus of the fund

During my internship I reviewed a vast number of fintech startups and dug into many competing in the same category. While many startups seem promising when considered in isolation, having a solid understanding of the particular vertical it operates within, along with the leading players tackling the segment means you can form a more accurate, data-backed opinion on who seems best-placed. There was constant debriefing amongst the team, and being able to intensively learn about these startups allowed me to build confidence in quickly asking relevant questions and spotting potential red flags in a given business model.

Upon completing their internships at other VC funds, some people I’ve spoken with have felt like they have scratched the surface in a wider range of industries, whereas thanks to Augmentum’s fintech sector focus I feel like I have learned a huge amount about fintech across the spectrum, and some segments in particular, such as insurtech. I now feel comfortable and competent forming investment theses that I am happy to discuss.

Finally, I learned that fintech fever is contagious – the more I learned about it, the more interested I was! I will continue to immerse myself in the industry in the months to come while completing my studies and look forward to exploring a career in VC afterwards.

 

Anissa is now studying for her Msc in International Finance at HEC in Paris and we wish her all the best!

Georgie Hazell

Georgie heads up engagement at Augmentum, which involves supporting portfolio companies, engaging with investors and the wider fintech ecosystem (including marketing and events), and supporting the team internally.

Georgie has worked in a number of startups across people, strategy and growth leadership positions. Following her MBA and a consultancy project with Crowdcube, Georgie moved into venture capital.

Passionate about diversity and inclusion, particularly in VC and entrepreneurship, Georgie founded women in tech network Elevate, led on UK expansion for Her Campus Media, volunteers with Diversity VC and mentored with The Girls Network.

Ellen Logan

Ellen is an Investor at Augmentum. She previously worked at OC&C Strategy Consultants and at HR analytics startup Bunch, after studying Economics at the University of Edinburgh. Ellen has a particular interest in emerging technologies such as the digital asset economy and alternative payment methods.

Outside of the office she spends her time practicing yoga, experimenting in the kitchen and exploring the art galleries of London.

Learn more about Ellen in her ‘Meet the Team’ blog here

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Sofia Wiecko

Sofia oversees the financial and administrative operations at Augmentum and has over 15 years’ experience in financial accounting.

Believing in giving back to the community, Sofia is active in a number of local charities.

Hayley Manning

Hayley is Augmentum’s Office Manager and PA. Prior to working at Augmentum, Hayley worked at law firm Stephenson Harwood.

Nigel Szembel

Nigel leads Public Relations and Investor Relations at Augmentum. Nigel has had an international career in corporate affairs, communications and investor relations which, over 30 years, has included responsibility for UK, regional (EMEA and Latin America) and global functions; covering high-profile public companies, private companies, prominent individuals and public bodies, primarily in the financial services sector but also taking in consumer/fashion, planning policy, arts and the environment.

Akash Bajwa

Akash is an Investor at Augmentum Fintech. Prior to joining Augmentum, Akash worked at the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, Barclays Ventures and Deloitte. Akash studied Accounting and Finance at Cass Business School.

Outside of work, Akash enjoys writing a blog on trends in technology and venture capital, runs ‘The European Tech Club’ on Clubhouse and volunteers with networks that support more investment in impact-driven companies in the private markets. Akash always looks forward to reading great books and playing tennis with friends as a way to unwind.

 

Learn more about Akash in his ‘Meet the Team’ blog here.

Reginald de Wasseige

Reginald (Reggie) is an Investor at Augmentum Fintech. Reggie started his career in private equity in Belgium (his home country), at Cobepa, and went on to explore entrepreneurship through founding a software company focusing on document security for large organisations. Off the back of both experiences, VC was a natural evolution and Reggie joined ABN AMRO Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Dutch bank, and relocated to Amsterdam. This first VC position introduced him to the world of fintech and was also the start of his international adventure.

Learn more about Reggie in his “Meet the team” feature here

Fareedah Daranijo

Fareedah is Augmentum’s Digital Marketing & Operations Assistant.

Prior to joining Augmentum, Fareedah studied Business and Management at university and conducted various placements across sales, marketing and project management, including with Bosch in Germany.

Outside of work, Fareedah enjoys travelling, learning about different cities and cultures, and volunteering in the local community.