Venture Capital: A "spaghetti" perspective

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Venture Capital:A spaghetti PerspectiveRaffaele MauroHarvard University

November 2013MIT Italian Start-up Week



Who ? What ? Why ?




The cognitive bias7In startups, the big winners are big to a degree that violates our expectations about variation. . we are just not prepared for the 1000x variation in outcomes that one finds in start-up investing.

Paul GrahamBlack Swan Farming8






a) Startups are cool but . Flat investments in the last 5 years

b) Startups are cool but . Italian VC investments/GDP are 1/6 of the European average

Venture Capital Investments as % of GDP: Italy 0.004%; EU average, 0024%c) Startups are cool but it is not possible nor desirable to replicate Silicon Valley

Path dependence, geographical specificitiesMulti-strategy funds17

Digital technology investors18

Incubators and nurseries19

Business angels20

?Pre-seed and acceleration programs21

1- Smart money +2- Staging+3- Acceleration potential223 things to know1- Team+2- Market+3- Innovation

But the reality is: 1) team; 2) team; 3) team.233 things to have1- Burning customer need+2- Execution+3- Metrics / Traction / Customer validation

243 things to showThe dangers 1: Celebrity25

The dangers 2: some dumb, slow, fake investors26

The dangers 3: Provincial perspective / not doing the homework27

The dangers 4: Hot / bubblish industries 28

Huge opportunities in hidden industries: enterprise software, medical technology, food tech, robotics, etc. .Find the secrets29A very key question that you should continually ask yourself: what important truth do very few people agree with you on?

Peter Thiel


30Raffaele Mauro, Ph.D. (Bocconi, 2009)

31Raffaele Mauro is a venture capital professional with a passion for technology, policy and global finance. He is currently Empedocle Maffia Fellow and MPA candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, venture intelligence advisor at P101 Ventures and junior fellow at the Aspen Institute. Raffaele is also board member at Plain Ink, strategic advisor at the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy and member of the executive committee at the Global Shapers Hub - Milano, a World Economic Forum community.

Previously he was Senior Associate at Annapurna Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on early stage investments in web services and mobile applications, and advised OltreVenture, the leading italian social venture capital fund. In the past he worked at Bocconi University, Collegio di Milano, Harvard Business Review-Italian Edition and various branches of Confindustria, developing projects related to innovation, entrepreneurship and finance.

Raffaele attended the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program at NASA Ames in 2011. He obtained a Ph.D at Bocconi University in 2009, with a dissertation on ICT business history, and graduated with honors in Economics.

Raffaele writes for Aspenia, the policy review of the Aspen Institute - Italy, and LIMES, the major Italian journal of geopolitics. He is co-founder of the social think tank Lo Spazio della Politica and became part of the Young European Leaders 40 under 40 cohort of 2011.3132

The dotcom bubble33