People of Landscape - Sophie Heijenberg, Investor at No Such Ventures

Sophie, age 27, is an investor at No Such Ventures, a VC who are trying to scale a flexible deal-by-deal VC model across Europe. She is currently based in Amsterdam.

How many years have you been an investor?

8 months as VC investor, before that 3 years as strategy consultant and 0.5 yrs in PE.

What's your backstory. How did you come to be an investors?

Whilst working at two startups during my studies, I found out I loved the dynamics of small teams, growing fast, and actually having a say in what happens. Wanting to create a strong base in strategy and finance, I started in private equity and strategy consulting but soon realised that the real magic happens in VC :)

What has been your highlight as an investor?

Bringing my first own deal from introductory conversation to closing and the total rollercoaster that happened in between.

What has been your lowlight as an investor?

The first "decline" conversation with a startup founder I genuinely loved but just didn't have sufficient traction yet (that first break-up feeling…).

How did you come across Landscape?

I first saw a mention in a VC-related newsletter and instantly loved the idea. Quickly after, I saw Gabrielle from Change Ventures (great VC!) posting something about being featured in your league tables and thought it could be a great channel for us as well to make more founders aware of our unique model and improve ourselves based on radical transparency.

Biggest challenge right now/thing you need help on:

No Such Ventures is not a conventional VC. We are trying to scale a flexible deal-by-deal VC model across Europe and could use many more hours in a day to make this work regulation-wise and to ensure we continuously attract both great deals and great investors. The coolest thing about our ride is that we're a professional VC and startup at the same time, which sometimes makes it challenging but also highly rewarding.

What's the biggest mistake you’ve made so far and what did you learn from it?

Not asking sufficient questions to a (technical) founder or not involving an expert soon enough to really get a grasp of a complicated business model. Having a feeling you cannot explain an investment proposition internally should never be a reason to decline a great company. I learned that I should never stop a process before I can explain to my grandfather why something is (not) going to be big.

What piece of advice would you give to other (aspiring) investors and (aspiring) founders?

To other (aspiring) venture capitalists: you have a powerful position in nurturing entrepreneurship and growth and can make a real change to the world by believing in and supporting (non-mainstream) founders and propositions. Stay true to yourself and your values!

To (aspiring) founders: when raising money, don't get too focused on ticket size or valuation. Getting an investor on board is like a marriage: a contractual relationship with the promise to support each other in good and bad times (for 2-10 years!). Take the time to get to know your potential investor(s) and build a relationship. You also didn't straight away marry the person buying you expensive champagne in a random club right?

What is the most frustrating thing you find about the startup fundraising ecosystem?

That many VCs are old-fashioned and inflexible. They have a too-narrow focus on certain sectors or business models and hamper flexibility for founders by having a fund mandate, fund lifecycle, or unfriendly terms. Luckily, we're seeing some change in the Landscape (pun intended) but Europe is still trailing behind the US and Israel. It's both my companies' and my personal mission to accelerate this change and improve and democratise VC.

What you would like to see change in the startup fundraising ecosystem within the next 5 years?

I would like to shift three dynamics:
1. VCs funding more diverse propositions (there's so much more than B2B Saas) and teams (especially more female teams) through a means that always keeps the entrepreneurs and their ambitions at the centre.
2. More people (not only accredited investors) getting access to VC as an asset class (through less heavy regulation and lower entry tickets)
3. Getting rid of the "stigma on failure" that we especially tend to have in Europe and that severely hampers entrepreneurship

Sophie is an investor at No Such Ventures. Her LinkedIn profile can be found here.

Her email address is also and she is happy to be contacted.

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