Why investors and the founder of a financial service need risk tolerance

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The Okko online cinema continues to show a seven-episode documentary project about the heroes of the Forbes 30 Under 30 rating. The cycle started on Okko on July 3. Forbes publishes excerpts from interviews with the heroes of the final seventh series of “Finance and Investments” – venture investor, founder of ESN Galina Degtyareva (“30 to 30” 2019), partner of the Runa Capital fund in London Konstantin Vinogradov (“30 to 30” 2019), and the founder of the Netmonet service Georgy Vysotsky (“30 to 30” 2021)

About risk

Galina Degtyareva, venture investor, founder of ESN: 

“I love risk. I love this state very much, when you can either conditionally lose everything, or gain a lot. It seems to me that risk tolerance is a necessary quality for an investor.”

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London: 

“I have never had a situation in my life where I put everything on the line. I prefer high but manageable risk. In any investment, the maximum that can be lost is 100%, and the maximum that can be earned can be unlimited.”

Georgy Vysotsky, founder of the Netmonet service:

“High appetite for risk – I think that at a young age it is appropriate. The idea of ​​\u200b\u200ba business (the Netmonet service. –  ), however, was risky, and no one dissuaded me, but everyone looked like an idiot. At that moment, I was giving up a super-clear, cool, prestigious career in an international company with a salary tied to the exchange rate. We initially invested our own money, I invested all my own savings at that time. And so begins this lockdown in March. I see that we don’t leave tips at all, that is, everything is closed in general. I was hoping that at least someone would work with the windows closed, everything was closed. Minus 95% of revenue, gone. There was a team to which there were obligations, there was a wife, and we were already expecting a baby. At the same time, I have no income, for several months we lived on the salary of my wife.”

About venture investments

Galina Degtyareva, venture investor, founder of ESN: 

“Venture, in fact, is translated from English as a risk. And it seems to me that the very essence of this word lies in its essence. Venture is an investment in high-risk companies, start-ups. During my ten-year career in this market, I mainly invested in IT startups. What is IT really? These are social networks, mobile applications, news feeds and aggregators, these are marketplaces where you order food, taxis, and so on.

7-10 years ago, everything was just beginning, we were just sorting it out. The job of a venture investor is that you are constantly in this area of ​​uncertainty, when you don’t know whether it will shoot or not, whether there will be a billion-dollar capitalization or it will close tomorrow. This is your comfortable working state. In general, I heard the word “venture”, it seems to me, in the first year of university. I was writing my first scientific article, and I saw “Venture investment in Russia” in the list of topics. And then I realized for myself that this is a very interesting area, which is definitely worth understanding.

I was attracted by the fact that this is technology – risk and finance. At the age of 22-23, I ended up in a venture fund. There were about 100 candidates, 99 guys and one me. And I began to grow: an analyst, then a senior analyst, then I was a portfolio manager. She was responsible for all portfolio investments of the fund, about 25 companies in different locations – Israel, America, Great Britain and so on.

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London:

“I am a partner of a large venture fund that has invested in more than a hundred companies in 15 countries around the world. Venture is an amazing industry because it’s the only place where you can constantly work with something new, work with outstanding bright and charged people who are changing the world.

My industry, which I really love, is technology startups, venture capital investments. I don’t have a single investment that I brought into the fund yet, and it would be written off. We have quite a few successful deals. The most successful company is a German startup that helps banks operate. Now this company, according to the last round, which was in January of this year, is worth about $5.5 billion.

About time management

Galina Degtyareva, venture investor, founder of ESN: 

“In fact, everything in my life is quite planned. I am a man of discipline, I like to write down tasks first in a notebook, then on my phone in some application. I love lists. One of these is on the refrigerator – here is the minimum necessary thing to do in a day. I usually wake up around 5:00 am. Morning is my favorite time of the day. This is the time to be alone with yourself.”

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London: 

“I work quite a lot. I usually start around 9:00 am and end probably around 9:00 pm. It seems to me that when you love your job, how can you do what you love from 9:00 to 17:00, and after 17:00 just not think about it? It’s impossible for me, in my opinion, if you really love your job, you do it all the time when you’re awake.

I dream of having a hundred hours in a day, because there are a lot of interesting things that I would like to do. And a huge number of ideas that are waiting for their implementation. Unfortunately, there are far fewer hours in the day, and sometimes you still need to sleep.

When I studied at the Phystech, I started participating in various projects, doing them together with other students. One of such projects that I got involved with was a competition for innovative projects, one of the first competitions of its kind in Russia. I went there for the youngest position, upgraded over time, and in 2012 I headed this competition. That’s how I got into venture and got acquainted with venture funds, and in 2012 I was called to work, where I already started working directly as a venture investor. I was 20 years old, but I was introduced to various entrepreneurs, including millionaires or even billionaires, with whom I had to somehow interact. At first I was very shy about it. And then I realized that if you have studied some issue well, you can tell other people about it, help them, and this is appreciated.

About charity

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London: 

“The most important hobby for me, which takes up most of my free time, is charity. I help my alma mater so that students at Phystech can fulfill their potential and have their basic needs met. In fact, now we are making an endowment that covers the basic needs of MIPT students in the first four years. Usually these are the Internet, food, transport and housing. By covering these needs, we create such a safe cushion so that students can experiment in their lives, try different career paths. And the moment they find something that they consider important and interesting, they will develop further on this topic for a long time, they will focus on it. They do not need to be distracted by short-term part-time jobs and just look for stupid ways to earn money for their food. Now the midbase endowment has more than 43 million rubles, more than 150 donors. And what we are especially proud of, of these donors, 62 people donated more than 100,000 rubles.”

About the generation of 30-year-olds and subsequent generations

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London: 

“It seems to me that the new generation of students develop much faster if they find something that they really like. That is, now just the same people are being hired. I’m amazed at how advanced they are compared to me at their age.”

Georgy Vysotsky, founder of the Netmonet service:

“It seems to me that what separates my generation from the previous one is that we were lucky to be born in an era when we had mobile phones in childhood, computers appeared in childhood. We learned this on an unossified brain. What sets us apart from the next generation, the buzzers, is our willingness to work hard and do more than is expected of you. What will be the generation of these young people? I think they will have the next level – virtual reality, augmented reality. And there absolutely following tools will appear».

Galina Degtyareva, venture investor, founder of ESN: 

“It seems to me that the hallmark of our generation is a kind of curiosity and the absence of any boundaries. We think of ourselves in terms of the whole world. And it seems that in general, everything is possible if you put enough effort into it.

About dreams

Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital in London: 

“I have a small, not so much a dream, but just an idea: when I become very old. Perhaps I would be interested in flying to Mars and back, if then it would be possible. I would really like to live to see this moment when it becomes a reality.

Galina Degtyareva, venture investor, founder of ESN:

“What am I dreaming about now? There is an ambition to build a company and make it a global player that can influence the industry. And if we talk about some kind of dream, I would say – to fly into space, it remains so. She has nowhere to go.”

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