We are excited to announce our newest Venture Partner – David Clark. What makes his background interesting is the combination of being an operator for the past 10 years building new businesses and also studying Natural Science and Engineering in Cambridge. We look forward to his unique angle to discussing deals with us.
How did you get into the Startup/VC world? I first got the startup bug at university, participating in the entrepreneurship society. It was there I met entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman and witnessed friends sell startups to Apple, it’s what drove me to move from theoretical science degree to a more practical engineering combined with business course. This unique combination led me to get involved with a research lab in Estonia looking to commercialise it’s developments – ultimately taking on the role of CEO. I’ve never looked back since.
Which industries are you most interested in? That’s a tough one – passionate founders looking to make a societal impact or disrupt their chosen sector always peak my interest. But, if I have to be selective, then AI, clean tech, bio/food/agritech, digital identity and something I call conversational experiences (a catch all for language based human-computer interfaces). These are some of the key areas that I believe will drive material change in the world in the decades to come.
What’s your role at Tera? At Tera my main priority is to identify amazing founders that meet Tera’s investment criteria.
Are there some foolproof ways to get your attention when a startup wants Tera VC to invest in them? Unlike some others I’m happy to receive cold emails. But only if they’re well crafted, personalised and ideally has some relevant attention grabbing data/facts – passion is important but can only get you so far. If you are sharing a deck, I’d much rather see one with strong metrics and a clear vision than a beautifully designed document full of fluff which leaves me still scratching my head as to what it is you exactly do!
Name a recent book or a podcast that really got your attention? Top of my listening list each week is Acquired hosted by my friend Ben Gilbert *and his co-host David Rosenthal. While they started out deconstructing deals and grading these they now do long form episodes covering the entire history of some incredible companies. Particular favourites have been Nvidia, Sony, TSMC and of course their 9+ hour grandaddy deep dive into Berkshire Hathaway!
*(I had the good fortune to meet Ben when were both judges/mentors for the 1st Garage 48 Hardware Hackathon many years ago now in Tartu, Estonia).
What is a non-work passion you have? Raising our 7 month old daughter in Estonia is keeping me busy enough today but alongside that when I have time I enjoy a bit of running during the week and supporting hackathons on the weekends in the hope to encourage and find the next generation of entrepreneurs. Who knows, they might become Tera portfolio companies one day!