by Kit Brennan
The Entrepreneur First team recently had the opportunity to visit Passion Capital. With investments in companies such as GoCardless, Smarkets and Duedil, Passion is quickly becoming recognised as one of the UK's leading early stage investors. While there, we were fortunate enough to receive a talk from Stefan Glaenzer, the best angel investor in Europe (as voted by TechCrunch), and one of the partners of Passion.
Stefan's story started like much of ours. He left a good university, with a promising PhD, lucrative job offers, and parents that had expectations of him going and getting a high flying job. Instead of taking one of those job offers, he decided to be a professional DJ and eventually start his own business. While most of us at Entrepreneur First are not DJ's, our stories are otherwise pretty similar to Stefan's.
It is at this point that the similarities stop, and the rest of Stefan's story becomes our aspirations. In 1997, Stefan founded Ricardo.de, a pre-ebay online auction and classifieds website based in Germany. When he presented his idea at a pitching contest, it came last out of the 28 companies presenting. Two years later, the business went public and in 2000 it was sold to QXL ricardo. Since then, Stefan has had a number of successes, from making a wise investment in Last.fm and founding Passion, to (the less glamorous) watching of every single game during a football tournament (not an exaggeration, every team, every match).
The visit to Passion reminds us why we are entrepreneurs. It's not (just) the yachts, private jets and $100k bottles of champagne, but also the love for starting businesses and that atmosphere and buzz around everything we do. We persevere through hours of cold calling and sleep deprived nights because honestly, we can't imagine doing anything else, and we really do have a Passion for what we do.
Kit Brennan is a co-founder at TwoCanMeet, an exciting startup aiming to change the online dating world. Kit read law at King's College London and is a member of the inaugural 2012 Entrepreneur First cohort.