In an exclusive interview with Janneke Niessen, a founding partner at CapitalT, a serial entrepreneur, and a passionate advocate for diversity, we delved into her remarkable career path. As a keynote speaker at EAIS23 (European Angel Invest Summit 2023), Janneke’s insights promise to inspire and empower aspiring innovators and investors alike.
The Journey into Angel Investing
Janneke Niessen’s passion for angel investing stems from her own experiences as an entrepreneur. Having experienced the value of receiving that crucial first check to bring her own ideas to life, Janneke was inspired to provide the same support to other aspiring innovators. She firmly believes in the power of a dedicated team that shares the same vision for a company, and this remains a key factor she considers when evaluating startups for investment.
The Influence of Recognition
As a recipient of prestigious awards such as Harper’s Bazaar Woman of the Year and EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Janneke acknowledges that these accolades have positively impacted how others perceive her. The recognition has opened doors to more speaking engagements, interviews, and increased deal flow.
Driving Positive Change in Venture Capital
Janneke sees her position in venture capital as an opportunity to advocate for change and level the playing field. She actively speaks up about biases in the industry and strives to promote policies that foster diversity. Janneke firmly believes that investing in more diverse founders raises the bar and enhances the overall quality of investments.
She also emphasises that investing in the best founders naturally results in a diverse portfolio. Recognising that people often invest within their networks, Janneke encourages looking beyond these networks to ensure a more inclusive and diverse pool of entrepreneurs.
“People mainly invest into their own networks, and your networks are often a reflection of yourself.”
By removing barriers like the need for warm intros, they aim to provide opportunities to the most talented founders, regardless of background or gender.
Inspiring Girls in Tech
As an advocate for inspiring girls in tech, Janneke highlights the importance of storytelling and representation.
“I think in general that more diversity in tech is necessary to create more inclusive products and services and have a more inclusive world we live in.”
She believes that by showcasing successful female tech leaders, more girls will be encouraged to pursue careers in technology. Additionally, Janneke supports the implementation of quotas to challenge biases and ensure fair representation in tech startups and companies.
Advice for Startups and Scale-ups
For startups and scale-ups seeking funding at events like EAIS23, Janneke emphasises the importance of preparation. Identifying potential investors who align with the company’s stage and focus is crucial. Targeted conversations with compatible investors can lead to more meaningful connections and better opportunities for securing funding.
See you at #EAIS23!
Janneke Niessen’s remarkable journey from successful entrepreneur to prominent angel investor exemplifies the impact of supporting innovation and fostering diversity in the tech startup scene. We look forward to hearing more about her insights and experiences and the valuable lessons she has learned throughout her career at EAIS23!
Watch the full interview here:
We look forward to seeing Lev again at #EAIS23 or the EBAN Congress in Tallinn, and we deeply thank him for having served on