Diving Into Entrepreneurship & VC with Anthony Liveris
We’ve spoken with entrepreneurs, marketers, and thought leaders from tech hubs across the world to get their insights on how ventures can become investor-ready. We decided it was time to get the scoop from an entrepreneur-turned-investor himself.
In this post of our #ThoughtImport series, we sit down with Anthony Liveris, founder of data analytics startup Applecart and now a partner at a venture fund, Liveris Family Office. Read on for tips for getting your company investor-ready, best practices for scaling your business, and thoughts on the future of Greek tech.
Tell us a little bit about your background and experience.
I've gotten incredibly lucky. I founded Applecart my senior year of college, a data analytics firm that has powered political campaigns of all sizes. The company recently entered a strategic partnership with Ari Emmanuel's WME to scale its commercial platforms. My most rewarding experiences have been more internationally focused. I've worked with Prime Ministers, like Australia's Malcolm Turnbull or for Tony Blair's Africa Governance Initiative, and I currently Chair the next generation of The Hellenic Initiative. I strive to constantly be at the intersections of public policy, civil society and business.
What inspires you?
Impact. Knowing I am in a position to be a driver not just a passenger, and that every moment I do not act I am dishonoring all that I've been blessed with by my god, family, friends and career successes.
After founding and scaling Applecart, what were your biggest lessons learned?
Companies change one person at a time, no matter the size. I watched my biggest mentor and idol, my dad, protect and build a historic Fortune 50 company, while I was just getting my feet wet with payroll. However, his leadership advice applies regardless the size of the organization: presence matters, and corporate culture starts with you.
From the investment side of things, what do you look for when choosing ventures to invest in?
Seed stage = hustle. The Silicon Valley model for evaluating companies is fundamentally broken. There is no framework that accurately assesses the viability of a young company. The only reasonable metric is the ambition of its leaders.
There is no framework that accurately assesses the viability of a young company. The only reasonable metric is the ambition of its leaders.
What makes a pitch deck stand out to investors?
I only read one-pagers.
What were some of your greatest challenges when building and investing in startups?and investing?
Alignment with growth. As companies scale, the problems they face inherently become more complex and so do the potential solutions. Making sure all stakeholders, from investors to major clients to your newest employee, all believe in the same vision can be incredibly challenging.
I'm not a finance guy. Learning how to be a value-add investor without your traditional portfolio management background has been an interesting challenge. It's a lot easier to give people money than it is to actually create value, but we live in a world that often treats the two equally.
What are your thoughts on the Greek tech ecosystem and its future?
I’m bullish on the Greek market. Greeks do not accept defeat, especially when others try to label them as defeated. There is an incredible, untapped talent-pool that is gradually being unleashed.
I’m bullish on the Greek market. Greeks do not accept defeat, especially when others try to label them as defeated.
What would you say are the trending industries in Greek tech, and are there any others that you think we should be keeping an eye on?
Agriculture and real estate are low-hanging fruits. I’m a little underwhelmed by Greece’s current tech ecosystem, but have seen some developments in the defense and cyber security space that are encouraging.
What advice would you give Greek entrepreneurs?
Stop using Europe as your growth platform and go directly to the United States for capital. Greek entrepreneurs have a mentality that they need to use the EU as a launch pad for growth, but the reality is the EU is not keeping up with the global tech hubs like Tel Aviv, New York, Sydney and San Francisco.
The Key Takeaways on Starting Up, Investing, and #GreekTech
We think everything Anthony said is valuable advice. He offered some fantastic insights on greek talent, the future of greek tech, and raising capital. Here are our biggest takeaways.
Keep your message short and sweet. Anthony told us that, as an investor, he only reads one-pagers. Investors are constantly bombarded with information. In an initial screen, they often won’t even look through a whole pitch deck. Get your 1-pager to convey all the necessary information and be as compelling as possible.
Corporate culture starts with you. As a founder, everyone’s eyes will constantly be on you. What you do matters more than what you say. And when you’re building a company, it is crucial to build culture correctly from the very beginning. You don’t want to face the issues that Zenefits, Uber, or Enron did.
Reiterate your mission and vision at all levels, frequently. Embed your mission deeply into your company, from values, to mission statement, to incentives and actions. Make it ingrained. Look at Amazon and customer centricity, Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability, and IKEA’s focus on simplicity and design. All great companies have a powerful mission statement with employees and consumers that live and breathe it.
Come to The Port to Get Investor-Ready
Ready to apply these insights to your venture? Whether you are getting investor-ready or building and scaling your businesses, The Port is here to provide all the resources and services required for your fundraising, marketing, and scaling needs. To learn how The Port can support your startup marketing efforts, get in touch with our team.
For more insights like this #ThoughtImports with Anthony, subscribe to The Port newsletter. Comments or questions on starting up, #Greektech, or anything else? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a note in the comments below, or shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.