Venture Investor Nick Davydov: "Astana Has an Amazing Startup Culture"

How to attract venture investments in Silicon Valley? This was discussed at a meetup held at Astana Hub, where Nik Davydov, an investor, co-founder, and partner of DVC fund, which already has four unicorn companies in its portfolio, shared his insights.

Additionally, Nik Davydov serves as an advisor to companies like InDrive and Dating Group and is a trustee of the Propy Foundation. His impressive resume includes companies such as Cherry Labs, Gagarin Capital, and iTechCapital.

More than 200 people attended the meeting with the venture investor, while approximately 300 participated online. The investment expert highly praised the level of development in the startup culture of the capital.

"I meet various technology entrepreneurs in Astana. I am impressed by the culture; it has an amazing startup culture with very cool founders. I believe there is tremendous potential here for great startups," said Nik Davydov.

He shared his journey, insights on investments, venture capital, and the artificial intelligence revolution.

Nik Davydov explained the selection process for startups in the DVC investment fund.

"We have three stages of selection: heart, community, and head. If we like the project, we look for product-market fit, which means the product's relevance to the market or the understanding that it will be relevant soon. The second stage is the community. We gather everyone together, we have experts of all kinds, and we listen to their opinions, calibrate, and then move on to the third stage - we vote with our heads. At this stage, we try to assess if this startup, investment deal, and its parameters align with the fund's financial model, if we can make enough money from it and if it makes sense," explained the investment expert.

He also emphasized that startups should be created not for funds but for customers. According to the investor, when looking for an investment fund, attention should be paid to the description.

"Funds usually write: we are early-stage investors, we invest when you already have revenue, or we invest in companies worth $500 billion, etc.," said Nik Davydov.

Another piece of advice from the expert is to network more.

"Meet people, call them, offer them help. The most important rule of networking is to be helpful to others. Hackathons and meetups are places worth attending. Of course, it's not possible to build a good network in Silicon Valley in a short time. Investors and co-founders have a filter that eliminates unnecessary noise. When I moved here in 2015, it was a big obstacle for me too. But what can overcome it? Any signal that shows you are here for the long term. In our case, it was when our daughter started school. We started interacting with other parents at school, and at that moment, they realized that we are here for the long term and can be of some help to them. In general, you can raise a venture fund while standing in the school cafeteria line," shared the investor's experience.

The meeting made a strong impression on the participants. They received a lot of valuable information, had the opportunity to ask questions to the expert, and personally meet him.

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