Helping entrepreneurs build great ideas and make their dreams come true. It’s the conviction based on which HenQ was built now just more than 10 years ago, says Jan Andriessen, associate partner of the Dutch VC firm in this episode of HitEnter.
Fast forward to 2015: the early stage VC firm has invested in a range of early stage B2B software companies with a Dutch flavour – such as prominent startups Mendix, Ecite and SEOshop, which was recently acquired by the Canadian company Lightspeed POS for an undisclosed amount. Looking to the future Andriessen says that the company is expecting “a lot from Monolith, StudyTube, Housing Anywhere and Casengo.”
In the Netherlands HenQ is mostly known as a early stage VC firm investing with ticket sizes of as low as €100.000. Upon launching its third, €50 million fund, it has opted for a change in strategy. Now the company reserves substantial amounts of capital up to €10 million for the successful outliers every venture capitalist is hoping for.
“Our idea is to fund 20 companies from the earliest seed stage, so from 100.000 to 500.000 up to 10 million to fund the big international breakthroughs,” says Andriessen. Adding that the company has substantial experience in the series A and B round on the note that early stage and later stage investing is a different ball game.
The most important way HenQ helps its portfolio companies is by enabling them to capture sufficient market share to build a sustainable competitive advantage. First of all by preventing the founding team to make obvious mistakes and secondly by helping them to make better decisions in some areas and speed up the process Andriessen says. “This is also why we are working on increasing the number of value added services such as recruiting. The idea is that you can focus on your business.”
Being just 26 years old, Andriessen is among the new breed of Dutch investors and one of the initiators of Veecee.co. I am optimistic about this initiative that in essence means an innovation for the Dutch VC industry. An industry that has been a closed garden for too long. Enabling the flow of information and knowledge it will benefit the Dutch startup ecosystem tremendously. Andriessen: “Veecee.co gives us the opportunity to get the know each other and learn from each other. I think this will benefit startups as well.”
For startups wanting to work with HenQ Andriessen has some great advice. “Try to be referred by someone I know. Find a way to stick out if you don’t somebody who knows one and try to understand from my perspective what I would like to know.”