1. What is a daily habit you love doing?
I’m trying to learn Russian so I listen to a taped Russian class every day. The application is called Pimsleur, it’s language learning books-on-tape and is perfect to do while riding my bicycle to and back from work – it’s a bit funny because I find myself saying random Russian words out loud while biking. I’m learning it because my husband is from Ukraine, and I think it’s an absolutely beautiful language.
2. What piece of advice would you give yourself when you started? What advice would you ignore?
When I first started investing, I would tell myself that it’s less about choosing the right company to invest in, and a lot more about partnerships and making founders want to work with you – kind of “selling” yourself and your fund.
An advice I would ignore is ‘keep all your options open’. A lot of bad decisions I made were about keeping all my options open. Sometimes you need to understand who you are and who you’re not, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and focus on your strong points. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
3. What piece of content (book/podcast/Ted Talk) is your favorite or has influenced your life?
Actually, there’s a Medium blog post that I read a year ago and has really impacted my life. It’s a post by a young writer called Nikolas Goke, called “You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated“. It talks about how we are always motivated to do something, even if it’s not the motivation for our job. He talks about how you shouldn’t accept feeling lazy or unmotivated, but rather overcome your fears, make tough choices, and change what you are doing when needed.
4. What is the most valuable investment (time, money or energy etc.) that you’ve ever made?
Investing time in making my colleagues into friends, and allowing myself the time for a strong social life. I’m a mother now, so it’s a bit harder to do, but I used to throw these over-the-top parties at my house. At the time they were just fun and time-consuming, but today I understand how it helped me. Not just mentally, by investing time in something that I love, but also personally and professionally. This was a good platform to really get to know people. Making people my close friends also made them into better colleagues.
5. Is there a quote, mantra or message you live your life by and that you resonate with? It can be someone else’s as well.
I really find it hard to have mantras – life change all the time and to have a mantra feels a bit limiting. The closest I have is that I often remind myself to react to situations after some thought and try not to have my strategic decisions be led by my emotions.
6. What helps you stay motivated on good and hard days?
Talking through things. Whether it’s with my husband, my partner or good friends that I feel comfortable sharing everything with – talking things over and making a plan helps me.
But also, sometimes just escapism. Deciding not to think of something for a few hours, binge a ‘silly’ TV series, and going somewhere else in my mind for a little while helps me as well.
7. What are you passionate about other than managing your own company?
Making my company great… Okay, seriously though, I’m passionate about my friends and family. I like being able to help my friends when they need it and I think some of the biggest professional breaks I got were due to my friends helping me out.
8. What have you recently thrown away or released from your life that made a positive impact and why?
I let go of the fear of selling – I used to hate it. I feel like a lot of my business relationships are partnerships and as such I’m always afraid of having an interest in those partnerships. Each time I had to sell it was so hard for me.
So I did two things: first, I forced myself through it and it became more natural; and second, I started believing in the product – which many times will simply be me – a lot more, which makes the sale a lot easier and genuine.
The fear is not gone but it has alleviated. I think it helps me a lot, both with fundraising and when talking to founders and explaining why they should work with me.
9. Share a failure you have experienced and what you learned from it.
The very first investment I wanted to make in Meron Capital I. I knew the company very well and wanted to invest, but was a little too “trigger shy” and spent too long negotiating the valuation. Eventually, they received a term sheet from another fund and now worth 15X more than the valuation they asked for. I learned that this entire business is about making decisions in uncertainty, so I can hesitate indefinitely unless I push myself to make a decision. Also, when I’m excited about working with a team, I need to focus on a way to make it work for both sides and not on how to optimize the deal for my side.
10. If you could have anyone in the world answer these questions who would it be and why?
Elon Musk. Just because I know he’ll have surprising answers.