Axon Partners Group is lead by Managing Partner, Francisco Velazquez de Cueller, and is the Spanish venture capital firm that invests between $100 thousand and $25 million in all stages of growth in the leading companies across the technology sector. The focus of Axon Partners Group is to consolidate leadership in national markets and then expand internationally, with a special focus on emerging markets particularly in Latin America and India. The firm’s main investment focus is within the technology sector; a sector that Axon says is thriving in Spain, with an increase in both the number of investments and average investment size.
KITE Invest: What are some current trends or industries in the technology sector that you find appealing?
Francisco Velazquez de Cueller: We see quite a few sectors yet to be disrupted, and others in continuous evolution. Industries like financial services are still too traditional, partly because of regulatory matters, and there is a lot of disintermediation yet to happen.
Some of the sectors in which we are exploring investment opportunities currently include:
Mobility and logistics within urban areas
Disintermediation of particular services, financial services mainly
Internet of Things
KITE: What would you estimate is a typical investment like for Axon?
FVC: There is no typical investment because we invest in growth and expansion, but we also invest in early stages, and although the criteria are always the same (team, business model and opportunity), the weight we assign is different depending on the case. We invest from 300,000€ to 20,000,000€ in companies in very different stages, in digital economy.
We always analyze thoroughly the markets we invest in, in order to understand if the opportunity is interesting enough in terms of growth potential and exit possibilities. We also try to find companies in which our international presence and expertise in emerging markets can be of relevance, promoting international expansion via organic growth or build-up strategies.
KITE: In your estimation what makes an investment opportunity stand apart from others?
FVC: Common parameters are: great team with know-how, moral integrity and energy, business models which address a real need and preferably already tested and generating traction, scalability of the model and a plan for expansion that we feel we can add value to. The team is the key, started by a trustable leader/entrepreneur.
KITE: What are some of the challenges faced by venture capital investments, and in this regard, what advice would you give to investment opportunities looking for funding?
FVC: The main challenge is pivoting the model to address the opportunity as it moves, and find an exit route accordingly.
We find that some entrepreneurs are too attached to their initial ideas, and are not able to adapt fast to changes in their markets or to what their customers are demanding. This can cause companies lose track or leadership in a certain market. Things move fast, especially in the digital world.
Other entrepreneurs don’t really understand what collaborating with a VC means. You need to be open to someone else debating and challenging the important decisions that you take in your company.
If you are looking for funding, you need to do an initial research to identify which investors will best fit with your sector