3:47 - Becoming an angel investor full-time
9:43 - Tomahawk success stories
12:12 - The Hong Kong ecosystem 10 years ago
21:34 - Failing to communicate with your co-founder
Cédric waldburger is a startup investor, essentialist and explorer. He invests in early-stage technology companies through his VC firm Tomahawk.vc, with a focus on fintech and decentralized finance companies. Prior to that, he built companies in the agency, consumer and blockchain sector. Most recently, he co-founded DFINITY, the Silicon Valley unicorn. He also has a Youtube channel where he regularly vlogs about his life experiments and shares his insights as an entrepreneur.
In 2011, during an exchange semester in Hong Kong, he co-founded an online tailor together with "Gabriel", whom he met playing rugby. Though they had complementary personalities and skillsets, there was one crucial thing missing: trust. This made open communication very difficult, which meant that despite all the friction and all the disagreements regarding what their product should look like, Cédric kept things to himself and let his resentment grow.
Eventually, Cédric lost all respect for his co-founder and decided to leave the company. He was owed money which Gabriel deceitfully refused to pay, and so Cédric, at the height of his frustration, used the company card to wire the money to his account. 24 hours later, he logged onto Facebook to find his wall full of accusatory messages from friends of Gabriel, and his inbox full of threats. Overwhelmed, Cédric returned the money, gave up on ever getting payed, and signed over all his shares. For a year he felt too ashamed to even speak of the ordeal.
The silver lining was, of course, what he learned: it's great if you and your co-founder are friends, but that should not be the sole criteria. Both people need to be very conscious of what the roles and expectations are. If you feel something is not right, bring it up immediately. And if you feel yourself becoming miserable, pushing through it might not be the best option: sometimes you just have to call it quits, and move on to better things.
"You're gonna be a lot healthier if you focus on the portfolio companies that do well, instead of trying to save the ones which struggle."
"Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from others."
"Failure is when I learn. Success is what allows me to learn more."
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