Pedro Santos Vieira on Founders Helping Founders in the Shilling Founders Fund

This is an exclusive interview with Pedro Santos Vieira, Founding Managing Partner of Shilling Founders Fund.

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A little bit about Pedro Vieira

Pedro Vieira is a founding and managing partner at the Shilling Founders Fund. In this interview, we dive deep with Pedro on everything from raising the fund, how they’ve strategically designed their LP-base for superior value add to their investment, and portfolio management strategy. We have also featured Pedro in a previous interview where we learned more about his time as Europe & Africa Lead at 500 Startups and the creator of West to West.

Some things you’ll learn from Pedro:

– Why do Pedro and Shilling share part of their profit with founders of the portfolio companies.

– Shilling’s SLA with founders: in thirty days you’ll have money in the bank or a no-go.

– How an institutional investor can tackle the pre-seed space in the south of Europe.

– How to think about partnering with founders and other VCs for a competitive edge.

If you’d like to listen to more of these meetings with European VC champions, follow the EUVC Podcast.

David Cruz e Silva (David)We’ve recently welcomed Pedro Santos Vieira, and he is here once more because he has awesome news to share.

Andreas Munk Holm (Andreas): Yes, we want to shift things around and pass it right on to Pedro and let him introduce himself and give us the update.

Pedro Santos Vieira (Pedro): Thanks guys, those are very kind words. It’s great to be back on such short notice. People will read this in the previous interview: I’m an entrepreneur turned investor and I’ve been working with this investor hat in different ways: as an angel, then later as an institutional investor at 500 Startups and now, more recently, with Shilling, which is an investment fund anchored in Portugal – and of which I think we’ll talk about a little bit more today.

The initial target was 20 million and we’re way past that, very close to the hard cap of 30 million, and the way we went about it was by leveraging the track record of the team, investing with previous vehicles.

Pedro Santos Vieira 

Andreas: Yes, absolutely. I think we’re going to be talking a lot more about it because this is an interview dedicated to Shilling and there’s nothing that we want to push more than the agenda of emerging managers in Europe. So let’s kick it right off and dive into fundraising. We’re going to go through all the basics of a VC fund, we’re going to be looking first at fundraising, then we’re going to talk about the investment thesis and strategy, then deal flow – How do they create deal flow? Why do founders pick you instead of someone else? How do you create value for the startups? And in the end, we’re going to touch on fund management and decision making. But right now let’s deep dive into fundraising. Let us know Pedro, how did you make it to where so many haven’t yet, which is raising a fund?

Pedro: Let me share some context for everyone: we are kicking off a fund of 30 million to invest in early-stage technology – pre-seed and seed tickets. The initial target was 20 million and we’re way past that, very close to the hard cap of 30 million, and the way we went about it was by leveraging the track record of the team, investing with previous vehicles. Shilling, as a brand, has existed for about eight to nine years now, investing as a group of angel investors under the same brand and the track record for that team is very good. 

I’ve joined the team six months ago, roughly, to help institutionalize a new fund, and that’s the fund we’re talking about today. This fund is going to be branded as the Shilling Founders Fund and it is a fund from founders to founders in many different ways. In the investment team, we are all founders, we’ve all had our companies with smaller or bigger exits and we bring that perspective into the investment decision process. But, we’re also building the fund around what we call a pool of LP founders. These are people who have also had their own venture successes, building up their companies and their teams in global settings, and are now liquid enough that they decided to invest in us, support our mission with capital, but also with know-how and expertise. They will be available for our portfolio companies and they are available even before the companies become portfolio companies – they help us scout deals, and help us with deal flow – we’ll talk about deal flow later. But this pool of highly successful people will be there to help us push out this mission of a fund, which is from founders to founders. 

It’s way more effective to have someone who’s been through your pains in your segment of your industry, in your region, walk you through what they’ve learned, and help you with shortcuts and tricks of the trade to fast track your growth. That’s done more effectively in a small setting than on a batch of 20 or 30 companies.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: I think that’s super cool Pedro and maybe we should dwell on that a bit because you have an LP base that consists of different types of LPs. In your case, you have the founder LPs, but I guess you also have institutional ones, maybe with some of them being pension funds or funds of funds. Could you elaborate on how you have thought about the LP make-up and what are you looking for, as value-add, from the LPs?

Pedro: Yes! We try to have a balance of institutional and then other individuals in our case, maybe slightly more skewed towards individuals, which are the founder LPs that help us with the portfolio. These are people that invest relatively small cheques when compared with the institutionals. I can’t speak right now in detail about the institutionals that we have on board, but I can tell you there are some promising names and maybe when this interview gets published, it will be public. We have some pretty cool LPs, including other European VCs who are betting on our team as the Southern European partner for them.

As you know, from our previous interview, I come from the world of global acceleration programs from 500 Startups, and I have a lot of experience designing these programs and running them. We believe that the acceleration model is already past its current format, it needs reinvention. The way I think about our base of LP founders is they will help us with what we call the experience-based acceleration. It’s way more effective to have someone who’s been through your pains, in your segment of your industry, in your region, walk you through what they’ve learned, and help you with shortcuts and tricks of the trade to fast track your growth. That’s done more effectively in a small setting than on a batch of 20 or 30 companies and we’re betting on that big time.

Andreas: Just out of curiosity. Do you know By Founders in Denmark?

Pedro: Yes but I don’t know the team personally. We’re not claiming we’re reinventing the wheel…

Andreas: No, that’s not what I’m suggesting. Just let me know if you want an intro, I’d be happy to hook you up. They’re cool guys.

Pedro: Yes, I’d be happy to meet them! And again, without crossing conversations here, one of the other things we believe it’s unique in our approach is the premium network of co-investors, both European and American, that we’re bringing to Southern Europe. Schilling is, probably, the brand that has done the biggest number of co-investments with tier one VCs in Europe, they’re there for us. We’ve designed the investment thesis for this fund focused on pre-seed and seed, exactly to avoid competing with these European VCs on the series A stage, for example. So, the incentives are super aligned, and we believe that these partnerships are only going to get stronger over time.

Andreas: That is something that I would love to double click on, because you said that you are backed by other VCs in Europe, betting on Shilling. That’s a very interesting new development that we’re seeing in Europe. Would you tell us how you’ve thought about that and how you’ve managed to make it happen? And also, because you know so much about the European ecosystem, what do you see it doing to the ecosystem at large?

Pedro: Well, there are a lot of parts to that question. Let’s try and oversimplify it first, and then we can go deeper. Any VC wants vetted deals – to have access to deals of which you have already when you start the conversation with the founders, a high level of certainty that are good deals. And, at the same time, you’re trying to stay focused on your investment stage and your region. It, it’s hard for midsize (when compared to the Silicon Valley funds where I come from) VCs in Europe to do all of this at the same time. So, it’s very important to have partners with whom you’re aligned in terms of the investment thesis and, more importantly, in terms of incentives. By making this clear split between phases, or stages, you remove any conflicts of interest and make it very easy for us to be the go-to brand in Southern Europe, where other European and Silicon Valley VCs see that we are a good source of deal flow. It’s very easy for us to take and open up a conversation, coming from an introduction from them. And, if they have some of their capital already invested in us as an LP, that’s an even stronger alignment. That’s what we’re building.

We’re all founders and we’re bringing even more founders as LPs that will help the companies. We’re not financiers investing in metrics on a spreadsheet, we know how to build companies and how to help you do it.

Pedro Santos Vieira

David: We should shift to investment thesis and strategy. Pedro, you were quite clear about the secret sauce here: from founders to founders. Leveraging founders, basically. And also, knowing you and some of the partners behind Shilling, that secret sauce becomes very clear. But I want to give you the spotlight for a minute. To our readers who might not know you or Shilling as a brand yet, what is your secret sauce and what is your investment thesis?

Pedro: That comment reminds me of one thing that I think is important to mention and, hopefully, it will be public by the time this interview goes live: we’re also instituting a profit-sharing model with our founder base. So, if you become a founder under Shilling, we will be sharing some of the proceeds from our carry with you and the other portfolio founders. That’s an extra incentive for the community of founders under Shilling to help each other. So, we’re bringing the “from founders to founders” motto to a whole new level. 

Now, to answer your question about the secret sauce. Other than the founders to founders, it’s a combination of factors and we’ve touched upon some of them already. So, it’s founders to founders, we’re all founders, we’re bringing even more founders as LPs that will help the companies. We’re not financiers investing in metrics on a spreadsheet, we know how to build companies and how to help you do it.

The second thing is the international networks that we bring. I’ve mentioned the networks of co-investors in Europe and the US because I come from Silicon Valley, having spent a decade and a half there. Miguel Santo Amaro, and others who you guys know, have been very active in the European scene, and a series of my partners have been active in VC and PE in Europe, and we believe that those networks are also going to be very interesting. A core part of our value proposition is accelerating out of Southern Europe and into the global markets. So, we’re not just investing in small players, in small markets. We are investing in things that we can accelerate out of here, therefore it’s important to have these international networks to support them. And then, I think the profit-sharing model will create an extra incentive to bring in the founders. I believe that these are the key things when it comes to attracting the best deals and then helping them scale out of this market.

David: Let me follow up on that. If I’m a founder reading this, why should I reach out to you? What are you guys looking for? What gets you guys excited and makes you tick?

Pedro: I’ll answer that question in two parts. What gets us excited is founders with a big vision, ambition and the skills to back that up – no BS, we see through the cracks, and we’ve told stories ourselves, so we can tell storytellers from others. We look for a strong team with the capability to solve the problem that they’re targeting, addressing big markets. And, in terms of sectors, we are a sector-agnostic fund. There are a couple of things where we will not invest in – capital intensive sectors like life sciences or very expensive to build hardware. We will invest in hardware if the unit economics make sense, and in direct-to-consumer places, for example. We’ve already announced publicly one of our investments in a hardware company that builds electric skateboards. They are trying to revolutionize the future of urban mobility and trying to enter extreme sports at the same time. I think it’s going to be cool to see how they evolve – Hunter Boards, that’s the name. We will not invest in anything that takes a long time to get to market, because our fund has a limited lifetime, and we want to see the returns delivered to our LPs as quickly as we can.We are raising a fund amidst the pandemic, which is interesting because we were able to raise it so fast. But we also want to take this as an advantage and an opportunity to invest in sectors that are being accelerated by the pandemic. We are going after sectors like the future of work, digital health, marketplaces, and other things that are being accelerated by more things going online and the increasing the digitalization of some industries – things like digital health, future of work, eCommerce, FinTech, collaboration and developer tools. We have the know-how and we have the network to do that. Another thing we’ve started doing is to use the know-how of these LP founders to tell us where the industries are going, and it helps us a lot to direct the deployment of capital.

We focus on the stage and then we try to use these experts in our LP base and our own team, to have dedicated sub-teams.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: Emerging managers are often advised to focus on a sector, don’t go broad, <laugh> and don’t say that you can do it all. I’m guessing that this is connected to your secret sauce, but please explain to us why do you go for an industry-agnostic route rather than being very narrow-focused?

Pedro: I would say we focus on stage, and by focusing on stage we’re reducing the uncertainty. It would be easier to be focused on one stage, one region, and one industry or one segment, but that would leave us with very little deal flow. Therefore, we are mitigating our risk by focusing on the stage – pre-seed and seed. 

And we haven’t talked about the ticket size in detail, yet. We’ll be doing pre-seed deals up until €100k with a decision process that’s very fast. Our value proposition goes like this: in 30 days, you’ll either have money in the bank or a no go from us. And we’ll do seed tickets up until around €500k, going slightly higher if needed, and then follow-ons up to a million, million-and-a-half.

Going back to your point, we focus on the stage and then we try to use these experts in our LP base and our own team, to have dedicated sub-teams. So, for example, we have one expert who invested in us as an LP, that understands the cloud world and cloud services very well. He has helped us screen deals in this space and, eventually, we invested. We now have a board seat in that company, it’s called Vawlt, and it does multi-cloud services security. We will continue using the expertise of these founders so we’re not spread tooth thin. I’m optimistic that we’re going to be able to pull it off and the results will tell in a few years.

David: One question merging two topics that we talked about: This network of founders seems quite hands-on at a certain stage. How did you manage to buy them into your vision, and to align the interests? They’re more than LPs, right? It’s not a traditional LP relationship. How do you manage that operational collaboration?

Pedro: Actually, I’ll pick up on the latter part of that, which is the operational side of building all this. We have built, and we’ll continue building, a platform around this concept. We have a head of platform working for us full time, who we just hired out of a very good VC in Europe. I think we can claim we’re the first fund in Europe to have a platform and a head of platform helping us connect the dots, both people and tool wise, so we’re supporting the portfolio in that way.In terms of the incentives and how were we able to get these LPs on board: once the founder always a founder – and I speak from the heart because I’m one of those cases. These are people who want to stay close to the market, regardless of how much money they’ve made. We have LPs who sold companies for over a billion dollars, but they remain close to other founders and now they want to be able to pay it forward, to give back to the community. Many of them are of Portuguese descent or they’re connected to the Portuguese ecosystem, so that helps the conversation. Many of them come from the Portuguese tech mafia in San Francisco, which I helped to grow over the last 10 years, with that being another selling point. And some of them are internationals who’ve had experiences living in Portugal or working in Portugal. They understand the value of what’s happening in the Portuguese ecosystem in the last five years or so, they want to be a part of it, and this is an easy way. It’s like: “here are some dollars, I’m going to help you multiply them by helping the companies you’re investing in.” You know, why not? It’s a no brainer.

One thing that we’re also going to push hard is to continue being a key contributor to establishing Portugal as the new EU tech hub.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: I must then ask about deal flow because it’s very closely connected to these guys. Pedro, please take the floor and let us know how do you think of deal flow and how do you make sure that you are the pick of the founders?

Pedro: Again, splitting this in two:

  • One is brand awareness and making sure they know we exist.
  • And the second thing is to convince them to work with us.

The latter, I think, is another no brainer. Our track record speaks for itself as builders – I’m not even talking about as investors, I’m saying as builders – so it’s easy to explain how we can help the companies, both us and the LP founders.

Regarding the former, in terms of building up the deal flow, it’s deeply related to brand awareness. Shilling, for the last few months, has been fairly quiet because we were fundraising. But before that, it was a top brand in the Southern European ecosystem – and I would say even more, or broader than that. Now we’re going to continue pushing the boundaries of deal flow attraction. 

60% of our capital will be deployed in Portuguese entities, but the remaining is flexible. Between my networks in the US and Silicon Valley, and my partners’ in Europe, we’re already looking and entering deals that are coming from outside Portugal and we will continue doing so. I’m not going down the road of saying we’re going to do events, and we’re going to do this and that. That’s what everyone else does and we’ll continue doing it. But our personal networks and these founder LPs are helping us a lot to enter in the best deals very early, even if it’s with a small ticket initially, but with the ability to continue following-on, and that’s where we think a lot of the returns may come from. We’ll continue with that strategy of attracting deal flow to us.

One thing that we’re also going to push hard is to continue being a key contributor to establishing Portugal as the new EU tech hub. And to do that, we will prove to founders outside Portugal, and in Portugal obviously, that we are smart capital, that we invest with founder-friendly terms and we have the networks that will help them with their follow-on money. We are very good at designing fundraising rounds because we’ve done it ourselves. 

We also believe that we can attract international founders to come to accelerate out of Portugal, because:

  • One it’s a good place to live, everyone knows that there’s a high quality of life for the founders and their families. And it’s a safe place – religious acceptance, etc, etc.
  • Two there’s talent availability. There are gaps in some segments, as in everywhere, but there’s a bunch of different tax and fiscal policies now in place that we think will attract foreign talent to come to Portugal.
  • Three, we have the networks – between us, our partners in Portugal, and the members of our investment committee – that allow these foreign founders to come to Portugal and pilot these things in the top telco, in the top bank, in the top insurance companies, in the top health group…

And that’s a really interesting value proposition because it’s like: “spend a few months here in Portugal, work with us, work with the prospective clients we’re bringing you, validate your product probably at one-fifth of the cost, and then we’ll help you fundraise your next round and you go address the global markets”. Again, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Andreas: That’s interesting, Pedro. You are doing international deals, but at the same time, you’re also talking about bringing founders to Portugal. We just had a chat with a VC that is doing international rounds also at the very early stage – pre-seed and seed – and they’re doing it 100% remote, have done that for 12 years and will continue doing it like that. That sounds like it’s not your case.

Pedro: I think we have a mixed approach. We are doing things that are here and they’re not remote, and we are also doing remote deals. But let me make one thing clear, we’re not just going to invest in a good deal because it’s a good deal, it’s an international deal with tier one partners in Silicon Valley and, since I know them, they give me a small allocation and we write a ticket for that. We’re not going to do that. We will do it if we have a connection to the company and the founding team, and we see a clear way to support their growth. That’s the only way for us to write a ticket into these international deals.

We’re flexible, we’re a bunch of founders, we’re malleable. We’re not black and white on leaving the deals. We like to be the first institutional money in, and we’ll continue working for that, but we’re not going to say no to a deal if we’re not leading. We’re about to announce a very interesting deal on a pre-seed company that got into Techstars, we invested alongside them, and it’s not because the company was entering Techstars that we didn’t invest. We will do this on a deal by deal basis but, again, always striving to be first institutional money if we can.

It’s great to have LPs who sold their companies to Cisco, who you can call and ask their opinion about a deal on a broader industry context, and that helps us mitigate the risk in these pre-seed deals.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: Then I’ve got one question: what are your views about doing pre-seed deals? It is a stage that many have shied away from before because it’s too early, too many of them fail, they need too much help, etc. How do you look at this and why do you believe you can do pre-seed?

Pedro: Again, it’s our background as doers. We started stuff from scratch, so it’s easier <laugh> for someone who’s done it to access if there is a potential path for success or not. We can make that assessment in a somewhat more comfortable way than other financier VCs. On the other hand, we’re also mitigating our risk as a fund by making sure that the percentage of capital going into these pre-seed deals is limited. Only 15% of the fund will be deployed as pre-seed tickets, because we also have to look after the interest of our LPs, and we will manage risk that way. Another other thing is our ability to understand from our networks where the industries are going. From there it’s very easy for us to shoot an email or make a phone call and say: “Hey, we’re looking into this pre-seed deal. It’s so early we have no clue if the industry is going to take it or move this way.” And we get industry insights from that. It’s great to have LPs who sold their companies to Cisco, who you can call and ask their opinion about a deal on a broader industry context, and that helps us mitigate the risk in these pre-seed deals.

David: So Pedro, we had value creation strategy as the next topic, and I feel like we’ve been tiptoeing around it so much that I’ll be repeating what you said. So let’s play with it a bit, I’ll try and put it out there and you’ll tell me if I got it right, to make sure the readers get it. 

It seems there are two major pillars to your value creation strategy, that attract me as a hypothetical founder and make me want to work with you. 

  • First, you guys are founders, are operators, so I can count on you for support, not only on the strategy and development of my venture but also you have that operational background of taking a thing from zero to a huge tech success story. Not only you and the partners but also your LPs have that background. So, one of the big core building blocks of that valuation strategy is the support on strategy operations, or even piloting for a fraction of the price because you can leverage those arbitrage opportunities. 
  • Second, the follow-on. So, it’s not only smart money, it’s not only the ability to get capital and support to make that capital efficient, but also you guys have awesome brands, awesome track records, and you have the institutional connections through the fund to get those follow-on rounds. 

Did I pitch you well <laugh> or is there something missing?

Pedro: Very good summary! Let me emphasize the second part which is, in emerging markets, it’s easier to raise capital from local investors, but there’s a big risk that you get stuck with them and then you can’t make the leap to international VC. We mitigate that risk and break that barrier, by bringing in a family of co-investors.

David: We’re looking into data on the round-to-round percentage of success and that after your first institutional money, that’s a really tough place to play.

Pedro: I can give you a number on that. Shilling, so far, has had a 60x multiplier on capital-on-capital raised. So Shilling has invested about three and a half million up until now, with all its funds initially, and these companies have raised over 210-220 million in follow-on rounds. That speaks for what I was just saying, about us helping the companies with their next rounds.

If it’s not a fit for us, we’re not going to push our way in and we’ll help them design the next round, we believe good will come back to us by doing that.

Pedro Santos Vieira

David: So, for founders, that means you’re not only getting the money, you’re getting a whole platform that will support you through that growth process – and that’s why you have the platform, I guess. 

Pedro: Yeah. And I can tell you, we’ve had multiple conversations within the context of the new Shilling Founders Fund where we understood that a deal wasn’t a fit for us in the round that the founders were designing. Nonetheless, we still gave them feedback and insights on how to design that round to the best of their advantage. And we’ll continue playing that role. If it’s not a fit for us, we’re not going to push our way in and we’ll help them design the next round, we believe good will come back to us by doing that.

One-to-one knowledge transmission, or knowledge sharing, is always more effective than one-to-many. That was the point I was trying to make with our model of the LP founders.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: Pedro, we love bashing things when there’s something to bash and you said something that sounded like we could tease you out to say something dangerous. [Laughs] You said that the old traditional accelerator model is dead, and you believe in experience-based acceleration. I’d love for you to expound on that and, if you really can put the accelerator model up as a piñata, please do!

Pedro: [Laughs] Well, now you put me in the hot seat. Just to be clear, I did not use the word dead…

Andreas: No, no, no. You said that it’s ageing, or it should be on pension… [Laughs]

Pedro: I did indicate that it is at a point where it’s changing, it’s under revision, it’s under evolution, however you want to call it. There are still good acceleration programs out there. They’re becoming more focused on verticals, or regions for example, and there’s a lot of value in that. And so, my point was that they’re evolving. And the second point I made at that stage was that one-to-one knowledge transmission, or knowledge sharing, is always more effective than one to many. That was the point I was trying to make with our model of the LP founders. And best of luck to all my friends running accelerators, they know what I’m talking about, and this is not news to anyone.

So, the tricky part with accelerators, and that’s what I think Shilling was able to solve, is the operational cost of an accelerator and an acceleration program. We’ve not just flipped the model upside down, we found ways that allow for the people who bring the knowledge, to also bringing the capital.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Andreas: No, but I think that this goes for accelerators just as for angels. We have some very good ones out there, then it became a very sexy area and, for that reason, there are many who probably shouldn’t be doing it, but who are nonetheless.

Pedro: Exactly. The risk when something seems easy to do is that everyone wants to do it and then, on average, the quality of the product in the market may lower. There are a lot of accelerators out there that shouldn’t exist. So, what we need to continue doing is to educate our founders on which ones are worth it, and which ones are not. As you know, I just came from the 500 Startups world, so I can’t bash the accelerator programs in general. I think bashing stereotypes is always shooting your foot, but there are things to improve in accelerators. I think all the key brands – YC, Techstars, 500 Startups, etc – know about this, and they’ve been evolving their models. So, the tricky part with accelerators, and that’s what I think Shilling was able to solve, is the operational cost of an accelerator and an acceleration program. We’ve not just flipped the model upside down, we found ways that allow for the people who bring the knowledge, to also bringing the capital. Typically, an accelerator pays the mentors for them to train the companies. And we’re bringing in these people, they train the companies, and they give us money. I really hope this works!

Andreas: Pedro, let’s shift the focus to fund management and decision making, this of course includes the investment process. Would take us through how do you manage your fund and how do you make sure that you make sound investment decisions?

Pedro: So we’re organized with the five partners as an investment team, between the five of us we’ll quickly decide on the pre-seed tickets, up to a €100k, and the assessment leverages the different profiles in the team. We have some of us with strong experience in the consumer space, others on enterprise SaaS marketplace, we mix it up and we can always go back to our networks and ask for advice. These are quick decisions, up to 30 days for money in the bank, or a no go. 

Then we have an investment committee, which is constituted of another five partners. Those are the five founding partners of Shilling. They were deploying capital together, as angels, under the Shilling brand, and come from very diverse sectors: retail, insurance, M&A, real estate, telcos, etc. They help us look into the bigger tickets. Our investment team of five will prepare the typical investment memos and will have enough validation, or not, for the deals, but these extra five people in our investment committee will help us with that assessment.

And we’re also building an advisory committee, which won’t be a formal contributor to the investment decision but can shed some light on the strategy of the funds every quarter, roughly.

I must say that I’ve been peppering the conversation with some of the numbers instead of dumping them all in my introduction, I hope they don’t get lost. Between the 10 partners that I just mentioned, we are investing 2 million out of our pockets and that constitutes almost twice the industry average for the 20 million fund if we raise a 20 million fund. The skin in the game from these people, in the investment committee and the investment team, completely aligns incentives. And then we have the head of platform that I already mentioned, we have analysts that are helping us screen the deals and assess them before we get to the final investment decision.

Andreas: You have been dropping bread crumbs along the way regarding the numbers of the fund, but it would be fun to have a rundown. If you would then go through, what are the ticket sizes? What are your reserve allocations, and so on so forth?

Pedro: Happily! So, recapping: Shilling Founders Fund is going to be a 30 million fund with a hard cap of 30 million. We will invest 15% of that capital in pre-seed tickets up to €100k. About a third of the fund, maybe slightly more, for seed deals that can go up to €500k, and then follow-ons of another third, maybe up to 45% of the fund. We will be investing in multiple sectors and we don’t have a formal breakdown for those. We will be focused on things and sectors that are profiting from the pandemic. We believe that the next two years are going to be very good for us if we double-down and triple-down on the industries that are benefiting from accelerated digitalization. We have a diverse pool of LPs. 7% to 10% of the capital is from the GPs. Everything else is typical for LPs, the typical management fees and carry structure around 2% and 20%, with a step up to 30%, if the fund does really well. 

Historical data on Shilling: we have unrealized results of about 5x multiplier on capital invested. Let’s hope we can do even better than that on the next one, we’ll see. I would be happy with that on this much bigger fund. 

David: Let me round that off with something you might be too humble to say: it’s a team of freaking rock stars. So, if you’re a founder out there looking for the best founders to support you, I would recommend trying it out. In the worst-case scenario, in 30 days you have a no, so not that bad, right?

Andreas: And what happens Pedro, if we have people in Germany reading this and saying: these guys sound cool. I want to get money from them?

Pedro: We’re working on a new website, which may be live by the time this interview goes live, and there’s an open door for founders to not just submit the pitches to us. Also, they can actually schedule office hours with me and my investment team so, if they’re in doubt about Shilling and if they think that we can help them somehow, they can reach out very easily. But we need to understand that we are going to be able to help them with our networks, even if they’re a German company or from elsewhere in Europe. So there has to be a connection to us or Portugal somehow.

David: Pedro, thank you very much, we really enjoyed this chat. Thank you for this masterclass on VC. I’m sure our readers will really benefit from it. I had a blast and I know Andreas did as well. We’ll be here to echo all news about Shilling and yourself, so do count on us to help you spread the word. I’m looking forward to talking to you again, soon.

Pedro: Thank you for the kind words, you guys are the rock stars, not me. Happy to come back, hopefully with the next big IPO out of Shilling, some unicorn or something like that. The results will have to speak for themselves for you guys to invite me back, right?

David: We’ll hold you onto that one and we’ll reach out the second we know of rumours of something interesting going on with Shilling. <Laugh>

Pedro: Happy, happy to come back. I always have fun in this podcast, and I highly recommend it to other folks out there in the industry.

And this wraps up our interview with Pedro Vieira, Founding Managing Partner of Shilling Founders Fund.

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