We are growing through your passion
One has only been on board with us for a few months, the other co-founded UVC Partners ten years ago: Our investment analyst Jana and our partner Andreas spoke about why investment decisions at UVC Partners are always made collectively, how they embrace diversity, and why every job applicant talks to each team member of UVC Partners before being hired.
Both of you are looking at UVC Partners from quite different perspectives. What makes UVC Partners stand out for you?
Jana: First, the flat hierarchies and the startup spirit that is lived here. As an Investment Analyst, my opinion is heard just as much as that of a partner. After being a working student, I joined the team full time and was quickly given a lot of responsibility. Everyone at UVC Partners takes over open tasks with a high level of commitment and autonomy which allows us to still organize our days flexibly. This is highly in line with my work values, and I could find that at UVC Partners.
Andreas: An autonomous, no-elbow, and humble working culture is an integral part of our values. We once did a workshop on values that describe us quite well. We were asked to cut out photos from fashion magazines that we thought would describe UVC Partners. When the coach looked at the results, there were no heavy watches, expensive clothes, or big cars. We've never had huge egos or partners who bring in deals and then celebrate themselves for it. We rather work in a consensus-driven way and believe in the power of personal responsibility.
What does that mean for your day-to-day work?
Andreas: Our culture is reflected in all parts of our job. For us, it is very important that every investment we’re making is regarded as an investment of our whole team and not as an individual investment from a partner or principal. Therefore, every deal that hits the organization is treated equally and runs through the same process. That ensures that there is no fight for the best deals within our team and that each startup receives the attention and the respect it deserves. At the end of the investment process, we decide on the investments together as a team.
Jana: The decision of whether to invest or not is then made by consensus. Most of the time we share the same opinion anyway, but there have also been cases where some younger analysts had reservations, which were then discussed again and examined in detail. I feel I am heard, and this is especially important, as all investment team members are eligible to participate in the fund.
Andreas: Well, of course, that's why we discuss and decide in the team.
Jana, you previously worked in a startup. Why did you switch sides?
Jana: Right, I worked at our portfolio company FINN before and had an amazing time there with a steep learning curve. And it’s the same here, even though my daily tasks are different. I see many ideas, products, and business models in numerous industries, which allows me to learn how to quickly analyze a topic, look at relevant data and ask the right questions to find answers to potential risks and opportunities. The spirit of UVC Partners itself is like that of a startup. Apart from the regular deal work, everyone picks up open tasks that one has knowledge or interest in, which makes UVC Partners better every day. For example, I really enjoy working on internal automation tasks, where I am applying the knowledge I gained during my time at FINN.
Andreas: There's no other way we could do our job. With our recently raised € 255 million at hand, we have a lot of deals and transactions coming up. We see ourselves as a very active and engaged investor that offers a wide range of support to our portfolio companies. In order to do this, all our investment professionals independent of career level need to understand how to collaborate with our portfolio. That’s why an analyst at UVC Partners never only does deal flow analysis but will be included in portfolio work as soon as possible.
How do you deal with the issue of diversity?
Andreas: Not so long ago, the whole VC scene was unfortunately a boys’ club. We have experienced how valuable a diverse team is, which is why UVC Partners is steadily pushing for more diversity within the team. Overall, this has worked very well. We have already become much more diverse and as a result, we are having great deal discussions and a vibrant and supportive team atmosphere. But part of the truth is that it is still very hard to find senior women with many years of experience in venture capital which makes recruitment of females for principal or partner positions very challenging. Our aim at UVC Partners is to make the next generation of VC leaders more gender-balanced and we’re very happy that Jana, Amanda, Lisa, Anne, Lena, Sarah, Veronika, and Sabine are developing their VC careers at UVC Partners.
Jana: I think there have been many structural issues in the past making it harder for women to follow a career in VC (and many other areas). A highly discussed issue is child care, I think. At UVC Partners, however, we are definitely on the right track and are empowering everyone for a healthy work-life balance. For example, everyone can organize their day flexibly and schedule appointments, which makes it easier for our male and female team members on all levels to take care of their children while pursuing careers. In addition, I feel like all team members actively support and develop each other and always have each other’s back.
For those who are curious now: What should you definitely bring to join UVC Partners?
Andreas: Summing it up, we are looking for people who are passionate about what they do, can communicate well, and are true team players. It also doesn't hurt to bring a certain amount of resilience. After all, it often takes years for investments to prove successful, and there are always projects and ideas that fail.
Jana: Through the application process, it also becomes clear that UVC Partners not only talks about flat hierarchies but also means it. In the last round of the hiring process, every applicant talks to every team member. This takes some time but is a huge advantage for both sides.