Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Ondrej Bartos was recorded in January 2019.
Ondrej Bartos, General Partner at Prague-based Credo Ventures, focuses on investing in Central European startups. Their major success story is UiPath in robotics processes automation that has raised $265 million at a $3 billion valuation. UiPath has over 2,100 customers and claims to have annual revenues of $150 million. We discuss the Romanian company in some detail.
Sramana Mitra: I heard about your firm from your friends from Czech Republic or Czechia now. You may have seen the stories we’ve done on some of your local colleagues. I’m really looking forward to getting acquainted with you. I would like to start by having you introduce yourself and Credo Ventures to our audience here. Then we’ll discuss what you’re up to out there. What are the trends in your space?
Ondrej Bartos: Thanks for having me. As mentioned, I’m a GP at Credo Ventures which is a VC firm based out of Prague, Czech Republic with joint seed and series A investing in Central Europe. We started Credo in 2009 with the aim to actually create a Central European VC firm with Silicon Valley DNA, aspirations, and ambitions.
Our aim, since the very beginning, has been to invest into startups of global ambitions who aim to compete in global market and aim to address big problems with innovative and smart solutions. We are just about to close our fund number three which would be around $100 million. We started with a small pilot fund to test the hypothesis that venture capital of the Silicon Valley can work in a region as remote and exotic as Central Europe.
We started with a $20 million fund and then the second fund was about $60 million. We’ve made 42 investments up until now. Now we aim to double down on our investment thesis which is built around the region that we’re in.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s actually double-click down on some of the things that you said and get some color on how you define seeds and how you define series A. What are you looking for in seed in terms of validation?
Ondrej Bartos: We basically talk about investments up to €1 million or $1.2 million. At the seed stage, we look at the team, the founder, and the size of the opportunity. We don’t necessarily look at revenue or any other market validation. It can be pre-launch and pre-revenue. What we’re really interested in is to see a big opportunity in terms of big target market. We very much look at the team and the founders. We consider ourselves to be very founder-friendly and founder-centric.
Sramana Mitra: Of the 42 investments that you’ve made, how many of those are concept-stage investments? How many already had prototypes and some market validation?
Ondrej Bartos: I say about a third would fall in the bracket of conceptual or pre-revenue stage. Another third would be the ones that already have a product out in the market but don’t have product-market fit quite yet. The last would be for series A investments or large seeds where we already saw some traction.