January 4, 2022
Febe van den Bergen did an internship at Borski Fund for 4 months. After completing her bachelor's degree in Business Administration at Erasmus University, Febe chose to gain practical experience in a gap year and learn everything about the world of venture capital. In this blog she shares her experiences.
Now the end of my internship at Borski Fund is approaching, I look back with pleasure on what I did there over the past few months. The process of a venture capital fund starts with a lead. The fund then goes through a number of phases: the team conducts analyses, holds meetings and writes documents. Within the 4 months of internship my goal was to experience a compete deal and to experience as many aspects of a venture capital fund as possible. Spoiler alert: that actually happened.
Borski Fund goes through 6 steps in the investment process: 1) Intake 2) Internal analysis 3) Due diligence 4) Contract formation 5) Participation and 6) Exit. There are actions associated with each phase. I have been able to experience (almost) all of those phases, for different companies.
1. Intake: the start of the investment process
Some entrepreneurs knock on the door of Borski Fund themselves, and the team itself also looks for relevant start-ups. In that context, I attended meetings with Borski Fund partner The Next Women in which we exchanged leads. In addition, I was involved in several events with other investors at home and abroad, which repeatedly generated interesting leads. Borski Fund invests in various en all femaleteams that have founded a technology company.
Prior to the intake, I saw more than a hundred pitch decks and I made initial analyses: Is there a fit with the investment criteria? What does a first market scan tell us? And what is the background and skills of entrepreneurs? This allowed the rest of the team to focus on companies that really fit Borski Fund.
Not only did I quickly learn to recognize a potential new participation, but I also learned about contacting entrepreneurs and giving feedback and tips. To make the whole process even more efficient, Borski Fund – just like the other funds of StartGreen Capital – switched to a new CRM system during my internship. During the import of all data I saw more than 350 pitch decks. This gave me a clear image of the start-up landscape in the Netherlands and Europe. In addition, this process offered the opportunity to collaborate weekly with the various funds of StartGreen.
2. Internal analysis: the coffee hour as pressure cooker
After these initial analyses, Borski Fund invites the entrepreneurs for her 'coffee hour'. This is a first acquaintance and offers the opportunity to go deeper into the pitch deck. I organized these coffee hours and have been involved in more than 25 of these meetings. I found it very instructive to actually talk to the entrepreneurs about their proposition. When these conversations led to a positive fit with the fund, we continued our internal analyses.
First, I drafted a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), after which I was given additional information and access to several data rooms to be able to intensify my research into the company. I did this, among other things, with a QuickScan developed by Borski Fund. This scan identifies the points of attention concerning the product/service, the market, the team and the financial picture in an useful overview. I have also performed in-depth competitive analyzes for companies in both the healthsector and the fashion industry. I also did a beauty market analysis to select the most promising start-ups in this market.
With a Borski Fund benchmark document I was able to compare companies and perform analyzes based on different operational and financial metrics. In this phase, the team prepares a term sheet with an initial assessment and a description of the progress.
3. Due diligence: everyone can have their say
During the due diligence, the fund conducts in-depth research and talks with various parties in order to arrive at an accurate picture of the company. What I find most interesting about this phase is that in addition to your own analyses, those from other experts can lead to new insights. I learned a lot from that. For example, at Borski Fund there is a future of healthcommittee that monitors companies in the health sector.
I also attended strategy sessions with co-investors and had conversations with several LPs (limited partners) of Borski Fund and with companies in their area of expertise. When, after all these discussions and analyses, a positive picture persisted, it was time to write the investment proposal for the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC). I was able to attend several IAC meetings, in which the IAC discussed proposals and gave a final recommendation. In addition to the IAC, some companies also had to pass the Advisory Board, and I was also allowed to help prepare and attend these meetings.
4. Contract Formation: Details Matter
After all these recommendations and discussions, the Borski Fund team was able to make its own assessment of a closing of the deal. The latest negotiations on the shareholders agreement took place and I was able to start working on the factsheet: a document with all the important information about the company for all investors in Borski Fund. In addition, I made the post-closingdocument, outlining the key points of the deal.
5. Participation: a portfolio that promotes gender equality (and many more SDGs)
Every Monday morning there was a deal flow meeting with the entire Borski team, including the venture partners: Dagmar and Aletta. In this we discussed the progress of the companies in the pipeline; at every stage of the cycle. In addition to this weekly meeting, every Thursday there was a meeting about the portfolio companies. In those we discussed the focal points on the basis of the Value Creation Fashion model.
In preparation for these meetings, I was involved in update calls with the company. I also looked at monthly figures and together with analyst Stefan I looked at how companies are doing in the area of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Borski Fund not only invests in female entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to SDG 5: Gender Equality, but 89 percent of deal flow companies also contribute to one of the other 17 SDGs. A fact I personally find hughly enthusing.
6. Exit: to be continued
After a number of years, the shares in a company are sold. Although I have seen a lot of exit strategies during my internship, I have not experienced an exit myself. But when the time comes, I'll stop by to see how that works exactly.
Now it really is the end of my internship at Borski. On my first day at work I asked: 'What is a pitch deck?' The time after that has flown by. It was an incredibly instructive experience in which I was able to do a lot and in which I got a complete picture of the ins and outs of a venture capital fund.
Simone, Laura, Bertrand, Stefan, the venture partners, the health committee, the IAC, the Advisory Board, all colleagues at StartGreen and of course all entrepreneurs: thank you for everything you have taught me! I´ll keep a close watch of your developments. Unfortunately, I am closing this internship the way I started it, namely in quarantine with a positive corona test, but I'll see you again soon at the beautiful office in KIT.
Finally, I would like to point out the possibility of doing an internship at Borski Fund. You can register for this via this link: Vacancy – Borski Fund
Other internships at StartGreen can be found on the page Working at StartGreen Capital