ML123: Niko Bonatsos on Maximising Serendipity, Finding Learning Machines and Silicon Valley Venture Investing
Niko Bonatsos is the Managing Director at General Catalyst Partners an early stage venture capital fund specialising in (Series A/B) tech startups.
Niko’s passion is working with first-time technology founders with strong product instincts and he’s been part of a number of high profile deals, most notably with Snapchat which IPOd with a $28 billion initial valuation back in 2017.
A keen learner with a curious mind, Niko has been a student in multiple countries, getting his Bachelors in Engineering and Computer Science in Athens before graduating from Stanford with a Masters in Management Science and Engineering and getting an MPhil from Cambridge. He also worked in Tokyo at the R&D headquarters for Yokogawa Electric Corporation and attributes this random walk through the world as a key asset in his role as a venture investor.
In this episode we discuss:
- Why Niko wants the founder he invests in to be learning animals and how he identifies this
- How the tone of the conversation in the Valley has changed since the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal
- The differences between the tech ecosystems in Europe and the US
We also discuss Niko’s experiences as a founder and student and the possibilities of tech driving forward a recovery in my home country of Greece. This was a great episode packed full of useful insights about all things tech - Niko is a brilliantly curious mind and was a pleasure to chat to.
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