Ep. 23 Hero Ep23 Jeanette zu Furstenburg

Decoding New Innovations in the Old Economy with Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

DRIVING TECHNOLOGY GROWTH IN “OLD WORLD” SECTORS

31 min

Ep. 23 Hero Ep23 Jeanette zu Furstenburg

31 min

Traditional companies and digital upstarts have a lot to gain from each other. That's why Jeannette zu Fürstenberg founded La Famiglia, a VC firm that connects innovative young disruptors with old-line companies across Europe. Hear her discuss why connections are so important in business, and why a disruption-friendly mindset can help any company no matter how old.

Read transcript

“Great leaders have an ability to see 10 or 15 years into the future. They have a reality distortion field around what the future should look like. And then where they become strong leaders is the ability to break that complexity down into something that we can grasp today.“

Quick takes on...

The Conflict Between Old and New


“If you put two groups together, one has everything to lose. Why? Because [established companies] are at the height of their success and every potential change or disruption could mean a risk to the company. And if you look at startups, it's a very different dynamic, right? They have everything to win and everything to gain.”



Investing Early


“That's what you do as a seed stage investor, you have to tune into the vision and always assume you're the stupidest person in the room. And then these people really have something very, very unique to what they're doing. And obviously you are mindful of asking all the right questions, but typically the best entrepreneurs have thought about them 10 times over before you even ask them.”



The Emerging Global Workforce
“What's so exciting about technology is that code is really a lingua franca. It's a way to tie talent together in a global way. Global talent is becoming a reality. It's great to see teams that interact from all over the world across different time zones, across different continents, different cultural backgrounds, but all unified by a common mission and a common vision.”

 

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Meet your guest, Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

Co-Founder and General Partner, La Famiglia

Spotlight Jeanette zu Furstenburg

Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg focuses on fostering cooperation between young digital disruptors and established companies. She is Co-Founder and General Partner of La Famiglia, a Berlin-based venture capital fund investing in early-stage tech companies based in Europe that enable or disrupt large industries. Jeannette has been active in the startup ecosystem as co-founder, investor, and advisor since 2013. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Entrepreneurship from Freie Universität Berlin, and she is a member of several boards, including Krohne Messtechnik GmbH and the Lufthansa Innovation Hub.

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Ep. 24 Home Ep24 Jack Newton

Decoding Vertical SaaS: Jack Newton on Tech that Shapes Industries

WINNING THE MARKET BY INNOVATING FOR SPECIFIC SECTORS

28 min

"Should we go deep, or should we go broad?" is one of the fundamental strategy questions that every product-driven business faces. Aiming for as many customers as possible may seem logical, but it's not always the smartest bet. Hear Jack Newton, co-founder and CEO of legal SaaS company Clio, discuss why targeting specific verticals can deliver better results for everyone.

Episode transcript

Decoding Digital w/ Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

[0:00] [music]

Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg: [0:06] There's always this fear within organizations of not hiring IBM, of not going with the blue chip that is already available and existent and betting on a player that may not be around a couple of months or years from now.

[0:19] You need that backing and that halo from the leadership of the C level to say, "You know what? We want you to do that because that's what change will look like for us. That's what's going to make us competitive five years from now."

Daniel Saks: [0:32] That's Jeannette von Fürstenberg, the founding partner of La Famiglia, a unique venture capital fund based in Berlin. Unlike traditional VCs, La Famiglia looks to connect old economy giants in Europe with young digital disruptors. So far, the fund has raised more than €100 million and invested in almost 50 companies, 3 of which are unicorns.

[0:57] Before La Famiglia, Jeannette worked for Ernst & Young, Synthesis and AXA. She also founded AMAZE, a shopping app for smartphones geared toward fashion bloggers.

[1:07] Not only is Jeannette active in the startup ecosystem, she also has a deep understanding of the historical trends that drive business and holds a PhD in philosophy and entrepreneurship. In today's episode, we'll hear how Jeanette and her team at La Famiglia are transforming the way traditional companies and startups build networks and work together to create radical change.

[1:28] This is Daniel Saks, co CEO of AppDirect, and it's time to decode new innovation in the old economy.

[1:35] Welcome to "Decoding Digital," a podcast for innovators looking to thrive in the digital economy. I'm your host, Daniel Saks, and I'll sit down with other founders, CEOs and changemakers to decode the trends that are transforming the way we work. Let's decode.

[1:57] Jeannette, I'm so honored to have you on Decoding Digital. Welcome.

Decoding Digital w/ Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

[0:00] [music]

Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg: [0:06] There's always this fear within organizations of not hiring IBM, of not going with the blue chip that is already available and existent and betting on a player that may not be around a couple of months or years from now.

[0:19] You need that backing and that halo from the leadership of the C level to say, "You know what? We want you to do that because that's what change will look like for us. That's what's going to make us competitive five years from now."

Daniel Saks: [0:32] That's Jeannette von Fürstenberg, the founding partner of La Famiglia, a unique venture capital fund based in Berlin. Unlike traditional VCs, La Famiglia looks to connect old economy giants in Europe with young digital disruptors. So far, the fund has raised more than €100 million and invested in almost 50 companies, 3 of which are unicorns.

[0:57] Before La Famiglia, Jeannette worked for Ernst & Young, Synthesis and AXA. She also founded AMAZE, a shopping app for smartphones geared toward fashion bloggers.

[1:07] Not only is Jeannette active in the startup ecosystem, she also has a deep understanding of the historical trends that drive business and holds a PhD in philosophy and entrepreneurship. In today's episode, we'll hear how Jeanette and her team at La Famiglia are transforming the way traditional companies and startups build networks and work together to create radical change.

[1:28] This is Daniel Saks, co CEO of AppDirect, and it's time to decode new innovation in the old economy.

[1:35] Welcome to "Decoding Digital," a podcast for innovators looking to thrive in the digital economy. I'm your host, Daniel Saks, and I'll sit down with other founders, CEOs and changemakers to decode the trends that are transforming the way we work. Let's decode.

[1:57] Jeannette, I'm so honored to have you on Decoding Digital. Welcome.

Dr. Fürstenberg: [2:06] Thank you, Dan. I'm honored to join you today.

Daniel: [2:10] We first got to know each other as you graciously hosted the Y NOW conference in Germany connecting multi generational industrial leaders to tech startups. Many of those startups are disrupting or striving to disrupt the incumbents, so it's pretty interesting that you brought these two groups together. Can you share your vision for why bringing these groups together would be beneficial?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [2:31] Yeah, I think there's actually a lot that they have in common. It's entrepreneurs that are very much in the process of running and growing their own companies. What's interesting about that is if you put entrepreneurs face to face, they may have grown in a different generation, but they always have the best interest of the company at heart.

[2:54] If you put them together in an intimate environment, where all the management levels below that fade away and it's all about ideas, and it's all about progress, and it's all about change that everybody opens up. That's how you bring them closer together and that's very, very needed driver to make digital transformation in reality here in Europe.

Daniel: [3:12] It's very powerful and I was so grateful to be there and some of the relationships I've built end up being business contacts, friends, and it's an incredible network. Many times in technology, we interface only online especially in this era, but the importance of deep relationship is important.

[3:29] Can you tell me when you're advising your companies and the people you interact with across Europe, how did they build this network and how did they get to know each other?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [3:38] It's an interesting question. A part of the reason why Renee and I got together and said we need to do something about the ecosystem there is that they seem to be very separate for a long time. There was not many interfaces where they would actually meet.

[3:55] Question is always, if you put two groups together, one has everything to lose, because they're at the height of their success and every potential change or disruption could mean a risk to the company.

[4:07] If you look at startups, it's a very different dynamic. They have everything to win and everything to gain. That's where in those different speeds and those different modes of emotion you can create friction.

[4:18] It's very important that you have a trusted relationship environment, where you can interact and where everybody opens up to actually embracing change and embracing potentially new or even disruptive ideas.

[4:31] I think the idea was very much born from the way that we host friends as a family, where it's about intimacy, it's about trust, it's about also having fun together, it's about sharing memories. That's the base as to how, we're now came into being and also, the way we try to now have our portfolio companies be connected to potential customers, connect to potential partners.

[4:58] It's a very necessary aspect of our European ecosystem to bring these two groups into a closer, codependency or core relationship, simply because I think Europe will only survive if we manage to shift the existing value creation that is very much existent in our many, many industry fields, from process industry, to manufacturing, to automotive, etc.

[5:21] These are very, very native and rich industries where a lot of the knowledge is locked up in processes and industry specific knowledge that is now being transitioned and being formed into digital products. The more those two generations of entrepreneurs intersect and the more they cooperate, the stronger the outcome will be for Europe eventually.

Daniel: [5:46] Certainly. We have a fundamental belief that digital transformation is not just about technology, it's about the people. Oftentimes, it comes to those human relationships. The example that you gave, you mentioned René. For those listeners, we had René Obermann on the podcast earlier in the season.

[6:03] He was formerly the CEO of Deutsche Telekom and is now a partner of Warburg Pincus and chairman of Airbus. René and Jeannette hosted Y NOW, which was a conference bringing together these different leaders. It's such an example of how people are able to open up.

[6:19] René and I got to know each other when we were innovating at Deutsche Telekom and enabling them to digitally transform to offer cloud services. Those relationships are what drives a proliferation of technology. That's what Jeannette did with La Famiglia.

[6:35] Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became a venture capitalist and your vision behind it?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [6:40] Yeah, super happy to. I was always driven and motivated by entrepreneurial vision as a major force of change, in a way. What's interesting, especially about seed stage companies, is that they're almost like a seismographic anticipation for societal change and for what will manifest into an economic reality three to five years from now.

[7:04] By being very close to that pulsing element of what the future will become, you're automatically in a position where you have some degree of influence. I don't want to overplay it, but you take at least ownership of what this future could look like. That's from a very macro philosophical perspective. That's what would drives me into the sector.

[7:24] Next to working alongside very talented entrepreneurs, they have incredible energy and incredible vision that deserves so much respect and deserves all the support they can get. Now, that brings me to the support angle. When we first started La Famiglia, now almost five years ago, the idea was very much to see where we could build bridges.

[7:44] Especially for B2B founders, we could enable them to speak to partners in the industry to test their product, to run initial PoCs, get customer feedback and validation on the products that we're building. Initially, what you see within the start up ecosystem, you typically have a strong founding team and potentially great technology.

[8:05] You have what seems like a great and big market, but you're always missing investment in seed stage. You're always missing these initial revenue validation points that larger investors are then looking for. The earlier you can bring those to the table, the faster these companies typically get to early product market fit and from there to scale.

[8:24] Doing that, by helping them build these bridges early on, is a better use of the capital invested. Time is money. Also, for these founders, the earlier they can actually get their product into motion, the more chances they stand. Also, from an international perspective, to become the winner in there, the finance sector.

[8:44] That's why La Famiglia was created. It's very much the essence of our platform, is to connect established industry and the startup ecosystem, making sure we use the tail end to prevent for both sides to make bend the change, for what's possible in Europe.

Daniel: [8:57] I've been proud to watch La Famiglia grow over the years. You've built up an incredible portfolio. Can you share some of the companies that you have in your portfolio?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [9:07] Yes, sure. I'm happy to. One of the more notable ones would be a company called Personio, which is an HR platform for SMBs, similar to Workday in the US, but for smaller and medium sized businesses. That is doing incredibly well.

[9:22] Another one would be Forto, which is a freight forwarding company essentially digitizing logistic workflows, or the freight forwarding services. Mainly, now, between Europe and Asia, but potentially also, going global as a next step. We've pre seeded them.

[9:38] Especially for this company, it was so important to get connections and warm leads as they scaled from the initial Amazon power seller to a smaller sized business, to medium sized businesses, to larger scale businesses. It's important you get the volume right.

[9:54] You initially needed the trust of entrepreneurs who went to their freight forwarding department and said, "You know what? We may not give them 100 percent of our rate capacity, but we can give them 10 percent."

[10:05] I'm just curious to see what it will do to the transparency in my supply chain, what it will do to my freight cost, and what it will do to the overall transparency and views we get from a shipper perspective."

[10:17] Hadn't we had the buy in of these founders initially, that made sure they elbowed this into their organization and work that muscle, it probably would have been a lot harder for these guys to get to initial customers.

[10:30] There's always this fear within organizations of not hiring IBM, of not going with the blue chip that is already available and existent, and betting on a player that may not be around a couple of months or years from now.

[10:43] You need that backing and that payload from the leadership of C level to actually say, "We actually want you to do that. That's what change will look like for us. That's what's going to make us competitive five years from now."

[10:55] That was a win win. It was a win for the companies that embraced Forto early. It's a win certainly for Forto as well, because they've now become a big player here in Europe and continue to scale at a massive speed. That would be another example. I could keep going and going. There's so many. These are two great examples to start with.

Daniel: [11:13] Forto is such an incredible example. We've noticed, when we're trying to drive digital transformation within an enterprise, is that it takes a certain set of characteristics of an individual in order to drive that transformation. We call those people digital heroes. Those digital heroes can exist at any part of the organization.

[11:32] In many cases, they can be the CEOs or the owners. In other cases, it could be people on the ground that are going to champion this innovation. To have a culture of innovation at a large enterprise, it does require some level of risk taking and alignment.

[11:49] 10 years ago, when we were working with businesses in Europe, there were very few companies that had the commitment of both the executive leadership as well as the innovators on the ground to take that risk to work with a startup.

[12:03] What I found is that there's definitely been an acceleration in innovators in Europe recognizing that they need to disrupt themselves. Is that a trend that you've seen? How often do your companies still face disruption or challenge?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [12:19] It's interesting to hear your perspective. You are obviously very established. You've been around for many years now.

[12:25] Looking at the learning curve that I had when we first started out five years ago, a lot of B2B companies we went to and we confronted with a problem, they were like, "Well, that is all B2C phenomenon. Like Uber and everything you're telling me about what's happening and disruption on the consumer side, has nothing to do with my business, right? We're going B2B."

[12:45] At the time, it was very hard for them to embrace the idea of how software is eating the world. Now, five years forward. what we're seeing is that is no longer even a question. It's not even a question of whether software is eating the world. It has eaten the world.

[13:01] Everything is being defined by technology these days. It's no longer a single vertical, but actually completely horizontal and going a lot across all layers of value creation. That's where some people, and that goes to your point then around innovation mindset and culture, if you're open minded.

[13:20] Most entrepreneurs remain curious until they're very, very old. They drive that curiosity into the DNA of their company. That's what makes them remain competitive. We have a couple of people we work with where the founding entrepreneur is still very much up and running. He's maybe above 70, but they're still embracing change.

[13:40] They want to learn about what's going on. They may not understand the full depth of it, but they want to make sure that part of the people get it. To your point about the digital hero, that's one group. Certainly, you have the other camp that sees that as well, but is in denial with regards to what it will mean for their business.

[13:57] It's still not sensible. It's a little bit like popcorn. You put it into the microwave and for 5 minutes, nothing happens. All of a sudden, everything explodes. That whole disruptive element, it's very hard for them to sense because they've come from a motion. That's an interesting historical fact.

[14:16] They've always grown by capturing markets. The whole innovations always geared to conquering something new. They were never confronted with a disruptive innovation force they just had to react to all of a sudden, that just put the whole organization under pressure. For them, it's much harder to get to that level of change.

[14:38] Another aspect of the mindset that I've observed in many cases is that if you look at post war Europe, a lot of the companies that we see now being really, really successful were formed then. They were formed in a very decentralized fashion.

[14:55] Especially in Germany, we have these hidden in the rock market champions that sprouted in the middle of the Black Forest. You would find a world market leader, the brand you know, but you would never find your way into that little village, which is great, right? It certainly has nurtured our so called Miittelstand that is so globally well perceived.

[15:14] What also is interesting about these types of companies is that they have very much grown from an idea of patent driven innovation. Like I come up with an idea of anybody wants my new screw. Because the screw becomes a huge success, I patent it for 20 years. I milk the cow. I develop the next screw.

[15:33] I damn well make sure that I have the walls up. Nobody sees the drawings while I think about my third screw. I definitely don't want to share any insights about that because that's where my bread and butter will be born.

[15:48] For these people to transition in their mindset into an open innovation ecosystem, it's terribly hard. It's a technique so deeply baked into their DNA that when you tell them about a platform, even if they get the other platform, they go, "We need to build our platform."

[16:04] No. You're not building your platform because it's very hard for you to build your own platform. Try to understand what part of your value creation do you actually think you can retain five years from now and what part will just go away.

[16:17] What is it may be about what you're doing right now that there's so much core understanding and knowledge in the process that could potentially transfer into some degree of digital service, digital revenue?

[16:28] Where is it that you may want to partner with a startup or invest into a platform and to then partner with my next? This whole mindset and ecosystem of innovation is something that is utterly foreign to them. That needs to change.

Daniel: [16:41] A lot of enterprises that are cash flow rich and used to generating cash flow have a hard time taking bets and investing in partnering with third party platforms that may not see a return in the next year or two. Do you see that across the industrial companies? Is that a barrier to their innovation?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [17:00] Yeah. That's definitely a part of it. Even though that is even stronger within traditional investors, what's interesting is that the US ecosystem has produced so many winners already that there's a very broad base of investors that have seen success of the asset class over and over again.

[17:23] They just are very eager to participate and are very much attuned to the [inaudible] of the future discounted cash flow. In Europe, it's very much not the case. Everybody that did an industrial company, or private investor, or an institutional, they're always used to the notion of cash flow based investing.

[17:41] They will buy the running company. They will potentially buy a competitor, but then they want to have a multiple that is somewhat in a size or range that they feel comfortable with. I've heard this over and over again, "Oh, my God. Valuation is crazy." Why are you trading at a 10x multiple to revenue? That's insane. People have said that over and over again.

[18:02] This grand slam nature of large tech platforms and how they have evolved over time and how they keep getting bigger once they hit scale and escape velocity is something that is very foreign to our understanding. We haven't seen that many in front of our doors yet.

[18:17] Think, you look to the US, and you feel like this is a very different kind of unicorn landscape if we even want to call it that. What we have here is substantial production companies that know how our products are shaped and done. For them, this whole digital nature of products and the way they work is nothing that they've seen manifested yet in success stories to the same degree.

Daniel: [18:37] It's interesting. I've observed many more companies in Europe becoming global leaders, very much so, because of your local investments in cultivating of an ecosystem. Is that something that you see on the ground as well as more efforts to start global companies from Germany?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [18:54] Yeah, if you look at the founders we're backing, a lot of them are...Actually, I think maybe one third are guys that maybe they're underground in Germany or Europe, but then they all went to the US.

[19:06] They were semi US educated, went to Stanford, and then work one of the Big Five's, if that's where they smell the air of digital products and scale. They've all come back to Germany or Europe to double down on the opportunity that we have here.

[19:24] For us, the opportunity is very much based in the fact that we have a very strong university landscape. We have an incredibly strong educational ecosystem across Europe. It's not a centralized as in other countries.

[19:39] Especially if you looked in Germany, we have at least 15 technical universities that have been or absolutely global significance in the research that they do. That is one fundamental building block.

[19:49] The second fundamental building block that these founders relate to is the fact that you have these companies that we mentioned before and all of them are either nurturing talent within them through the apprenticeship programs that they have. Also, then go again in these universities and partner with them and they have co development programs.

[20:09] That just creates a very specific process understanding and process knowledge that is needed in order to build a digital product in the space. I don't think you would have the same degree of understanding or the same degree of ability to potentially disrupt like the chemical industry or automotive manufacturing, because it's so complex that you really have to understand what you're doing.

[20:31] Technology is not so much a differentiator. The differentiator then becomes that process know how. Then you build it on top of TensorFlow maybe, or you have toolsets and infrastructure, but that is more of just the enabler or the building block.

[20:43] The core differentiator of what will make them successful and what will give them defensibility is that degree of understanding and being able to translate that into the nature of digital products. I think that's what we've seen mainly, is that being the fundamental driver for our ecosystem build up here.

Daniel: [21:00] Very powerful. On your website, it says, "We believe contrarian investments outperform conformist investments." Why do you believe that's the case?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [21:09] I believe that if you look at a lot of the founders, if you look at great leaders in general, they have an ability to see 10 or 15 years into the future. They have a fundamental...I would almost call it a reality distortion field around what the future should look like.

[21:32] Then where they become strong leaders is the ability to break that complexity down into something that we can grasp today that we think we can somewhat follow them, not only us as investors but also the team and potential customers.

[21:48] What's interesting is that if you listen to some of these ideas now, they seem almost surreal, and I think lots of people maybe listened to them. It's a little bit like an art painting, right? If you look at a Picasso drawing, some people will say, "Oh, my God. This doesn't look like a bird or like a woman."

[22:04] But then you could also look at it and say, "Well, there's actually just a new language there. There's something that's being created here that is utterly unique, and that hasn't been done before." That's what you do as a seed stage investor. You have to tune into the vision and always assume there is the stupidest person in the room.

[22:23] Then these people have something very, very unique to what they're doing. Obviously, you're mindful of asking all the right questions, but typically, the best entrepreneurs have thought about them 10 times over before you even ask them.

[22:38] That's what I find incredibly unique and powerful, and that's where I think often these ideas seem contrary in the beginning, because in the beginning, not a lot of people will be willing or able to follow them. That's where the stage is particularly exciting, particularly interesting.

Daniel: [22:56] I love your art analogy. I know you did your dissertation on art and entrepreneurship in the Renaissance. Are there any timeless lessons that were just as true then as they are today?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [23:08] There's so many, to be honest. I really think we're living almost through a new Renaissance now. One thing that I thought was incredibly interesting is the notion of the word disegno which is a term that was originally used by artists to describe their just grab a drawing. They would call it the disegno.

[23:28] What they also meant by it is the transformative process that you actually do whilst taking an idea that is very ephemeral at the beginning. Then, you transform that into something that others can see, or can feel, or can touch.

[23:42] I then thought that is actually in essence what an entrepreneur does. When in the beginning, it all feels ephemeral. It all feels like it's building blocks and little facets of something that could become a reality. That's one term that I've always loved and I've taken to heart since my dissertation.

[23:58] Going a little bit more concrete into the Renaissance, what was interesting or what spurred this whole ecosystem at that time was very much the fact that they lowered the barriers to entry for different crafts.

[24:10] Before, if you were born into a wooden craftsman family, then you would only do wooden craftsmanship. You weren't allowed to paint. You weren't allowed to weave or do other crafts.

[24:22] In that sense, Leonardo da Vinci's the best example of what happened when you unleashed someone and allowed them to take a different skill set and give them a profession that they have learned in one field and apply that idea to other areas that intersect with other areas. Therefore, you had this very strong boost of cross pollination.

[24:42] That spurred trade. That made them a lot more innovative in selling and buying goods. From that initial wealth that was generated, they had the urge to say, "Hey. Now, we are also rich. How do we make sure we can show that in an appropriate manner?"

[24:59] Art was in the beginning, definitely, the initial instinct was one like, "We just hire the best artists." By being wealthy and by then inviting these global wheeled artists into Florence and Sienna at that time, you all of a sudden have this incredible density of talent that was rapidly innovating.

[25:18] If you look at the whole way art history in the time evolved, it made a huge, giant leap step forward. By having this increasingly dense competition of artists, you also had a higher intersection or a lot more meetings that took place between patrons and artists.

[25:37] At that time, the artist was not so much considered the genius yet. He was more the craftsman that was hired by the patron. Patron, in that sense, was often the entrepreneur. The Medici then are a great example of how they almost became, there's a term in German, we say congenial. I don't know how that would translate into English.

[25:56] It's almost this way of...there are many letters between Cosimo de' Medici and Donatello, for example, where they talk about the nature of the painting, what they want it to be, and what they want it to look like or a given famous door, that type of relationship that unfolded there.

[26:12] There are many letters stating of how they spend the whole dinners together and how the dinners were always populated by people that were not purely bankers or not purely artists. It was this wild mix of scientists, craftsmen, artists, and entrepreneurs. If you then look what that did to the way the Medici operated as entrepreneurs, it was interesting.

[26:34] They didn't invent something new. The bill of exchange existed already 150 years ago before they actually said, "Hey, we were not allowed to officially give out credit, but that material, that bill of exchange would allow us to give out credit without this being considered a sin."

[26:52] Which is why before that everybody would turn to just Jewish community for credit, which was very much forbidden. All of a sudden, they took this invention. They saw how an existing product could basically be used as a means and as a lever to accelerate their own business.

[27:09] That was the key element that boosted their entire banking system and banking infrastructure across Europe. Taking that analogy, it's interesting to see how artists operate in exactly the same way.

[27:23] Say a painting, while it's always paint and canvas or whatever, you think the materials don't necessarily change so much. It's more about what is it that they actually see different. They have a different perspective, a different passage with which they view the world. That's what made the Renaissance.

[27:39] That is also essentially what defines our tech ecosystem now. It's all code, if you like. It's the way they used that as a means to express something new and to redefine the way we live, the way we work, the way we interact as humans. I find that fascinating.

Daniel: [27:55] It's so fascinating. In Silicon Valley, we saw people coming together in an interdisciplinary way. There's a technology and entrepreneurial renaissance. Now, I definitely feel it's much more global. Do you believe that the location still matters? Do you believe we're seeing a global renaissance in terms of innovation, creativity, and technology?

Dr. Fürstenberg: [28:16] I actually think it's a completely global renaissance. That's what's so exciting about technology. That is somewhat like code is lingua franca. It's a way to tie talent together in a global fashion, in a global way. That's one of our thesis, is also having fun. We've been investing into future of work as we call it already since five years.

[28:39] Looking at a company like deal within our portfolio that promotes or allows you to hire employees all over the world, tie them into your payroll infrastructure, and just making sure you're compliant with local rules, etc., which has always been an impediment with this type of global scale.

[28:59] It's the rapid growth of that company is basically just an index of how fast this global workforce and this global talent is becoming a reality. I find that actually really beautiful. It's a great way to see teams that interact from all over the world, from India, to Israel, to America and across different time zones, across different continents with different cultural backgrounds.

[29:22] They're all unified by a common mission and a common vision, which is what is so great about strong founders, they can do that. They can rally these very different people behind them and give them the North Star to which they're bringing in the entire capabilities. It's a beautiful evolution to see.

Daniel: [29:40] Jeannette, you're such a pleasure, chatting with you on so many topics. I could see your passion for connecting people, for entrepreneurship, and for creativity all coming through. Our viewers are going to enjoy this. Thank you again for joining.

Dr. Fürstenberg: [29:55] Thank you so much, Dan. It was good to see you.

Daniel: [29:57] Good to see you, too.

[29:59] [music]

Daniel: [29:59] On the next episode of Decoding Digital...

Jack Newton: [30:04] When you go deep on a vertical, there is huge opportunity to expand wallet share and expand your average revenue per customer over time. Furthermore, what's become really clear over the years is that you can drive much more efficient customer acquisition economics in a vertical plate versus a horizontal plate.

Daniel: [30:27] Co founder and CEO of Clio, Jack Newton.

[30:31] [music]

Daniel: [30:31] Thanks for listening to Decoding Digital. Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player. To learn more, visit decodingdigital.com. Until next time.

[30:47] [music]

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