Back to our senses.
"Out of life's school of war—what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger". F. Nietzsche
As expected 2022 turned out to be a scary annus horribilis. Quite frankly, a much needed reset. At VERSO Capital, this sxxt show has taught us a number of great lessons. It did take me the past 3 months to prepare the following piece and get down to the core of it. Excuse my French below and let's move on:
(i) founders: you got it way too easy in the past decade. Money was flowing from your bathroom tap! Time to get real. Time to find purchasers and customers who actually buy your solutions, your products, your services. The crumbling of valuation is to be embraced and expectations managed with duty of care.
(ii) investors: you and us, we must wake up! We took risks above our pay grade. We have been on the FOMO steroid treatment. This reset helps us remember that there is nothing wrong with backing innovative intellectual property for as long as it runs a sound business aiming at profitability and measured growth. Conviction is what has been motivating our capital. Conviction remains par monts et par vaux.
(iii) VERSO colleagues and stakeholders: our responsibility is to never fall through the cracks, never let founders think the party will forever be on and never let our investors without guidance of a "bon pere de famille". We must continue to improve ourselves and our platform. Let's remember this, let's now move on as promised.
Credit: Seeking Alpha, Jeremy Grantham (Jan 21, 2022)
Focus on what matters.
Why all of this matters? At VERSO, we have been building our merchant bank since 2017. We have engaged with hundreds of qualified, professional and institutional investors in over 30 countries. In building the next cornerstone, the above lessons should guide us through the dark tunnel of recession.
In times of adversity, we shall remain humble and hardworking. Heads down, time to work harder than ever before. Sweat is not a dirty word. It gets us to overcome any obstacle. It gets us to build invaluable and priceless equity.
What should we do next? Our Board of Directors held in late December 2022 pressed on the main issue: keep our focus on creating value. Focus, such an easy word to type up. Focus, what it represents and what most of us lose within a second or two. Focus is the vitamin C of execution. VERSO, simply like any other company, must strive to keep its focus up to 100%, possibly more to achieve its corporate plan.
In our 2023 corporate plan, we have chosen to:
launch VERSO X, our first super early stage and founding VC fund. The initial closing is underway. VERSO X will contribute capital to tech companies led by sensible and dedicated founders and to home-made startups in which our team shall be involved from the inception and through the initial phases leading to promising Series Seed and Series A.
build brick by brick REAL Empire Capital, our new securitization platform dedicated to real estate investing. As of today, REAL Empire Capital has already completed six transactions since its humble launch in the summer 2022.
support CONCLUDER, our fintech platform in its mission to automate the complex investment process. CONCLUDER, still at stealth, is going to solve major headaches for qualified and professional investors by deploying state-of-the-art automation and data processing function.
apply with Asset Management Association in China ("AMAC") to obtain our first QDLP license VERSO will provide UHNW clients in China with confidential entry points into technology companies, part of our core investment thesis. In addition, VERSO will invest in Luxembourg, Swiss and UK real estate opportunities by providing both equity and debt financing issuances.
continue to grow our ecosystem working closely with our Equity Partners and our Limited Partners. Count on VERSO to remain focused along the way.
Source: VERSO Capital TM
Technology: not N+1 but N+X
In reference to a previous article published on March 2021, at the current rate fintech is evolving faster than ever before. CONCLUDER must consider emerging technologies to reach its objective. AI-powered data processing, ML machine learning, proprietary blockchain, NLP natural language processing, cloud computing and cybersecurity over financial subscription and transactions. Believe me, I did not come up with this list: ChatGPT did when asked what should CONCLUDER do to lead the investech pack.
This is no joke, everyone. VERSO is fully committed to backing CONCLUDER in its mission. The robotization of investing is coming, inevitably.
Source: ChatGPT 8 March 2023
What matters is not what has already been done. It is what is unimaginable, impossible. Nothing will come easy. We are lucky to be where we are and to face all these challenges. It is the perfect storm and the time we need to focus and to sweat again. It is day one all over again. That certainly is the best form of encouragement.
Just like our favorite Private Bankers used to say: " we will not rest!".