Jamie is a Founding Partner at Kiko Ventures. Together with the two other Founding Partners, he sits on the investment committee and sets Kiko’s investment strategy. He also works hands-on with founders, helping them to bring game-changing cleantech ideas to market. Jamie has been working in cleantech since 2005, when he started out in the solar industry.
It took me a while to find my calling.
There was a well-trodden path from studying engineering at Cambridge into careers in banking, engineering and consultancy. But after internships in those areas, I realised the well-trodden path wasn’t for me; some might say this is a recurring theme in my life! I spent time soul-searching, seeking something I felt passionate about and that I saw would be a long-term growth area. I took a minimum wage student placement at solar energy pioneer Solarcentury and haven’t looked back.
I delight in a compelling clean technology proposition
Sometimes a great idea meets a genuine need from the start. At other times it takes time and iteration to get it right. Getting to work with dedicated entrepreneurs and their teams, to help hone, and then commercially scale, their propositions is a joy and privilege.
I find managing by risk can be helpful at times
Which can be understandably frustrating for entrepreneurs, who tend to be opportunity-led. But it’s part of how I’ve found I’ve been able to support entrepreneurs to be successful in their endeavours.
I often wonder how the climate crisis will play out
There are just so many things we need to change to live sustainably that sometimes it can get overwhelming. What will the future be like for our children if we don’t get back to living within planetary boundaries? The good news is that the community of people actively working to get to that place is orders of magnitude larger than it was when I first started out on this path and is getting larger all the time. That gives me hope.
Play to strength, recognise weakness and seek help from (the right) others
I use this guiding principle a lot myself, within the Kiko team and as part of the broader community of academics, co-investors, entrepreneurs and industry experts we work in. I love how quickly one can get to the bottom of something with the right people involved. And as a team, whilst we can all do all parts of the job, there are specific areas we each excel in that we focus on. Being able to collaborate with people you can rely on to deliver great things is a wonderful feeling. In fact I’d say it’s a superpower.
There is a fine line between self-confidence and falling foul of hubris
In my experience, keeping this is balance is probably the single most important success factor in venture investing. Courage and conviction are needed to pursue ideas which have high risks associated with them, especially to continue to do so when times are tough. But it is all too easy to become over-confident, often with disastrous results. As a team, we try hard to monitor this and actively call each other out if we think the balance isn’t right.