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Andrea Böhmert discusses learning to let go post COVID-19, and using this time to better yourself, your organisation, and build faithful partnerships

Written by Staff Writer

November 30, 2020

Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital, Cape Town, Andrea Böhmert, is passionate about planning how to strategically and successfully scale businesses, and meeting the entrepreneurs responsible for building them. She is actively involved in numerous initiatives aiming to accelerate the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, and is a member of The Institute of Directors in South Africa NPC (IoDSA). Her mandate is simple: Make optimal use of knowledge, networks and funding.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Andrea Böhmert to discuss a host of venture-capital-related themes, from addressing the COVID-19 induced disruptions and loss of workplace control, to long-term portfolios and making success stories heard. Andrea shines a light on important wisdom and learnings she’s obtained throughout her career as a venture capital enthusiast, and provides solutions on how start-ups and entrepreneurs can secure their place in the entrepreneurial space in South Africa, and globally.

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

• Successful people often need to have control over everything in their organisation for fear of losing everything. This period in society has taught us to let go, accept the situation for what it is, and make the best of it!
• Do not let ‘less than ideal’ circumstances paralyse your business: this turbulent time can either make or break you, but you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and be more proactive in your endeavours as an entrepreneur.
• Business leaders are responsible for choosing their team: assess the individuals in your team well – you must strike a healthy balance between yourself and your team, remembering that you’re in a managerial role.
• A lot of this comes down to gut feeling, and of course, we sometimes get things wrong. Measure successes and failures closely, then learn them.
• People are becoming clearer about what they want now. Be aware of this when attracting new employees i.e. Will your team members be able to cope with risk and hybridity?
• Entrepreneurs need to be honest with themselves: What kind of business do you actually want? Answer this question for yourself, and you’ll master your own destiny!
• Shareholder alignment is absolutely key! Things can go really sideways. Do your homework before committing to any partnership.
• Make informed decisions: just because a well-established company has launched its business, does not mean their business model is actually working. Take some time to plan ahead, and always consider the longevity of the portfolio.
• Trust is the most vital ingredient in any start-up recipe. Do not romanticise your relationship with an investor – this is a give and take union. You’ve got to walk the walk, talk the talk, and earn each other’s trust along the way. This takes commitment and good problem-solving skills.
• Networking is not a one-way street. In any strategic network, there are mutually beneficial moments – these are to be nourished. Be careful of prematurely burning bridges!

Andrea Böhmert is currently Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital, located in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a high growth venture investor with extensive experience in all aspects of the investment cycle, and thoroughly enjoys the energy surrounding entrepreneurs. Andrea specialises in many areas, namely Growth Strategy, Exit Readiness, Investment Due Diligence, and International Expansion, for example. Knife Capital is an independent growth equity investment firm focusing on innovation-driven ventures with proven traction. By leveraging knowledge, networks & funding, they accelerate the international expansion of entrepreneurial businesses that achieved a product/market fit in a beachhead market.

Prior to her career at Knife Capital, Andrea worked at DataProphet as a Non-Executive Director, is the Co-Founder of Grindstone, and was a Member on the Board of Directors, at Wesgro. In terms of her education, Andrea studied Introduction to Design thinking, at the HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, Germany. She obtained a Diploma (M.Comm) in Marketing & Management of Technology and Innovation from Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, and completed her MBA in Education Management, at the Henley Business School.

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