Powered By:

hsbcinnovationbanking logo

Building A $50M Fund After Being Marked For Failure At Age 5

Reece Chowdhry

Concept Ventures

Powered By:

hsbcinnovationbanking logo

Building A $50M Fund After Being Marked For Failure At Age 5

Reece Chowdhry


Concept Ventures

Watch this episode on SpotifyWatch onListen on YouTube
Reece Chowdhry Concept Ventures
Full transcript here

About Reece Chowdhry

The BAE HQ welcomes Reece Chowdhry, the founder and managing partner of Concept Ventures. It's the largest dedicated pre-seed fund focused on the UK.

Reece struggled at school from a young age with dyslexia but he believes it's his superpower because it's enabled him to think differently to everyone else.

He started several successful businesses and made over 80 angel investments at a young age.

He's proof that you should set no limits on what you can achieve.

Reece Chowdhry

Concept Ventures

Show Notes

Headline partner message

From the first time founders to the funds that back them, innovation needs different. HSBC Innovation Banking is proud to accelerate growth for tech and life science businesses, creating meaningful connections and opening up a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors alike. Discover more at https://www.hsbcinnovationbanking.com/

Full video of episode

Watch this episode on SpotifyWatch onListen on YouTube

Reece Chowdhry Full Transcript

Reece Chowdhry: [00:00:00] I was dyslexic. I didn't know at the time. My parents really believed in me and really sought that help. The amount of people that have dyslexia... Is unbelievable. People categorize it often as a disability, but I think it's the greatest superpower I've ever been given. You know, some of the Branson, you know, so many, so many examples of dyslexic people.

Reece Chowdhry: 'cause you end up playing to your strength and thinking in slightly different ways because of the dyslexic people are like, you know, what are you doing now? We've got a hundred million dollars under management.

Reece Chowdhry: Welcome 

Amardeep Parmar: to the Bay HQ podcast. We inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. Today we have with us Rhys Chowdhury, who's the founder of Concept Ventures, the largest dedicated pre seed fund in the UK. How are you doing today, 

Reece Chowdhry: Rhys? Great. It's great to be here. Thank you for having me on.

Amardeep Parmar: So as you just mentioned there, like what Concept Ventures is doing is groundbreaking. But from your background, when you were growing up, did you ever think this is what you'd be doing when you were 

Reece Chowdhry: growing up? I think everyone has very different pasts when [00:01:00] they're, you know, a child. And I think my childhood was a, was an interesting one.

Reece Chowdhry: I, you know, had a troubled childhood in the sense of, I had a very loving childhood, but from an academic point of view, I wasn't, uh, you know, top of my class. And I. Had a lot of difficulties very early on, like at the age of five, my teacher at school said to, said to my parents, Reese will probably not pass any GCSEs and, and that's, and that's because I w I was dyslexic and, you know, I didn't know at the time.

Reece Chowdhry: And, you know, I think it was down to really my parents who really believed in me and really sought that help and understanding. And if you look at. The business world for a second, the amount of people that have dyslexia is unbelievable. People say, you know, you know, people categorize it often as a disability, but I think it's the greatest superpower I've ever been given.

Reece Chowdhry: You know, some of the Branson, you know, so many, so many examples of dyslexic people because [00:02:00] you end up playing to your strengths. So how did I end up? Here is probably to back to the question I had always have curiosity for learning doing things differently and thinking in slightly different ways because of the dyslexia, because you can't often be like this is a straight line.

Reece Chowdhry: You have to kind of, you know, narrow. I was the first person typing in school. I was always a big fan of technology because it used to help me like a lot, right? I always was very curious around technology. I was always very curious around investing and, you know, Again, from a very young age, I, I pulled my very, very first share in Apple.

Reece Chowdhry: I always was very curious at following my passions and leading to this day. If you fast forward, the two passions I really had growing up was technology and learning about things and exploring new things and actually investing in things from a very early age. So I think I didn't know what VC was, but you know, this journey has been just.

Reece Chowdhry: A depth of my kind of passion and also strength. I think people don't, you know, always talk, always talk about their strengths. And I think if, you know, you, [00:03:00] if you're not, if you're not strong at something, I think you end up not being that passionate about it. So I think it's a combination of all those things.

Amardeep Parmar: It's interesting what you said about dyslexia there as well, because one of my close friends yesterday found out they were dyslexic at the age of 30. And they'd always struggled with reading and always struggled with different things. And they just thought that was normal. They had no idea that actually there was something behind it causing that.

Amardeep Parmar: And it was such a relief to them to actually realize it's not just a problem with them, or them not trying hard enough, them being lazy. But there's actually something behind that. And like I said, they're very creative. Because partly because in a way it can, having something like that, it makes you think in different ways.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's such a strength in entrepreneurship. But like when you came out of university, you actually went into the corporate world first, right? Yeah. What was the logic behind that? If you knew that you wanted to do entrepreneurship or investing? Yeah. Did you like go down that path because you wanted to learn more and then go into investment or what happened there?

Reece Chowdhry: Yeah, I think, I think there's a couple of things there. I think being around. Like minded people is something that, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs talk about, you know, even this podcast is [00:04:00] sharing a lot of knowledge from like minded people and I think where my thoughts were actually, if you go to, I went to EY when I was young at the time and.

Reece Chowdhry: That was a great place to ground my career because you met fantastically ambitious people who were like very motivated to make meaningful impact in the world, in the business world. And their training was excellent. And I think that, you know, all the people I spoke to found that it was a very good grounding, whatever they want, went on to in the career.

Reece Chowdhry: And actually we did a study of unicorn founders in the UK, uh, recently internally. And actually you'll be. Unbelievably surprised the percentage of people that started their career at very, you know, institutions like that on grad schemes from like Google to EY to, you know, et cetera. And I think that's that that is not surprising to me in a lot of ways, because I think their selection process, their training, the ambition, the foundational skill set that they provide is really, is [00:05:00] really strong.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think that that was my thinking, to be honest with you, I think. It wasn't the right place for me in a lot of ways because I, it was a big corporation and I got very, very frustrated very quickly with, you know, things that I felt were very inefficient and that just demotivated me a lot. But as a culture in a place, they've taught me a lot about what the world is like and how to grow a big business.

Reece Chowdhry: And yeah, so I think it was, it's a great place to start. I've probably said that too long, if I'm honest. So you mentioned 

Amardeep Parmar: how you didn't even know what VC was before. Yeah. And even just now you mentioned the term unicorn. Yeah. And I did this term recently because I did this in one of my stories. Like, do people know what Unicorn means?

Amardeep Parmar: A lot of people don't, right? And, like I say, it's like a billion dollar startup. I think sometimes that's one of the tough things. That once you get more into this world, you use terms because they're very common within our bubble. But then other people haven't necessarily heard of them. And it's like, how do we break down some of those barriers?

Amardeep Parmar: So how did you find out about VC? Like, what got you into that? Like environment. [00:06:00] 

Reece Chowdhry: So I think, I think my background was an interesting one. It's not your classic VC background. Um, you know, your classic VC is someone probably goes to investment banking, then works for one of these top tier funds like Excel or index or Sequoia, and then kind of spins out and starts their own, own, own VC.

Reece Chowdhry: Then that's the kind of set path I would say. And you know, I think with me, it was, it was one of those paths that. It was driven by like experience in terms of just building on my passion. So when I left EY, I essentially built three startups at the same time. And I, I basically, again, was working with people that I found very interesting.

Reece Chowdhry: And I didn't know, again, I was going to go into the VC side, but I thought. These are things I want to work on. They're all software businesses. They interest me. And then, you know, fast forward, you know, we, we built those companies. One was a disaster very quickly. One sole provider of equity and one's kind of still going today.

Reece Chowdhry: And then I became a very active angel investor because the reason why I became a very active angel investor is [00:07:00] because a lot of people actually started saying, do you want to invest in my company? And that's because, you know, I was younger at the time I was in my twenties. I, you know, didn't look like. A lot of the people that they, you know, people could relate to that were building companies.

Reece Chowdhry: So, you know, often, often, you know, it might be from all types of background. We're like, Oh, you're, you've actually done something in the startup world. You're like, you know, operationally, you've got a solid career and actually you could probably help us in terms of, and that was quite a rare, this was long time ago.

Reece Chowdhry: Now that was a rare skillset. Um, and so that's how I started investing and building up my angel track record. And then I had like, I've got like 80 angel investments now and the proceeds from the sales. The sale of the last company was helped me fund. So, you know, we grew it organically. And then today, you know, we've, you know, we've built a business with concept.

Reece Chowdhry: It's, you know, we've just closed our last fund. It's 60 million. It's backed by the British business bank who are like our cornerstone investor, which is the investment bank of the British government. And, you know, you know, from a standing start, all of our team are [00:08:00] outsiders in VC and we have this outsider's mentality from everybody.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think that, I think that really helps us with our investing, building the firm. You know, getting to where we, we have, and I'm, yeah, I'm really, really, really proud of what we've done from a complete standing start. What I'm really, really proud of more than anything is what we've created is a new type of concept, just like our LP base, which is our investors who invest in our fund, 80 percent of them from ethnic minority, 20 percent from women and like that's.

Reece Chowdhry: That's creating an asset class that people haven't been exposed to and haven't been able to invest in, in, in, you know, in, in various different communities. And I think that's one of the things that we really like the fact that we're doing something very, very different and we've done something different.

Amardeep Parmar: I think it's something maybe people don't realize is that with the venture capital firms. A lot of the, obviously the money comes from the, the LPs, the limited partners. And that's the side that's still very, very white and male, right? Yeah. And for you to be able to find that many women and that many people from different minorities to back you, that's really rare.

Amardeep Parmar: And some [00:09:00] people from that world might like, not from this world might not realize that. And that's something which needs to change over time, right? Because if the people backing the venture capital firms are from only the same background. Then it's kind of natural. You start seeing that the people they invest in also from that background and looking at the angel investments, right?

Amardeep Parmar: So angel investments is kind of an individual investing in different companies from their own bank, right? What was the first one you ever did? And how hard was it to make that first decision? Because I imagine for many people that might made a bit of money, but they think I'll put in the stock market. I put it in property or something like that.

Amardeep Parmar: What made you. Obviously you were from the start of the world yourself, but was it scary for you to risk 

Reece Chowdhry: your money like that? Yeah, I think, I think it was. I mean, I really had two pots of savings, my career at EY and also some of my Apple shares. If you believe in something, you really, and you, you know, you're young and you're naive and, you know, now I tell people they don't.

Reece Chowdhry: Don't do what I did at all. Like it's, it was just the, it was silly, but I think, you know, really start of investing [00:10:00] is really about spreading the risk over a number of companies, right? Like, and you know, one of them will return and, and that's the maths of the situation. I think that first investment I made, I mean, I made a few at the same time, but the, one of the first investments I made was into a company called, um, Landlord Invest, which is a FinTech.

Reece Chowdhry: Peer to peer company, which is still going today. And yeah, I think it was one of those, one of those investments where, you know, we looking back on it, we probably did the fundamentals of what's right team and market and exit. But I think. When you look back, you think, Oh, that's also like luck as well. Like as well, one of the things great investors in our ecosystem have is very low ego.

Reece Chowdhry: And if you speak to the great investors, they actually realized like the ego element by lowering your ego, you have like a beginner's mindset. And I think going back to the point about the child and just like, because I'm like. I'm just, I'm like, okay, I actually am not trying to be smart here. And I [00:11:00] asked very beginners mind question because of dyslexia.

Reece Chowdhry: And because of that, that, that, you know, uh, uncovers like first principles of a company. And I think that actually that's that framework has gone. Okay. But one of the things I would. definitely mention our whole fund is based on, you know, backing people because we're at the earliest stage. So for those people don't know, precede is the first stage, typically the first round of institutional money people take.

Reece Chowdhry: And what we always base our principles on personality and who they are and where they, you know, what they've done before and like their strengths as a people. Cause if you, if you think about it, where we invest, it's not anything to do with, we're investing on pitch decks or plans or, you know, across the whole of UK and, you know, inherently what people do is they say gut feel investment at the early stage.

Reece Chowdhry: So they're just like, Oh, that person looks like me. That person looks like the person who built, you know, Monzo. Oh, that's, that's, that's a sure thing. Right. And actually. It's just your gut feel isn't the right methodology, [00:12:00] especially across the whole team, you know, and so I think we've really taken this data centric approach to understanding who people are and drilling down on that because I think that's really, really important and that helps with all the problems with VC about, you know, diversity and bias and, you know, which everyone knows, you know, more money should be going to all of those, those great areas.

Reece Chowdhry: So I think that's really important. It's really interesting because 

Amardeep Parmar: obviously, you Part of what you're doing, which is so different, is that you are investing in those underrepresented founders and people who maybe would get passed over by some of the other venture capital firms. And like you said, you use a data centric approach.

Amardeep Parmar: What kind of things are you looking for in those founders? What makes somebody stand out? Somebody who you believe in who's going to potentially go 

Reece Chowdhry: far? Yeah, I think there's a couple of things that I think, you know, to be clear, I think we don't market ourselves as like an impact fund. There's some great funds out there who are like, you know, only investing in ethnic minorities or women or, you know, you know, people from all different backgrounds.

Reece Chowdhry: I think what we are very, very, and I'm very, very. Conscious to that person can come from [00:13:00] anywhere those skill sets in terms of not skill sets that that framework of what we think great founder is like, you know, some principles about risk taking vision leadership, you know, these these principles, which we have six or seven, which we think of.

Reece Chowdhry: Fundamental to building great companies on like non negotiable for us. And so we don't really care where you've come from or what school you went to, or, you know, if you've demonstrated that, and that can be, it doesn't have to be in a previous startup that could be previous companies or charity work, or, you know, extracurricular work.

Reece Chowdhry: And if you can demonstrate those skills and, you know, that, you know, that framework that we think is great, yeah, that's something that we will progress through our process, right? Like, so I think that's really important to note because I think there is a kind of a culture in VC at the moment of we are like a, Women only fund, which is great.

Reece Chowdhry: And we do need that, that, but I think what we think is like, let's just level up the first step. We think it's just like level the playing field. Let's find out who [00:14:00] you are as a person. Let's have a human centric approach. And yes, there needs to be more dollars going to all of those. Causes for sure. And, and the, and you, you made the good point about from the top of the food change at the bottom.

Reece Chowdhry: And you know, I think that's really important and we need to do that. We're just, we aren't that fund in the sense that, um, we have this like methodology around who you 

Amardeep Parmar: are. But I think naturally as well, when you are looking at people based on who they are rather than what they look like or rather than whatever, you naturally will invest in a more diverse.

Amardeep Parmar: pool of people because you're not just judging them based on like the school they went to or the color of their skin or whatever it is, or like, Oh, you both went to this high school. So then we're going to invest in you that kind of thing with your website as well. So people going to your website, they're going to see, you've got your entire investment philosophy there.

Amardeep Parmar: You've got a lot of detail about what you're doing as well. And that transparency is missing from a lot of venture capital generally, right? People know that you apply to there, or you can send your pitch deck. But they don't actually know exactly what they're looking for, or if they get rejected, they don't know why they're being rejected, and they can't as easily see that.

Amardeep Parmar: Was that quite important for you, to [00:15:00] have that public information, so people can see exactly what's going on behind 

Reece Chowdhry: the scenes? Yeah, I think that VCs generally is a black box, particularly who people haven't... Raise VC or angel money before and, you know, our whole methodology was to bring this new kind of concept to VC, you know, a lot of founders get ghosted.

Reece Chowdhry: People don't understand what their terms are. You don't know who the team are. At the end of the day, the quote I always give is like a VC. Relationship with a founder is longer than the average marriage in this country, right? And people spend two weeks often like, you know, going back and forth and deciding if I want to get into this marriage.

Reece Chowdhry: It's almost like that Netflix show, Love at First Sight. And it, and, and I think that what I said. To our team and when we did our rebrand and new new page is that we just want to be as transparent as possible We put a term sheet on our website. We tell you this is the makeup of our LPs This is tell will tell you what we look for and more importantly more than anything We tell you [00:16:00] about who we are, you know as people this is my childhood photo.

Reece Chowdhry: This is a football team. I support This is the books. I like this is what I do outside of work because at the end of day You're going to have to work with that person. And if you, if you, if you can align and have some common interest apart from work, you're going to have better quality of relationship when there are difficult conversations, which there have been a lot of times in my career, then you can, you can pick up the phone and have an honest conversation with people.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think, I think. The VC industry generally can be very transactional, and the great VCs understand it's like a really human centric kind of, um, industry where empathy and connection is actually a superpower, really. 

Amardeep Parmar: Is there anybody who you've invested in where you just really believe in their story, where maybe other VCs wouldn't have, and who you've invested in, they've gone on to do well, that you'd like to just highlight and give them a spotlight for a moment?

Reece Chowdhry: I always like the investments that, you know, everyone kind of passed on, and... Uh, you know, [00:17:00] really, you know, out the box and completely, completely, you know, different. And I think there's a company that we invested in called Condensed Reality, which was a Bristol based startup. So outside London, there's actually a massive problem of like London centric funding.

Reece Chowdhry: So that's like another story. And you know, a lot of people passed on it and this was like a metaverse type company. Very very different. It's been out, you know. It's based in Bristol, three founders and you know, no one really gave them a chance. They thought it was kind of off the wall and you know, they've, you know, does, has, you know, it's still a long way to go, but I think I was really proud of like, particularly our team as well, who, you know, we really thought about the investment and, you know, we really.

Reece Chowdhry: It was a really strong bet, but so many people passed like every month, I think I'm sure. And at the early stage, but then obviously when they come and done the new funding round, you know, local globe or a very prominent VC, I think the top seed VC in Europe actually invested in their last round. And, you know, you [00:18:00] know, it was good validation that again, it goes back to this thing.

Reece Chowdhry: Like it's too much herd mentality with everything, right? Like, honestly, if I. Mark, the best investments in my portfolio and said, these were going to be the best ones when I invested and these are going to be the worst, it would be like almost like nowhere near right in, in, in, in a lot of that. So I think it's a very humbling industry in so, so many 

Amardeep Parmar: ways.

Amardeep Parmar: Because interesting thing is obviously on the other side is that you had to get people to believe in what you were doing to give you the money to invest. Yeah. And how was that process? Did you find that difficult? How did you get people on board? Cause you've got some huge names like the. British businessman as well.

Amardeep Parmar: What were those 

Reece Chowdhry: conversations like? It goes down to consistency. You know, often in business and in life, it's not the fastest person. It's the most consistent person that kind of wins the race. And you look at all those productivity books and all that, you know, for our working week and all ever. And, and I think generally it really goes down to consistency.

Reece Chowdhry: And people, when I started concept, people were like. [00:19:00] You know, what are you doing? Like you're like in your twenties and you're going to build a VC fund. Right. And you're going to, you know, now we've, you know, we've got a hundred million dollars under management and like, actually, generally I spoke to three people who I really respect and they probably gave me what they literally were like 1 percent chance.

Reece Chowdhry: I'll take 1 percent and, and, and zero is better than zero is really hard to raise money. Like it's harder, much harder than raise it. Cause I've done the, on the company side, much, much harder than raising company. And you've really, they've got to believe in your judgment and your intrinsic kind of philosophy on investing.

Reece Chowdhry: And like, they've got to pay you for that. And that is like a tough thing to do. What we did was just. Build the firm really slowly. Like, you know, we did a small fund, then we proved it, then we sold a company and then we, you know, had some good returns and then we built another fund and then we scaled it and something, you know, so I think over the kind of 60 deals that we've done at concept and 80 deals kind [00:20:00] of we've done personally, people start to really believe the story and the messaging and like they can see your consistency and it's like, you know, banging on doors and with the British business bank, that was a three year process from start to finish when I got introduced to them and what they.

Reece Chowdhry: Found impressive about us is like, we kept building, we built the team, we built the funds, we kept on, and we were so consistent about the stage we invested in, what we invested in, and I think they, they, they gave us a load of feedback. We came back a year later and said, we've done all that feedback. And they were like, nobody actually comes back and execute.

Reece Chowdhry: I was like. Why wouldn't people do that? And they were like, yeah, but they just don't come back to us. And I was like, okay, like I didn't really realize that people wouldn't do that. So I think it's incredibly hard, but like, it's one of those businesses that if you're very consistent, do what you say you're going to do, be be right by your founders and be there.

Reece Chowdhry: Generally, try and do something different, which I don't think is that hard at VC because it's a bit of an archaic industry. Um, I think you can move the needle. Phase one is complete in my opinion. And now it's, [00:21:00] you know, now our ambition is to become, you know, one of the leading pre seed funds in the world and VC funds in the world, you know, so, you know, obviously we'll always have a focus on the UK because You know, that's what we believe is the right thing to do.

Reece Chowdhry: This is, you know, base camp of Everest. So you 

Amardeep Parmar: mentioned there about consistency and it's one of the things we're doing here is that we're looking at different ways you can stand out in this market. Cause obviously there's a lot of podcasts, a lot of saturation. Like I can do this twice a week, every week with big name guests, every single time, people who other people look up to.

Amardeep Parmar: And by doing that, we can just prove we're here to stay because a lot of people start up, give up after three episodes, five episodes, there's a stat that 9 don't get past 10 episodes. Yeah. 

Reece Chowdhry: Mine included. 

Amardeep Parmar: Well, you still got time because you could resurrect it again. Yeah. But you mentioned as well about your investment philosophy.

Amardeep Parmar: Could you tell us a bit more about what that is? Because I'm sure there's some founders now who are listening, who are thinking maybe, oh, could concept ventures invest in me? What would they be needed to make? 

Reece Chowdhry: First of all, we are [00:22:00] investors at the earlier stage. When you're doing your first round of funding, We are the first people you should come and talk to.

Reece Chowdhry: I think that's, that's number one. And secondly, I think we have a kind of thematic thesis, which is essentially built on three pillars, which is we want to invest in companies that change the way people work, play and learn. So what does that really mean? That can be anything from, you know, an education tech business to a game studio, to a business productivity tool and everything in between.

Reece Chowdhry: But what we really get. Gets us excited is maybe something that overlaps two areas, like a ed tech business that maybe, uh, helps with, it was a game. That's an ed tech business, or there's like a, you know, a tool that you can use at home, which helps you learn or. Play a different way of doing things so i think we're really focused on on on that those themes but again what we realize is an early stage fund and again this is going back to that trying [00:23:00] to reduce your ego and principle around being smarter than everybody in the room which tendencies vc sometimes have because they you know they are really smart and they want the best universities and like they kind of.

Reece Chowdhry: Molded in that way is that we, we generally think that business has changed two or three times. There's two or three great pivots in most great companies. If you look at the history, I mean, slack is a great example of that. It started for the games company. Right. And so I think it works consistent is to people.

Reece Chowdhry: So our whole lens is around people. I think, I think the frameworks we have work, play, learn is a good way to frame like people sending us stuff, but really. At the end of the day, we're a people centric organization and we have our principles around that. And you know, some of it is a bit of a black box and says deliberately because we don't tell everybody everything.

Reece Chowdhry: But you know, I think that everyone knows what great entrepreneurship is and can study that very well. And because 

Amardeep Parmar: you've done so many investments so far, has there been any hard lessons you've learned where at the beginning, obviously you'd have pivoted your own investment philosophy, right? Yeah, 

Reece Chowdhry: yeah.[00:24:00] 

Reece Chowdhry: So what kind of pivots have you made there? Yeah, I think there's a couple of things at the early stage, I think the number one principle we've learned, and there's loads of studies on that, um, you know, you need a higher volume approach to win because the outliers and in, in, in VC, they had this concept of a power law, which essentially is one company essentially will return everything in your fund and some, and if you look at the, Okay.

Reece Chowdhry: You know, history of venture there's time and time again from like, you know, Facebook, et cetera, where you, one company is like generationally defining and for that firm as well, right on the VC side. And so without the cadence of volume and investing consistently and regularly at the early stage, you cannot.

Reece Chowdhry: Achieve that kind of escape velocity in one company and often it's the non obvious companies because if it's obvious, then everyone be crowding into it and so that's consistent. So what we've realized again is the non obvious stuff. It's often having our own conviction when others don't and doing things [00:25:00] that are regular in terms of our Every month we will do a deal every month.

Reece Chowdhry: We'll do a deal. And I think that puts us in a very, very good fitting. But I think the lessons I've learned really is, you know, always have a beginner's mind. Always understand that you've really, really gotta get who the person is in front of you more than anything. And I think thirdly, I think one of the things we look back back on and Looked at our portfolio and saw what are the company, what's the theme between the companies doing well and not.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think one thing that it really, the founders particularly were very, very clear on was that they had a very strict for the next 12 to 18 months after we invested, they were like, these are our key performance indicators. These are the top three things that are going to move the needle and every single month.

Reece Chowdhry: They were consistent on reports, and even when they weren't wrong, we were like, we've now changed these top three things, but they were so consistent. If you looked at the monthly updates, people sent us the consistency of them and their performance is almost like directly correlated. It's like, so [00:26:00] that, you know, could read into that what you want, but I think that communication is probably, you know, very, very important between.

Reece Chowdhry: All sides in good and bad situations. And even going 

Amardeep Parmar: back to your team, which mentioned your team a few times and how proud you are of them. And also that they don't come from traditional backgrounds. Yeah. So how do you, if they don't come from traditional backgrounds, how do you judge who you think is going to be able to tell, like what companies to invest in?

Amardeep Parmar: How do you 

Reece Chowdhry: look at that? Yeah, I think, I think again, it goes back to our framework, which is like, we're not expecting people to be like, uh, you know, invested in, you know, the next Monzo. Before they come and work with us. I mean, we have Sequoia. I think I ruthlessly everything in life can be ruthlessly stolen, like in some respects, those good things, right?

Reece Chowdhry: And copying is genius if you do it in the right way. And I think I stole this from Sequoia. Sequoia had this mentality of like getting people in a year early. And like them built, like growing with the culture of the firm and, and, and they really believe in that. And I think all the people that we [00:27:00] have are, you know, one of them, you know, worked at a startup, one start their own startup, one worked in crypto, then did community building.

Reece Chowdhry: And you know, they've, they've all worked with us through two, three, four years now. And, and I think, I think the mindset of. Someone who can work well in VC is a very specific one. And I think when you go through a certain interview process, you can kind of see that in a lot of ways, because how are they approach things in their personal life?

Reece Chowdhry: What have they done? You know, I think you have to be a real out the box thinker. If I'm honest, and you have to be bold and I think you have to think in a completely different way. So, you know, your classic interview, the style of interview you have is like, I answer a question and you answer back and like, you know, and then I, I remember Ollie and my team, who's our principal, he basically came and interviewed with us and he had wrote down.

Reece Chowdhry: Over the last four months, these, like maybe [00:28:00] actually a year, he wrote down all the deals he saw on Crunchbase or why he liked all of them. And he just did that in his spare time. And I'm like, okay, that's like something different. You've shown me, you actually really passionate about getting into this because the main thing people think when they go into VC is this, they want to be a VC, but they don't actually understand that.

Reece Chowdhry: The V being a VC is act. You gotta love being a vc. People just love the idea of investing. There's so many other things from like supporting your portfolio to like actually understanding the industry, to understanding, you know, what other people are doing to, to so many developing yourself. And I think, I think people forget, and I think it's Bill Gurley who's at Benchmarkers, who, who did a podcast, but he was like, Actually, when I'm hiring, the number one thing I look for is, does this person actually want to be a career VC?

Reece Chowdhry: And that's very, very different to be like, I want to do some deals. Cause every, all the young people that I meet are like, yeah, I just want to invest in things. And I'm like, yeah, but like, that's like a part of the job. And there's like all these other things that have a list. So when I [00:29:00] look at people, I'm like, okay, but are you going to do like the work, the proper 

Amardeep Parmar: work?

Amardeep Parmar: What parts of it do you enjoy the most yourself? Cause obviously. You didn't come from a background of traditional VC and there must have been some things where obviously it's always the admin and people overlook all the kind of stuff you don't really want to do but it's necessary for the foundation for the rest of it.

Amardeep Parmar: What do you find that you enjoy the most on a day to day or like even in the long term like what's the stuff that makes you happy to keep doing what you're doing in the future? Yeah I think look a 

Reece Chowdhry: career it's VC is not a get rich quick scheme right by any means it's it you know there's plenty of other things that you could do but I think What I really, really enjoy is making sure that we're building a firm like that's making a meaningful impact in, in the, in the companies we invest in.

Reece Chowdhry: Like, you know, if. You know, there's millions of people that use the products that we've invested or services, you know, service a bit like, you know, the software we, we use. And I think that for me is like very impactful, is transformational in a lot of people, people's lives. And I think [00:30:00] again, we're not an impact VC, but like, I think the learning about new people, building the firm and building that kind of next generation of like, um, investors that will invest and, you know, building.

Reece Chowdhry: That into like a category divining company and that really interests me. But then more than anything, it's like, it's when you meet those founders and you know, you understand why they do what they do. And I think that's a bit of a cliche, but I think you're always learning on the job, which always finds that you find like, what is your why?

Reece Chowdhry: I suppose this question. And I think the why for me is like. Two things building the firm and building it's a startup in itself, right? And and the building the team and like getting together and making sure that we build the best firm possible It's like that I find really interesting and like that is just like company building like it's cool And the second thing is winning together in and investing companies that just have a meaningful Impact and whatever they do there might not it might not be like it impact investment, but like they'll have a meaningful impact into [00:31:00] companies or people's lives in some, some respects.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think learning about that and something new is really interesting. Is there any 

Amardeep Parmar: company you've just felt like the impact they've made? It's just blown your mind. So you mentioned one earlier, but is there any other ones where you could just say, like, just before we move on to quick fire questions, if you want to just give a shout out to some of the companies.

Reece Chowdhry: Yeah, I think there's, there's just, there's just. So, so many, the one that I, I think that I think is really, really meaningful in the company recently. I just, cause I just got off a call with them earlier is a company called good course in our portfolios and they are a company that provide micro learning.

Reece Chowdhry: So think of tick top videos, but for really impactful courses. So they have universities all over the country who. Send out a message to all of their students when they start fresh as we can say, Hey, this is some sexual harassment training course, three click videos and the retention and usage of it is phenomenal on that format.

Reece Chowdhry: [00:32:00] And what they're doing is really, really meaningful. And you know that that I don't think they ended up trying to start there, but they were like, we need to make learning more impactful for a younger generation in a Easier to digest format. And then they've ended up there. And I thought, I think, you know, they've done exceptionally well.

Reece Chowdhry: And that kind of company is just like, you know, fantastic. And I've got to say they do their monthly reports very well. That's the key 

Amardeep Parmar: thing. Do your monthly reports well, you'll become a unicorn and you will know what that means now if you remember from the beginning. So we're going to move on to a quick fire questions now.

Amardeep Parmar: So first one, and it's always the hardest one for everybody is who are free appreciations you'd like to shout out that people listening right now should be following and learning 

Reece Chowdhry: from. I think the fun person I have to start off with is definitely my mom. I have to shout out my mom. She's a, she's a founder of a life coaching consulting business called Savran and you know, they help.

Reece Chowdhry: Lots of predict all their clients are British Asian. So she has really meaningful impact particularly health care. She worked with the Met police transforming various different organizations So I think she's you know [00:33:00] my inspiration in a lot of ways and obviously for my childhood I like she was the one that kind of like really believed and like went the extra mile to make sure so that number one has To be my podcast is You know, I think he's, uh, he's putting himself out there a little bit more.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think, you know, he being a great entrepreneur in the UK and he's kind of a little bit under radar, built three companies very successfully. I'm an investor in two of his companies, so slightly bias maybe there, but what he's doing with his kind of happy millionaire podcast and the message he's trying to do is, you know, very impactful.

Reece Chowdhry: Third one, I think is Hussain Kanji and Hussain. You know, he, he's a guy who, for me, I always looked up to because he, if you look at the VC and said, there's not many British Asians who built their own funds from scratch, like from zero to, you know, sub over 50 million pounds, right? Like, and you know, Hussain's last fund, 200 million, he invested in Deliveroo, Darktrace, but more, he always, that guy [00:34:00] always makes time for you when.

Reece Chowdhry: I started my career. He sat down with me, had a coffee with me. I was literally like, I, I didn't know anything really. And he took his time and really, you know, said, this is, this is what went well. This is what we learned and just ruthless, honestly. And you got to follow that guy's Twitter is hilarious. He is great on Twitter.

Reece Chowdhry: So shout out to Sains Twitter. So 

Amardeep Parmar: make sure you give all those people in the follow. So two more questions. First one is if people listening right now are looking for help or guidance. What should they reach out 

Reece Chowdhry: to you about? Anything probably talked on the podcast. I think if you're thinking about starting your own fund, if you're thinking about becoming an angel investor, if you're thinking about founding a company, I've got all the war stories, like from all of those, all the failures, all the wins, all the exits.

Reece Chowdhry: And I think, you know, really, if there's anything we can do to help at Concept, please look at our website. Our website, like you said, is Very transparent is a lot of Q and a on there, a lot of great materials about if you're starting a company as well. Um, so do kind of [00:35:00] check that out and, you know, obviously just reach out to us, uh, particularly on LinkedIn.

Reece Chowdhry: That's an easy way to get in touch. You know, obviously I would happy to help in any, any way. And then on the other side. 

Amardeep Parmar: What could somebody listening right now maybe help you with what are you looking for help with? 

Reece Chowdhry: We're always looking for great, great founders. I think really founders are the life bread of our business.

Reece Chowdhry: So if you are starting a company, please spread the word about concept in all the communities. Think of us, apply on our website, message us. You know, my email address is on. The website. And so you can email me directly. So, you know, that was, we would love that. And obviously, you know, um, having closed our last fund, we are actively deploying, particularly in UK businesses within those areas of work, play and learn.

Reece Chowdhry: So think of us and we would really appreciate that. 

Amardeep Parmar: So thank you so much for coming on. Any final 

Reece Chowdhry: words? Thank you. I really enjoyed it and looking forward to listening to all your other guests.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the Bay of HQ podcast today. [00:36:00] In our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.

Other episodes you may enjoy: