Alexander Paterson

Why are you in Venture Capital?

I find ventures fascinating for what it has to contribute to society at large. In my relentlessly optimistic view, its about tackling issues in ways never thought of before, engaging people to find solutions that can advance our shared circumstances (mostly for the better). Its about believing in people who spend day-in and day-out obsessing about an objective, a vision. Its very much about taking a risk and not giving up. Tech has been the greatest force to democratise this widespread entrepreneurial effort and I wish to enable the rare few, but truly driven founders to make their visions happen, not only through financing, but also through collaborative and mutual trust, support and dedication.

What do you enjoy most about your job?  

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and became one myself when I first got the chance. Reaching the age of 30, there are 3 successful ventures that have defined my professional career, and most memorably a few defining moments together with my colleagues and supporting our great entrepreneurs over the years. I co-founded J12 because I am somewhat of a contrarian, pragmatic, problem-solving, builder at heart. Meeting and working with great people across many new areas of innovation speaks to me. I like to see purposeful execution, strong ethical leadership and long term sustainable value being created in the companies I work with. I thrive being in the trenches when the odds are stacked against you and your back is against the wall. And I don’t give up on people.

What are you doing when you’re not working?

I was once a chess champion if you like a challenge (before the Queen’s Gambit made it somewhat less nerdy). Any activity involving water, a gaming console, or racket sports will do the trick, along with climbing or volleyball. Talk to me about sustainable finance, regtech, energy efficiency and grid optimisation, gaming, devops, SaaS, climate issues, inequalities… or something new I know nothing about yet!

What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out starting up a business?

Stay dead focused on the big picture, don’t disperse yourself. Be receptive to advice (you will get much of it), but aware of biases. Make your own decisions, your company is a reflection of yourself as a founder or founding team, and will only succeed if your strong will is aligned with your team’s objectives. Be purposeful and be a role model to others. Build things that matter not only for yourself, but for others and society at large.