Jazz Shaper: Saul Klein & Robin Klein

Posted on 29 May 2021

Elliot Moss

Welcome to the Jazz Shapers Podcast from Mishcon de Reya.  What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however the music has been cut due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers, it’s where the Shapers of Business join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues.  And we have a Jazz Shaper Encore Special today, as I welcome back onto the show, serial entrepreneur and investor, Saul Klein.  Saul joined me in 2013 and he’s here today with the equally, maybe even more so, hugely influential, Robin Klein.  Not only are they the founding partners of LocalGlobe, a UK venture capital firm focussed on early stage tech startups but they also happen to be a father and son team and we’ll find out about all of those dynamics at play in that juggling act.  Before becoming a full-time investor, Robin built and sold three businesses, the last of which was the Innovations Group who did the UK’s first e-commerce transaction back in 1995.  He also sat on Plc boards, including Money Supermarket and Zoopla.  Saul was the Co-founder and original CEO of LoveFilm and has Co-founded multiple businesses since, as well as being a member of the Council advising the Prime Minister on science and technology policy issues across Government.  As investors with LocalGlobe and index ventures before that, they’ve helped many great tech companies to flourish in the UK and beyond, including Zoopla, TransferWise, Citymapper and Kazoo.  All supported from their start-up phase. 

Saul, it’s very nice to see again, it’s only been eight years properly, I hope you are doing alright.  It’s a very important year for you, you are hurtling towards 51, congratulations. 

Saul Klein

Thank you.  Thank you. 

Elliot Moss

Nice to see you again. 

Saul Klein

Good platform to start from, 50. 

Elliot Moss

Exactly, it’s the best platform I think, ever.  And, Robin, also looking 50, maybe slightly older because you are Saul’s father, the proud father, it’s very nice to see you too. 

Robin Klein

Thank you. 

Elliot Moss

My immediate thought when I knew I was going to interview the two of you and thinking about lots of father and son acts where people work together is, whose idea was this?  Often it comes from the father, not always.  Robin, where did this journey begin for the two of you in business?

Robin Klein

I’m not sure that I could identify whose idea it was because we kind of talked about stuff for years and I think where it really started was Saul was in the States on the West Coast and he was looking at Netscape at the time for the Telegraph.  Saul, you can correct me if I’m wrong about that.  I was busy running Innovations and Saul was really excited about what was happening out there and he was saying you know, Dad this is the future and I’m looking at this saying, this internet thing does look pretty intriguing.  If I could send catalogues out digitally rather than printing them and sending them out in the millions, wow, wouldn’t that transform the business.  That’s how I remember it and then Saul came back and we continued to talk about all of this and I guess it was organic in many ways and I mean Saul went off and did his thing, I was doing my thing but we were constantly talking to one another and then started to, you know, invest together, you know, family capital etcetera.  Saul, is that kind of how you remember it?

Saul Klein

Yeah, remarkably, it is.  I mean, I think it’s been… it was very organic and really, I guess the first time with real intention we decided to work together even though we had been working together since the mid-nineties was in 2015 when we left Index to start LocalGlobe but I think it was sort of a twenty year journey which was very organic to actually then sort of formally saying not just to one another but to others that, you know, we’re actually working together on something. 

Elliot Moss

I think the other thing that immediately strikes me, and obviously I don’t know the two of you at all in a personal sense, I only know professionally from reputation and so on but often in father-son relationships in business, you have the domineering father and you have the compliant son and there’s often this power struggle and where you see it in the movies or you know, between us we will know many people where this is true.  Saul, you’re known to be a pretty formidable fellow, you’ve got your own, you know, you are your own man so, in an environment where there’s more – and they are both smiling – in an environment where there’s obviously both respect from a paternal point of view but also respect from a professional point of view, it feels like there’s a very natural way that you two work and it isn’t about the primary male in the pack and the junior male in the pack.  Is that right?  I’ll ask Saul first. 

Saul Klein

Ah, I was going to ask dad.

Robin Klein

I could tell you were going to defer that. 

Elliot Moss

I don’t mind who answers. 

Saul Klein

I think, you know, what’s been pretty unique in the relationship and, you know, as my dad said when we first started talking about this, it was, you know, I think it was actually me at the Telegraph, with the electronic Telegraph and going out and seeing Netscape and, you know, there was obviously something that I was seeing that was new to my dad and new to me at the same time and then that world of internet, software, you know, spent time at Microsoft in the US became my career and it’s all I’ve ever done professionally and I think, you know, by the time we started working together more and then certainly by the time we started LocalGlobe, you know, it was more operating as partners and peers rather than a sort of a traditional or non-traditional father-son dynamic and I think that sort of made things very different is that obviously my dad’s got a set of knowledge and experiences that I don’t have and, you know, we kind of think about things in different ways sometimes and we have different skills and approaches but I think we’ve always worked much more as peers and partners than anything else, which is not always the normal kind of, I guess, father-son dynamic or family dynamic when it comes to families working in business together.  I mean, of course, outside of business I listen to absolutely everything my dad says and, you know, whatever he says goes. 

Elliot Moss

We’re going to hold back before Robin gets to respond because it’s time for some more music.  But hold that thought , Robin.  I’m with Robin Klein and Saul Klein, they are my Business Shapers here.  One of them is an Encore, one of them is a father, one of them is a son and together they are LocalGlobe.  Saul said your experiences obviously, Robin and your knowledge is different, I mean you’ve obviously been around longer, you have a different set of skills but in essence, there is a peer-to-peer relationship at least within the working environment.  Would you concur with Captain Saul?

Robin Klein

Yeah, I would actually.  I know it would be a lot more fun if I didn’t but I happen to agree.  Look, the basis of any partnership is trust and I think it sort of goes without saying that we have this complete and utter trust and I think the other part is sort of mutual respect for one another’s skills and abilities etcetera and we did come from very different spaces, I mean I am engineer, did engineering at University, Saul did English and he’s always been a, you know, brilliant wordsmith and I guess it’s fair to say, numbers are more my thing but, you know, we’ve both learned to do a bit of both of those and I think of all businesses, I think investing in a partnership is one that doesn’t demand hierarchy and we will come onto LocalGlobe as a business and the fact that Saul is the CEO and he runs the business but the nature of investing is partnership and therefore what you are looking for is a set of peers who respect one another’s strengths and weaknesses and you trust one another’s judgement all the way. 

Elliot Moss

And of course in a family business, you know people often tell the horror stories because they are much more fun to talk about but the reality is that most family businesses of note have super dynamics within them and there is, as you said Robin, an implied and a deep and a never ending pool of trust because of course it’s family, right?  I mean, you’ve got each other’s backs in a way that you will probably never have with any other humans in your life.  Saul, just give me a little snapshot for those people that don’t know what LocalGlobe does.  Firstly, what it does and secondly, what makes you specifically different in this marketplace because of course there are other, many other smart investors looking to back really smart ventures. 

Saul Klein

Sure.  Well, I mean first of all I should say that, you know, LocalGlobe has evolved a lot actually in the five or six years since we left Index but LocalGlobe is a seed fund and what that means is that we look to be the first institutional investor, you know, backing Founders, looking to build – you mentioned Zoopla, you mentioned TransferWise, Kazoo – businesses that are really going to grow up and mean something and be something and what we’ve been able to do initially with LocalGlobe where we’ve made I think over 150 investments even in the last five or six years but, you know, if you go back to when we started it’s not to support Founders on their initial journey from seed stage to series A but actually, support Founders all the way through to IPO and beyond and I think a lot of people in the investing business focus on Founders but often stop short of being able to support people the whole way through and actually to do that, what we’ve done in the last three years is to create a sister fund to LocalGlobe, what we call Latitude, and Latitude is sort of able to pick up those companies breaking out from the LocalGlobe portfolio and others at that sort of breakout stage and really sort of support them and continue to support them on so, we’ve really tried to build to something in our business that is not just sort of supporting Founders and trying to help give them the best possible support on their journey to building a great company but to do it in a way that makes an impact on the society more broadly and I think this is something that we really care about and care passionately about and, for me, it’s one of the key drivers of why we set out to do something by ourselves because, you know, obviously when you have a blank piece of paper, you are able to not just focus on the economic outcome and just to give you a sense of that, LocalGlobe companies have raised 2.4 billion dollars in the last twelve months and over six and a half billion dollars since 2015 so I think our proposition of helping Founders on that journey is substantiated but, you know, something that really matters to us is the idea that you can do well economically but you can have a positive social impact and my dad can talk more about our home at Phoenix Court and the neighbourhood that Phoenix Court is in, Somers Town between King’s Cross and Euston, but a sort of a huge part of what we are trying to do here is to sort of change the narrative, if you like, on venture capital and on finance and say, you know, we are living in an era now where having a good financial impact is important but there are much more stakeholders that count in terms of businesses being built and, you know, we do see that ultimately as one of our core differentiators but still, it’s important to the Founders that we work with that they know that we can support them in the most critical way which is going from A to B and for that journey to be one where they are well supported and they are able to raise capital along the way from great follow-on investors. 

Elliot Moss

Stay with me for much more from my Business Shapers, Robin and Saul Klein, they are the Co-founders of LocalGlobe and serial investors, as you were just hearing, and not just in the economic but also the social and positive impacts that those investments can make.  Right now though, they’ll be back in a moment by the way, but right now we are going to hear a taster from the Mishcon Academy Digital Sessions, they can be found on all of the major podcast platforms.  Mishcon de Reya’s Jo Hancock, the Head of MDR Cyber, and Katy Ling talk about current trends in cyber fraud and what individuals and companies need to do to protect themselves. 

You can hear all our former Business Shapers on the Jazz Shapers podcast and indeed you can hear this very programme again or if you have a smart speaker, you can ask it nicely to play Jazz Shapers and there you will be greeted by many of our recent shows but back to today, Robin and Saul Klein, serial entrepreneurs and investors, father and son team, feels like I am setting you up to start in a movie, and the founding partners of LocalGlobe, the UK venture capital firm focussing on early stage tech start-ups.  Robin, when you look at, and Saul just talked about numbers and the billions that have been invested, but when you look at the people and they present their wares to you and many people do, how can you distinguish between those who have great form versus those who have fantastic substance because in your neck of the woods, in your world, you will meet plenty of brilliant sales people but awful business people and the flip is also true, awful sales people but brilliant, underneath the bonnet if you just scratch and you ask the right questions, suddenly you go hold on a minute, that’s where it is.  How do you manage to ensure that you find and back the right people?

Robin Klein

Well it’s not easy and that’s why venture capital, even the best of us, will have large numbers of failures but I think it starts off with the fundamental mission that we have to find people who are going to harness technology to make a difference.  Our core belief is that technology and innovation and entrepreneurship can solve a lot of society’s problems so we are really looking at the individual.  What motivates them?  Where have they come from?  What obstacles have they overcome in their path?  I mean, a lot of this comes from empathy with individuals.  Having been Founders ourselves and built businesses ourselves and knowing how difficult it is and the things that can go wrong.  As I’ve often said, maybe instead of engineering, I should have done psychology, it might have given me, you know a sort of greater insight into what motivates people but motivation, individuals’ motivation is a key determinant and I feel of future success and I’m testing that motivation, it requires more than one meeting and unfortunately the nature of the business right now is that investments and fundraising is taking place at such a rapid rate that it’s such an enormous amount of capital and so many great new concepts coming onto the market that the process is taking a lot shorter than it used to and it does require instinct and the way in which we are set up as a firm, we back individuals, instinct and their individual convictions so we, between us, as a group, we look for one of us to have very strong conviction.  A lot of people imagine that the investment committee sits around the table and the majority wins or you require unanimity or whatever.  We are quite contrary in that sense, in that any of one of us, and we have eight investment professionals, partners, any one of them can if they can demonstrate conviction in the Founder that they wish to back or the founding team they wish to back, then the rest of us will, in the spirit of partnership, back them and trust their judgement. 

Elliot Moss

You almost answer my next question because it was about what happens when there’s disagreement?  What happens Saul when you go, ‘Dad, you just got it wrong.  Of course you were seduced by A, B and C but let me tell you why’?  When that goes on though, what you are telling me, I think, is that actually if Saul says that and he really believes it or if you say it Robin and you really believe it, you go, you will back. 

Saul Klein

Yeah, I mean, this is something you talk about trust and you talk about sort of a family dynamic, I mean in the twenty years that we were investing together before formalising LocalGlobe, that’s how we operated, you know, if my dad wanted to make an investment and I didn’t necessarily see what he was seeing, I’d say what I didn’t see but say like, if you want to do it, great let’s do it and vice versa and what we tried to do as we brought on partners and, you know, as my dad said, there are six other general partners that are actually on top of that seven other investment professionals, is we try to sort of scale that approach and fundamentally, you know, we talk about two different things, we talk about total footfall and what we mean by that, you are smiling so you know the Ajax Barcelona approach to, you know the fact that everyone and everyone’s position on the team is important and no one player is any more important that they other and that people respect one another’s positions and that is that sort of sense of teamwork is very important.  The other phrase that we use a lot is ‘crossing the Rubicon’ and what that means is that we’ll have a discussion, we’ll say this is not something I see, this is not something I agree with but at the end of the day, like my dad said, if someone says I really believe in this Founder, I really believe in what they are trying to build, not only will we back our partner but we are not going to look back and, you know, there’s no second guessing decisions that get made and, you know, those two principles are very fundamental to the culture and the behaviours that we build inside the organisation and I think hopefully it’s empowering to people and, you know, as my dad said, in investing, particularly in venture, you get a lot wrong, those are just the facts, you know, if you go back to the mid-eighties and you look at the best funds in the world, 62% of the capital they invest, you get no return on that capital, it’s like taking a £100 into the street and burning £62 and you have to sort of cope with the fact that in our business you are wrong way more often than you are right and then on the flip side of that, when you are right, you are wrong by orders of magnitude so, you know, if you said when we first invested in TransferWise, were Taavet and Kristo really entrepreneurials?  Yes.  Could they build a big business?  Yes.  Were they playing an enormous market?  Yes.  Would you have said the last round would have been at 5 billion?  Probably not.  I mean, in your best scenario, you may have said 500 million or 800 million so, the thing that’s hard to accept or sort of cognitively dissonant in our business is, you are wrong most of the time and when you are right, you are wrong. 

Elliot Moss

And on that note.  Actually, Taavet’s been on the programme and so has Alex Chesterman and a fair few others that you have invested in, Taavet of TransferWise and Alex Chesterman of many actually, Kazoo being the most recent, have been on the programme before. 

Robin and Saul Klein are my double act Business Shapers today, both part of the Jazz Shapers Encore.  Eight years ago was the time I met Saul for the first time.  Obviously, anyone listening to you will know, oh they don’t sound like they were originally born in England and in fact even Saul, you were born in Jo’burg I believe and Robin obviously you are South African.  Tell me about the view that you have as an outsider in the sense of being from somewhere else and I mean that geographically but it could also be other things.  You were talking funnily enough earlier about commitment and there’s I think it was Goethe who talked about the first act of commitment is actually doing something.  Leaving a country is doing something.  Investing is doing something.  By definition, they aren’t the things that you usually do.  Robin, what made you leave South Africa when you left and what impact has that had on the way that you view life?

Robin Klein

Well, I was quite young, I was sort of 29.  I’d built my first business and South Africa was in a very, very difficult, it was a very, very difficult time for South Africa.  Apartheid was at its peak really and I guess my wife and I talked about leaving South Africa for quite some time and I think the impetus really came about when Saul was born, Saul and our daughter, Melanie.  Somehow I just, I couldn’t see the future for them.  Somehow my horizon was such that it was too far in the future to think that the problems of South Africa could ever be solved and felt that it was really important while I we were young enough to make a go of it somewhere else that we should go and, you know, talked about it idly for some time and then an opportunity arose to come and run a very small manufacturing business and we took that opportunity.  Saul was six and Melanie was four and I think the question was, how does it shape your attitude?  Well, I mean, for a start, I’m a fierce Anglophile, I can be a bit of a bore on the subject so one of the few things that really irritated me about this country when I first came was how English people, or British people generally, knocked the country, I mean it was in a bad state, talking about 1976 but, you know, I’d come from a country where there were real problems, they weren’t problems that were easily solved whereas here I felt Britain had so much going for it and I still feel that today.  Maybe that’s an immigrant’s attitude, maybe it’s just my natural optimism but that’s the way I feel and a lot of our Founders that we’ve backed, were not born here and maybe there’s something about the immigrant that makes them entrepreneurial and, you know, I talked earlier about motivation and why you do things and some of those things are deep within us but I think it’s true of a lot of the Founders that we meet. 

Elliot Moss

And Saul, turning to you of course, six years old, 1976 there was no water in the taps I remember, there was a particular time when the milk was warm at my local state school.  You’ve been through a system which says, you know, St Paul’s, Cambridge, you’ve become very much part of the system of having a fantastic life here really, I mean a great start and obviously your dad, as he just said, came across in the circumstances that he did.  How have you retained that view because I am sure you again will feel, of course you feel English because you’ve been here almost all your life but with a very different backdrop.  Do you still have that edge do you think because of that immigrant part of you or is that edge just because Saul Klein is the way he is?

Saul Klein

I mean, I’ve never felt fully at home here, I have to say.  Maybe that’s because I knew I wasn’t born here, maybe that’s because I’ve spent time travelling and living in other places, you know, I’ve lived in the US, in Israel, I spent some time living in South Africa, again later on in life but I have to say and I know it sounds slightly facetious, one of the big ‘ah ha’ moments for me in 1994 when I kind of turned on the internet, was like I felt that I’d found my home and I always used to say, you know, my home’s actually on the internet.  Now, subsequently obviously getting married, having kids, you know, you plant roots and here I am, although I didn’t grow up in North West London, living in North West London but I’ve always sort of felt somewhat of an outsider and I’ve always sort of felt keen to explore and push the boundaries and I think Britain is an amazing society in that it’s given me incredible opportunities as you said, I’ve had incredible educational opportunities, you know that, you know a school like St Paul’s offers you, I went to a University like Cambridge but I actually have found often that sort of the institutions in the UK to be stifling and including some of those institutions and actually as soon as I sort of got in to the professional world, I felt actually I cannot be within an institutional environment, you know, I need to be able to shape our own space and again, when we chose where our home should be, professionally, we chose our home to be Phoenix Court in Somers Town which is very much surrounded by institutions, it’s next to the British Library, it’s next to the Crick Institute, it’s next to new institutions like Google and Facebook but, you know, Somers Town is one of the poorest, lowest income neighbourhoods in London and we have an office there in partnership with Camden Council, who are our landlords, at the bottom of a Council block and I still feel the divide in the UK, not just in the UK but in many advanced economies, is still profound and I think that sense of injustice that maybe I saw in South Africa, still really drives me in terms of, you know, my professional life and, you know, my wife who is South African and moved to the UK when we got married in her late twenties, she definitely helps me and inspires a lot of that drive but I think a lot of people still feel this sense of injustice and while the UK has a lot of opportunities, maybe one of the great opportunities we have in the 21st century is to sort of create a more just society and I think business, we believe and certainly innovation, plays a big role in that and I’m not sure it’s always as easy to see that if you are an insider, you know, you can become an insider, you can have aspects of the inside that you can get to see but I think, you know, one needs to preserve the attitude of an outsider, the attitude of an immigrant and I think that’s pretty deep in my DNA.  I mean, and by the way, not just as an ex-South African but as a wandering Jew. 

Elliot Moss

Stay with me for my wandering Jews.  There’s going to be much more here from Robin and Saul Klein in my last part of this very special Jazz Shapers Encore. 

Just for a few more minutes I’m with my very eloquent Business Shapers here, Robin and Saul Klein.  We’ve been exploring the notion of being an outsider and the power of being an immigrant when it comes to shaking things up and not accepting the status quo.  Saul, you were talking about, and both Robin as well, have both spoken about the injustice.  Your values strike me as very, very important to you and it’s not a side that you often hear around VC and maybe you state it and maybe those people who have talked to you about funding and they know it and maybe Camden knows it and so on and so forth.  Where we are now is a precarious position for the world, the onslaught of authoritarianism, threats to climate, the rise of people’s consciousness around Black Lives Matter and gender issues and so on and so forth.  From the private part of the world that you live in, how important is it that Governments and public money or public superstructure stuff, supports your endeavours?  Or can you make the world a better place solus?  I’m really trying to get to the heart of how much do you need from the State as it were?  Robin, maybe you go first on that. 

Robin Klein

Look, I think we fundamentally believe that individuals can and do make a difference at the heart of what we do, it’s the belief in the individual but the framework around them obviously needs to be supportive and it needs to allow them to do that and I think, you know, Saul’s point about pushing against institutions and part of that by the way comes from his mother who has always also felt stifled by institutions and the reason for it is, I guess, because we believe that individuals can make the difference, it is frustrating when institutions don’t facilitate that.  You talk about our values, how we translate that in our business is by involving and creating a culture within the company and companies talk about culture a lot and think about it a lot but it all comes from walking the walk or walking the talk and the behaviours that people see from the leadership and I think this is where I hope that we’ve set a framework within our institution because once you become a venture capitalist you become an institution so we are railing against all these institutions but we are, ourselves, one and we need to recognise that but we are fortunate in that we can shape that and that’s what I hope we are doing and I think the people within our organisation I think could equally sit here and talk about all of these things that we have and I think that’s where I think we derive the greatest pride in what we have achieved so far and we know we are just at the beginning is that we do have a bunch of people with us who believe in the things that we believe in. 

Elliot Moss

Saul, just talking to you today with your dad, family always gives context, right?  Your brain is, I always believe when I’m with my family and I’m thinking different thoughts, I can’t help it, I maybe me but there’s definitely, you are in an environment which obviously is familiar and you can fight in that environment in a healthy way.  It strikes me today that you really mean this, just looking at you when your dad’s talking and the way that you listen to him and the way you, you know, you express yourself, you take this responsibility very seriously.  Does that continue to liberate you because it makes you a fighter, because it feels like it does and how do you harness that sense of, I’m going to make a difference, in a positive way because it can go another way, can’t it?  It can become, it could become angry, it could become negative.  How do you ensure that it remains a force for positivity which I think it is doing but how have you managed to tread that line carefully?

Saul Klein

First of all, it’s a journey and part of that journey is sort of taking advantage of the opportunities that you’ve been given, I mean you talked about schooling, University, growing up in a supportive family with parents who met when they were twelve years old at school, I mean all of that gives you opportunity but then you have to decide what you are going to do and the choices that you make and the family that you start and the environments you create for yourself, you know as you said, all provide the context and the opportunities and I’ve been very, very lucky and I’ve also been very lucky professionally, not just with the businesses that I’ve been involved in like LoveFilm or Skype but the partnerships that I’ve been part of like Index and, you know, I know you’ve had one of my former partners, Danny Rimer on the show before, I’ve learnt a lot from some great people but at a certain point in your life, you also have to decide how are you going to take all of those opportunities and have hopefully a positive impact and this is what I think we’ve been trying to do in the last five years and, you know, as my dad said, what we’re trying to do is to build something that lasts beyond not just the two of us but potentially beyond the next generation as well and you know we have a mission internally, we call it the Ossulston Street mission, and Ossulston Street is the road that goes alongside our building in Phoenix Court and on the left-hand side of Ossulston Street is the Crick Institute, the Cathedral of Genomics and Life Science, there’s the British Library, you know which is literally all of this country’s knowledge, including the Magna Carta, in one place and the Turing Institute and twenty yards across the road on the right-hand side is the oldest housing estates in London where the capstone was laid by the then Minister of Health, Neville Chamberlain, and literally those ten yards are like from the earth to the moon and so we believe if we make a positive impact in this society, it will be because people can walk ten yards from one side of the road to the other and not feel the level of social and income inequality that still exits in a country, as my dad said, that has incredible opportunity and assets. 

Elliot Moss

It’s been a pleasure talking to you both.  It’s definitely a thought to ponder from the earth to the moon in ten yards.  I love the way you explained but you are absolutely right.  Listen, we are going to run out of time so, before we do, thank you, both of you, for making this time in our new, virtual world.  Just before I let you both go, and I don’t know who is going to tell me this but what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?  It might be Saul. 

Saul Klein

I think the song choice which was a crowdsourced at my house, is Summertime and they why is, it is, I think a kind of a jazz classic and, you know, many people have sung it but it’s the song that we’ve sung to our kids pretty much every night when they go to sleep at least up until the age of six or seven and it’s turned from Summertime to teatime to schooltime to whatever but I really like, I’ve always liked the Janice Joplin version of it because I think it’s an insider song but she’s got an outsider take on it. 

Elliot Moss

That was Summertime from Janice Joplin, her version of it and the song choice of my Business Shapers today, Saul and Robin Klein.  They talked about being outsiders and indeed Saul said the first time he felt like an insider was at the advent of the internet back in 1994.  They talked about looking for those Founders who are full of motivation and they talked about the conviction that they have as investors and if one of them wants to invest even if the other seven don’t, they will do it, and they talked really critically about it not being enough to purely deliver economic results but that you have to think about your societal impact as well.  Fantastic stuff.  That’s it from Jazz Shapers and me, have lovely weekend. 

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers.  You will find hundreds of more guests available to listen to in our archive, just search Jazz Shapers in iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Saul Klein is a Founding Partner at LocalGlobe and Latitude Ventures. Previously, Saul was a General Partner at Index Ventures from 2007 until May 2015. In 2012, David Cameron appointed Saul as the UK's first Technology Business Ambassador to Israel and in 2016 he was awarded an OBE for services to Business. For almost five years, Saul has been a trustee of Comic Relief. He currently serves on the UK Government’s Digital Economy Council and is a member of The Council for Science and Technology which advises the Prime Minister on science and technology policy issues across government. Most recently Saul co-founded Platoon (acquired by Apple in 2018), Zinc (co-founded with the London School of Economics), Kano and Seedcamp (seed investors in UIPath and Revolut), as well as being co-founder and original CEO of Lovefilm International (acquired by Amazon in 2011).

Robin Klein is a Founding Partner at LocalGlobe. Previously, Robin was a Venture Partner at Index Ventures from 2010 until 2015. He has made over 100 early stage technology investments in the UK, US, Europe and Israel. His investments include Adzuna, Citymapper, Graze, MOO, Secret Escapes, Transferwise, Zoopla. He has also sat on public company boards including MoneySupermarket and Zoopla. Robin has been on the Tech City board and served as an advisor to Silicon Valley Bank. Prior to becoming an active and full time investor he built and sold three businesses, the last of which was the Innovations Group in 1995. Innovations completed the UK’s first e-Commerce transaction in May 1995.

Highlights

It was more operating as partners and peers rather than a sort of a traditional or non-traditional father-son dynamic and I think that sort of made things very different.

Outside of business I listen to absolutely everything my dad says and, you know, whatever he says goes.

The basis of any partnership is trust and I think it goes without saying that we have this complete and utter trust and I think the other part is mutual respect for one another’s skills and abilities.

He runs the business but the nature of investing is partnership and therefore what you are looking for is a set of peers who respect one another’s strengths and weaknesses and you trust one another’s judgement all the way. 

[We want to build] a great company but to do it in a way that makes an impact on the society more broadly and I think this is something that we really care about and care passionately about.

It is important to the founders that we work with that they know that we can support them in the most critical way which is going from A to B.

Even the best of us will have a large number of failures.

I should have done psychology, it might have given me a sort of greater insight into what motivates people. Motivation – individuals’ motivation – is a key determinant of future success and I’m testing that motivation.

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