A Q&A with Alex Pavlov, RTP Global

RTP Global is an early-stage venture capital firm backing the founders who use technology to reimagine how the world works. Startups had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Pavlov, Partner, Europe, RTP Global.

Introduce me to RTP Global and your role at the VC?

RTP Global is an early-stage venture capital firm backing the founders who use technology to reimagine how the world works. We invest in companies across a range of sectors, including AI/ML, enterprise SaaS, consumer tech, fintech and health tech. Having backed the likes of DataDog, DeliveryHero, SumUp and CRED in their earliest stages, we have a great track record of teaming up with founders at the start of their journey.

As an investment Partner based out of London, I am particularly interested in founders doing innovative things with technology in the European market and focus on startups seeking funding from Seed to early Series B. Outside of London, our firm also has investment and operational teams across offices in New York, Paris, Dubai, and Bangalore.

What are some of the startups and key sectors/markets you’ve worked with?

Most of the deals I worked on at the start of my career were focused on the consumer market, particularly e-commerce. But they’ve become so much more varied now. Today, I work with founders of startups in AI, fintech, health and fitness, and audio and entertainment, including with the likes of SumUp, Podcastle, CoachHub and Krisp AI.

What unites all these companies, though, is that they are using technology to solve today’s biggest problems faced by both businesses and consumers. The core driver for me is the entrepreneur and the product market fit, and I will always be open to listen to a great story.

What’s the investment landscape looking like for startups right now?

In short, there is a lot of doom and gloom being reported in the news right now, as startups continue to face challenging times against a backdrop of valuation resets and, potentially, further layoffs. What’s more, the fundamentals of the venture capital ecosystem are being rewritten globally.

But even in the uncertain times, amazing companies are born. And while we are not experiencing the highs of previous years, the outlook for the technology sector is still very bright and we see a huge amount of innovation and opportunity across all the geographies and sectors we actively invest in.

For example, in the aftermath of the numerous tech layoffs, we are starting to see that an increasing number of incredibly smart and talented operators are deciding to take the plunge and start building their own companies. And while the great valuation reset has made even the best companies shy away from raising in the current environment, even the best funded early-stage companies will need to come back up for air in the next couple quarters.

When they are ready to raise capital, we believe we are in the best position to support them on their journey, both in their early days and throughout their company’s lifecycle, thanks to our flexible capital structure and our global network.

What do you look for from founders as leaders to maximise their chances of securing funding?

There are two key things I look for:

Firstly, the founder must show decisiveness and act. I want to see that they actually acted based on the changes to the current market environment, rather than just saying they had plans to. This decisiveness shows that they understand the fundamentals of running a business and can respond to market changes to seize opportunities or minimise risk. For example, what action have they taken to respond to the current economic landscape? How have they pivoted their approach in response to proposed AI regulation in Europe? How have they capitalised on new consumer trends? If they are only able to talk about what they will do, then all I hear is missed opportunities.

Secondly, founders need to show me how their products or services will last long-term. As an early-seed investor, I’m not looking for an immediate return, but I do need to be confident in the terminal value of an investment. That means I am not interested in whether your product is part of the most hyped trend in tech at that moment. Instead, what excites me is a clearly differentiated product or service of lasting relevance.