Michael Stephanblome
Venture Partner
Michael brings more than 16 years of experience in the internet industry as an MD, Founder and CEO of several internet companies. As a Venture Partner he looks at new investment opportunities for Eight Roads Ventures in Europe as well as supporting existing portfolio companies with a focus on e-commerce and marketplaces, SaaS as well as media and advertising technology.

What motivates you?

Making a difference.

What do you like about your job?

The intellectual challenge and working with great founders and entrepreneurs. There is always something to figure out and the most obvious solution is not always the best one.

What's been the steepest learning curve of your career so far?

Running and building my first company Adjug. I am a digital marketer by training and worked for eBay and Gumtree in pretty entrepreneurial environments but nothing prepared me for starting something completely from scratch and scaling it fast. After starting and building companies for more than eight years I feel that moving over to the investing side has given me a unique perspective in looking at companies. 

What current technology trend do you most get excited about and why?

Artificial intelligence (AI). After a decade of lots of promise and very little visible change I feel that we are at an inflection point - driven by the advances in distributed computing power and deep learning. For the first time we see more complex tasks performed very well by software - in some cases better than a human is able to do it. That’s exciting and scary at the same time. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?

Prioritise real-life learning experiences above everything else. Take more calculated risks - both in business and life.  

Your favourite qualities in an entrepreneur?

Passion, perseverance and focus - in that order.