Venture Capital Analyst Binh Vu: “A female founders mindset should be rooted in self-acceptance.”
Interview with Binh Vu, Venture Capital Analyst at Brandenburg Kapital
Binh Vu’s career in Venture Capital started with a desire to pursue her higher education degree at a time when many told her it was too late. As the mother of three young children, living in Vietnam, not everyone understood her wish to move to Germany and start a full-time MBA program.
However, five years later, she was able to not only silence those voices but also find a position that is truly in alignment with her personal and professional goals.
Today, Binh works as a Venture Capital Analyst at Brandenburg Kapital and supports companies in their seed and growth phases. Specifically, she works with founders in the industrial application segment, which includes food tech, agrotech, e-mobility, renewable energies and industry 4.0.
We talked to Binh as part of our interview series “Women in Business Stories” which can be found in full on our HHL Youtube Channel. In this interview, we share her advice, specifically for female founders in an early business stage.
[00:57] Venture Capitalist – What does your job entail, and which startups and industries do you work with?
[02:41] Diversity in the industry – How can the VC industry profit from more diversity – meaning more female VCs and more female founders?
[05:33] Purchase decisions – How does the female perspective influence the decision-making process?
[08:32] Female founders – What is the appropriate mindset for female founders in the search of VC funding?
[10:52] Advice for women – What advice would you like to pass on to other women?
Female Founder Mindset
As a Venture Capitalist, Binh has had the privilege to work with many different founder teams. Over the years, she has noticed a particular tendency with female founders. In her experience, women are more likely than men to wait for the perfect moment to start something. This perfectionism can lead to missed opportunities and general discomfort with visibility.
Binh encourages female founders to start before they feel ready. In her experience, if women is open enough to ask for mental or professional support then they can manage to improve quickly. Confidence in one’s own abilities and self-acceptance as the basis make a strong basis for successful development.
“Many surveys show that the biggest challenges for female founders are work-life balance, confidence and visibility. I think all these challenges are deeply rooted in our perfectionism. So the appropriate mindset for female founders should be self-acceptance.”
Rejection is a learning experience
When business ideas are new, it can happen that some investors will not understand or agree to invest in them. This can often cause (female) founders to doubt their concept entirely. While feedback is necessary to improve, Binh urges founders to keep in mind, that in such an early stage, they need to see rejections as a part of their learning and developmental process. They should never see rejection as a personal problem.
It is never too late to get your higher education
When faced with tough decisions, we sometimes turn to the people around us for advice. In some cases that can be a great help, but in others, it will take us off track. Binh remembers searching for an MBA program when her third child was only one year old. Many voices told her that it was unwise to leave Vietnam and move to a foreign country, learn a new language and study with three young children.
Being a mother in your mid-20s does not mean that your education and career end. Don’t think you have to trade-off between career and family life.
However, for Binh it was just the right choice. Education being very important to her and with the ability to ask for help, she graduated among the top 15% of her class. Today, she knows that she has done the best she can for her children and herself. “It is never too late to start pursuing what is important to you.”, Binh reminds us.
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