Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev): The science of choosing startups for investing

It is not enough to have money to invest in the project. How to select the right startup is real science. Adventures Lab is the Ukrainian venture capital fund that helps startups grow. Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev), the founder of Adventures Lab and IT investor, comments on what features are crucial in selecting the right startup and what mistakes novice investors make.

Adventures Lab includes portfolio companies like StreamHero, SALO, EduDo, and Reface. In November, it welcomed a new high-profile project called Narrative BI. It is an American marketing startup created by Michael Rumiantsau, a native of Belarus and a member of the Forbes 30 under 30 2019 list. Another recent investment of the venture fund is Pibox. It is a Ukrainian startup for music and video production.

Ruslan Tymofieiev explains that it is not easy to find a promising project to invest in at once. The investor notices that it requires knowledge, deep analysis, and consideration of other investors’ mistakes. Of course, it is essential to start with a theory. It is not just about things written on paper and never put into practice. It means to study the experience of other investors thoroughly. The more insights the novice investor gains, the higher is their expertise. By doing this, they will avoid many primitive mistakes and will not lose money “out of the blue.” The investor notes that it is better to learn from someone’s negative experience than from their own ones.

The founder of Adventures Lab has a wealth of experience in investment. It dates back to his student times when he created Everad, a successful CPA partner network. Thanks to his curiosity, he could grow more in this direction. Later, he sold his stake at Everad and fonded the venture capital fund.

Ruslan Tymofieiev adds that the fund’s team never comes to quick decisions in choosing a project to invest in. They provide a detailed examination of the project itself as well as the founder. But primarily, they study the market and the niche to understand the level of competition and whether the startup will take a good market share. The investor emphasizes that there is a tendency among many investors to start analyzing the startups from their founder and team. But Tymofieiev prefers to resort first to estimate the external factors— the market. It is crucial to know whether the startup’s market is deep or whether it is overheated. Only after this assessment, the investor approaches to project’s founders.

Another stage in selecting the right startup is estimating the level of competence of the founder. Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev) underlines that they must be replaceable. The startup does not have to suffer when the founder quits. There should be a person in the company who can get responsible for corporate management when something happens.

On the other hand, the founder’s communication skills and ability to build a network are vital as well. This leads automatically to access to valuable information through contacts and a network of acquaintances. Accordingly, it enables the founder to come to the right conclusions and withstand the competitors. The lack of the features mentioned above will force novice investors to make mistakes in choosing a startup. Thus, they can deal with significant losses.

According to the founder of Adventures Lab, the fund is focusing on areas like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Mobile. He specified that they don’t invest in trends. Instead, they invest in areas they have a wealth of expertise.