Following our highlights from the first half of Moonfire Pulse, we're sending a special edition of our newsletter to share the key takeaways from the second half of the day.
Mattias and the Moonfire team
Key insights from Moonfire Pulse 2023: Part II
In the second half of this year's Moonfire Pulse, our signature event exploring the technologies and founders shaping tomorrow, our panels covered the potential for AI in healthcare, the value of data in startups, and what the European opportunity for LPs looks like today. Let's dive in.
The AI will see you now: Can AI transform healthcare?
Perhaps the biggest fear of AI in healthcare is trust and security. But Javier Suarez, CEO and Co-founder of Oliva, argued that AI could be both more empathetic and, with the right controls, more secure than a human. ‘AI can ask much better questions and much faster for you to get to either a preventative stage or a healing stage much faster, because it adapts from session to session on way more inputs than a human can take.’
But new solutions can’t be shoved down practitioners’ throats. ‘You need to bring them all the way upstream and let them be part of making that process, bringing their knowledge and expertise to the table,’ said Thomas Vande Casteele, Co-founder and CEO of Awell.
Thomas also introduced the concept of “careops” – the application of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) principles from devops to healthcare. This approach encourages small but frequent improvements, potentially accelerating the pace of innovation and delivery in healthcare.
Use it or lose it: Data, the lifeblood of startups?
For the last few years, companies have been treating data as the ‘new oil’, storing it even if they didn’t know what value was going to come from it, said Hamzah Chaudhary, Co-founder and CEO of Lightdash. ‘And now people are asking the question, just because you can store it, should you?’
Startups should focus on collecting data around the key value- and revenue-generating areas of their business, because ‘you’re going to spend a lot of time optimising that part of your pipeline,’ said Hamzah.
César Migueláñez, Co-founder and CEO of Latitude, shared the sentiment. ‘We’ve talked to many companies who have spent months building their data stack […] and then they don’t even know why they’re building them.’ Startups need to start working with data as soon as possible – that’s when you discover what value you can derive from it.
And AI should make extracting that value much less cumbersome. ‘You can actually start asking questions of relatively unstructured data as opposed to having it super clean,’ said Hamzah. ‘The hard part, though, is trusting the answer to the question, which is more of a human problem than it is a technology one. […] If you get an answer to a data question as an end stakeholder who doesn’t know SQL and all that stuff, you’re probably still going to go back to your data team and be like, “before I put this in the board deck, can someone double check it for me?”’
A culture of ambition: The European opportunity for LPs
‘The biggest change that I see from [15 years ago] to today is the culture of ambition that exists in Europe,’ said Graham Pingree, Partner of Cendana Capital. ‘People want to build big, global companies. […] Today, it feels like the level of ambition is on par with what we see in Silicon Valley and New York.’
And that confidence is spreading across Europe, pushing up the calibre and vision of European talent. ‘The technical talent is here, the vision for solving bigger, world problems is maybe a little bit clearer here than it is in the US,’ said Carson Monson, Partner at UNTITLED. ‘As you have technical talent that stays here […] that facilitates more GPs being here, being plugged into those ecosystems, and capitalising those founders. And that in turn attracts more institutional LP capital.’
While the market has corrected, and inflation and the war in Ukraine has cooled investor interest in Europe, it’s providing a chance for LPs to digest the many new relationships they made in 2020-21, and investors have been able to pick up opportunities at lower prices with more reasonable valuations.
And now AI has changed everything, said Thomas Kristensen, Partner at LGT Capital Partners. Entrepreneurs should try things out – that’s their job. But investors need to be a bit more cautious and think “what is it that we’re really investing in to?”
That said, there was agreement that Europe is still an overlooked market, presenting a big opportunity for early-stage funds. With the recent announcement of the Sequoia split, the panel thought there were likely to be further spin outs in future, as talented people in VC firms look to carve out a niche for themselves.
And how would they do it? ‘VCs that […] leverage data and technology in new ways […] or GPs that are able to create some sort of non-replicable community inherently will have some sort of advantage that allows them to continue to generate alpha,’ said Carson. ‘We live in a global world, and you need to be a bit more progressive in your approach in order to continue to stay on the forefront of where innovation is going.’
Hope you enjoyed the highlights – and if you missed our last newsletter, you can read a full summary here. Can't wait to host more great discussions next year!
Until next time, all the best,
Mattias and the Moonfire team