The team of Eleven is a close-knit and diverse group of entrepreneurs and investment professionals. Our Partners are the backbone of our team, inspiring us and leading by example, building the path of mutual success for all founders we are supporting.
You might have seen some of Eleven’s Partners in interviews, read their articles, met them during events and conferences but it is time we introduce them from a slightly different angle. And this is why we started our “14 Questions With” blog post series, which show the more personal and little-known side of the Partners at Eleven. In case you missed our first interview with Ivaylo Simov, make sure to catch up and read it here.
In this article, the spotlight is on Valeri Petrov. Valeri has been part of the fund from the very beginning but took the role of a partner in 2019. He has a rich experience in private equity, finance, management, and… rock music.
Continue reading to learn more surprising insights and get to know Valeri better!
Previous experience: Partner in several regional private equity funds with focus on SEE region, CEO of a large chemical company.
Spheres of expertise: Healthcare, mobility, e-commerce.
Talk with Valeri about:
- Strategy, corporate governance, organizational behavior, fundraising;
- Tennis, music production, rock bands.
1. What is your #Oneof11 story? How did your Eleven journey start?
My Eleven journey started almost with the inception of Eleven, ten years ago, when Ivo and Dani founded the fund. They invited me to join the advisory board and I gladly accepted because we had a long history together working in Global Finance back in the early 2000s and I knew both of them very well. Back then I was also helping as a mentor of the startups, I was participating in the selection process, and I was investing as an angel investor.
2. Why Venture Capital as a current career path?
Because venture capital is really exciting and inspiring. It is great to be working with young and clever teams from various verticals and industries. Every other project is completely different and you can never get bored. It is also very challenging, and I love challenges.
3. What is one piece of advice which you wish more founders followed?
Follow your passion.
Going back in time
4. What was the first job you got paid to do?
I was working on a construction site as a non-qualified electrician when I was 16 years-old. I was studying in a specialized high school, we call “техникум” and this was my first “internship”.
5. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I wanted to drive a tractor. Yes, I didn’t dream of becoming an astronaut but a tractor driver.
6. Can you share a time/situation when you really failed at something? What did you learn?
Maybe my biggest failure is related to overtrusting the management team at work. I was certain that the management would take care of the issues and I wasn’t carrying out my control functions. In my case, this led to big strategic mistakes and mismanagement.
I learned that regardless how competent and experienced your managers look, you need to stay close to the company, follow the reports closely, and take immediate measures whenever you spot a problem. Never postpone the action. You need to be aware and notice the signals and don’t wait for the managers or for the problem to be solved by itself.
Learned the hard way
7. At what job would you be terrible?
I would be a terrible chef. I simply cannot cook.
8. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Never listen to what your closer friends and relatives are advising you. Follow your passion. Once again.
9. What would you say is your #1 “superpower”?
10. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?
I admire Elon Musk. More specifically I admire the way he takes decisions. He manages to make so many decisions in a very short time, and all of them concerning different businesses. So I would be interested to spend a day in his shoes and see how exactly he does this.
11. Do you live by any motto or core principle?
Be yourself and treat others the way you want to be treated by them.
12. What do you do in your free time? What hobbies do you enjoy?
I have many hobbies – playing tennis, playing the guitar, skiing during the winter, reading. I also like history and reading about history.
13. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
14. What was the last book you read? Which is your all-time favorite one?
The last book I read was Elon Musk’s biography.
Regarding my all-time favorite one – I like the books of Max Frisch and Napoleon Hill. I am saying the names of writers, not titles because when I like something from an author, I read all books he has ever written.
But if I have to mention specific titles, I have two very favorite books from Barton Biggs – the first one is Hedgehogging and the second one is Wealth, War, and Wisdom. I highly recommend these two.
Before you go...
Valeri gave us food for thought, inspired us to read Elon Musk’s biography and brightened up our day with his positive energy.
We cannot wait to hear what stories and little-known facts the next Partner will share with us. But until then – follow our Facebook and LinkedIn channels to stay up-to-date and do remember to sign up for our Newsletter!