Max Gurvits is an investor. Based in Bulgaria, the peripatetic VC is almost everywhere, showing up at events around the world and scouting out some amazing ideas. I talked to him about how he became a VC at a comparatively young age and what it takes to make it in investing for our back to school series.
TC: You’re pretty young (comparatively). How did you start?
Gurvits: I co-founded an online legal services company in Holland, made a small exit in 2011, moved to Bulgaria to found my next company, instead got involved in setting up an EU-backed accelerator (Eleven), then moved out to do personal investments, and ended up raising a private fund for regional post-traction companies (Teres Capital).
I’m 30, still a year older than Sam Altman.
TC: What did you study?
MG: I studied law in Holland, did scholarships at UW-Madison Law School and at Bologna University.
TC: Can students be good entrepreneurs?
MG: Students often make good founders because they’re usually too inexperienced to know better. One of my best stories is a 16-year old from a small town in rural Bulgaria, who got into YC (W14), becoming the youngest founder ever in that program. He’s a Thiel fellow now and will be launching a new iOS e-mail client this September (let me know if you want the scoop on that).
The younger the founders, the better they seem at doing really big stuff, and not “just” unlocking another cloud B2B vertical or another connected hardware thing.
TC: Sure. Give us the school. What do you look for in terms of investments?
MG: I always look out for the combination of boldness / big ideas, and the maturity to play nice and keep ego in check.
TC: What are you doing now? Why did you focus on Europe in general and Central Europe in particular?
MG: I’m currently working to close our fund, continuing with pre-fund angel syndications (we already did four, including Flipps.tv, and numbers 5 and 6 are coming up). Apart from this, I’m consulting a number of CEE angel networks, accelerators, and organizing my #FTW startup events.
I honestly believe CEE is the next big thing. Once the hype and EU-funded nitwits are passé, we’ll see a surge of serious activity, focusing on extremely good local conditions for building global stuff. This will come from increased local founder experience and the transformation of outsourcing capacity towards products.