This month we are shining the Founder Spotlight on Anand Sambasivan, co-founder and CEO of Primary Bid. Founded in 2016, Primary Bid has recently closed a $50m Series B funding round with new investment from London Stock Exchange, Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures and Fidelity Strategic Ventures. Primary Bid’s platform connects retail investors with public companies raising capital and clients have included Compass Group, Ocado and Taylor Wimpey.
1. Why did you decide to quit the day job and become an entrepreneur
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being an investment banker, I just didn’t love it. Yes, the relentless 100-hour weeks were exhausting; the “face-time” culture stifling; and the hierarchical structure felt robotic. But on the flip side, I got to work on deals that reverberated on a global level and let’s face it: the bonuses were fantastic. It’s hard to break inertia. For me it took a major personal crisis with a loved one passing away in a car accident that forced me to reassess life, throw caution to the wind and start doing what I loved.
2. What was the ‘lightbulb moment’ for your current business?
There was not one major light bulb moment but a series of “fairy-light bulb” moments throughout my career that began way back in 2002. The main stages were: (1) seeing first hand how the biggest investors accessed deals (2) feeling frustrated at being shut out companies that I was personally invested in (3) realising just how big this problem was on a global level and (4) understanding the progress of technology how it could be leveraged to fix this dislocation.
3. What has been your greatest learning whilst building a business?
Know your blind spots and solve for them early on.
4. What is the best advice you’ve received so far and who gave it to you?
“Do your best” — Mom.
I love this because you quickly realise that these is no such thing as “your best”. You can always do better, and human potential is limitless, especially when working as a collective.
5. What are you most worried about in the year ahead?
That we don’t make the most of what is in front of us. Good opportunities are precious and need efficient execution. If we don’t stay hungry and focused, we can easily miss some. The future is exciting and it’s up to us to make that a reality.