Are you crazy enough to fail? Leeor Groen – Blockchain Valley Ventures

Listen to the episode here.

Leeor Groen is currently a partner at Blockchain Valley Ventures. He draws on a wealth of experience having lived and worked professionally in Zurich, London, Melbourne, Oslo, Brisbane and Singapore.

First and foremost, what is a venture capitalist?

A venture capitalist is an investor who provides funds to a startup business in exchange for a share in the company’s profits.

Are their essential skills necessary to become a venture capitalist?

Leeor finds that individuals must possess a robust skill set; one that consists of the basic principles of finance and the understanding of how to grow and propel companies. 

Throughout the interview, commitment was emphasised as an important attribute. Leeor Groen is a determined global entrepreneur who believes that in order to succeed in any field, especially as a venture capitalist, one must be fully committed.

A venture capitalist, according to Leeor, is the “most exciting profession in the twenty-first century.” Regardless of whether or not this statement is true, it demonstrates Leeor’s enthusiasm for his work. He is adamant that you must find your passion in life, and Leeor has. He has now turned his passion into a successful reality as a partner at BVV. When Leeor reflects on his career so far and some of his own entrepreneurial pursuits, he says that in order to become successful, you must be ‘crazy enough to fail’ in the first place. Fearlessness is second to none in this line of work, alongside commitment and a strong skill set.

What has Leeor gained from his international experience that other candidates lack?

A global citizen from London to Zurich to Melbourne to Singapore. Leeor has moved around a lot and yet through all of these experiences, he is now able to reap the many benefits of living internationally. He asserts that by being able to adapt to new environments and to different cultures, you become more resilient. Life is about seeking discomfort and learning to work under different circumstances. 

How can we cultivate the rewards and benefits of these experiences?

Try as much as you can and take every opportunity that you may encounter. Internships, according to Leeor, are one of the most valuable assets in today’s world. They enable a myriad of diverse experiences, augment your network and allow you to build relationships with new people. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to the youth?

Leeor buys into the notion that winners forget they are in a race, they just love to run. What he means by this is that if you do things just for the sake of doing things, you will not achieve the same results as those who are truly committed to their work.

Discover your true passion. Find something about which you are truly passionate! Only then can you commit to a future that you want to pursue.

Jonathan Aberman’s golden rules to become a successful entrepreneur!

Jonathan Aberman is the current Dean and Professor of Practice at the School of Business and Technology at Marymount University. Over the course of Jonathan’s life, he has experiences as a venture capitalist, lawyer, investment banker and entrepreneur. As an expert in the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship and policies, Jonathan shared with us the most important advice to anyone entering the entrepreneurial world. 

From an early age, Aberman always knew that he wanted to make a difference. Against a template of wanting to make a difference, wanting to be in charge of his own destiny, Aberman has ended up where he is today as someone who has a myriad of professional expertise. While, Aberman’s life might seem like a linear progression, he is quick to assert that rather ‘life is a random walk.’ At best, there are north stars, long-term goals or things that drive you. 

Aberman’s perspective on career progression:

  1. He believes that the 20’s and 30’s are about creating core competencies; within Aberman’s career his focus was on financial transactions, law and how businesses work. 
  1. The next period of life, the 40’s and 50’s are about driving the core competencies to a position of prominence. 
  1. Finally, the 60’s and 70’s are about living on and passing on all of this to another generation.

If you want to move forward in life and accomplish your goals, you must learn to develop the necessary skills.

Is there ever an age where it is too early to become an entrepreneur?

When you ask the question of what age you can become an entrepreneur, you are missing the point. Aberman states that an entrepreneur is a person who has the skills and the passion to wake up every morning and challenge the status quo. If you feel the need to ask the question, then you most likely are not an entrepreneur. 

Aberman’s golden rules to becoming a successful entrepreneur

  • The winning strategy → the extent to which you go to get your own way.   
  • A self-starter skill set that consists of resilience, courage and optimism. Self-directed
  • Entrepreneurs grow through failure. People learn through adversity, this is because it forces them to confront why they are failing.
  • Although most successful entrepreneurs won’t admit it, the dirty secret to anyone’s success is luck.

Entrepreneurship is all about self determination, it’s about autonomy. If you are going to do it, you have to be self-aware. This strong inner drive will help him/her succeed in every realm of life.

What piece of advice would you give to students if you could?

Figure out what makes you happy as a person. Once you master this, you will become happier and more successful.  

‘You can’t control whether you will be rich in life, that is a function of luck. You can control whether or not you like the journey’

Jonathan Aberman

Non-Linear Pathways – Irene Wu

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Irene Wu is currently an investor at Blue Collective VC and Computer Science student at Harvard University. Having taken a different pathway to most, Irene started off her journey by taking time off from college after High School due to personal circumstances. She decided to make the most of her time off by working at the Rowing Blazers, at the time a small scale company. This was the start of her love for investment and VC as she witnessed professionals believe in the small scale business and make it successful.

Quick Summary

What is venture capital?

Irene described VC as a financing tool. As a start up, there are many options on how you can raise funds. VC’s are an early stage private equity investors. Investors look for start ups that they believe can reach exponential growth over a long term. VC’s are suitable for businesses that can be scaleable which means it has different layers that can assist in determine the growth and value of a business. The popularity of this funding comes from the fact that a lot of businesses that are now the stock market are ones that were funded using a VC.

How has time off from school helped you and would you recommend it?

Irene talked about her experience and started off by saying that her high school self would not have chosen to take a gap year, she was sort of forced to do so. Looking back on it now, Irene mentioned that she was extremely burnt out after high school. She thinks that the time off from the traditional, linear academic pathway allowed her to grow as an individual, professional and most importantly, gave her time to rest.

What does the VC space look like for women of color?

Irene started off by mentioning the background of VCs. It was founded in the 1960’s by Harvard Business School professors who were all white males. This history of VCs has sadly continued with a lot of jarring statistics when it comes to the VC space and businesses that are led by women who have been VC backed. Irene talked about the nurture of VC’s and how a lot of it had to do with networking so it was often seen as unattainable to most. Women today are trying to break the stigma that this space is only for men by trying to create more female investors and get more women interested in the space.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Care about people.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out.

What is the future of NFT? – Nicholas Chan

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Nicholas Chan is the Co-Founder of Refinable. Refinable is the first major NFT marketplace on BSC, empowering both individual creators and beloved brands to easily and affordably create, discover, trade, and leverage NFTs.

Quick Summary

What is a NFT?

Nicholas describes an NFT (non-fungible token) as a digital identifier that you can attach to anything in the world. It is essentially a numerical identifier like a barcode for anything from your water bottle to a JPEG image online. Refinable is looking at long term integration of NFT’s into the world of digital transactions to make it easier for communities to purchase authentic creations.

What is a difference between Binance Smart Change (BSC) and Ethereum based exchange?

Ethereum based exchange (blockchain) are very energy consuming and dependent. When there are more users on the platform, gas fees go up. Its like an auction system. There is limited processing power so you want to finish your transaction faster so that you outbid the other transactions. BSCs have a different algorithm. This means that BSCs are a lot more efficient, affordable and secure but not decentralized.

What is some advice for start ups that are wanting to attract big names and investors?

Nicholas suggested that a lot of the time, this comes down to luck. Attracting big names stems from networking and getting your foot in the door. It is important to know what to do with those connections and learn how to use your network for your own benefit.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Perfect is the enemy of the good.

“You are never too young to start something.

Nicholas Chan