Manuel Queiroz, Director at Bright Pixel Capital.
Joana Cidades

When trust and empathy are key: Bright Pixel Capital’s on succeding in the Venture scene

Last year, former Sonae IM became Bright Pixel Capital — a rebranding aligned with the tech-driven investments the company focuses on. At the same time, being in such close touch with technology opens new opportunities to get up to date with trends, develop best practices to lead the teams, align with clients, and define new strategies, as Manuel Queiroz, Investment Director at Bright Pixel Capital, explains to us in this interview. Keep reading to find all about it.

You’ve been a part of the Venture Capital universe for several years, and have a vast track record in Investment Management. What has changed in the last years in how you work and lead your teams?

A big change in the last years was the movement to fully remote or mostly remote relationships. In Venture Capital the relationship between investor and founders is critical, establishing trust and empathy is essential. When we invest in a company, we are entering a relationship that will last at least 5 years, often more. In most cases we are joining the Board of Directors of the companies we are backing and it’s rare that the path to success is linear. While before the pandemic, zoom was already very common — which is great because it brings a lot of efficiency — post 2020 that really accelerated. Since then, we have executed investments without any in-person meeting and have companies that only have virtual board meetings. In this new context, we continue to put effort into building the relationship with the founders we are backing, getting to know their stories and motivations, and establishing mutual trust.

Last year, former Sonae IM underwent a rebranding and started identifying itself as Bright Pixel Capital. How has this impacted the way the company is seen and perceived?

While the vision and ambition remain the same, the rebranding was an opportunity to refresh our image. Being part of Sonae is very important for us and a real differentiator. We have access to a lot of knowledge and can quickly tap into a network of experts that can provide input not only during our due diligence but also post investment in several key topics, such as providing an outside view of a specific market. On another hand, we work at arm’s length and are 100% financially driven. The new brand allowed us to strengthen that positioning, while maintaining the close association with Sonae.

There’s a significant investment from Bright Pixel Capital in emerging technologies. How are they essential for modern-day business?

Technology is essential not only for modern-day business, but also for wealth creation, progress, and well-being. Current times are exciting, with several big changes. From a technology perspective it definitely feels like the world is on the verge of a large transformation, similarly to what happened with the internet some years ago. An example of this and a “hot topic” at the moment is generative AI, with most people already having “played” and experimented with the potential of this technology. In retail and ecommerce tech, where I focus, there are a lot of exciting use cases for this technology, from personalized content creation to automation of complex workflows, such as customer support.

As someone who’s been working closely with tech ventures, what’s your top advice for companies looking to catch the investor’s eye?

My first advice is to “qualify” the investors that you are looking to engage. Spamming a long list of investors is definitely a mistake. It is easy to get information on which segment and stage a VC focuses on. Take time to build that list and target the VCs that are relevant for you, ideally with a personalized approach. The second advice is to have a clear short email, with potentially a short teaser attached, that covers the key points (what problem is the company solving, team, etc). A lot of founders focus on trying to approach VCs via intros, I think cold emails can be effective, if they are well crafted. The final advice is to invest time in building relationships with VCs, as previously mentioned mutual empathy and trust are essential, and having the time to get to know the founders (and for the founders, to know the VCs) is very important.

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