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Eleven Years of Sente - Looking at Our Founding Principles

Serhat Cicekoglu and Gerod Carfantan of Sente

Sente is celebrating our birthday today, and it's a great time to reflect on what Sente is all about. In 2011, Serhat founded Sente with some fundamental principles that hold true even in today's turmoil in the entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Principle #1 - The US does not have a monopoly on innovation

Smart engineers and ambitious entrepreneurs are building things worldwide, but connecting those startups with the capital and customers to scale is not easy. Making it happen takes a special network, toolset, and focus.

Our take in 2022 -

The pandemic evened the playing field for startups looking to connect with investors across the world. Nobody knew if you were pitching from Palo Alto, Delhi, Istanbul, or Singapore. As we return to in-office work and in-person events, we expect that investors and corporations will still be open to engaging internationally but that many of the challenges of "going global" will still remain.

Principle #2 - For us, innovation is in the context of its impact on the planet and society

We never had the intent to create a specific"impact fund" but have placed our work in the context of "Human Essentials" for food, agriculture, and water related innovation and "Industrial Circular Economy" for industrial innovation.

Our take in 2022 -

The trend toward sustainability, diversity, and proper company governance practices continued undeterred throughout all of the disruptions in the past three years. Whereas before, ESG priorities were either core principles of a few forward-thinking companies like Patagonia or were simply marketing ploys for many other companies. Impact funds existed but were a special breed. Now, ESG goals and metrics exist throughout companies and funds - it is part of the new normal.

Principle #3 - Process and data matter

Many early-stage investors write checks based on their gut feelings about a team and a market. However, we believe that focusing on understanding customer segments, unit economics, and use of funds is important for investors and the entrepreneurs themselves. We built our toolset and investment process based on this principle.

Our take in 2022 -

Today, it seems that the VC community has once again woken up to the importance of unit economics and the path to profitability for their portfolio companies. The collaborative due-diligence process that our startups go through gives us much better confidence in their capital efficiency. It gives them a leg up when defending their business models with potential future investors.

Principle #4: Experience makes a difference

We believe that the advantages of industry experience, industry networks, and professionalism gained through experience are more important than youth's energy and raw ingenuity.

Our take in 2022 -

Both of us lived through multiple boom and bust cycles in the technology industry, and we believe this experience is an asset for guiding our portfolio through this next downturn. This experience also makes us highly optimistic about the investments we'll be making in the next couple of years: investing now means establishing positions at a very good cost basis, and we're confident that it will pay off with a performance in the coming years.

Now at the midway point of 2022, we have some exciting developments in the works that we will share in the coming months about our brand, portfolio, and investment capabilities.

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