Meet Jimena Nowack, Dawn’s new Vice President Dawn

Earlier this year we were delighted to welcome Jimena Nowack to the Dawn team as Vice President.

Jimena joins us from our friends at Index Ventures, where she spent almost three years supporting fast-growing companies across B2B and B2C categories. Notable investment highlights include the Series D investment into cyber security platform Wiz, and a Series C investment into Motorway, a marketplace for cars in the UK.

Jimena started out her career in investment banking M&A at Lazard. She then moved into the growth private equity world and built up valuable experience at General Atlantic, where she worked on growth investments into consumer-facing tech companies. From there, our new VP made the jump into venture and never looked back. 

We recently sat down with Jimena to talk about everything from why she was attracted to venture to the one dish she couldn’t live without… 

What drew you to venture?

In what is probably quite an unconventional background for venture, I studied History of Art and I initially wanted to work in the art worldAfter a few internships I tried my hand at investment banking, before joining General Atlantic – which was a formative experience for me as an investor.  I learnt about business models, the importance of unit economics, and how to look at products in relation to long-term TAM and valuation. I got to work on great investments like Gymshark and Depop. It was then at Index that I realised venture was the ideal fit for my skill set, as it fulfilled my interest in working directly with younger, high-energy organisations. 

One of the things I love most about venture is definitely the proximity to founders – I find this very rewarding and I learn a ton from them. Sometimes I think the job of a venture capitalist is closer to a psychologist than anything else! I enjoy that advisory element, the brainstorming, that being a small part of helping to build something. You get to find founders that are just so, so special and it’s a privilege to be even a very small part of their journeys. 

And why Dawn?

The irony of having started my career in consumer investing is not lost on me… But there are several reasons, and I guess the easiest way to explain it is this: I believe the biggest opportunity in Europe right now lies in B2B, and I couldn’t think of a better B2B investor than Dawn -the go-to for post-product market fit startups.. I also love how everyone gets really hands-on in company building. If I put myself in founders’ shoes I would want to have Dawn as an investor – I think their product for founders is excellent, so I have gone where my conviction is. 

I’m very much enjoying getting stuck into the complexity of B2B categories. I’m hoping to further help founders using my experience of analytical workstreams, knowledge of how late-stage investors evaluate companies, and what getting IPO-ready looks like for later-stage startups.

What does a typical day at Dawn look like so far? And is there a sector and/or geography that you’re most excited about? 

From a geographic coverage perspective I’m going to be spending a lot of time in France and in the Benelux region, which is great as there is so much going on there right now. Startups today need to try to be multi-country from early in the journey, this is both the challenge and the opportunity in Europe.

In terms of sectors, I’m currently really excited about the role software can play in industries like biopharma and material science. In general, there are still many opaque, pen and paper industries for software to disrupt and improve: from manufacturing to procurement, the mid-market, and even construction. I will be spending most of my time across Vertical and Horizontal software, with a particular eye on Enterprise automation.

(So founders please reach out, always happy to chat!)

Now for the GTKY round! 

Where did you grow up and whereabouts are you based now?

I grew up between Spain and Argentina, then I spent a year in the US before coming over to study at university in the UK. Now I’m based in West London.

What are your favourite things to do in your free time?

I’ve still got the art bug, so I tend to go to museums and exhibitions a lot. And I grew up in Argentina where horse riding is a bit of a given, so I try to do that as much as I can. Otherwise, you’ll probably find me in the closest spinning studio or eating over-priced small plates around London!

What’s your favourite dish to cook?

It has to be gazpacho. It’s not technically cooking, more putting stuff in a blender, but it’s my favourite dish. I could eat gazpacho every day of my life. 

Tell us a bit about your TV watching habits…

I don’t really do TV (there’s a TV in my flat, but no one watches it), but I try to get to the cinema every weekend – I love the habit of a Sunday night in the cinema.  

How would your friends describe you in one word?

Loud and eclectic, probably! I would like to think determined too 🙂

To end the piece, it would be brilliant if you could share the best piece of advice you’ve ever received.

One that has become increasingly helpful in this job… have strong opinions, loosely held. I.e. Be willing to take a stance for what you believe, but keep an open mind in light of evidence or a well-formulated argument.

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