Haakon Overli
General Partner

Haakon is co-founder of Dawn and works across our entire portfolio. He contributes on our direction and positioning, as well as overseeing our growth stage investing. Having been an entrepreneur himself, he loves seeing organisations, including Dawn, develop and grow, and has built long-standing relationships with our investors to ensure we can continue to partner with our founders throughout their journey. He currently sits on the board of Minute Media.


Before co-founding Dawn, Haakon was UK CEO and a founder at Self Trade, an on-line stockbroker which floated in April 2000, and then sold in October 2000 to HypoVereinsbank for €911m (US$1.1bn). For him, partnering with founders who become global category leaders – in the face of the multitude of challenges software companies face – is what Dawn is all about.


Haakon studied Mathematics at the University of Oslo and holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from Durham University.

Future of Work
In conversation
What was your vision for building a distinct firm in the world of VC?
Originally, we simply wanted to build a firm which backed founders where they lived, had their families, wider network and contacts. When we started the rule was Founders moved to where the money was, but we thought the other way around was better. Now everyone does this, but it was novel at the time. Over time, we strongly believe that diverse teams make be...tter decisions and that is what we have been striving for.
What has been your proudest moment as a VC founder?
Often, the big events are anticlimactic as you have planned them so long in advance - finishing your final exam is never as fun as you expected it to be. Which makes the proudest moments smaller affairs; someone closing a deal in stiff competition or giving great advice that is really listened to by Founders and leads to a great result.
What has been your biggest learning from founding your own VC firm?
Back your winners.
How has the industry changed since you founded Dawn and what does this mean for VC firms?
It is much much bigger and much more professional. The people we now work with are a different calibre to when we started. It means they have to up their game which only benefits the Founders and us as co-investors.
What’s the secret to building a strong investment portfolio?
Pick good companies, give good advice that is listened to and back your winners.
And the quick fire round…
Favourite (portfolio) founder moment and why?
The Dawn Founder Retreat 2022 as we all finally could see each other after Covid. Many of them are great friends of mine and it was just great to hang out with them again.
Favourite advice for founders?
If you do something you love you will figure out how to do it best.
What makes a new business catch your eye?
The Founders.
If you could build one company right now, what would it be?
A VC firm.
What makes you optimistic about B2B software?
It is an infinite opportunity; something can always be done better with better, cheaper, faster software.
In one sentence, what makes Dawn unique?
The people who work here and the Founders we back.

More from Haakon

https://dawncapital.com/?p=890 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/enter-quantum-286a7c168136
https://dawncapital.com/?p=819 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/our-long-standing-commitment-to-our-founders-introducing-dawn-opportunities-ii-53fd4eeeadd6
https://dawncapital.com/?p=887 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/the-founder-case-for-spacs-ba77295ef5a9
https://dawncapital.com/?p=822 aa
https://dawncapital.com/?p=845 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/what-ive-learnt-from-dawn-founders-about-listening-57e3f24dedbe
https://dawncapital.com/?p=842 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/being-an-all-weather-investor-c8f2291fa859
https://dawncapital.com/?p=839 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/1-25bn-for-vc-backed-startups-dawns-response-to-the-uk-government-s-coronavirus-plan-5319244ad83d
https://dawncapital.com/?p=835 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/a-lonely-time-c892697fa626
https://dawncapital.com/?p=816 aahttps://medium.com/dawn-capital/dawn-doubling-down-on-europes-best-tech-922f26d84187
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