What Makes A Leader: Dirk van Quaquebeke, Founding Managing Partner at Beenext
Dirk van Quaquebeke is a founding managing partner at BEENEXT, a Singapore based early stage venture capital firm investing in India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and the U.S.
He has been living in Asia since 2009 and has been an early stage investor in over 50 companies, such as Trusting Social, Open Bank, Grey Orange Robotics. Previously, he founded and led the company builder Alps Ventures Pte Ltd. out of which more than a dozen incubations and investments were done where he headed an active operational role in 3 different ventures.
Originally from Europe Dirk completed a degree in Computer Science from University of Hildesheim and a dual MSc. in Corporate Finance & Macro Economics as well as the CEMS degree from Copenhagen Business School & ESADE.
How did you get started in your field?
I always had a passion for entrepreneurship and got my hand dirty as a teenager doing various small side ventures which could earn me extra income. This never felt like work but rather like a game and was fun. Further, I enjoyed technology and hence started my academics pursuing a computer science degree followed by a business degree as I saw the intersection between tech and business as the most fascinating place to be.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently career-wise?
Optimize the first 10 years of your career for a steep learning curve & the people you work with. When asked to join for a rocket ship don’t be fussy about which seat! The next 10 years optimize for what you enjoy and are great at. The next 10 years groom the next generation!
Has your industry changed since you started in it and if so how have you adapted to it?
Venture capital is all about seeing change around and identifying founders and companies which can be a catalyst of that change at massive scale.
Life is full of challenges, what’s been your biggest professional one and how did you overcome it?
I think each of my entrepreneurial failures scratched my ego but once you realize you have another life and are able to bounce back stronger.
Which business leaders do you admire?
Too many for different skills/traits to list.
What qualities do you think you need to be a true pioneer?
Unique, independent, logical thinking and execution. If you follow the herd and you are wrong, you will never be alone, neither are you right.
On a personal level, who do you admire?
Anyone with spine & unique POV both professionally and privately.
What do you think are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Best to crowd source that answer from founders and partners I work with closely
If you had just one day to achieve something you had always dreamt of; how would you do it and what would it be?
Never thought about life like this...would take me a while to think about it.
Finally, any advice for future business leaders?
Learn to listen, empower and hire well. What were the smart questions you asked today?