EP 73 – The impact of AI on Startups, VC and Society with Frank Thelen
🎧 We are thrilled to announce a new episode of The Most Awesome Founder Podcast, featuring one of Germany’s most prominent deep tech investors, Frank Thelen. In this wide-ranging discussion, Frank shares his perspective on how AI and generative technologies are beginning to reshape the startup and venture capital landscapes. 🚀
While AI promises to turbocharge innovation and efficiency, Frank cautions that many startups are simply slapping an “AI startup” label on their pitch decks without true breakthroughs. Real advances require deep research and teams willing to eat glass for years before product-market fit. We also dive into the opportunities and limitations of using AI in deal flow analysis and startup evaluation. While AI can help sort prospects, Frank emphasizes that human judgment around founding teams and markets remains critical – not something algorithms can replicate (yet!). 🤖💡
With his characteristic candor, Frank voices his views on creating a thriving European tech ecosystem and why he engages in spirited LinkedIn debates on issues like work-life balance and how to balance innovation with ethics. If you’re an investor, founder, or tech enthusiast, this thought-provoking episode is not to be missed. Tune in across platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify to hear our free-wheeling exchange. After listening, we’d love to hear your key takeaways in the comments! 🌟
(1:00) Introduction by Dries
(2:15) Frank’s Background
(4:00) Do you already see specific changes in how startups are working with generative AI?
(6:10) Buzz Word Bingo with AI
(6:37) Are there any revolutionary startups within AI?
(8:50) Are you scaling back your investments in AI startups?
(12:12) Where is room for creating an unfair advantage in AI startups?
(15:00) Your perspective on how AI will transform the venture capital world
(18:30) How can you leverage the data from software to create an unfair advantage?
(21:00) Do you think the whole value chain of venture capital will be automated from sourcing to investing?
(24:10) Will there be a shift in how funds are set up?
(27:40) What is your opinion on how regulation regarding AI in the EU is moving?
(31:26) Do you see regulatory risks?
(33:25) How should the tension between the opinions on data regulations be dealt with?
(36:30) Why do you post about heated topics on LinkedIn?
(41:30) What is your rationale behind posting on social media?
(45:00) Book, Podcast, and Music recommendations
(45:50) Who will win the fight, Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg?
(47:00) Thank you for listening!