What’s the connection between philosophy, entrepreneurship, investments? And how about Miyamoto Musashi and his “Book of 5 rings”?

This is what comes out from our discussion with Daniel Hoffer, a partner at Autotech VC (one of the first VC funds fully focused on mobility), a philosopher by training (Harvard AB), then turned technologists (New, Siebel, Symantec), then entrepreneur (CouchSurfing) and finally investor.

Probably an excerpt from the Book of Earth of Miyamoto Musashi exemplify Daniel’s philosophy:

“Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things. As if it were a straight road mapped out on the ground … These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard”. 

Our chat includes some insights to entrepreneurs and investors worth watching.

Daniel Hoffer – Autotech VC

0.42: From Philosophy (Harvard) to tech to Entrepreneur to VC: how to stay relevant
2.24: Miyamoto Musashi, “The book of 5 rings” on the manifestation of same principles
4.04: Finding software while looking for spending time at a Zen Monastery
6.43: Starting Couch Surfing as a no-profit in 2004
9.46: In 2010 turning into a for profit business (when Airbnb was 2 years old)
14.36: Are 4 co-founders too many?
14.37: How to read signals of co-founders relationships as a VC
18.15: Starting as an advisor to startups then turning into an angel
20.00: How to engage a startup advisor (and pay) – do not use them to help raise $$
23.40: Why Autotech VC (started in 2016)
24.50: Joined as first non-founding partner (after 20 months interview process)
26.40: Investing in everything with wheels (Africa included)
28.26: Not bullish on selfdriving (on highways) but agriculture, construction and mining
32.05: NOT investing in a trend (micromobility) but rather in a company
34.35: Roles of OEMs 10 years from now
36.20: Car suppliers/OEMs and whether it makes sense for them to run a CVC
39.14: Hyperloop: too capital intensive and risky for us