Leila Zegna | Kindred Capital
We continue our International Women’s Day celebrations by talking to Leila Zegna, founding partner at Kindred Capital, about motherhood, venture funding and her life-long love affair with learning.??
What do you do for work?
I founded and am a General Partner in a London-based venture fund, Kindred Capital.
What is it about your job you are most passionate about?
I feel so lucky to work in a business that’s far more about human capital than financial capital. At the end of the day, what makes me most passionate about my job is the people I get to meet, work with, and learn from both on our team and in our portfolio companies.
Would you say your workplace is balanced for better?
I’m very proud to say that yes I do, and it’s something that is very core to Kindred. Across just 4 of us investment partners, and the other 2 members of our full-time team, we’re an incredibly diverse group – diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, sector speciality, geographic experience. And that’s juxtaposed to a very homogenous industry with very little diversity, gender or otherwise.
What are your passions outside of work? Or do the two marry?
I am absolutely passionate about my work, and I know that because it’s a lot of what I want to keep learning about, reading about, and engaging with even in my spare time. There’s always more to learn, to discuss, to debate, and that’s a huge piece of what fuels me in my everyday job. I do, however, try to carve out time for my family (I have two little start-ups at home in my 3 year old and 1 year old daughters!), and there are no people on earth who can bring a bigger smile to my face than them.
Wow, so how did you turn your passion into work?
The truth is, I didn’t set out to be in venture capital – I set out to start another company (all of us investment partners at Kindred have founded and run companies prior to coming onto the investment side), and it just so happened that the problem I most cared about solving was a funding one. I felt that founders in Europe were underserved on a relative basis, especially versus some of the best practice that I’d seen as a customer of venture capital in Silicon Valley.
Can you remember your first huggg?
Of course I can! But it was during due diligence, so not sure that counts ?
If you could make one change in the world what would it be?
I wish that everyone in the world would practice compassion. We can’t always be empathetic to a situation (because what do we know about being in someone else’s shoes?), but we can be compassionate. I’m confident the world would be a better place if compassion was a central tenet of what makes us human.
A piece of advice for 12-year-old you:
Stop stressing out so much about everything. You’ll never remember the grade you got on your math quiz. Or the spelling bee you nailed. But you’ll always remember the feeling, and the confidence, that stems from a genuinely happy, joyful, purposeful childhood. Take a big step back, a deep breath, and remember to savour the ride.
We, of course, have to ask: if you could choose anyone to huggg this International Women’s Day, who would you choose, what would you send and what would the message say?
I bet you’re getting this a lot, but I would huggg Michelle Obama! And I would say: “Michelle for President…!!”