You might have seen some of Eleven’s Partners in interviews, read their articles, met them during events and conferences but it is time we introduce them from a slightly different angle. And this is why we started our “14 Questions With” blog post series, which show the more personal and little-known side of the Partners at Eleven. So far, we talked about beer brewing with Ivaylo Simov and listened to rock music with Valeri Petrov.
In this article, the spotlight is on Daniel Tomov. Daniel embarked on a successful career in entrepreneurship after graduating from the American University in Bulgaria. Following his passion for building successful companies, he co-founded Eleven together with Ivaylo Simov in 2012.
Let’s see what stories and surprising facts he shared.
Previous experience: Pioneering seed investments in Bulgaria and entrepreneur in technology, cleantech, and consumer retail.
Spheres of expertise: Fintech, Healthcare, Future of Food.
Talk with Daniel about:
- Strategy, fundraising, product, culture or any challenge that your company faces;
- Running, hiking, what the future holds.
1. What is your #Oneof11 story? How did your Eleven journey start?
During my early days as an investor at Bulventures, a prototype of the early Eleven, and Global Finance – I experienced first hand the struggles of founders who lacked access to markets, capital, mentors, and know-how to build products and companies. The founders then suffered from the ‘isolation syndrome’- totally cut off from the global entrepreneurs’ networks. These are the years when I started to contemplate how I could build an organization that could resolve that challenge.
Fastforward, and a few years later as an entrepreneur myself, Ivaylo and I were presented with the opportunity to build Eleven the way we wanted. We both shared the same vision, which was very helpful. Ten years later I think we’re on the right track.
2. Why Venture Capital as a current career path?
I have always been attracted by initiatives where I can combine my passion for building things and my desire to help others. I’ve been through various ventures before Eleven and it seems that venture capital is the right calling for me where I can help others achieve their potential while jumping from one creative idea to another.
3. What is one piece of advice which you wish more founders followed?
Build grit – the perseverance and passion that one needs for achieving long term goals! It’s damn hard but also very important.
Going back in time
4. What was the first job you got paid to do?
I think it was а summer internship at the library of AUBG. Before that all my summers I have spent helping my uncle with his farm pro-bono.
5. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I do not have any recollection about what I wanted to become as a kid, if I ever had such thoughts at the time, but I do remember that basketball and mathematics occupied most of my childhood.
6. Can you share a time/situation when you really failed at something? What did you learn?
There were few instances in my life where I did not have the courage to listen to my guts and part ways with people soon after I felt that things were going in the wrong direction. These were tough times for me and I procrastinated, which took a toll on me, but I think I learned over time how to handle such situations better.
Learned the hard way
7. At what job would you be terrible?
Anything with too much routine drives me crazy.
8. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
You could be bolder and worry less. Everything would be fine at the end and if it’s not then it’s still not the end.
9. What would you say is your #1 “superpower”?
Problem solving – I love tackling challenges and I get bored and anxious when there are none. It’s my favorite daily routine.
10. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?
Honestly, I love my shoes and prefer staying there, however, sometimes I’m curious to be in the shoes of my little one to see how she discovers the world.
11. Do you live by any motto or core principle?
Anything is possible!
12. What do you do in your free time? What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like running or hiking in the mountains and I like spending time with my family and friends. Also, I try to use any free minute to read something.
13. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
The smiles and laughter of my two daughters.
14. What was the last book you read? Which is your all-time favorite one?
The last book I read was a collection of short stories by Mia Couto, a writer from Mozambique. It is so different from anything I’ve been reading lately and I loved the perspectives about life that each character had.
I have a number of favorite books that I often return to: Three comrades by Erich Maria Remarque – a remarkable story about friendship; Catch 22 by Jozeph Heller – a witty story about the absurdities of the war; The seven good years by Etgar Keret – life affirming memoir, and maybe Wolf hunt by Ivaylo Petrov – a great story about the toll of Communism on Bulgarian villagers.
Before you go...
Daniel inspired us to be bolder, added intriguing titles to our reading list, and motivated us to put on the running shoes.