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Boxing, travel, and M&A deals. Meet Martin Ouzunov!

Mar 17, 2022

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, discussed rock music with Valeri Petrov, and put on the running shoes with Daniel Tomov

Today, the spotlight is on Martin Ouzunov. Martin joined the team in 2019 and is currently leading the operations at Eleven, overseeing the reporting and investor relationships at our funds and further extending his financial and M&A expertise towards the #OneOf11 companies. He describes himself as a professional traveler, with passion for building successful companies, and rich experience in managing projects related to mergers, acquisitions, investments, and divestments.  

Continue reading to get to know him better!

Martin's favourite way to unwind is quality time with the family at a faraway destination.


Previous experience:

  • Co-founded or was part of the management team of several tech startups;
  • Extensive finance and managerial experience as an auditor, controller, CFO, M&A Manager, and COO;
  • Operated successfully in different regions of the world like Europe, North America, and Asia and various industries including manufacturing,  telecommunications, consumer goods, and IT.

Spheres of expertise: Deal Execution, Finance, Governance, M&A.

Talk with Martin about:

  • Deal structuring, fundraising, exit strategies;
  • Travel, cars, sport.

Being #Oneof11

1. What is your #Oneof11 story? How did your Eleven journey start?

I’m one of the “latecomers” in Eleven as I joined the team about 3 years ago. However, I have been following the development of the first two Eleven funds since their start in 2013 and 2018 respectively. I also knew Daniel and Vassil from our time together at the American University in Bulgaria and Valeri from some M&A deals on which we worked together. Thus, joining Eleven in 2019 was an easy and very natural decision for me and I quickly became part of the Eleven family.

2. Why Venture Capital as a current career path?

In my opinion, venture capital is one of the most interesting, challenging, and rewarding careers out there. It allows you to meet on a daily basis with inspiring, bright, and ambitious people working on innovative projects in different industries. It also gives you a chance to use your own experience to help them change the world.

3. What is one piece of advice which you wish more founders followed?

Most founders know that they must build a good product, hire a great team, maximize sales, etc. However, at least some of them underestimate how important fundraising is for their success. And since raising financing is not always easy and usually takes time, they need to start preparing for this step almost from day one and keep themselves in a constant fundraising mode throughout the life of their venture.

Going back in time

4. What was the first job you got paid to do? 

My first paid job was for one of the first cable TV operators in my hometown when I was still in high school. The work was hard and not well-paid but I still remember how proud I was when I received my first paycheck. Another advantage from this experience was that after climbing almost every roof in town I had no fear of heights ever since.

5. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid? 

I was very interested in computers from a very early age and wanted to become a software engineer. This was the reason I decided to study in a tech high school which was almost 400 km away from my hometown. This obviously did not happen but I am still very passionate about technology, which helps me a lot in my current role.

6. Can you share a time/situation when you really failed at something? What did you learn?

One of the lessons I learned the hard way during my time as an entrepreneur was that it is better to be fast than perfect. In my first tech venture we were so focused on building what we thought was the best product, that we were late to the market and ultimately we were not successful with the commercialization of our solution. This is a mistake we never repeated again – instead we developed in smaller steps, launched quickly, received customer feedback fast, and made changes as needed.

Learned the hard way

7. At what job would you be terrible? 

A politician – all the fakeness, lies, unprincipled compromises, etc. that are required would certainly drive me crazy. 

8. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self? 

Trust more your gut feeling – logic does not always lead to the best outcomes, so one should not rationalize too much. And bonus advice – party more.

9. What would you say is your #1 “superpower”?

I am very organized.

10. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why? 

Astronaut – I would love to see the Earth from space.

11. Do you live by any motto or core principle? 

Better try and fail than do nothing.

After hours

12. What do you do in your free time? What hobbies do you enjoy? 

I spend as much time as possible with my kids – they grow so fast and every minute counts. Also, I have always been passionate about sports and still try to dedicate time every day for such activities (e.g. boxing, swimming, hiking, etc.). Finally, I am a passionate traveler – so far I’ve visited about 20% of the territory of the world and I would do my best to cover as much as possible from the rest in my lifetime. 

13. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? 

My family. 

14. What was the last book you read? Which is your all-time favorite one? 

I don’t have an all time favorite – I read very different books (e.g. business, historical, literature, science fiction, etc.) and it is difficult to pick one or even several ones.

I am currently reading Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, before that I read Blitzscaling, and before that I finally managed to finish War and Peace. Two other  very interesting books I read recently were Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, which offer a very interesting and alternative look at the modern world.

Before you go...

Martin made us daydream about catching the next flight to the Maldives, added more intriguing titles to our reading list, and inspired us to be bolder. 

We cannot wait to hear what stories the next Partner will share with us. But until then – follow our Facebook and LinkedIn channels to stay up-to-date and don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter!

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