Demium Managing Director, Lisbon
Demium wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for our esteemed and highly experienced entrepreneurial MDs. In the first of a new series, we introduce Benjamin Lambert, our MD in Lisbon.
What’s a typical day in the Demium office for you?
I support start-ups overcome challenges and act almost as an interim CEO. That means putting out fires, organising amazing investors and mentors to come and meet people, and thinking of ways to ensure the companies succeed to their fullest.
Describe the AllStartup Weekend in Lisbon…
Inspirational. Our weekends really help people who are not yet in the right mindset to be an entrepreneur, but always wanted to be.
What can you tell us about Lisbon’s start-up ecosystem?
People love Portugal. You can attract the best talent in the world to Lisbon because it’s relaxed but efficient, with amazing food and there’s a high level of English spoken. Plus people are humble here and the opportunities to scale a business from Portugal makes it a great place to nurture a start-up.
How has your personal experience been in the start-up world?
I’ve been an investor, an advisor and founded multiple companies across numerous sectors, including events, fashion, dating, education and cloud technology. Many have failed – actually most have – but I like to think I know when to stop and when not to.
When you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’, what comes to mind?
An ability to understand a problem and have the vision to solve it. An entrepreneur will face many problems every day and should be able to come up with solutions that perhaps aren’t immediately clear to others to make their daily routine, and that of those around them, more efficient.
Name three characteristics that are essential for any budding entrepreneur.
Hustle, understanding and humility. They need to be able to make things happen and get stuff done without delay, to create something valuable from nothing, understand any problems, and have the humility to listen, but remain strong-minded and stick to their vision.
What is the most valuable experience you can gain on the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Failure. When you have knocks in life, you can use them to your advantage when trying something else, because you’ll learn from what went wrong or what didn’t work. This is the most valuable experience you can bring to the table.
Why do you think so many start-ups fail?
They don’t start with the ‘who’ or the ‘why’. They don’t know what problem their idea is solving and often they pick the wrong team to solve the problem with.
How would you advise someone worried about the risks of starting their own business?
Those who have relatively little responsibility, who haven’t started families yet: the time is now! You can always earn money. Those who do have families and dependents: read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert T Kiyosaki.
Who is the entrepreneur you most admire?
There are too many to list. I admire humility in successful entrepreneurs and the ability to enjoy life to the full.