Stories 5 Questions

5 Questions with David Mendez

Mar 1st, 2020

2-min read

David Mendez currently serves as Managing Director for the Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator Powered by Techstars, in Amsterdam, focusing on smart city and infrastructure technologies. He also was cofounder for Good Growth Capital, an early stage venture fund based between Charleston, SC and Boston, MA, and currently serves as Venture Partner.

01. What are the key elements you look for when sourcing startups for the Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator Powered by Techstars?

We are looking for startups that drive digitization and innovation in the design and engineering of infrastructure projects, such as large urban developments, public spaces, airports, and other transportation hubs. Included are new ways to take a more human-centric approach to infrastructure.

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars MD?

Being a cofounder of a venture-backed startup in the early days of “SaaS” and B2B software, the mid-1990s, I have seen how technology has made innovation more accessible, but also more competitive. I have experienced how difficult it is to sell a real true value proposition, as well as how difficult it is to raise capital. I can relate to almost every struggle a startup will experience at the earliest stage.

03. What does our partner, Arcadis, bring to the accelerator?

In addition to funding the program, Arcadis brings strategic value to the program, including their sector expertise, industry mentors, fast track to pilots, and proof of concepts within Arcadis or on joint projects with Arcadis and their customers.

04. Describe a situation with a startup founder or team where you felt like you made a difference. 

Delivering content, making introductions and basic mentoring are what all Managing Directors can bring to the table during the program. I think the most valuable thing I can bring to a founder or team is transparency, honesty, and practical insight into the challenges they face, as well as staying with them after the program, as a trusted advisor, mentor, and investor in their business.  In one case, with others to come, I facilitated the fundraise for a company’s Series Seed, including putting together the investors, and helping all parties proceed to the closing. This was a process that began during the program, but extended into the subsequent six months after Demo Day.

05. What is your favorite thing about the Amsterdam startup scene?

Amsterdam has one of the most vibrant startup scenes in Europe, and it continues to grow at a fast pace. The Dutch culture has always been very welcoming, innovative, and efficient, which works very well in creating an ecosystem that is very supportive for entrepreneurs.