Kadeem Clarke is a finance professional, entrepreneur, and blockchain expert assisting firms with investments in emerging markets, emerging industries, and startups. Kadeem learned the trade of finance at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch and continued his career as Investment Manager at a Venture Capital firm, 8 Decimal Capital, based in Silicon Valley. Currently, Kadeem is an Investment Manager at MarketX Ventures, an investment firm facilitating family office, venture capital, and UHNWI investment into global private tech companies. In addition, Kadeem founded a consulting firm Clarke Global Marketing, which serves startups and SMEs in tech and traditional sectors, advising in investor relations, digital marketing, business development, and helping raise money.
We spoke to Kadeem to find out his views about the current market situation: working closely with startups and companies, Kadeem has firsthand knowledge and insights on how startups and SMEs are affected, and potentially will be affected even more by the Covid-19 crisis. After all, he is directly involved in helping to create pitch decks, investment teasers, and fundraising.
Kadeem says he is surprised that the market has not crashed yet and believes that key changes in the financial sector and the global economy are coming up in the next few months. “I believe that the crisis should affect the Fintech industry positively as the environment is set to create an opportunity for people to be more open to the ideas”. However, Kadeem stresses that this will be “the survival of the strongest”.
Due to the U.S., European, and global financial situation in general, larger firms and funds are looking for alternative investments, therefore, funding and liquidity is not closed for corporations. However, startups, which are at a point when they need to raise more money today, are likely not to be the ones that will survive. Startups that are backed by Venture Capital (VC) funds- and most of them are- need to be cautious about the VC’s relationship with their Limited Partners, who might need to withdraw their money in times of crisis.
Overall, Kadeem sees good opportunities to raise money, but only for leading, strong startups and companies. He also predicts an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions activities, which will produce some losses and some good wins as well.
Kadeem says: “In order to have your business to survive this pandemic, you have to be aware of how the technology is affecting your industry”. He sees that once the quarantine is over, the World is not going to go back to the way it was before. Therefore, businesses must think about how to acquire clients using digital means and how to improve the deal pipeline in the digital world- this is crucial for survival. At the same time, due to the looming financial crisis, Kadeem believes that future businesses will be more financially responsible and focus on maintaining a better debt to equity ratio.
Kadeem agrees with industry leaders, such as Andreessen Horowitz- founder of the leading Venture Capital firm a16z- who said that “It is time to Build”. Kadeem adds that “It is the right time to focus on making businesses more efficient, to look at how to decrease operational costs, and how to utilize the technology”.
We asked Kadeem what he knew about Lithuania and its startups: “I do not know much about Lithuania, but I am aware that it is a tech- forward looking country. Although the U.S. investors typically invest in companies based in the United States, Singapore, and China, perhaps in these virtual times finding out solid information about Europe- based companies will become easier”.
See and hear Kadeem speaking at the Fintech Week Lithuania on the 18th of June, 2020, where he will talk about financing opportunities and challenges that startups face today.