As Managing Partner at Modus Capital, Kareem Elsirafy takes a new, integrated, approach to venture capital. The company both invests in and services its portfolio of early to mid-stage companies through strategic, technical, creative, and market execution services.
Kareem began his career as an entrepreneur after graduating from Columbia University. A former Marine, Kareem joined forces with a fellow veteran to found a digital platform designed to help veterans with the transition to civilian life. Kareem was also the founder of M1 Marketing, a firm that offered consulting services regarding creative business marketing strategies.
Do you know what steez is? If so how do you express your steez?
My understanding of steez is that it is the style in which you inherently conduct yourself. It’s the effortless manner in which you carry and present yourself.I present my steez through the lens of good relationships with people and my everyday engagement.
When you were younger what was your dream occupation?
When I was younger, I didn’t really have a specific dream occupation, but I knew it would be something in social services. I wanted to do something that had some sort of social impact, but I didn’t know what that was. As I grew and developed through school I initially thought I would pursue a career in diplomacy, but it ended up not being that way.
Who/what inspired you to get into your current field?
It was the ability to have a social impact on a large scale. Technology really has the capability to have a positive impact, more so than diplomacy, and more so than one single person can do on his or her own. With technology, one single person can create something that has a huge effect.
The first social impact technology endeavor that I undertook was to build Uniteus.com, a platform that provides coordinated care management for veterans who are transitioning out of the military.
What is one current trend that excites you?
The trend that excites me now is that there has been a big shift in VC to not just provide money to entrepreneurs, but also to provide more resources and advice to help entrepreneurs succeed. The relationship between VC and entrepreneurs is becoming more focused on mentorship and I’m really excited to empower growing businesses to create great products.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I consider my greatest accomplishment to be mobilizing some of the talent that we have at Modus Capital. I am a firm believer that anyone, including myself, is only as good as the team that they have. I am particularly proud that I have been able to mobilize such a dedicated team and have created an environment where we work extremely well together to produce some amazing things.
What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?
Social media is great. I think it has some shortcomings in that you can very easily get tied up into things that are nominal and that don’t really matter. But, I think it’s a great way for people to express their thoughts and ideas and to share and collaborate.
Social media has had a definite impact on my professional career. It has allowed me to share my ideas and get other people’s perspectives and feedback. That, professionally, is extremely helpful and very valuable.
If you were to start again, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think so. I place a big emphasis on building the right team. But, even the difficulties that I have encountered with teams that were not right have been valuable because I have learned so much as a result of those experiences.
What do you see for the future?
I see some pretty great things for Modus Capital. I see the opportunity to have a bigger social impact with technology and I see the ability to continue building upon our amazing team to help empower entrepreneurs and businesses to create better products.
What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?
When things get extremely tough and difficult, try to channel that into positivity. I love it when companies are really under the gun financially or working to hit a milestone because it really gives people the opportunity to shine and become very efficient with capital, with their team, or with what they are producing. Challenging situations can often cause people to work extremely well.