6 Degrees Q&A: Introducing Bob Rode

Bob is a Principal at 6 Degrees Capital and the newest member of the team. Raised in China, the US, and Germany, Bob is now based in London. When not at work, Bob loves to play basketball and socialize. He also has a passion for street photography and music.

We knew Bob from our conversations when he worked at Plug and Play and were thrilled that he decided to join us at 6 Degrees. He’s only been with us a short time, but we’ve fallen in love with his humour, thoughtfulness, and love of chicken wings!

Before I started my masters, I was doing a lot of internships in a lot of different industries. I came across Chronext, which was one of the first companies to start selling luxury watches online. I had never worked at a startup before, but I was fascinated by the company, so I wrote them a letter and ended up being invited in for an interview. I joined them in 2015 and that was how I first entered the startup world.

Fast forward a few years and I was living in Rotterdam helping two friends launch their startup for a few months before moving back to Germany to join Amazon.

After Amazon, I moved to Plug and Play. Given my ecommerce background, I initially applied to the retail vertical, but they offered me a role in the launch team of the Frankfurt office, which is focused on Fintech and Enterprise Software. I really wanted to learn about how to assess companies from an investor and corporate perspective, so I was excited to accept. Ultimately, I ended up becoming a director in Plug and Play’s EMEA business and sat on the investment committee.

Fast forward a few more years, I saw the opportunity to join 6 Degrees Capital, so I jumped at the chance!

So what areas are you most focused on?

I’m mainly focused on Fintech and SaaS, which is our focus area as a fund. On a personal level, I’m interested in infrastructure plays, workflow tools, and I’m excited by the future of work. Besides that, I still like to keep an eye on what’s exciting in the e-commerce industry, since that is where I started!

What sectors excite you the most at the moment?

I’m currently looking into Regtech solutions, especially those that are working on preventing financial crime. In the last few years, we’ve seen more and more consumers move from legacy financial services to Fintech solutions, an increasingly complex financial ecosystem, and ever-changing regulatory requirements for banks and service providers – especially in Europe.

This creates an opportunity for interesting startups that use technology to help financial companies prevent financial crime while providing a better customer experience.

What is your number one indicator of a successful founder?

There isn’t just one indicator; you need a combination of characteristics. I am looking for someone with unparalleled focus, good business sense, and incredibly strong leadership skills.

The latter point is something I prize especially highly. When you’re at an early stage, you don’t necessarily have a lot to offer to attract the best talent in terms of money or brand yet. But, if you’re able to make other people excited about what you’re building, or can even make the best people join you, that gives you a huge head start for success.

Favourite book or podcast?

One of the books I would recommend everybody read is Factfulness by Hans Rosling. It gives you an unbiased and yet positive picture of the state of the world and helps you to really see the world through facts.

For podcasts, I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. It’s quite US-centric, but he covers a lot of topics from history and modern society that don’t get enough attention or are misunderstood. I’d recommend starting with the episode “My Little Hundred Million” on US university endowments from the first season. It’s a really thought-provoking look at where the biggest improvements to society might be found.

If you have a startup that you think Bob might be interested in, you can send your details to the team here.


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