Hilmar Eggertsson is a Senior Associate at 6 Degrees Capital. He joined us in January, bringing with him investment and operational experience from previous roles at Antler and Glint Solar. He’s passionate about innovation and is a fellow at the World Energy Council.
Hilmar is a true renaissance man: if you ask him what he did at the weekend, you’ll never receive a boring answer. Born in Iceland, Hilmar grew up in Luxembourg and has lived in seven countries. When not working, Hilmar enjoys skiing, climbing or any other adventurous activity.
He always has great recommendations for books and restaurants, and has recently begun torturing members of the 6DC team by inviting them to Versaclimber classes at the gym!
When did you first become interested in startups and investing?
I’ve always been interested in innovation, so it feels like forever! I love trying to understand what is driving change in the world. That’s what drove me to want to work with startups in the first place.
For me, it’s not just about trying to identify new growth markets or potentially big companies, it’s about trying to get to the bottom of what (or who) is making change happen. It’s fascinating to try and predict which of these changes will have an outsized impact on the world, and what industries might be created that we can’t even imagine today.
The first thing that really brought this home for me was going to the Antarctic when I was 15. When I learned about its role as a global thermoregulator and thought about how climate changes there would have knock-on effects elsewhere, it opened my eyes to the innovation and system changes that will be needed over the next 20, 50, 100 years to tackle this.
What areas are you most focused on?
As a firm, we’re focused on Fintech and SaaS, and I personally really enjoy looking at B2B investing because a lot of the time it requires you to understand how systems and organisations adapt and improve. I personally feel that there is a huge opportunity for SaaS companies that focus on under-digitised industries across Europe. Adoption here is much lower than in the US, so there’s still so much white space to go after.
One example is in the energy sector. I think there’s a huge opportunity to build software-based tools that help to manage distributed energy systems. As we move away from a large, centralised power system that is fuel-intensive and runs on things like gas or coal towards diversified, intermittent sources like wind, solar and hydro, we’ll need software that can help to manage power generation and consumption.
If you consider how the energy system is going to have to change, you can begin to see all kinds of opportunities for software, from the data side, to platforms, to trading infrastructure and so on. There are so many things that I’m excited about in that space at the moment.
What is your number one indicator of success?
It’s so hard to pick just one, as there’s no single defining feature, but I think it comes down to the quality of your relationships. Whether it’s in your business or personal life, or both, if your peers trust you and come to you for help and advice, that to me is success.
What’s your favourite book?
I’m going to have to choose two. The first is The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch.
The second is a very short book, but an incredible read by somebody who I really respect (who is also a founder!) He is called James Lovelock and the book is called Novacene. It’s about the coming age of human intelligence and the next era of hyperintelligence. James Lovelock was right at the intersection between climate science and AI. Unfortunately, he passed away last year at the age of 102, but he was a fascinating character and a great inventor.
If you have a startup that you think Hilmar might be interested in, you can send your details to the team here.
Read our Q&A with Bob Rode, another recent addition to the team, here.