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Big Dog 2022: Our Founders Retreat 💫
November 16, 2022

Big Dog 2022: Our Founders Retreat 💫

In October, we brought together 40 of our portfolio founders for our annual Big Dog event in Sitges, Spain. This is the fourth year we’ve held the event, which focuses on self-development, knowledge sharing, and relationship-building over two days. The goal is to share successes and challenges in confidence, foster community, and have a good time. 

Why do we call it Big Dog? 

Adara Ventures is named after a set of twin stars from the Canis Major ("Big Dog") constellation. It is the 22nd brightest star in the visible night sky and the brightest-known extreme ultraviolet source, exhibiting 38.7K times the sun’s brightness. 

Being an early-stage investor, we took some inspiration from this star, as it is our mission to find the brightest and the best opportunities, which often don’t shine as bright at first glance

As such we sometimes refer to the Adara portfolio as the Adara Constellation. As we say every year, 

“As members of our portfolio, you all form the Big Dog constellation. As in any constellation, the connections between the stars (you) reinforce the big picture. We believe these connections will help you to individually achieve your ambitions.”

What do we aim to achieve at Big Dog?

First and foremost, we see this as a special event for Founders + Execs, regardless of their stage of growth. Our goal is to create a space where attendees can share challenges, mistakes, and seek solutions through conversation with like-minded individuals.

We take it seriously, and we’re always looking to improve. So we also interview attendees in advance to understand their individual challenges and goals for the event, and then construct an agenda that accommodates and addresses these challenges.

What do we do at Big Dog?

Every year we feature founder-led keynotes focused on specific challenges and unite content around common themes. 

This year, we focused on 4 broad themes:

💰 Fundraising & Market Conditions

🤝 Upgrading the Organisation

🎯 Branding, Targeting & Positioning

🌱 Community-led GTM & Product-led Growth

We were fortunate enough to count on the contribution of 11 companies during the content sessions, as well as a selection of external experts and partners. We pinpoint common scaling challenges felt across the portfolio, then curate the sessions and structure them so that there are learnings and takeaways for every company, regardless of size or industry.

We also host Founder-only roundtables, where the Adara team deliberately removes itself from the conversation. We recognise that Founders need space to ask hard questions of other Founders without their investors listening in!

Lastly, we like to organise some activities to help the Adara Constellation disconnect. This year, the highlight was the sunrise beach run along the Sitges promenade!

What does the Adara Constellation say about the event?

Each year, we send out a short post-event survey to gather feedback so we can improve for next year.

Here are some anonymous comments from the Founders who attended:

“The fact that it feels like it's not about Adara but about a real founders-to-founders meeting makes it 'authentic'.”

“I liked the presentations by founders that already walked ‘that path.’ It was great to connect with other founders at different stages and hear their stories to help put the challenges we're currently facing into perspective.”

“The part I found most valuable was listening to hard stories from founders, and receiving clear cut feedback on how to deal with challenging moments.”

We also ask for feedback on what Founders didn’t enjoy, and how we can improve not only this event but also our many other Adara portfolio initiatives. We are committed to helping entrepreneurs grow and scale their companies in the personalized way they want to receive that help. 

Thank you to everyone for a great event, and see you next year! 🌟