I interviewed a successful entrepreneur from Copenhagen. Casper Ravn-Sorensen is really a great example of a true entrepreneur. For a long time, he has built up IT companies and internationalized them in several European countries.
- When you made up the first step towards angel investing in companies. How do you do that? There are a lot of founders up there, a lot of employees that have some look quantity with the money and could go to investing and are interested in that. It is very trending right now.
Young entrepreneurs hold a better understanding of the modern technology, which makes them a great asset. They know the power of Internet; they are more innovative, creative, oriented to get faster results in a very sustainable way. The Internet and social media platforms have been the game changer in business. Entrepreneurs can think globally, more easily now; they can design and deliver solutions faster. You need only a PC and Internet connection to get in touch with your audience, and you are good to go. Nowadays, the entrepreneurs can build great business with less effort, low costs and high interactivity, which was not possible when I started my career.
But, there are many great minds that need resources to expose their ideas. Therefore, together with my business partner Mads Dahlerup, we founded Dotcom-Capital; the fund that will help young entrepreneurs get their ideas to the next level with our help. Being able to help talented young entrepreneurs with our network, experience and capital became our mission. Being an angel investor comes with a very big responsibility. You have to become a mentor guiding another person in fulfilling their dreams.
Which made me realize there is so much to learn from being an angel investor.
- In terms of the value when you just start as an angel investor, how did you mark yourself? It is almost as a little bit marketing things because you need to figure out what is your value and then be able to show this to entrepreneurs. And mark yourself to other investors if you are going to syndicate.
Being able to help talented young entrepreneurs with my network, knowledge and capital has become my mission.
Before starting as an angel investor, I worked as an entrepreneur for quite many years. During my entrepreneurial career, I have gathered many professional and personal abilities. I have learned about business, people, about myself. Therefore, I know exactly what I want from my career as an angel investor. Hereafter, I know exactly what kind of projects I want to become part of, and people I want to work with. Each investor has its own style and business approach, which is built on knowledge, years of experience and network.
The best part of being an investor is that you start guiding many talented people. You become part of their team, their mentor and an example for them. The best reward is seeing them grow and achieve goals. That is what happened with one of our latest investments in a web-shop from Aarhus, called Cleanskin. We helped them with our network and capital, and now they have more resources to buy stock products, invest in technology and marketing needs. We helped them get few steps higher on an international level, and we cannot be happier about their accomplishments.
- Everybody wants to pitch you. What do you look for in companies? And have you need any dos and don'ts of people who want you involved?
Firstly, we look at the business concept and size. As experts with many connections across online industry, we invest in online businesses. Online business is our world; we have knowledge, experience, network and capital that can easily benefit a young entrepreneur looking for a mentor. Whether, it is a startup, project or just an idea – in this industry we can find a solution for each entrepreneur.
We will never invest in mature companies that already have large circulation and possibly even international oriented. We focus on companies that have a business model and revenue, but lack of capital and knowledge to move forward, and become bigger. At this stage we want in, because here we can help more then just financially.
Of course, immediately after capturing our attention with the business idea, comes the team. We analyze the team commitment, the skills and if all this functions together. We don’t look for entrepreneurs that pretend to know everything. We look for honesty, determination, passion and hard work. Therefore, if the engagement of the team is doubted in some way, we won’t be interested in investing in. Often, we see entrepreneurs that have high hopes about salary before getting any results. We also see, talented people that have completely other priorities in their life than working hard to fulfill their business idea, not in our interest.
Therefore, if you have an urge for freedom and independence while wishing your idea earns money, and a team equally motivated surrounding you – get in touch.
We need few dos:
- Right team, with skills that complete each other;
- The concept of business must have opportunities to become international;
- The concept should be within our area of expertise;
- Your concept has a proof of revenue and profitability.
And the don’ts
- Proof of turnover and profitability;
- Top Management team diversity
- International companies
- Do you invest first money early when nothing is still uncertain?
Dotcom-Capital invests only in startups. Startups are much riskier and are likely to fail. Each investor has its own motivation for investing in startups, and ours is to support founders we believe in, pursuing a vision we share and care about. We know exactly what kind of projects, and people we want to work with.
We decide in the first few minutes whether this project seem like a winner or not. Therefore, we take the risk when we believe it is worth taking it.
Subsequently, we invest our full support, such as experience, network, capital and consultancy in different areas in order to grow a successful business.
- One of the problems that some startups face is that investors only want to make large investments and small startups are not always interested in that. Do you think that small investments in very early stage startups represent a growing trend, and if so why?
There are many investors with different terms. It is very important for entrepreneurs to target the right investor. The team should set parameters for a clear understanding of what type of investor and investment they are looking for. As an entrepreneur, you should take time to investigate the previous projects and terms of the investors you target. Partnership between startups and large or small investors must be mutually beneficial.
Venture capital is one of the most important sources of risk capital. The venture capital industry creates many opportunities for early stage startups. In many business cases, it was venture financing that helped startups become big companies.