Here’s why you should become an Angel Investor

Who are you? What's your journey within fintech?

I’m Marcel Van Oost and I’m a former startup founder. My first fintech startup was within the payments sector but since then I moved to other enterprises.

My journey in FinTech started 15 years ago when I started working at an acquiring bank in the ecommerce sector. 

A year later, I decided to work as an independent consultant within payment solutions and launched different financial services comparison websites for merchants. The service would allow merchants to compare the best online payments solutions and payment providers on pricing and reviews. 

After getting thousands of merchants referred to payment providers, I decided I could do it better and started my own payments provider company.

In 2017, that payments business was acquired by payment provider Mollie and I decided to move forward as an independent advisor/investor in the FinTech space, focusing on Payments, Digital Banking and Open Banking.

How and why did you become an angel investor?

I always believed and supported early-stage startups.  I can bring these startups a lot of value with my own experience as well as my network of founders, investors and FinTech experts. 

For me, investing in other startups seems like a logical next step in my career. And also, I try to bring additional investment and value with my Angel Investors Syndicate.

Why did you start the angel investor syndicate?

I noticed increasing demand for investment opportunities and more funding power from my Angel Investing network. I am talking about deal flow with my investor network a lot, so I decided to launch a more structured and professional platform to bring promising startups that I like to invest into my own Angel Investor Syndicate. This way I can scale and open this syndicate up for anybody that would like to Angel Invest in FinTech startups. One of the partners we work with is Vauban ;)

Also, it makes a big difference in structuring a deal using a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). It provides the angel network a sense of security, a clear investment thesis, and defined rights and obligations.

What are the advantages as an investor of joining a syndicate?

It’s an easier way to start angel investing for sure. You can already jump in with small tickets of  US$ 1k-5k. Angel syndicates are also a good way to help you with due diligence and to follow other experts in the business before you start investing as an angel directly in startups you like. It’s also a good way to help you diversify your portfolio.

Any piece of advice for those who want to invest?

Start with small tickets and diversify your portfolio. Follow the progress of these investments for a while and learn from other angels by joining syndicates in your preferred segment. And most importantly, network and connect with startups as much as possible in order to find the right deals to invest in. 

And last but not least: be patient- angel investing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!

If you invest in an early-stage startup early, it will take years before you will ever see any return on investment on a deal. For this same reason you should only invest what you can lose. More often than not, your investments will bring no returns at all, and the ones that are successful will take years before you see the returns on your bank account. 

Always remember it’s a risky business to be an Angel Investor - but when you invest in a startup that becomes successful later on, your rewards are worth it!

Rémy Astié