Great intrview with Dusan Stojanovic European Angel of the Year 2013, Founder of True Global Ventures, Distantly Related to and Nikola Tesla Nerd
What future trends you’re excited about –
The Underbanked. It is a whole community that doesn’t have a bank account, especially in Asia. We want to get a relationships going here, it is an exciting market. Goswiff are an exciting company doing this in Asia. They are like Square, but doing micro loans exclusively for emerging markets. If it goes well we also have it in Europe and the US. Innovation in emerging markets offers great opportunities. You would be surprised too by how many people if affects. The middle class in the Philippines for example are very underbanked. They often get paid and go all month without touching normal banking services, carrying out all their financial transactions by other means. It is surprising how large a percentage of population is doing this, only 10% of the population has a credit card.
— Dusan Stojanovic (@stojanovicdusan) November 3, 2015
What does your True Global Ventures aim to do?
We aim to disrupt the traditional way of investing, in two ways. Firstly investing has been seen very locally. Investors only invest locally, where they know the eco sysyem. Secondly traditional vc funds, all except the very top tier ones, all tend to have 2 to 3 partners and around 3 to 40 investments. This means they do not have the time to accelerate companies. -This is a problem if you want to build big companies.
In sumary they are too local, and too time constrained. We are disrupting this by not being local. We are global, we have 14 partners, in 9 cities, across 3 continents. We are exclusively focused on FinTech too. This works because our clients are global in their focus too. We do 2 to 3 investments per year, and help them every 6 weeks, extensively, to boost sales.
Our usp, is that we can offer acces to 600 banks and other related financial relationships. If the companies we invest in can achieve 30 B2B international customers, then, and only then, we bring in major institutions and financial companies to invest and engage with them. This way we are able to offer the ability to scale rapidly and successfully.
Your biggest successes?
8 exits in Fintech. 3 exits in a week in 2012.
Without naming names, what have been the common reasons for the failure of some of the companies you invested in?
Teams have separated.
Could you elaborate a little on if this is the only factor you have encountered? What tips would you suggest to avoid this happening?
Teams that separated versus succesful teams? Well our whole bet is to back serial entrepreneurs, who have worked together previuosly. This helps to ensure that the teams stay intact. In the past sometimes I have loved the product too much and not the team, I learned from this. Teams are critical, you need them to to last for 5 years and more, for companies to evolve into successes. Teams are very important, and so teams that have worked together previously are a good indicator of probable future success too.
Your background? What led you into being an Angel investor?
I had three ventures on my own. The last one was an internetbank in France (Monabanque) where I had an exit at the end of 2004, this enabled me to become an Angel investor.
Congrats on winning Angel of the Year. Why do you think you have been successful?
I invested in great people and in stuff that I understand and a I had a huge portion of luck too!
You have been involved in a lot of philanthropy, like the female entrepreneurs most recently, talk about that a little?
Whenever I do an exit, I do a donation, female entrepreneurs most recently as you mentioned. This is not as an investment, rather just a cash prize. It’s not linked to equity, nor fintech either. It’s cleaner, good to support them and also not blur your investment strategy.
— Dusan Stojanovic (@stojanovicdusan) October 30, 2015
How did you find Web / Surf Summit?
It has become to large. Surf Summit is better
What useful encounters came out of it?
Some good meetings with other investors but too many startups
— Dusan Stojanovic (@stojanovicdusan) December 18, 2015
How was last 12 months?
Prowebce got sold to Edenred for 120 millions euros and Nasdaq bought Sharespost stake in Nasdaq Private Market.
Anything you’d do differently?
Tips for new startups?
Think through if you are a lifestyle start up or investment grade start up. Everyone can become a great entrepreneur but it does not necessarily mean that you will attract investments.
What would you like to change?
There are not enough female investors yet, and very few female general partners. It is still very low, possibly even less than 1%, we need more. I take a female intern every 6 months, to give them access to my contacts. Currently it is not possible for women to compete equally, as men have more access, this is an unfair competitive advantage. We have female interns to help try and redress this imbalance.
What’s you point of view in relation to mobile driven tech opportunities in Asia?
Asia, with examples like WeChat is the future of mobile payments. We defintely see it coming up, it is doing very well. We see a lot of innovation in Asia and it is an important market to watch. (I’m based here too!).
How do you manage life / work /online / offline?
I do not sleep enough.
Anything else to add / we should have asked?
My wife and my three children are incredible!