Georgios Markakis Angel investor, recovering investment banker, founder of Crowd Analytics. Tweeting about #startups , early-stage investing and other musings.
Your background, how did you get into what you do now?
More often than not, people stumble into an initial path and, if they are lucky, navigate their way through to something they enjoy. I started out as a computer engineer with both a BSc and MSc from Carnegie Mellon. After launching a couple of tech startups and a stint in management consulting, I ended up post-MBA at Deutsche Bank where I spent the better part of a decade in investment banking.
Along the way I fed my entrepreneurial appetite by angel investing. People often read about mega rounds from unicorns such as Uber and Spotify, but what non-investors may not realise is the sheer volume of early-stage ventures seeking capital. As an early-stage investor, I had to repeatedly make educated guesses about which companies are more likely than not to survive their early years and hopefully grow into something big. VCs make a living off of these types of guesses, but for individual investors it’s a lot harder because they don’t have the right tools. With the rise of crowdfunding, the information asymmetry between VCs and angel investors became even more evident and acute. That’s where I saw an opportunity and decided to launch Crowd Analytics.
Your have a lot of interests, how do you manage them all?
That’s a tough one. Our most precious asset is time and there is only so much of it in a day. I try to follow the mantra “Do something today for which your future self will thank you.” So I instinctively group tasks into what I want to do, what I have to do, and everything else. I try to balance the “want” with the “must” and hope for the best!
— Crowd Analytics (@Crowd_Analytics) September 21, 2015
Is there a certain type of company you prefer to invest in?
I never invest in sectors that I am not familiar with or cannot at least learn about and understand. Tech and consumer companies are my favourite. Then I need to believe in the team. There’s a lot to be said about a team with the right credentials to execute a particular idea. And finally I look at the proposed business model. That’s where it takes a bit more work and where one shouldn’t rely on one’s gut.
— Crowd Analytics (@Crowd_Analytics) September 20, 2015
How were the last 12 months for you?
My primary focus has been on developing crowdanalytics.co. The platform provides intelligent financial analysis of companies fundraising on any of the UK’s major crowdfunding platforms as well as privately. Angel investors, while they readily form a view on the business concept and team, they typically don’t put the time and effort to properly analyse the investment’s financial merits. Crowd Analytics takes care of the quantitative heavy-lifting so that investors of all sizes can focus on the more subjective, qualitative aspects of the offer.
Where do you hope to be in next 1 – 3 years?
I immensely enjoy growing a service that can fundamentally change the way angel investors evaluate opportunities. So over the next three years my hope is for Crowd Analytics to have empowered tens of thousands of investors in the UK and beyond, and particularly those who are crowdfunding.
Listen to the silence. What does the founder not want to tell you? Then ask that question.
— Georgios Markakis (@gmarkak) September 17, 2015
What tips would you give to companies looking to secure initial and subsequent funding?
It has never been easier to launch a startup. And it has never been harder to scale that startup to success. Therefore, before approaching investors, entrepreneurs should get as much product-market fit proof as possible for whatever it is that they are building. The less product-market fit proof you have, the lower the value of your company.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having a sufficiently detailed financial plan to show investors how their capital will be spent. Financial models should reduce the investment hypothesis down to the 3-5 business levers investors need to believe in. And they should map out a journey to the next milestone, which usually means 12-18 months in length.
Dublin Web Summit, what are you looking to get out of it?
First up is the Angel Summit, which takes place the day before Web Summit. I’m looking forward to meeting other investors, exchanging insights on opportunities and discussing the latest trends. Everyone brings their own views and experiences to the table, so I’m sure I will return quite a bit wiser.
Web Summit itself is an altogether different story. It will be my first time attending and, with all the hype it has received, I expect a firehose of information. My plan is to use the event for pre-screening and follow-up afterwards in a more appropriate setting.
What tech do you wish was already invented and available to make your life easier?
Flying cars! When is that happening?!? Other than that, I’m a big believer in IoT and wearables. Both sectors are still in their infancy yet have the potential to revolutionise the way we live our daily lives.
How can people contact you?