Most succesful startup entrepreneurs evolve into angel investors. In theory it is simple: Investing some cash, sharing experience and their address book for a healthy return of investment.
There is one problem: In order to be a successful angel investor, you need to assign a lot of capital to this – in my view roughly 2 M Euro minimum. These days quite a number people with less capital available are prepared to make a loss in exchange for being part of the game and being listened to.
Some people with enough capital have evolved into shrewd investors with an ability to make a sufficient number of great bets to be successful. Currently I don’t consider myself an angel investor. This may change.
At the moment, I simplify my life by keeping things separate. I enjoy being an entrepreneur, an investor and a coach to other entrepreneurs. Each is a separate activity.
As an entrepreneur, I enjoy building companies: executing fast, working with great international people and sometimes changing the world a bit on the way. Since the sale of Qype to Yelp, I focus on 9flats and avocadostore. Avocadostore grew 5x in 2011, 2x in 2012 and will do 2x growth in 2013, and is profitable.
9flats is currently growing much faster. While the space is ultra competitive, we are simply blown away by the growth, currently 3x year on year (February 2013). I still invest most of my time here.
As an investor, my primary goal is not to lose money and to make my investments grow in the long run. I am quite risk averse. I don’t invest if I can’t see the return.
As a coach, I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs. This can be quite a deep dive in work and life issues. I have set 4 hours per week for coaching. While I do charge for this, I find that the satisfaction of sharing experience and helping others outweighs the financial benefit by far.