“I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and I am a better businessman because I am an investor” – Warren Buffett
I don’t aspire to compare myself to the man. But his view does match my personal experience. As a founder, I’ve sometimes been criticized by VCs that I regard my time in startups too much as an investment. I am proud of this. And I am happy with the fact that I can support founders with my operational experience. Both have worked so well for me. I am an entrepreneur and an investor. Interacting with new founders has been amazingly productive also for my own “flagship” business, now FLIO.
The difficulty lies in one word: focus.
2015: Active involvement in 3 companies I have founded.
In 2015, I was a happy shareholder in 9flats, which I had founded, in avocadostore, which I had co-founded, and FLIO, experts in digital airport experience, which I founded in 2015. Fortunately, the 2 companies that I did not run myself were in very capable hands. This was a key component in a happy life back then (Thank you Mimi & Roman).
2017: Focus on FLIO, and “other bets”
At the end of 2016, I had divested of my shares in 9flats when we had acquired Wimdu which we later sold to Wyndham hotels. Early 2017, more much more reluctantly, I sold my shares in the growing eco market-place avocadostore. This enabled me to focus much more on FLIO.
FLIO is a very big bet, which can yield phenomenal results for all stakeholders if it pays off: Passengers value guidance through airports, and if we work directly with many airports, we will be able to give them a better passenger experience. In October 2017 we announced that we have agreed to funding from Avi Alliance, an investor in airports. (Update April 2018, FLIO was accepted to Plug and Play Silicon Valley).
In early 2017, I started to invest more broadly in early stage deep tech through my vehicle Density Ventures. While I had only invested in 3 startups in the past 10 years, I have invested in 6 companies in 2017 alone. Why I started to do this and how it evolves, I hope to detail here in my next post. For now, focusing on one major bet, while adding several small bets seems to work better for me than spreading myself across three major shareholdings.