We need more smart green angels in Europe. At the same time, angels should get better at co-investing in smart green startups and creating value during the holding period. With this motivation Christian Reitberger and Jan Michael Hess chat about the art of smart green angel investing at ECO15 Berlin. Christian is a VC and angel at the same time. This double role is possible as Wellington Partners stopped doing new investments in resource efficiency and, as a result, there is no conflict of interest. While many angels stay in the background, Christian gets a lot of dealflow because there is a general shortage of early stage investors and many people just know him. During the last years, he made 12 angel investments including 1 exit and 1 write-off. His active portfolio contains Romo Wind and Electrochaea.
Christian’s investment model is based on high-touch involvement with the management team. In order to make a deal, he needs to care about the startup and their business, see a long-term financing path and find a modus operandi to actively help the startup post-investment, spending half a day per week per portfolio company. The typical investment round is €1.5M of which Christian writes a €250K ticket, syndicating the rest with angels, VCs or corporate VCs with deep pockets that have enough reserves for follow-on investments. In fact, Christian is an angel who acts as a VC. He always develops a smart financing strategy and syndicates with the best co-investors for each startup. This also means that Christian prefers to invest at a fair valuation after a due diligence rather than with a convertible note leaving this task to the lead investor of the next round. Of course, not all angel investors in the market are equal and founders are well advised to look for smart green angels with track record and the necessary skills to create value for their specific startup and in their specific market segment.
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