Hi folks! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth, and I’m in Berlin, Germany to chat with a new guest who is work is to support founders and start-ups! Jens Lapinski, Founding Partner of Angel Invest, is committed to making the path to entrepreneurship just a little easier for new founders. Let’s see how he’s doing it.
Spiffy: Hi Jens, thanks for sitting down for this quick chat. Let’s jump right in, can you tell me what challenges are you addressing at Angel Invest?
Jens: Thanks for inviting me, Spiffy! Founders of startups are facing many challenges. In the early days, they need to find something called product-market fit. Meaning they need to learn who their customer is, what the job to be done is, and what their value proposition is. They then need to build and give customers a product that does the job and delivers the value proposition. This is difficult to do. We coach founders to product-market fit and help them raise more money afterward from very good investors.
Spiffy: That does sound challenging! What motivated you to focus on investing in and coaching new founders?
Jens: I saw how difficult it was when I was building my own startup. I think it is very rewarding to help other founders get it right, faster.
Spiffy: It’s great they have your support now, Jens. I’m curious how Angel Invest is working to make the world a more equitable place.
Jens: Well, Spiffy, when we think about which founding teams to back, we don’t evaluate which school or university, or company somebody has been with before. Instead, we focus on attributes. As a result, more than 60% of our portfolio companies have at least one minority founder.
Spiffy: What kinds of targets have you hit recently and what kind of impact will that have?
Jens: We recently increased the amount of money we can invest in startups by five times and we have more than doubled our team. It is very exciting that we can work with so many more founders!
Spiffy: Wow, that is exciting! Can you tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?
Jens: We were one of the first investors in Coachhub. They provide thousands of coaches to managers at companies. These coaches help managers become better at doing their job. This is great news for tens of thousands of the people who work for these managers.
Spiffy: That sounds fantastic. Before we sign off, do you have any wisdom or advice that you could pass on to our readers?
Jens: School can be very frustrating. Remember that it is temporary. It will end. When you are out of school, focus on areas that you think will do well, and where you feel your interests and strengths can make you strong. Remember that many universities in the world are free. There is no need to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Push smart, don’t be afraid, fear eats the soul. :)
Spiffy: Those are great words of advice to sign off on. Thanks for taking the time to share your work and experience with our young audience, Jens, it’s been an honor!
Jens Lapinski, a founding partner of Angel Invest, is one of Europe’s most active angel investors. He loves sci-fi books and spends a lot of time with his family. (Nominated by Sunlight. First published on the Ladderworks website on November 30, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.