French Tech: Three New Business Angels

Posted on Jan 23, 2023, 7am

Their names are not as well known as those of Xavier Niel or Thibaud Elzière (eFounders), but they also bring their stone to the construction of the world of business angels. The latest report by Alexandre Dewez, a partner at Eurazeo, calls them “emerging business angels”, investors who place tickets ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 euros and/or carry out between 0 and 10 rounds per year, with a specific thesis. Here are three examples.

Chloé Bonnet, co-founder of Lyv

After selling her previous start-up Five by Five to Capgemini, Chloé Bonnet said she wanted to “redistribute some of the value created to support other projects” through two verticals: women’s health and climate technology. This business recidivist, who co-founded Lyv (support for women with endometriosis), has made around fifteen investments since 2020, for an average ticket of 20,000 euros.

In the portfolio, nuggets such as Jeen (health center for women), Lola Health (mutual insurance for women) or Gouach (manufacture of repairable batteries) and the start-up studio Marble (deeptech and climate tech). Sectors where access to capital is often more difficult.

Attentive to the team, with an appetite for “the field”, Chloé Bonnet dissects the economic models, which are often complicated in these sectors. “They must allow for some form of justice and equality. Pure BtoC often questions me, because it doesn’t question a model of society. I’m also sensitive to BtoB and startups that work with the government”, slides the 37-year-old boss, who dedicates a few hours a month to her portfolio.

Romain Libeau, Product Director at Swile

Romain Libeau is a true Swiss army knife. At Swile, a unicorn specializing in employee benefits, he was Director of Marketing, Director of Operations, and then Director of Product!

The 36-year-old jack of all trades invests in solutions that he could “use himself, either professionally or personally”. With the same appetite for HRtech and fintech and “more issues” with Web3, cryptos or gaming. For two years, he has ticketed around sixty startups, including twenty in 2022. Jumble: Helios, Payflow, Ada Tech School, Reflect, Mon Petit Placement, Jump, Teale, Figures, Hestia… If in the beginning, he instead of betting tickets of 5,000 euros, it injects, since it benefited from secondary operations with Swile, amounts of 10,000 to 30,000 euros.

The process is well established: 30 minutes with the entrepreneurs, with a series of questions and special attention to the agreement between the partners. “I also look for people who are convinced by what they do, but who know how to balance it with listening”, he specifies.

After six years at Swile, experience at Deliveroo and a past as an entrepreneur, Romain Libeau brings an operational vertical to supported startups (clients, financing, product, recruitment, etc.). And also when all is not well. “I have a company that had a problem between partners and cash flow, we had to find a buyer, negotiate keeping the teams motivated”, he recalls. Anyone who claims to be “in love” with entrepreneurs does not rule out going back to the other side of the table himself. And most likely this year.

Simon Primack, co-founder of Proprioo

Entrepreneur for ten years, Simon Primack has been investing in seed nuggets for two years. With tickets between 5,000 and 25,000 euros, he performs between 3 and 6 operations per year, for more than ten investments in total (software for companies, marketplace, fintechs and proptechs). In 2016, the entrepreneur launched the new Proprioo agency, acquired at the end of 2022 by the Italian Casavo.

“When you were an entrepreneur for ten years, raising funds, selling a start-up, you inevitably made a lot of mistakes. The idea is to share this experience, help with important decisions and be a sparring partner [partenaire d’entraînement, NDLR] out to help prepare a survey, a meeting with a client or even to fire someone, ”explains Simon Primack, who has notably placed tickets at fintech Finary or mutual animal insurance company Dalma .

Like many in the seed business, the entrepreneur pays special attention to founders. “You need a form of passion, an unshakable conviction that allows you to overcome difficult times and have a form of love at first sight with the founder or founder. Added to this are skills and market vision”, adds the investor, who is also starting to look into projects related to artificial intelligence.

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