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Cosmin Manea is an angel investor and entrepreneur who focuses on sustainable projects and believes that it is our moral duty to create a better world for future generations.
What do you look for when evaluating a startup - what are the most important aspects for you?
Gut feeling, team and green projects. These are the most important elements for me when considering an investment.
Gut feeling refers to the feeling you get when you read a package and say to yourself "this makes sense / I would use this." It's a combination of experience and market knowledge.
The team is a critical element because great ideas are everywhere and everyone has them, but the day-to-day decisions and struggles are made by the team and the founder(s). They need to make sure they make the right decision and drive the project forward. So you need to understand if this is a team of people who go to bed dreaming about this project and when they wake up eager to work hard to make it happen.
Green Projects: We all have a moral obligation to ensure a better planet for future generations. Therefore, we must ensure that business owners, customers and investors focus on projects that provide for a more sustainable and greener world. Every company can make this happen, not just those in the industry (e.g., food delivery platforms can ensure that all deliveries are made by electric vehicles, that all packaging is plastic-free and made from recycled materials, etc.).
How involved are you in the evolution of a startup?
I like to get quite involved in the projects I invest in because I believe that there has to be more to an investment than just money. Therefore, in most of the companies I invest in, I become an advisor and try to accompany them on their way with my experience.
Do you think it's important to have a diversified investment portfolio?
Yes and no. I think with an example you can better understand what I mean. Rather than investing 1,000 euros in 10 companies, invest 2,500 euros in 4 companies that you have really researched and are convinced of their idea and team. Investing in startups is not the same as having a stock portfolio. It needs to be somewhat diversified, of course, so you do not invest all 10,000 in a single company, but only in those that meet your criteria, and you should stick with them and try to help them grow.
Do you have any advice for early-stage startup investors?
Set your criteria on how and in whom you want to invest, do your research and if the companies meet those criteria, you should do it. But remember that these are long-term investments and not all companies will end up being unicorns.
But for a founder pitching for funding?
Show your passion for the project and prove that you are the right person to turn this idea into a real business.
What trend in the technology area excites you and why?
As I mentioned earlier, I am now focusing on projects that deal with sustainability, green economy, circular economy, etc. If you start a project in 2022 and do not take these things into account, you can not be ahead of the game in any area or industry.
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