Techtalk with Peter Cowley about angel investing, operating companies and exits
“This is genetic or not. But it's an intense, almost pathological, desire to learn. I live to learn, really. But not just to learn from others, not just to draw from other people. But to give as well. Hence, helping you with this podcast, and the books, and everything else. For some reason I just can't work out, I need to fill each day - not in a way that's detrimental to my personal relationships, I hope - with something where I'm giving and taking at the same time” - Peter Cowley, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Board of Global Business Angels Network, President Emeritus of EBAN, Author and Dad
In this episode, meet Peter Cowley - serial entrepreneur and angel investor, board member of the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN) and President Emeritus of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) - as he walks us through the lessons he learned while founding and running 14 businesses in technology, property and publishing, over the last 40+ years, and while building a portfolio of 76 angel investments over the last decade - 11 positive exits (one of which at 107X, paying back all invested cash), 14 failures, 51 still living.
Peter explains his investment criteria (The Team and the CAC CLV Ratio, The Product and The Finances) and talks about the importance of trust and chemistry not only between investors, but also between investors and the investees. He also describes what a good relationship between founders looks like and points out the reasons why investors leave.
In addition, Peter gives us an honest point of view about the advantages and disadvantages of university spin-outs, the implications of not having enough financial knowledge as an entrepreneur, or about his energy and drive resources, which help him push his limits and do so many things in life.
“I really enjoy learning. And particularly, I enjoy spending time with people of all sorts of age or younger. The Millennials, I just absorb so much from them”, Peter says.
Listen to this episode to learn more about:
- How did he get to his investment criteria and why are they so important for him? (04:45)
- The second criterion - The Product (10:15)
- The third criterion - The Finances (14:00)
- Reasons for failure that he discovered through his portfolio (20:00)
- Why do investors give up founding a team (26:15)
- His favorite company or investment (29:00)
- What makes for him a good relationship between founders? (32:00)
- The main differences between university spin-outs and non-university spin-outs (34:30)
- How does one become better at business? (41:30)
- Peter as a book author (48:30)
- Where does he take the energy and drive to push his limits and do so many things? (57:00)
You are invited to read Peter Cowley’s:
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Hosted by Ștefan Koritar, The Techtalk podcast is dedicated to exhibiting the entrepreneurs, innovators and experts in the Central Eastern European startup ecosystem. A show powered by Grai Ventures startup studio and distributed by Romania Insider.