Investing in startups is fashionable. For a long time now, not only “professional” full-time investors have been involved, but people who have earned money in the business are now investing in promising projects and are now thinking of how to deal with them. Usually they are called angel investors and one of them was once also Ondřej Bartoš, who is today one of the best known investors in the Czech Republic and also a guest of our next CzechCrunch Podcast.
“The longer a person is on a market, the more people know him,” smiles forty-four-year-old Ondřej Bartoš, who is one of the pioneers of venture capital investment in the Czech Republic. He brought this to the Czech Republic together with his colleagues from the Anglo-Saxon world, where the financing of innovative projects usually has a long tradition in the early stages of their development. Gradually, similar investment has spread to the whole world and Credo Ventures, which Bartoš stands for, is one of the most visible players in the Central European region.
There is no school to become an investor. Some of them will bring their own earned capital to support other companies, but it has led Bartoš to invest since university studies. “My friends and I started a company and then a few others, but none of them was a star. I realized that I am not very good at managing teams and people, so I moved more to consulting and advised those who were at the very beginning because I have been through it several times”, recalls Bartoš.
This is how his career as an angel investor began, which eventually turned into a full-time job. He has already opened a third investment fund with three other partners in Credo, investing in promising startups not only in the Czech Republic but also in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. When you hear about big investments and even bigger exits, a situation where a company sells and investors valorize their shares, it seems that being an investor is a “million” job. Bartoš, however, moderates expectations.
Although the whole world of investment is undoubtedly mainly about money, the well-known figure of the domestic venture capital world has never seen it that way. “I started to invest because I was fascinated by entrepreneurs. I felt they were smarter than me, had better ideas, a pull on the gate, and I was tempted to be there. That was my original impulse and this passion remains to me”, says Bartoš in the second part of CzechCrunch Podcast, according to which investing, and especially angelic, should not be primarily about how much money will be earned.
“I can imagine relatively easier and more straightforward ways to make a lot of money. I like to invest with smart and enthusiastic founders and the potential to create something phenomenal out of nowhere”, says Bartoš, whose most interesting investment in Credo is the Czech startup Productboard, which could become a new Czech unicorn, a company worth over a billion dollars . Moreover, Bartoš has already hit such a startup when he was one of the first to bet on a rocket-growing UiPath in Romania.
In the podcast, Bartoš reveals how such an investment in a young startup works, who gives it money and what the risks are. The first fund opened by Credo in 2009 is slowly catching up and exits and appreciation of the original investments should come. Bartoš therefore describes how such a long investment cycle looks like, how much money the investor himself gets and how many who gave him the money, and also answers the question whether there is not too much money for young companies today.
Also published on Medium.