In our latest Meet the Investor interview, we meet Cristina Bullon Gomez, a seasoned investor with a passion for nurturing and advising startups. She discusses the symbiotic relationship between investors and startups that fuels economic growth, the red flags she watches out for when investing in startups and how startups should tackle fundraising today. Plus her thoughts on why we need societal change to truly democratise the startup ecosystem.
Why did you become an angel investor?
After many years working alongside startups, I recognize the vital role of capital investments. This not only benefits investors in achieving ROI but is equally crucial for startups to foster growth and expansion. This symbiotic relationship is fundamental to any economy, providing markets with new and reliable ideas.
What are the key benefits of being an angel investor?
Being an angel investor allows me to actively engage with startups; I serve as an advisor to many of the startups I’ve invested in.
What are the most exciting sectors gaining your interest at the moment?
Sustainability and technology.
What do you think are the benefits to startups of angel investment, versus other forms of funding?
Angel investors represent the first line that can make or break startups. We bear the responsibility to meticulously analyse, invest, and drive the right solutions and ideas, making us essential to the ecosystem.
What red flags do you look out for when researching startups?
I scrutinize the founders’ ability to be agile, handle criticism, and stay composed during challenging times. Additionally, alignment of expectations among founders and a startup’s scalability are crucial factors.
We are in a very different investment climate. How should startups approach fundraising today that is different from previous years?
Startups must be aware of increased interest rates leading to a decrease in risk appetite. Understanding macroeconomic trends and targeting the right investors based on company fit is essential. Researching the investment landscape and focusing on initial traction and strategy are key components for success.
What are the common traits of the successful startups you have supported?
Successful startups exhibit traits such as focus, patience, determination, and agility to pivot based on real market behavior. They understand the importance of timing, partnerships, and assembling the right team. Efficient corporate structures and processes, though tedious, are crucial for long-term success.
If you could offer just one piece of advice to a young startup, what would it be?
Follow your gut and learn to say no. Trust your instincts amid the multitude of opinions in the investment industry. Focus on calculated risks, avoid spreading too thin, and prioritize tasks at different stages of your startup journey.
Founding teams and indeed investors still have a very low representation of women or indeed ethnic diversity. How can this be improved to ensure we truly democratise the ecosystem?
Addressing this issue requires a deeper societal change. We need to restructure social and economic perceptions of women, allowing them more freedom of choice without structural consequences. Early financial literacy and education are essential to encourage women to take informed risks and participate in a broader range of opportunities.
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