COREangels Lisbon values the diverse backgrounds and experiences of its members. One of which is Giancarlo Bonsel, that has an exciting story that paved the way for his success as an angel investor.

Background and Personal Motivations
Giancarlo Bonsel, originally from the Netherlands, holds a background in Economics and Econometrics, and an INSEAD MBA in Singapore. A desire for continual learning and growth has driven his path. After starting as a consultant at McKinsey in Amsterdam, he found himself yearning for more hands-on experience and a better work-life balance. This took him to work at Schiphol airport, building startups at Rocket Internet, and doing an MBA in Singapore. These enriching experiences were eye-opening and instrumental in expanding his professional network.

Career Transition and Current Role
Giancarlo's career took a turn when he joined Naspers in Amsterdam in 2013, where he worked on building a global organization around classified platforms like OLX. His experience grew further when he went to the Philippines to run OLX Philipines and their real estate platform Property24. After 2.5 years in the Philippines, he returned closer to home in Europe, becoming the general manager of OLX, Standvirtual and Imovirtual in Portugal. In 2021 he co-founded Startup Studio Connectrs, that promotes the development of startups, particularly those centered on platforms. A Different Approach to Startup Development is a startup studio that sets itself apart by not only investing in startups but also providing essential resources for projects. Support includes technology, strategy, product-market fit analysis, and partnership promotion, all executed in a cost-efficient manner because permits to share of resources among different projects and maximises the use of team time and effort.
In a nutshell, Connectrs can be seen as an Angel investor providing experience and technical resources to startups. This shared rationale among projects helps startups scale more effectively and sustainably. One of the keys to success, as Bonsel points out, is finding known applications for a specific segment, addressing unmet needs in that segment, and developing them using the right technology and partnerships. Connectrs has already developed several platforms. combines CRM and marketplace functionalities to assist personal trainers in managing and scheduling sessions. Another platform is AutoSelectr, a comparison site for new cars that already boasts relevant partnerships with high traffic.

Bonsel's Involvement with COREangels Lisbon
Bonsel's association with COREangels Lisbon stems from his desire to learn more about the Portuguese market and its investment scenario, investors, networks, and different aspects of the ecosystem. He also finds value in working with other angels, learning from their experiences, getting exposed to different sectors, and understanding all phases of the process, including selection, deal flow, due diligence, follow-on investments, and relationships with startups and future exits. In choosing startups to invest in, Bonsel believes it is crucial to analyse if the skills and attitude of the team align with their business roll-out plans. He also looks at whether they have the right plan and can find the resources to execute it. Participating in COREangels encourages constant learning in angel investing and the development of a relevant network.

Inside COREangels: Giancarlo Bonsel's Perspective
Regarding COREangels Lisbon, Bonsel mentioned the group's diversity in terms of backgrounds and regional origins, which he believes contributes to a variety of perspectives and enriches discussions. The group includes people with backgrounds in real estate, construction, law, economics, tech entrepreneurship, and more, originating from various regions such as the Middle East, South Africa, Northern Europe, Spain, and Portugal. This diversity improves decision-making quality and enhances the overall experience of participating in the group.
Bonsel also described the selection process at COREangels, which begins with pitch analysis based on submitted documents. They then proceed to an online pitch from a third of the startups, followed by discussions and clarifications. The group selects three to four startups to present to the Investment Committee. He appreciates the high quality of startup pitches they receive and acknowledges that saying no to some is a necessary part of the process. Bonsel's work with COREangels aligns with the organization's manifesto, which emphasizes supporting entrepreneurship, working closely with startups, addressing markets, raising capital, and achieving exits.

Bonsel Key Roles in COREangels
Apart from being an angel that participates and votes on Investment Committees as all the others decide on new investments (each angel has one vote independently of the invested value), Giancarlo has additional roles. It includes participating in the preselection group and helping to decide on which startups to present to the investment committee. He is also a mentor for one of the startups in which the organization invested. This startup is Hotel Manager, a UK-based company that offers a suite of modular solutions for hotels, which recently raised £3,2 million in seed funding with COREangels Lisbon among recent investors. This involvement allows him to learn more about different companies and founders, and to guide and support startups through their development phases.

Giancarlo Bonsel: Insights from an Angel Investor
Bonsel has a wealth of experience in the startup and angel investing world. Analysing startups frequently, Giancarlo gives particular importance to the right use of technology and applying existing solutions in a new way which adds value, solves problems, or improves user experience significantly.
When asked to point to an especial startup among analysed ones, Giancarlo suggested LUGGIT, which is a pioneering Lisbon-based startup, that offers an innovative luggage transportation service for travellers. Using "Keepers" to collect and deliver luggage, allows tourists to save time and explore freely the city immediately after arriving or before leaving. Its app is central to its operation, benefiting both users and partners by easing luggage storage responsibilities. LUGGit further sets itself apart by maximizing Keeper efficiency, solving a local problem with broader market potential. This unique service developed by a Portuguese startup is solving a local application for a global problem.

Advice to prospective angel investors
Giancarlo shared his thoughts on his investment approach and gave advice to aspiring angel investors. Bonsel recommended starting with smaller investments rather than large ones, as this can help mitigate the risk of losing a substantial amount of money on a single startup. He also suggested diversifying investments and joining a group of angels, which can provide a collective knowledge base and help in decision-making. It's not always about being right or wrong, but about learning and ensuring that money is spent on the right things. He emphasized the importance of asking the right questions and assessing how a founding team will behave, as this can give a good indication of how they will perform in the future.
Bonsel also sees angel investing as an interesting way to diversify one's investment portfolio. Apart from the potential monetary gains, he pointed out that angel investing also provides valuable experiences that one may not get from investing in the stock market. By doing this in a group, investors get the chance to interact with a wide variety of founders and other angel investors and learn from each other. He encouraged starting early, learning from others, and noted that, unlike some professions, one can be an angel investor until very old age.

We hope you enjoyed this reading!
Stay tuned for the next interviews with more angels and entrepreneurs and let us know what your thoughts and comments on the angel investing field. We are always open to discussing, listening to new projects and learning from each other.