How did you come across COREangels?

I am not Spanish. I am Swiss. My passion has always been innovation and entrepreneurship. I started my first company during my studies in Zurich. The company is still alive. I have then been working for almost twenty years in the corporate world. I started in sales and marketing, then I became the country manager or CEO of JobPilot out of Germany. I started the German division from zero, looked for people to work together with me, we looked for clients and basically set everything up from scratch. We reached profitability within three years. This was a very interesting experience for me especially with all the competition that was out there either in Spain or coming to Spain at the time. The company after that went to the stock market and then came the crash - We went through all the ups and downs and we managed to sell the company for seventy-three million to Adecco.
I was then hired by RACC Automobil Club. My goal was to make the company profitable. I scaled up operations from two to twenty until we reached profitability and then i proposed to convert this mobility portal to a service portal for the club members. 
After that I became the digital business manager of that automobil club and stayed there a few more years until I left the company and brought the founder institute to Barcelona.
The founder institute is an accelerator from the silicon valley that is helping people in the idea stage phase so that they can convert their idea into a real startup. It is a very structured program where only successful entrepreneurs and investors who have invested in startups are allowed to be mentors. We have a network of more than twenty thousand mentors worldwide, apart from Barcelona there are more than 200 cities that are currently offering the program.
The Founder Institute is where I cross paths with COREangels. It was back in 2020 when Rui Falcao, founder of COREangels, contacted me just to ask me one simple question: “Hey Urs! Can you recommend to me any startup from the Founder Institute in Barcelona that I can invest in?” I told him “ Look Rui there are a few companies but why are you calling? No one has ever called me before to invest in our startups here.” Rui said he is a business angel and has a company that invests in startups. This is how the conversation got started. 
Right before we hung up, Rui told me if I ever came across someone in Barcelona who wanted to set up a business angel fund, please let me know.
This was something that made me think. The founder institute started its operation here in Barcelona in 2012, and after almost ten years I had already started asking myself about what was going to be next, what were the other exciting projects that I could do.
Starting a fund had always been something that was on my bucket-list.
It was something that I had in my mind because I had been seeing other colleagues of mine starting big funds with a lot of success. I thought “If they can do it, I can do it as well”. And then I thought, well, maybe I should try to find out a little bit more about COREangels. I talked to Rui again, and asked him to give me some more information about COREangels. Rui said “you should speak with Guillermo [Soto]. That's the guy who runs COREangels Madrid”. And that’s  what I did. 
After talking to Guillermo, I thought “WOW! That's really interesting”. “That's something, I believe, goes in line with the things that I like to do most”.
I was offered the opportunity to pass through a program to decide in the end if I wanted to open a fund or not. In the end of the program, I said, “yes, this is something I want”. And I'm more a Do-er than a Talker so I said, “okay, let's do it and see if I can be successful as well.”

Tell us more about COREangels Barcelona.

I got a lot of insights from Rui and from the rest of his team about what is important when setting up the investment thesis. I'm Swiss and when you live abroad, you're always sort of an expat but my network is mainly in Spain.
I know a lot of companies, a lot of startups, obviously, because I've been for more than 10 years active in this space. I realized the easiest thing to start with was starting with analyzing companies in Spain and we could always get bigger.
In the founder institute program, we look at the companies at the idea stage and I always think that's the most interesting part: the part when the startup is created. You have to find startups where the team is really good at executing. Since I have quite some experience in this area, I realized it's best to concentrate on the pre-seed or seed stage and not companies at later stages. At the later stage obviously, there is less risk but there you need to invest more money. The people I knew are not that rich and they can invest several hundred thousands of euros.

After talking again with Guillermo, who has a similar investment thesis in COREangels Madrid as we have in COREangels Barcelona I realized I should start the group with a very broad scope and then with time, I narrow it down. COREangels Madrid does this because Guillermo wants to mitigate the risks.

We will probably specialize in certain verticals because right now I see there is different interests for different companies. I think especially when you start a an angel group, you want to build a portfolio and having a broader strategy can also be a valuable strategy.