Business Angel and Mentor: passion and skills to help startups

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A focus on the skills and support that Italian startups need most.

An interview with Fabio Pozzi to understand, from his experience, what are the skills that are most often lacking in startups on the Italian scene and that are provided by startup business angel and mentor’s network.

Let’s meet Fabio Pozzi, Business angel and Startup Mentor!

Fabio Pozzi is a Business Angel and Startup Mentor, he graduated in Engineering and then got an Executive MBA. Today he works as Product / Program Manager for the ENAV group, and he is specialized in Business Development, Customer relationships Management, Finance and Marketing strategies.

Hi Fabio, what is your professional background and when was your passion for the startup world born?

Thank you for this question, I have a very technical background since I am a Telecommunication Engineer. Passion for Startup world born between 2016 and 2018 during my MBA path. Together with my MBA Business School fellows, we had the possibility to visit some important companies in Silicon Valley, like Linkedin for example and see how they work. From that moment, I thought to change my mindset trying to “import” and apply what I learnt there during my job routine, doing continuous networking activities and scouting new ideas.

We know that you are a startup mentor and that you collaborate with Startup GeeksMurate Idea Park and Lazio Innova, so we wanted to ask you how the 3 programs differ.

They are very interesting incubators. I start from the latest two. Murate Idea Park and Lazio Innova are similar incubator paths, very connected to the territory in which they work. This is their strength. The first is in fact based in the beautiful Florence Tuscany, the second one in Rome, the capital of the world. They select the Startups launching their “Call for Ideas” and they provide them a pre-acceleration path first, to validate their ideas and then an acceleration path, providing some money to start the operations and physical open space and support at their premises. Startup Geeks is a fully online incubator. It is an innovative incubation path, focused on problem and solution validation. It is ideal for any Startup in any stage. And there are Giulia and Alessio that are a beautiful couple, communicating their passion and commitment on their objectives. It is an ethical path, and these values are fully visible, communicated and acquired by all the founders of this eco-system. 

Fabio you are also a mentor so we would like to ask you what are the fundamental steps in the idea validation process for our aspiring Italian startup founders? And what are the mistakes you see making most often?

I always suggest focusing on the problem at the very first stage, not on the solution, or at least not only. If there is no market, there is no money and cash to go on. Never fall in love with your idea, this will bring to fail, but execute, execute, and execute again, failing, analysing and restart. Speak about your idea to many people, you must be the best player, idea itself means nothing. Brainstorming is the best way to improve. Do not pretend to do all the things by yourself. Start with an MVP in bootstrapping and go fast to the market. Validate your idea, generate metrics and only after that refer to investors to grow as fast as possible.

From Startup Mentor to Business Angel, how was the transition and why did you decide to become a business angel?

I like finance and investments, I have vertical skills on that, so I just tried to put together my two passions, finance investments and Startups. It is risky but using the right approach you can of course reduce that. Taking your risks is the only way to improve and grow. I like to diversify and put part of my resources investing on young entrepreneurs with beautiful and innovative ideas. I like to give and provide my contribution to create solutions that can improve our beautiful world. And now, in this pandemic year, that is needed more than ever.

As a business angel we know that you have invested in Bonnie Beauty, and we wanted to know more about this interesting startup.

Bonnie Beauty is an interesting realty in the Beauty and Cosmetic Sector. Alice Zabeo is the founder, and she is a very determinate person with a very committed Team. They are innovating the sector with new and personalized products for skin care. Their sleeping mask is a very appreciated product. I believed on her project practically from the very beginning, since they generated interesting metrics with their E-commerce practically only using their organic Instagram account. Imagine what they can do using Marketing, Digital PR and Ads as a boost.

Bonnie Beauty was recently selected to participate in the Outsiders’Inn with “La carica delle 101”. Can you tell us more about behind the scenes and this mentorship process?

La carica delle 101 is a no profit initiative born to sustain and support Italian Startup and their founders in their growth and acceleration path. The program is dedicated to female entrepreneurship and to innovative projects were made in Italy is a key factor. One of the requirements is also a woman as a founder. That is a remarkably interesting experience, since diversity is a key factor to improve working conditions and female entrepreneurship in our country. Things are really changing, and these initiatives will provide a significant boost in this process.

As a last question we have a curiosity, both in your career as a mentor and as a business angel, we would like to know with which startup you have had greater satisfaction and on which area you have been able to help it the most?

I have two favourites, Bonnie Beauty is one of them, but I would like to name KickTrader also, presently incubated by IC406, part of Auriga company. They are an interesting Startup in Fintech\Gaming field. I helped them a lot providing feedbacks in the validation phase and regarding the business model adjustments and pivoting. They are in early stage, but with a product under test by the early adopters and almost ready to go on the market.

Read also the other interview with Fabio Pozzi: Business Angel and startup evaluation: what do you watch?

If you want to know more about Startup Geeks, please read Incubator online: the Startup Geeks case and Incubator succeeded with a 170,000 euro fundraising

If you are interested in Business Angel, please read more on: Business Angel Networks: the main ones in Italy

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