a “business angel” at Xavier Niel

“I enjoy what I do when I couldn’t imagine staying there for more than two years! » release with a lot of spontaneity Alexis Robert from the top of his 33 years. Seven years since he joined Kima Ventures (one of the most active start-up investment funds in the world with two to three startups funded each week at a cost of $150,000 each) and seven years since he lives his passion on a daily basis. A happy coincidence for the one who said “hate the world of finance and investors”.

“I dropped my Lego to program”

Because his first passion is programming. “My father, an electronics enthusiast, introduced me very early. When I was 8 I started programming and I gave up my Lego to the computer because programming allowed me to create. It never left me. It is still my hobby today. recognizes Alexis Robert, who at the age of 13 even made software to manage his grandfather’s library. At technical school, he was bored “because I can already program”. “Friends studying at HEC had a project that needed a developer. Parallel to my studies, I therefore embarked on this first entrepreneurial adventure, as CTO of My Bee, which will become PayinTech » he continues.

It was during the launch of his first business with a partner in London that this young entrepreneur met Kima Ventures. “We died during the fundraiser, but I felt for Vincent Jacobs, the investor at Kima Ventures who had looked at our file. They needed someone and I interviewed”. Everything changed for him here: Excited about his exchanges, he entered the world of investing and financing in 2015.

“My brain scans like an AI robot”

Today, he is one of three full-time “partners” (plus an intern) of the structure supported by Xavier Niel. A ridiculous number when you consider that about sixty entrepreneurs are received by Kima Venture every week to select two to three. “What makes us very productive is the organization” explains Alexis Robert. An organization Kima Ventures partly owes him, because when he arrived, he immediately created several organizational software: Kima Lab (to handle the stream of requests that each member of the fund reviews), Kima Circle (an agenda of events reserved for startups funded by Kima) and Kima Forward (a tool for managing the network of experts and resources that Kima makes available to startups).

Entrepreneurs, via Zoom he sees about twenty a week. And to select them, “I’m so used to scanning my brain like an artificial intelligence robot” he likes to say. In fact, he likes to ask entrepreneurs about the genesis and beginnings of the startup because to him, “by deconstructing the past we can see those who have the flame, those who will carry the projects and their speed of execution”. Vibrancy is needed as the constant flow of applications forces the fund to respond all the more quickly to responses as Kima invests very quickly (between 2 and 4 weeks, unlike other traditional venture capital funds whose delays would be longer, before they close their financing deal). to give) . “Because the boxes are young, there are a lot of uncertainties about investments. It is the market opportunities and the quality of the team that will make the difference.” says Alexis Robert.

The fund is interested in any type of startup, as long as it has a technology brick and can easily break even without having to raise a lot of money. Web 3 has been very popular lately, representing less than 10% of the 20 or so files received every day. “In 2021, many startups wanted to do Web3 to do Web3, more out of a passion for technology than for what you can do” regrets Kima’s investor. He prefers to defend projects “with Cartesian profiles, in love with a problem not a solution and who will use Web 3 to solve their problem”.

Building the Kima Community

Alexis Robert has flair. And talents. “I’m on the technical side as a programmer, and on the financial side as an investor, which allows me to discuss very specific topics with business angels” he acknowledges. But for him, his real strength lies elsewhere: in his approach to business. “When I make an investment, my focus is not on the financial aspect. The most important characteristic of an investor is to be primarily in love with entrepreneurship, not with money. If you approach this profession by considering yourself in finance first, you are ruining it! “. Famous in the community and recognized by his peers, he remains humble and even wary of overconfidence. “It’s a double-edged sword, because by believing you’re strong and infallible, you make mistakes. And of course I did.” he admits

The goal is now to strengthen the Kima community (approximately 2,000 companies that have been helped since the fund’s inception in 2010) to better serve entrepreneurs. “We organize events to create, facilitate and promote this precious link between entrepreneurs, so that they help each other, because without connection you cannot do business” concludes the one who in his beginning sometimes has “drooled to be alone”.

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