In an exclusive interview with Lev Dolgatsjov, a former board member of EBAN, we delve into his personal journey as an angel investor as well as his involvement with EstBAN and also EBAN. Lev shares his insights on the importance of organisations like EBAN that connect business angels across Europe and beyond. He also discusses his proudest achievements during his tenure on the board and highlights the challenges faced. Furthermore, Lev offers valuable perspectives on areas for improvement and initiatives that can generate a greater impact on the early-stage sector. Lastly, he shares personal lessons learned and how they have shaped his approach to supporting startups.
From Curiosity to Impact: Lev Dolgatsjov’s Journey as an Angel Investor
Lev Dolgatsjov embarked on his angel investing journey with a curiosity about the world of startup investments. Fascinated by the news of startups receiving substantial funding despite burning money rapidly, Lev decided to explore further. This led him to crowdfunding, where he began investing in what he thought were startups. However, he soon realised that not all of them fit the criteria he sought. Subsequently, Lev joined EstBAN which proved to be a transformative decision. Through EstBAN, he met numerous experienced and interesting individuals, fostering connections that would prove invaluable as an investor and enriching his personal life. Eventually, his investment thesis evolved to prioritise impact startups, leading him to establish Syda Ventures, a micro VC company dedicated to supporting such ventures.
EBAN: Empowering Angel Investors and Enabling Cross-Border Connections
When asked about the importance of organisations such as EBAN, Lev Dolgatsjov states that EBAN plays a crucial role in connecting business angels across Europe and beyond, as local networks often operate within a limited geographical range. When startups from these networks seek to expand and scale into new markets, angel investors may lack the necessary connections. EBAN fills this gap by facilitating cross-border networking, enabling angels to connect with each other and support startups in unfamiliar markets. Lev also highlights the value of sharing best practices among angel networks and the positive impact it has on the entire ecosystem.
Reflecting on his time on the board, Lev expresses pride in witnessing the continual growth of EBAN. With new countries and networks joining each year, the organisation’s reach and influence expand, further solidifying its position as a leading angel investment network. He acknowledges the challenges of maintaining dynamic development and avoiding stagnation, particularly for a mature organisation like EBAN. As to how to make EBAN even better, Lev proposes the establishment of an up-to-date database of legal practices in different countries concerning startup investments. This database would provide valuable information on legal and tax perspectives, fostering cross-border investments within the EBAN network. Lev also advocates for the creation of a database of trustworthy and validated legal partners, which would be more accessible to angel investors.
Estonia’s Angel Investment Ecosystem and the #EBANCongress 2024
Concerning regions with untapped potential for angel investors, Lev emphasises Estonia’s ecosystem that we will get to discover during #EBANCongress 2024. Dolgatsjov expressed his satisfaction in achieving the goal of bringing the EBAN Congress to Estonia in 2024, which he considered a not-so-secret mission since joining the board. He expects the event to be excellent, featuring a strong lineup of speakers from Estonia and across Europe. Lev encourages anyone considering attending to come, assuring them they won’t regret it. Although he acknowledges his patriotic bias, he cites the need for angels from other countries to invest in Estonian startups and believes that the Estonian ecosystem will greatly benefit from hosting the Congress.
Lev’s Advice for Success in Angel Investing
Throughout his angel investing journey, Lev has gained valuable insights and lessons that have shaped his approach to supporting startups. He stresses the importance of due diligence and thoroughly understanding the investment opportunity, including the market, the team, and the potential risks involved. Lev also emphasises the significance of building a strong network of like-minded investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs who can provide support and expertise. He also has a spicy take on the usefulness (or not) of co-investing through syndicates when you are first starting out saying that these are startup investments but not angel investments!
But if you want to hear that as well as everything else in this article from the man himself, you can watch the full interview here:
We look forward to seeing Lev again at #EAIS23 or the EBAN Congress in Tallinn, and we deeply thank him for having served on
We look forward to seeing Lev again at #EAIS23 or the EBAN Congress in Tallinn, and we deeply thank him for having served on our Board and making it better!