Marek Kiisa is one of Estonia's most prominent business angels and elected Estonian angel of the year 2015. Below a short introduction.
1. What made you become an angel?
Passion in innovation. I am a Machine Design Engineer and took my master degree on combustion processes analysed by neural networks - so I am a kind of combination of “real world” and “digital world". I’m a person who thinks that you should always reinvest 20% of your turnover in R&D, in that type of research and development that can disrupt the world with the help of ICT.
I made my first angel investment already 10 years ago that taught me a lot. Some years ago I also educated myself for two years in Silicon Valley on angel investing and venture capital becoming a Kauffman Fellow. My entrepreneurial DNA was tested during my highschool studies where I started my own company to finance my university studies. During past 17+ years I have been building up together with my partner Sven Reppo Astrec group companies and done over 20 angel investments into ICT startups.
What kind of angel investments do you have and any exits?
My current portfolio consists: TimeGate www.timegate.com, Zlick.it www.zlick.it, Warren www.warren.io, Pilw.io (Astrec Data) www.pilw.io, Barking www.barking.city, Bikeep www.bikeep.com, Guaana www.guaana.com, Leap-IN www.leapin.eu, Monese www.monese.com, Plumbr www.plumbr.eu and Qminder www.qminder.com
All these founders of these companies have enormous internal power to change their industry and role it all over the world.
I have done 5 exits some of them excellent some of them doing money back and also one write off. Thus far the best exit and also a brilliant learning curve for me has been GrabCad - my very much loved 3-D engineering platform.
What kind of startup and industry makes you excited?
I am a great believer that the founder and the team are the main assets of the start-up. If I do “click" with the founder and I do see his/her vision passion and execution abilities then I shall look closely to the idea itself and scalability. I think that my portfolio clearly reflects in what fields I do my investments.
How do you see your future for angel investing?
From this year I am very proud to announce that together with two superangels Veljo Otsasson and Rain Rannu we closed early stage investment fund and company builder. We invest knowledge, time, contact network, our own and investors’ money to help awesome founders start and grow great companies. Our deal-flow comes mainly from Scandinavia, Baltics and also East-European countries. We do cross-border cooperation and love to do it with angels.
What is the best way for startups to approach you?
All my contact are public but the most secure way is to e-mail on 10x(at)superangel.io and of course recommendations work always.