“I feel good about what I’m doing, as I couldn’t imagine staying there for more than two years! » loose 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 early stage investment funds in the world with two to three startups funded every week worth 150,000 euros each) and seven years since he has been living his passion on a daily basis. A happy coincidence for whoever said “hate the financial world and investors”.
“I ditched my Lego for programming”
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 for the computer because programming allowed me to create. It never left me. It is still my hobby today. recognizes Alexis Robert, who created software himself at the age of 13 to manage his grandfather’s library. In engineering school, he was bored “because I already know how to program”. “Friends who studied at HEC had a project that needed a developer. Parallel to my studies, I therefore set out on this first entrepreneurial adventure, as CTO of My Bee, which becomes PayinTech » he continues.
It was while launching his first business with a partner in London that this young entrepreneur met Kima Ventures. “We died during the fundraising, but I had sympathized with Vincent Jacobs, the investor at Kima Ventures, who had looked into our case. They needed someone and I interviewed”. This is where everything changed for him: he was excited about his exchanges and joined the world of investment and finance in 2015.
“My brain scans like an artificial intelligence robot”
Today he is one of three full-time “partners” (plus an intern) in the structure supported by Xavier Niel. A ridiculous number when you know that about sixty entrepreneurs are received by Kima Venture every week, to choose two to three. “What makes us very productive is the organization” explains Alexis Robert. An organization that Kima Ventures partly owes to him, since when he arrived, he immediately created several organizational software: Kima Lab (to process the flow of requests that each member of the foundation goes through), 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, he sees about twenty a week via Zoom. And to choose them, “I’m so used to my brain scanning like an artificial intelligence robot” he likes to say. More seriously, he likes to ask entrepreneurs about the genesis and beginnings of the startup because for him, “deconstructing the past allows us to see those who have the flame, those who will carry the projects and their speed of execution”. Liveliness is needed because the constant flow of applications forces the fund to be all the more responsive to responses, as Kima invests very quickly (between 2 to 4 weeks, unlike other traditional venture capital funds whose delays would be longer , before they give their financing agreement) . “Since the funds are young, there are many uncertainties surrounding investments. It is the market opportunity and the quality of the team that will make the difference.” says Alexis Robert.
The fund is interested in any kind of startup as long as it has a technological brick and can easily reach the break-even point without having to raise a lot of money. Recently, Web 3 has been very popular and represents less than 10% of the 20 or so files received each day. “In 2021, many startups wanted to make Web3 for the sake of making Web3, out of a passion for technology more than for what it allows you to do.” regrets the investor from Kima. He prefers to defend projects “with Cartesian profiles, in love with a problem and not a solution, and who will use Web 3 as a means to solve their problem”.
Building the Kima community
Alexis Robert has flair. And talent. “I am both on the technical side as a programmer and on the financial side as an investor, which allows me to address 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 the financial aspect. The most important quality of an investor is first and foremost to be in love with entrepreneurship, not money. If you approach this profession thinking of yourself as the first in finance, you’re screwing up! “. Known in society and recognized by his peers, he remains humble and is wary of overconfidence. “It’s a double-edged sword because it’s about being convinced that you’re strong and infallible, that you make mistakes. And of course I did.” he admits
Now its aim is to strengthen the Kima community (around 2,000 companies that have been helped since the foundation was created in 2010) to better help entrepreneurs. “We organize events to create, facilitate and promote this precious connection between entrepreneurs so that they help each other, because without a connection you cannot do business” ends that which in its beginning sometimes has “drooling to be alone”.