Meet our Angels: Larissa Best - INTERVIEW FOR THE WOMEN WEEK
1. About yourself
Current Roles: Digitalisation Project Manager IFEN, CEO Equilibre, Lecturer Uni Luxembourg, Independent evaluator for the European Commission, Board LBAN and EBAN
Education: Master HEC Lausanne and MBA SHU
First Job: Family Business Avantiq
Work Attire: Casual!!
Hobbies: Family and friends
Most admired woman entrepreneur or investor, and why: Denise Coates – Founder Bet365 – Net Worth: 2.5 Billion GBP estimated
2. About woman angel investing.
- Equilibre plays an active role in on gender complementarity in Luxembourg
. Can you tell us more about this role? I started Equilibre a couple of years back with like-minded people in order to enhance the awareness creation of gender complementarity in Luxembourg. Today, we are mainly concentrating on getting more women into public forums and conferences in order to enhance the gender balance. The program is called My Pledge. - How do you apply that in your Chairwoman role in LBAN ? Diversity and inclusion are important values for me as I believe in the enhanced value proposition of having different mindsets around the table, especially in solution finding mode to problems which is often the case for startups. - As a woman do you have a different approach to evaluate deals and project to support? That is a good question. I think that the most important trait in evaluating business models is experience. Depending on your experience, you will look at different parts of the business. Thus, having a tribe of investors around you that complement your experience is crucial. - What are the specific woman concerns and barriers to women entrepreneurs/BA? There are quite a few but mainly Access to network, access to finance and reconciling business and family life. Actually, 74% of women say flexibility is more important than making more money and the primary reason for women to start a business is to accommodate family and work. When it comes to access to network, it is closely related to access to finance. The better your professional network, the easier it is to find financing. However, most women have a great network but mainly a social network and not a professional network that they can draw upon when they become entrepreneurs.
This holds them back from a revenue perspective as well as network is extremely important to acquire clients, find talent etc.
My advice: Network more and make it professional. Like the name says: Network is Work but absolutely worthwhile. - How can we attract more women to become business angels? There is a clear correlation between successful entrepreneurs and business angels. Thus, by having more women entrepreneurs, we will have more women business angels eventually. In the meantime, I think we need to market angel investment more like a venture philanthropy arm to women. Emphasizing the good for people and the economy when investing into start-ups is crucial for some investors.
3. Tips & Advice for aspiring woman business angels
- Which are the most important qualities of a good woman business angel?
I would say the same as for a good business angel: don’t invest alone but always with other business angels who can add a complementary expertise to yours. Another great additional quality is to have a good understanding of people and how they work. As the people within the company will be executing the plan, having a good feel and experience assessing people is definitely an advantage. - Do you have any advice for an aspiring woman angel investors?
Don’t do it alone. Be part of a community of angel investors. The experience will be much better and you can share the ups and downs with other people.
- Do you have any other pieces of advice?
Only invest money that you can forget. In my experience, you always need to factor in time to solve issues that will come up. Don’t think money will be your only investment.
4. You & LBAN
- Why did you decide to join LBAN?
I decided to join LBAN because the network within LBAN was completely different to my network in Luxembourg. Thus, a great way to meet new and interesting people who have similar interests.
- What benefits did you find in LBAN?
I found a good way to learn about angel investing quickly, having access to a European network and Luxembourg dealflow.
Thank you very much for such insights! It was a pleasure speaking with you. I hope our members will also enjoy this interview.