Didier Dippe: It’s hard to tell, but success relies on our ability to tailor appropriate business development strategies for each company we invest in.

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📈 Tell us about yourself?

I have 30 years of experience in finance and consulting and occupied senior executive positions in financial firms in consulting, investment, and fund management since 1996.

Previously, I have been working in capital markets for financial institutions in forex and equity fund management. I also worked as an executive in the corporate credit department at a US bank.

I have expertise in financial schemes and developed a structured product combining private equity and financial derivates products with corporate and investment banking institutions in 2007.

I have completed Global Executive MBA modules, a joint program offered by Ecole des Ponts Business School (Paris, France) and Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Philadelphia, USA). I hold an MBA equivalence in Finance and graduated from ISEA Business School (France).

I also hold the London School of Business and Finance’s Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Diploma and other financial certifications from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, SDA Bocconi School of Management, and HEC Paris with AXA Investment Managers.

📈 If you could give one piece of advice to other investors, what would it be?

I don’t claim to tell other investors what they should do. The only thing I’d like to share with them is that we could work together in co-investment, for instance.

I sometimes thought that emerging funds like Sagona Capital would constitute a collective of investment funds enabling to help leverage existing networks and create synergies and economies of scale.

📈 If you could give one piece of advice to startup founders looking to get funding from you, what would you say?

First and foremost, I would tell them to anticipate their fundraising at least 12 months in advance and not to wait to run out of cash to think about it, as it can take up to 12, even 18 months to raise capital from VC or PE funds.

We need some constructive use of time to create a winning strategy between us and the startup after the due diligence phase, which requires a couple of months to be implemented, especially if there are patents involved in.

📈 What do you look for in the founding team of the startups you invest in?

The qualities I look for in the founding team of a startup I’d like to invest in are conviction, motivation, intelligence, and long-term vision.

📈 Is there a trait you have noticed predicts success in your investments?

It’s hard to tell, but success relies on our ability to tailor appropriate business development strategies for each company we invest in. Then we try to find synergies between those companies in order to create pure players in their area.

📈 How has COVID impacted your investment strategy and existing investments?

The pandemic has been a difficult period for all of us as our own capital raising had brutally stopped for about 18 months, and thus our planned investments in startups.

However, at the same time, it has been profitable for our investment strategy. Indeed it allows us to rethink our investment philosophy and especially on how we could bring more value to the startups we would invest in.

For instance, we seized the opportunity to create a European VC firm and investment vehicle that allowed us to develop a soft landing platform to welcome U.S. startups willing to establish in Europe and vice versa.

📈 What do you see as the emerging areas of technology that you are looking to invest in?

We focus on investing in four main verticals such as health-tech (devices, diagnostic…), sustainability (waste and water), Greentech (agtech, renewable energies, climate changes…), and deeptech (AI, blockchain, IT…), that is the transversal one.

We notice the importance of AI in all industries around us, even in Agtech, for instance. Likewise for blockchain technology that has been applied in fintech and regtech, for instance.

📈 How do you source new investment opportunities?

We source investment opportunities from different sources, such as from our own network of entrepreneurs and scientists, online platforms and incubators, and accelerators.

📈 How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

That’s a good question. My teammates are bold entrepreneurs that have successful track records in sales, marketing, and/or business development, and as an entrepreneur myself, we understand each other and share the same values and goals.

Moreover, we don’t focus on high returns on investment but on our startups’ business goals and achievements. Our motto could be if we do our job well by helping our startups achieve their objectives, returns will follow.

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Written by Fredd

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