Corentin Orsini is one of the founding partners of Super Capital, an active and growing community of more than 1,000 investors.
On a quest to grow, Super Capital is now a public community on Roundtable, and it plans to triple its typical deal size over the next 18 months.
Orsini spoke about how he went from writing blogs about the best brunch spots in Paris to setting up one of the most professional investment communities in France.
Starting the Super Capital community
Roundtable: You have a very varied professional background. How did you get into angel investing and then start the Super Capital community?
Orsini: As a former journalist, I was traveling a lot to Silicon Valley, Asia and London, discovering this world of tech entrepreneurs and venture capital, and I wanted to join it. So, I went back to business school; I then worked at an investment banking firm, investing mainly in tech. I also created some small online companies, including a few food blogs – I was an affiliate of TheFork at that time.
In 2017, I started to invest small tickets in startups. It was very difficult to invest in early-stage tech companies in France. The tickets were big, and I could only invest €2,000-€3,000 at a time. There were a few crowdfunding platforms, and a few elite communities, where people knew people. It was really hard to enter this game.
We founded Super Capital in 2018. We were one of the first of this new wave of early-stage investing communities in France. I wanted to build this community to access bigger deals and contribute to making investing in early-stage deals a more fluid experience. Now we have around 1,000 active investors i.e. people in our community who have invested in at least one ticket.
Roundtable: Super Capital has joined Roundtable as a public community. Are you looking for more investors?
Orsini: Our goal is to multiply our investor community by five, within around 18 to 24 months. We want to be a lot more visible, and to do this we are working on signing a very big media partnership. Being on Roundtable will also give us a lot more visibility, especially internationally. The battle for us is to find more investors and invest more – ideally between €300,000 to €500,000 per deal. Today we invest around €100,000 to €200,000. We want to double or triple this figure to really count in the company’s cap table.
Investment Thesis and Deal Selection
Roundtable: Can you tell us more about your investment thesis?
Orsini: We look for early-stage tech companies: SaaS companies, mobile applications, online services. Part of the business model needs to relate to digital tech. We are looking for companies who have found their product market fit, who have started to monetise it with maybe five or ten clients, and who are generating a few thousand euros of revenue per month. So that represents 80% of our investments at seed level. The rest, 20%, is pre-seed, and there we are looking at very hot topics, such as repeat entrepreneurs and AI impact.
Asides from investment, we also offer services to startups, for example helping them to raise debt, and contracting key personnel, like part-time CFOs.
Roundtable: What is your deal selection process?
Orsini: There are two elements here. One is our collective vehicle, which we manage ourselves. We also have SPVs on Roundtable. They work a little differently.
With regards to finding deals, we have analysts who filter through entrepreneurs’ pitch decks and they make Zoom calls with approximately 50 entrepreneurs per month. And then the analysts pitch to us, the four partners. And then we decide to dig deeper into about half of them, so 20 or 25 deals.
If we don’t know much about the market or product, we do our own research. Usually, we ask two to four members in our community to help us assess the quality of the startup and the team. If we decide to go further, we’ll write an investment memo, like an executive summary, and share it with our investors. We need 50% of members to vote, and of those, 75% need to vote yes. It's really a collective decision.
The deal may be accepted or rejected. Even if it’s the latter, we can offer it to our community via our SPV, and each person can make their own decision.
Roundtable: What are red flags when it comes to pitch decks ?
Orsini: A red flag would be a ‘bad’ cap table i.e., having maybe two or three sleeping partners who own the majority of the company. We can’t fund a situation like that. Or when we don't see the fit between the team and the product. Another common red flag is when we open a pitch deck and we don't understand what the company is offering. We want to understand the company pretty clearly within 30 seconds, but this is a hard exercise for some people.
Roundtable: You invest in around 40 to 60 companies per year. How involved are you with your start-up companies and what do you expect of your community in that respect?
Orsini: As partners, we are hands off, but we can link founders with some very useful people. In our community of 1,000 active investors, we have members from every kind of industry, market and every company size, from companies with two employees to 1,000. I want to keep this diversity in our membership. That’s why also we keep minimum tickets quite low and accessible, like €2,000 per deal per person.
If the investor wants a seat on the board of the company, that’s fine. As partners, we never take board seats in our startups. When you invest in 60 companies per year, we would end up spending our entire lives on boards. Sometimes the relationship between the investors and the entrepreneur is very strong. Sometimes there's no relationship. We really let the investors decide how they want to help the entrepreneurs.
Roundtable: With such a large active community, how do you keep them motivated?
Orsini: We organise a lot of events – at least two per month; one event at our offices in Paris, and one virtual event where we discuss big topics. We also have a very big party once a year. Investing in startups can feel like an individual occupation, or a hobby, and our members are eager to communicate and socialise with others. We find that they even do business amongst themselves at these events. When we created Super Capital a few years ago, that was not something we had in mind. But if you look at who we are today, we are really community-first. It’s in our DNA.
Roundtable EuVECA Manager Lux S.à.r.l. is registered with the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) under number A3650 as manager of collective investment undertakings that wish to use the designation‘EuVECA’ as per article 14 of EU Regulation n° 345/2013 of the EU Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2023 on European venture capital funds.
Roundtable EuVECA Manager Lux S.à.r.l. is also registered as manager of alternative investment funds under article 3 (3) of the Act of 12 July 2013 on alternative investment funds managers.