Olivier, can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?
After leaving Solvay in 2004, I worked for Deloitte for 11 years, in audit and then in consulting. I have had great experiences and learned a lot, but coming from a family of freelancers, I have always admired entrepreneurship and aspired to join this world. In 2015, I had the opportunity to take over a dental clinic in Arlon (as a manager and not as a dentist of course!). It was not planned at all, but I was seduced by the project and the potential. I then resigned from Deloitte as Director, to take the step. What a change! Return the last iPhone, the BMW and say goodbye to the 20 people who help you, to become the multi-tasking manager, who manages IT migrations on weekends!
Once the clinic was well developed, I wanted to create a group. Together with other partners, I contributed to the development of the Odontolia group, of which I am currently the financial director. We have already consolidated more than 35 dental clinics in Belgium.
I have enjoyed independent status for 8 years. Although very busy with my work, I feel free to organize myself as I see fit, and I work for myself.
How did you discover the business angel activity?
I like to discover, understand and help create businesses from a simple idea. Meeting enthusiastic entrepreneurs gives me a lot of energy. For a few years, I also organized a competition for entrepreneurs, “Creative Young Entrepreneur Luxembourg”.
Now that I can afford to invest, I wanted to turn to this type of investment, and the way BeAngels proposes to approach the activity appealed to me. Investing in the stock market, without any direct impact, does not interest me. I also like to meet and exchange with other people who share similar interests, especially during monthly pitch sessions.
You mention the monthly pitch sessions – which are organized simultaneously in Belgium and Luxembourg every month. Do you have any special moments that you remember and that you would like to share to illustrate the atmosphere of BeAngels Luxembourg?
Last November, it was a full house at the Monthly Investment Forum organized in Luxembourg. The company that hosted us asked us to leave at 11 p.m. So we went to a nearby bar, which also asked us to leave at 1 am. We were still around thirty. Great atmosphere!
Also, in most BAC - Business Angels Club meetings, there is a lot of laughter. These are beautiful meetings with people that I really want to see again. Maybe even on future professional projects.
The fact that you can see at least five different projects each month is rewarding. I see this as a great source of inspiration and learning.
What motivates you to invest through a BAC (Business Angel Club)?
It is reassuring to be able to start investing with small amounts (gathered into a larger amount for the entrepreneur via BeAngels), based on discussions with a panel of around twenty people with complementary profiles. You diversify your initial capital in 3 companies, you receive training given by experienced business angels, and you benefit from a coach who challenges you in your investment approach. For me, this is a prudent way to start these risky investments.
My advice to anyone considering becoming a business angel is to get started, cautiously, not be driven by emotions, diversify well, and be professional in due diligence. It is not necessarily the one who presents the best that has the most promising start-up.
You are now co-coach of the second group "BAC LUX 2" which is launching in Luxembourg in February. What was your motivation to take on this role within BeAngels?
Indeed, I had not considered this role at all! When our coach Baudouin Dupriez asked us if there were candidates to assist him in leading the group in 2023, I immediately raised my hand. Spontaneously. The idea is to be even more active in the BAC, to help new members and gain expertise, being aware that this formula can help many investors to get started with professionalism and in a good mood!
Are you interested in joining a Business Angel Club (BAC)? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.