First believers
Guillaume Meulle, Managing Partner

“It is thanks to Front’s success that I will be able to continue helping other entrepreneurs.”

She is discreet about it. Mathilde Collin, CEO and co-founder of Front, is also a Business Angel (Retool, Figma, Loom, Vanta, Lattice, Mercury, etc.). I know Mathilde because we are both board members at Welcome To The Jungle, and she agreed to talk to me about this lesser-known aspect of her life.

Why did you become a business angel while being CEO of Front?

I am very sensitive to the theory of effective altruism. Basically, it is a school of thought that tells you to focus on what you do best, which will then allow you to redistribute the wealth you create and thus increase your impact.

In my case, what I know how to do well (even if I can always improve!), is the entrepreneurial journey of Front. Over the years, I have written a lot about everything I learn. This has allowed me to become known and create a network that gives me access to many deal opportunities.

I decided to use this to my advantage by financing startups in which I believe and where I can be useful.

How do you help entrepreneurs?

My career, my professional commitment, is Front, not my investment activity. It is 99% of my professional time (in addition to my family), and it is thanks to its present and future success that I will be able to continue helping other entrepreneurs.

The time I allocate to my angel activity is clear: 2 hours per week. So I must be efficient and honest to be useful to entrepreneurs.

Where entrepreneurs find me most useful is in the very transparent sharing of my experience with Front (a SaaS scale-up), in listening without expecting anything in return, and in giving advice without being biased by the weight and stakes of my investment (unlike professional investors).

How do you manage this activity?

Since I devote 2 hours per week to it, I must be very disciplined. I am fortunate to receive many deal recommendations. So, I save a lot of time.

And since I operate on emotion and trust, I invest in about 50 to 70% of the startups I talk to, for about ten investments per year. This ratio is completely unnatural for a VC, isn’t it Guillaume?

Indeed, for us, it’s not even the opposite, it’s radically opposite. But if you trust your network that sends you deals, are there still criteria that you evaluate during the pitch?

I spend 90% of my time evaluating the team. I unfortunately do not have the time (or really the skills!) to evaluate the idea or the market. What I am looking for in the entrepreneurs I support is a balance between humility and strong self-confidence. It’s a difficult balance to achieve!

How do you see the evolution of Business Angels in France?

It is an extremely stimulating activity, which can even generate return on investment if done well. So, it’s true that in recent years, we have seen more and more business angels appear in France. This is a very good thing for the ecosystem, but for it to continue, one condition is necessary: more liquidity.

More exits, more secondaries, generate entrepreneurial success, and wealth that reinforces the role and legitimacy of Business Angels.


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