Augustin Sayer began his career in banking before finding a knack for investing in high-promise companies. Today, as General Partner at OVNI Capital, Augustin leads a VC seed fund specializing in France-based tech startups. Founded in 2022, the firm provides crucial early-stage funding to promising startups to help them grow into successful businesses.
During Pitch Practice and Office Hours for Founders Network members on May 10, Augustin will offer founders feedback on their startup pitch and guidance on funding strategies for startups. He’ll also share tips on the importance of continual fundraising, how to know if your startup is VC compatible, and advice for how to best engage funders from his years of experience as an investor.
To learn more about funding strategies for startups, see if you qualify for membership to join Founders Network.
From Angel Investor to VC
Augustin’s path into investing began when he became an angel investor with his bonuses earned as a banker. He invested in nearly 20 companies before taking his own shot at entrepreneurship.
Augustin moved to Mexico in 2015 to launch his own retail business and quickly felt a longing to get back to his role as an investor. After two years, he stepped back into a full-time role as a venture capitalist at Newfund where he funded over 20 businesses including FairMoney, the largest African neo-bank, and Umiami, a plant-based texture technology company.
As an investor, Augustin sees an opportunity to invest in French businesses. He believes that French startups often remain in France for too long before attempting to expand. The result of this is a gap in funding opportunities from foreign investors. Augustin is trying to re-wire this approach with the launch of his firm OVNI Capital.
The 3 Guideposts Of OVNI Capital
OVNI Capital invests in startups that offer proprietary technology, a clear mission, and founders with an international mindset.
The ultimate goal of OVNI is to find businesses across Europe and beyond that that are ready to take on capital to solve a problem that will make a difference in society.
“It’s a risky job being an early-stage investor,” says Augustin. “If we’re not investing in ventures that have some sort of societal transformation at the end – why work in this business? When we invest we try to strive for something that’s going to change society positively.”
Augustin’s future goal is to expand OVNI Capital into a global capital fund that fuels ideas from what he refers to as “alien’ investors – or investors who are pushing the limits of new concepts and innovation.
“Always Be Fundraising”
Augustin frequently speaks with entrepreneurs focused on fundraising as a one-time transaction. This mistake is one Augustin wants founders to avoid.
“The advice I’ve been giving for the past 18 months is that fundraising is a never-ending job. This means, as soon as you raise your Seed round, you should already get ready to raise your Series A round,” he shares.
The example Augustin shares is that of Apple.
“I think Apple has 70 people working full-time on their equity and debt team. Why? To make sure Apple has enough cash flow to run. Entrepreneurs should be doing the same. Fundraising should be a part of a startup entrepreneur’s day-to-day operations.”
While the goal should not be to raise capital before it is needed, there should be a focus on building your supporting framework. Founders should make a point to continuously talk to investors to understand what the market is looking for and where investors show appetite.
“This way, when you actually raise your Series A, you’ve already talked to most of the market and your company is ready for the investment,” he says.
While speaking to investors is important, it’s second to understanding which funding sources are compatible with your startup. To learn more about funding strategies for startups, see if you qualify for membership to join Founders Network.