Raffaele Riva took some time to develop his skills as an angel investor, but is today ranked near the top of the field among New York-based entrepreneurs dedicated to helping new businesses get started.
A British national, Riva had received multiple degrees before he obtaining an MBA from the University of Oxford. Working alongside others who had previously been his fellow college students, he established a small tech firm in 2006. Commensurate with the growth of his own company, he would expand his own interests in the area of angel investment, investing in rising businesses that conventional investors would not touch. In return for their financial support, angel investors often receive convertible bonds or are even given equity in the firm.
Riva describes his work as a “constant race” that regularly begins before dawn. He starts the day with a visit to his favorite coffee shop, a habit that also gives him time to check his inbox for the latest mail. He has to start early when considering that his London group is five hours ahead of him at his domicile in New York. A meticulous planner, Riva sees the importance of writing down his plans and suggests that others in the field either do the same or select someone else to carry out the task. Of course, he still manages to find time for his wife and two children.
In terms of advising other angel investors, Riva believes that the emphasis should be less on the companies and more on assisting the founders. However, he believes that those thinking of entering the field should understand the risks involved, especially considering that approximately half of the businesses started will eventually fail. In the case of Raffaele Riva, the risks are outweighed by his continuing desire to help others reach their entrepreneurial dreams.