Interviews 15.08.2023

Five Minutes With: A Cyber Angel Investor

Eleanor Dallaway grills Angel Investor Andreas Wuchner about the excitement, red flags and common mistakes in the world of cyber venture capital

Meet Andreas Wuchner, operating partner at TempoCap and ex-CIO, CISO, head of IT security and a bouquet of similar titles.

As a cybersecurity angel investor, Andreas uses his experience in cyber and risk to help start-ups, actively participating in the growth and future of those organisations.

Eleanor Dallaway chewed the fat with Andreas to bring you a five-minute glimpse into the life and challenges of an EMEA cyber angel investor.

Andreas Wuchner, TempoCap

What do you do at TempoCap?

We scout the EMEA cybersecurity ecosystem for potential scale-up investment opportunities while supporting existing portfolio companies with market, cyber and risk expertise around strategy and go-to-market topics.

When it comes to start-ups, what gets you most excited?

The energy and drive that entrepreneurs bring to the table. Most tech and risk innovations come from start-ups, which later get acquired by the bigger players. They drive the future of the market.

When it comes to start-ups, what are your red flags?

There are lots of potential red flags around target markets and product fit in general. However, the biggest issues we contend with are limited business understanding from tech entrepreneurs and a lack of reliable public profile. These are both significant hurdles when we come to plan pre-seed, seed and A- rounds of funding.

How does a start-up make itself stand out in a crowded sector?

Encouragingly, there are lots of options. Authoring or contributing to scientific research papers and patents is helpful. Having charismatic leaders and co-founders happy to share their knowledge and wisdom is another great asset. Open-source angels (meaning sharing of material) create trust in the base, which is often helpful.

If you can get outstanding financers involved early, this is a huge advantage. And as has been true for decades, real marketing and naming will also help. Dope.Security in California is an excellent example of this.

What one mistake do you recurringly see cybersecurity businesses make in growth mode?

There are a few. I see a lack of understanding and focus on the actual business and numbers when founders get over-excited about technology. Promising disruptors will succeed, but they must keep their eyes on the numbers. Egos are often a problem too. A great network of advisors is so powerful, but only if you are open to suggestions and can listen and adapt. We have 26 actively managed companies in our portfolio and seven investment professionals, so this is something I see every day.

If you could invest early in any tech company, what would it be?

I have been an early investor in some tech companies and greatly enjoyed it. I would be excited to be involved in making the future of security control maturity predictable by utilising AI technology. This would be a shift from the way enterprises currently measure and manage cyber risks. I am fully aware of the hype, scepticism, fear and even risks around AI, but I am certain there is much to be achieved.

What cybersecurity trend(s) are currently shaping the investment market?

There is a clear trend towards AI-based investments in cybersecurity alongside the already established areas like third-party vendor risk, human cyber risk, lo-code and no-code automation and general risk management topics. There are some really interesting companies already using AI and machine learning to provide actionable threat intelligence to manage external attack surfaces.

What advice would you give to a cybersecurity start-up?

Listen and leverage the knowledge from experienced advisors and investors wherever possible. Get the best people around you who know more than you do on various topics, and be honest about where you lack knowledge and experience. Focus on your business and numbers to stay in control.

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