Mirjana D. Perko caught the angel investing bug thanks to the Early Stage Investing Launchpad.
Brigitte and Jurij had just gotten back from an event organized by the Launchpad, and they started to talk about the initiative, which is coordinated by META Group. ESIL connects networks of angel investors across Europe and provides training resources in the form of webinars, Study Visits and a digital academy.
As they spoke, Mirjana became intrigued, and decided to become a business angel.
‘It has always inspired me to work with people who are enthusiastic to make something work and to grow into a successful business,’ said Mirjana, who is the chairperson of inCon, a company that connects and advises investors from Asia to Central and South Europe.
Mirjana has an entrepreneurial background herself, having started a company in Slovenia for business valuations at age of 24.
‘I was the youngest with the official license for business appraisal. This was at a time when privatization had just started in Slovenia and all companies needed valuation.
‘The first years of Slovenian independence were very turbulent, but that means many opportunities if you are willing to see it and grab it. Working in a small private company after graduating from university, I heard that there were courses for business appraisals being run by agencies for privatization.
‘There was a lot to learn, but I was eager to go into every detail. It was really hard work, 12 hours a day, but we enjoyed it!’ she said.
Later, she joined an investment fund management company, first as head of analyses and then as director of the investment fund and a board member of a fund management company.
‘We had around 160 different company shares in the portfolio. Today, that same fund is the largest investment fund in Slovenia. In last five years before leaving the fund management company, the fund value increased 3,7 times,’ she said.
But although Mirjana has strong investment experience, this is the first time she’s been involved with an angel fund.
‘I very much like the whole experience, how it has been presented and how it is structured. Now we are listening to pitches, but at the same time platform offers opportunity to learn and upgrade knowledge in all areas of angel investing process. Let’s hope we are prudent in our choices, but also lucky…’ she said.
After working for ten years as a director of an investment fund, but also as a CFO of large international company, her experience and expertise can really help young start-ups to achieve success.
“Now I can pass some of my knowledge to others. It is fulfilling and exciting to give back and thus make a difference,” she said.
“I think ESIL is a great platform connecting angel investors from different countries and professions and enabling them to share experiences, knowledge and ideas in a way that matches their lifestyle and availability.”