We are delighted to welcome Reginald (Reggie) de Wasseige to our Investment Team. Learn what he finds most exciting about the European fintech scene, his favourite business biographies and how he has found relocating to London during the pandemic in our latest ‘Meet the Team’ feature.
Tell us about the story so far…
Straight out of university I joined Cobepa, a Private Equity firm based in Belgium, my home country. I had the chance to look at a diverse set of international companies, mainly in business services, with a long-term investment horizon thanks to the structure of the fund. This was truly an amazing career-start where I learned a lot.
During my time there, I identified a business opportunity and finally decided to give entrepreneurship a try: I founded a blockchain-based software company focusing on document security for large organisations. It was not the success I hoped it would be, but was nevertheless a great experience.
Off the back of both experiences, VC was a natural evolution for me. I had the chance to join ABN AMRO Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Dutch bank, and relocated to Amsterdam. This first VC position introduced me to the world of fintech and was also the start of my international adventure.
In early 2021, my wife and I relocated to London where we both live and work today. I joined Augmentum in March.
What is it about the European fintech industry that you find exciting?
I feel super excited for the future of the European start-up ecosystem in general, which has seen an incredible acceleration and development over recent years. I believe we have an amazing talent pool and that even if we face big challenges such as regulation at multiple levels and language barriers, amazing companies will emerge in Europe in the coming years.
Within fintech, I am especially excited about propositions in the wealth tech segment. We are facing an enormous intergenerational wealth transfer and the new breed of investors manages their wealth in a very different way than previous generations. I am interested by both: front-end and consumer-facing propositions as well as more back-end and infrastructure companies.
Why were you keen to join Augmentum in particular?
There are multiple reasons that made me join. Firstly, there was a strong fit with the entire team, which is composed of seasoned investors and, for the majority, former entrepreneurs. Secondly, I believe that as an investor you should add value; having a focused investment strategy is a way of delivering this. Finally, I do believe that the unusual structure of being a listed entity is a true differentiator: it forces full transparency in an industry that is traditionally rather opaque as well as positions the fund as a long-term partner to entrepreneurs as we are unrestricted by conventional fund timelines. As a result, the team has managed to build an impressive portfolio since their inception.
What do you think is the most under-rated skill for being a successful VC?
Given the very nature of what VC investors do (ie. investing at the early days of companies), they are usually on a company’s cap table for a couple of years. We have the chance to accompany founders and management team in this long journey while they are doing all the hard work and spend day in, day out, working for their customers and their employees. Investors should always remain humble with their successes as they are very much dependent on those of others.
What is the best book you’ve read or podcast you’ve listened to recently?
I currently read a lot of entrepreneur biographies. I just finished two: “Shoe Dog” (Nike) and “Let my people go surfing” (Patagonia), both of which I would recommend. They take you from the early days of their entrepreneurial adventures and talk about their day-to-day struggle to get their business up and running. I like their “war stories” that depict the difficulty of starting a business from scratch, as well as growing pains within organisations and corporate values that are more difficult to change down the road than in the early days of the company.
On the podcast side, I recommend the “Associated” podcast, where you can listen to the journey of young investors into the world of VC coming from various backgrounds. I like to hear about unconventional roads into the industry as well as how they pitch their respective funds.
Name one thing you have learnt about yourself during lockdown.
That I could not work from home 100% of the time!
What are you most excited about doing in London when lockdown eases?
Moving to a new city such as London during a lockdown has been interesting. We have had the chance to wander around most neighbourhoods and take some spectacular pictures without anybody else in them! I am excited to discover both the culture London has to offer and go on weekend getaways in the countryside.
Get to know the rest of the team here.