Raffaele Riva is today considered a thought leader within the angel investor community. He has spent over 10 years between London and New York managing startups from conception to execution. After doing a number of degrees, Riva was awarded an MBA from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, which enabled him to cut his teeth on entrepreneurship. He is known today for his many high-profile talks, interviews, and webinars on angel investing, given throughout the country.
His mornings are, understandably, somewhat hectic. He’s up at 5am, eats, imbibes coffee, and gets out the door by 7:30. He says he usually tries to schedule a family lunch with his wife and daughters, so the family has some time together. Riva believes that scheduling some time to himself, especially for meditation is the key not only to his own happiness, but to his success in business. “I think that the healthy habit here,” he says, “is finding what works for you, whatever that may be, owing yourself a moment each day to stop, reflect and reign in the chaos of the outside world.”
Slowing down and enjoying life a bit is essential to Raffaele Riva’s worldview. So too is the central importance of people, over and above ideas. “We’ve seen big ideas come and go,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of money put into mediocre people with great ideas; but at the end of the day, the business is about the people involved.”
For Riva, angel investing is value-driven. It’s about helping people realize their dreams, a goal that underlies everything he does. “We hear it all the time in the angel community: do good, learn something, have fun and make money…not particularly in that order.” Riva is very discerning when it comes to choosing whom to help, however. “We tend to look for companies that plan to scale really quickly and want hands-on involvement from their investors, and these startup plans should set out to grow and exit at high value to ensure a high return for all involved.”
There is a sense of social responsibility underlying everything Raffaele Riva does. Angel investing is not just about money for him. Helping people is definitely part of his core mission and values. “It’s all still relatively new, but there are a handful of startups using blockchain technology to fight poverty and promote health, human rights and social justice – many of them right here in the US.”