Episode 36

Jacopo Losso on EBAN, Innovation and The Future of Startups

Jacopo joined EBAN in 2015 as the association’s Director of Secretariat. He is responsible for managing the organization and its network of members, expanding the association’s reach and influence, tracking issues of strategic importance to the early-stage investing ecosystem, and representing the association externally. 
Jacopo holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Thanks to his education and his strong academic background both in marketing and in financial management, Jacopo has a successful track record with international work experiences. 

As the Director of Secretariat at EBAN, Jacopo tracks issues of strategic importance to the early-stage investing ecosystem. He also strives to identify opportunities to influence the EU decision-making processes, working closely with industry’s stakeholders to promote the excellence and expertise of EBAN’s Board Members to the European audience.

Transcript of the episode:

*this transcript is generated automatically*

Alex Romanovich (00:00):
Hello, folks. This is Alex Romanovich, and welcome to the GlobalEdgeTalk edition. November 6, 2020. And today we have an outstanding guest, Jacopo Losso. Directly from Brussels, Belgium. Jacopo is EBAN’s Director of Secretariat, and he is basically a director of the European Business Angels Network Association. Welcome to our studio, Jacopo.

Jacopo Losso (00:26):
Hey Alex. Thanks for having me and hello to everyone at home. A pleasure to be with you. Yes, live from Brussels. I live here, but I’m not actually a Belgian, and maybe my accent gives away a bit that I’m actually an Italian that moved to Brussels some time ago to start leading via European Business Angel Network. So the association representing the business angels at a European level, so great to be with you.

Alex Romanovich (01:02):
Excellent, welcome. And we have a lot to talk about angels, investors. I’ve been very close to EBAN for the past five to six years myself. I think it’s an outstanding organization. The very latest October, November сonference that just took place, which was virtual due to the fact that we’re in the middle of, still, in the middle of the COVID pandemic. And obviously Europe, just as of November 6, just closed again, literally as we speak and the United States is also on the brink of closure only because our cases are going up and things are just not going well. So we’ll talk more about this, but let’s first turn to your history, your background. You started with a finance degree and a Master’s degree in business administration in one of the European universities, but you did your first internship actually in the United States in Tampa. So tell me about what it was like to be from Europe, to be from Italy, going to university, and then all of a sudden landing in the United States and Florida of all the places, and then sort of being a part of an American company and then doing logistics work, finance work, operations work for an American company.

Jacopo Losso (02:35):
I mean, it was really an experience that I’ll bring with me forever. You know, I studied in this very fairly well-known and highly regarded the business school called Bocconi, which is a university in Milan. I started economy management, finance, and let’s say that when I got out of the university, one of the opportunities that I had was to do an internship in the United States of all places. And I actually jumped on that right away knowing how well you get trained in the United States when you work in a company. So let’s say that big part of my decision was actually depending on that, on the quality type of mentoring, I would’ve received that in a context such as the one I ended up going to in Tampa, I won’t name the company.

Jacopo Losso (03:42):
But it was really a great experience. I was working within the financial planning and analysis department of that company and primarily involved in measuring a bit the logistics operations that company was at the time a little bit struggling with and from there really learning a lot the American way, so to say of doing things. So the very structured processes that are typically in place and such companies, and also I would say the excellent analytical way of approaching problems, data powered, data oriented way of finding solutions. And the definitely take that with me for the rest of my life, and the experience in general to be in a nice sunny place such as Florida was also quite fun as a first opportunity of getting into the job market right after university. So just overall, just a great time and lots of learning and also friendships as well that still today, I keep from that experience

Alex Romanovich (05:02):
Interesting, but you’re starting your career as a financial planner and somebody who’s in finance. And then you make it back to Europe as a marketing assistant. Tell me a little bit more about that sort of transition and why that transition, why exposure to marketing and sales is such an important aspect of anyone who’s entrepreneurial or anybody who’s starting in a different discipline, maybe operations, maybe finance, maybe business development or something like that.

Jacopo Losso (05:35):
Yeah, that’s an excellent question. So basically I’ve always been very interested in general in finance. At the time just getting out of school, I was more keen on the corporate finance simply because of the exposure I had had to it in university. But deep down, I think one of the things I was always really passionate about was entrepreneurship and with regards to entrepreneurship I also wanted to get a bit more closer to the world of finance that invests in the entrepreneurial ideas. And so business angel investing started to become a path towards getting closer to that, and when my internship ended in the U.S. I came back home to Italy, again through my university found the EBAN, the organization I am now the managing director of, and basically started off with them in a marketing trainee position.

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