‘From the moment I wake up, I can’t wait to find out what’s happening’: A day in the life of Marcel Van Oost
- When you’re an investor, advisor, and fintech commentator, networking becomes a full time career.
- From cycling on his bike, to cycling through investing, advising, and a whole lot of posting, here’s a day in Marcel Van Oost’s life.
With financial tech being as hot and fast-paced as it is right now, you never know what path starting a fintech company can take you in.
For Marcel Van Oost, it took him from founder and CEO of a budding startup, to an angel investor, fintech advisor, and go-to news source for all things payment and bank related.
Van Oost started Netherland-based payment service provider Qantani back in 2012. When in 2017, the business was acquired by Amsterdam-based fintech unicorn Mollie, Van Oost saw this as a good opportunity to move on and turn his focus to fintech and not just payments alone.
Van Oost discovered that, more than anything else, he loved networking — something that running your own company doesn’t always let you do.
“Networking’s something I always really liked, even before I had my startup,” said Van Oost. “And now, almost four years later, I like it more than I even expected to.”
Van Oost started getting attention just by sharing articles on LinkedIn that he found were interesting and relevant to the payments and banking world. People liked his input so much, they started asking for a newsletter, and eventually his advice on certain topics.
“People were asking for it. So I thought, ‘okay, makes sense. People want to have a short overview of the news, and then continue doing their job,” said Van Oost. “So that’s when I started with a newsletter as well.”
Marcel even found he had time to do some investing in fintech startups on top of that, which became another feather in his cap.
Four years later, Van Oost now has a small investing and content team for his newsletter and an angel investor syndicate of his own.
Here’s a day in his life:
6 a.m.: From the moment I wake up, I can’t wait to find out what’s happening.
I have breakfast behind my laptop, where I start checking my email and Linkedin for news and messages.
I know I should take it easy in the morning with more time for myself before jumping on my devices. But I just have the most energy during these hours, and I like to be on top of the news.
I check the most important news sites on fintech and digital banking, read newsletters. I also like to listen to some interesting podcasts when I get a chance.
9 a.m.: This is the best hour to post from my experience, so that’s when I make sure my first LinkedIn update of the day is up.
After that, I continue posting every hour or two.
Between then and lunch, I like to take the time to really focus on checking emails and LinkedIn messages.
The questions I get on LinkedIn tend to be short, but the emails I get could come from fintechs or challenger banks I’m working with, or other stakeholders in the fintech space I am connected to, like VCs and other Angel Investors.
In between emails I am in constant contact with my team that’s spread over Europe, Latin America and the US. This could be about the newsletter and content or, with my investment team, about deal flow.
1 p.m.: I have lunch. I do ease off for a bit here and take some time to relax for around an hour.
2 p.m.: I take my first call of the day. I prefer to have my calls later in the day so I have enough time to actually get things done in the morning.
But sometimes I have some calls in the morning as well because of the time differences. Since I work with fintechs all over the globe, this is something I can’t get away from.
Today I have a call about an online event that invited me to participate in the jury for a startup competition.
Normally I don’t have time for these events, but because my idol David Parker introduced me I couldn’t say no!
3 p.m.: The next call is with a fintech startup incubator program to talk about a possible partnership.
4 p.m.: I have a monthly call with a VC from London to talk about the market and deal flow.
5 p.m.: Another call — this time it’s a team call with my colleagues in San Francisco and Buenos Aires to discuss the deals we are working on, and the Angel Investors Syndicate.
6:30 p.m.: My content team is helping me out with my company’s websites and newsletters. So that’s another call.
7 p.m.: My final call of the day with a startup from the US about their pre-series A funding round. Most of the days I take my last call of the day around this time. So I can ease off a bit and enjoy some personal time.
8 p.m. to 10 p.m.: I jump on my bike. I like to listen to some fintech podcasts during this time. But only if I go for an easy ride or if I’m indoors. These days, I’m mostly indoors on my Zwift.
I also sometimes go for a run. When I run, I don’t listen to any podcast or music — I enjoy the sounds of the city instead. There’s hardly any noise at all these days.
After exercise I have dinner.
10 p.m.: I check my email and Linkedin one last time to make sure I don’t miss out on something important.
I try to go through my Linkedin messages again to make sure I reply to all of them.
I made a promise to myself that everybody deserves a reply, even if it’s a message saying I don’t have time to schedule a call with them personally. I think it’s very important to make time to connect with my network — even on Linkedin. But it does take me quite some time every day.
11 p.m.: I call it a day and enjoy some quality time with my girlfriend.
1 a.m.: I go to sleep at around this time at the latest, because I do value some sleep.
And that’s it. When I’m free, I like to make time for my family,
I also like watching sports like cycling — and of course every game of AJAX. I might not be able to attend the stadium, but I will never miss a game on the television.