Articles | 8.9.2021
How startups can open the funding taps of European superangels
There are angel investors in Europe, “superangels”, who can provide more capital and concrete help than Finnish angel investors to enter new markets. Janne Jormalainen, President of EBAN, Europe’s leading early-stage investor network, sheds light on how Finnish startups can get their hands on big money.
– European angel investors basically have the same criteria as Finnish investors before they make an investment decision in a Finnish startup.
First, a start-up company needs to have a strong local angel investor.
– A European angel investor usually does not invest in a startup without a Finnish connection. A local investor builds trust capital in a European angel investor, Jormalainen emphasizes.
Janne Jormalainen was not born yesterday when it comes to talking about funding. He has accumulated knowledge of funding from Nokia Mobile Phones, serial entrepreneurship, and 16 years of experience as an angel investor – as well as no less than 40 direct angel investments.
Strong track record and team
– A good team creates a successful company. It is important that the company has a strong team with sufficient expertise. A biotechnology company must, of course, have strong in-depth industry knowledge, but that alone is not enough.
Jormalainen is not talking about company management, but about a team that also needs to know its way around sales and marketing.
– An angel investor wants evidence of the success of a company’s business before the money taps open. The company must be able to show that customers are in love with the product or service. An indicator of this can be, for example, the development of turnover or the number of users.
Finnish technology-based startups too often and too early focus on technology development.
– In many other countries, startups launch trials and collect customer feedback. Only then will they invest heavily in research and development.
Finns are good presenters
Finns are often considered bad at presentation, but Jormalainen disagrees.
– Especially young people know how to give very American-style sales pitches. The background of the business team has an impact on how the pitch will work. Often there is not much experience in marketing in the technology business.
Good presentation abilities and pitching are important, but according to Jormalainen, performance and track record are even more important.
– When the company is at a very early stage – at the idea level – the sales pitch and presentation are naturally emphasized.
Read more: Audra Shallal’s tips for a great elevator pitch.
An angel investor offers a wide range of capital
An angel investor does not only provide financial capital to early-stage entrepreneurs, although that is the most important thing. Angel investors have a lot of insight into what mistakes not to make. Almost as important is human capital, that is, the angel investor’s skills, networks, and experience.
– For example, my portfolio company needed a manufacturing contact from China. I knew reliable people who helped the company quickly find contract manufacturers. This saved the company a lot of time and money.
What is EBAN?
EBAN, Europe’s leading early-stage investor network, promotes the networking of angel investors. EBAN looks after the interests of angel investors Europe-wide, with a common code of ethics. The organization influences legislation by communicating its views to the European Union and other European institutions. The European umbrella organization also trains angel investors and organizes the EBAN Congress for European angel investors twice a year.
Interested in EBAN connections? Please contact Nina Rautiainen, tel. +358 50 4137 028, nina.rautiainen[at]jyvaskyla.fi