Business angel Paavo Beckman has a mission, “get as many startups to grow and funded as possible”. After years abroad in San Francisco, New York and London, Beckman returned to Finland aiming to share his experiences as an serial entrepreneur with growth hungry companies. He also joined FiBAN to learn startup investing best practices. “It is such a great value to have an active network like FiBAN gathering like-minded persons together to discuss startup investing.” Soon Beckman noticed doing startup coaching full-time and “accidentally” starting a startup catapulting platform, Catapult, offering growth guidance and actively links startups to large corporations.
Offering startups “positive pressure”
For a startup the value of capital alone is very limited in the early stage of startup growth. That is why early stage investors should be able to offer startups links and contacts. Investors should also be able to implement “positive pressure”. According to Beckman even the best startup cases in Finland develop too slowly. If the growth rate is too slow, more investments is needed, which leads to dilution of angel ownership and the company will use their energy on wrong things.
As a concrete example Beckman recommends that after investors have shown initial investment the startup should contact 30 potential customers in two weeks. This will most likely change the startup strategy and If proper adjustments are made, the company will start developing a product that has a more potential to reach paying customers.
Beckman finds the angel ecosystem very positive in Finland. Still. there is a huge demand for more trainings and active lead investors who share their best practices. Angels should also be active in following international investment trends. As an example, it wasn’t the business angels who brought the lean canvas model to Finland, luckily the entrepreneurs did. There should not be an angel in Finland who hasn’t read the “lean startup” book.
As a personal angel favorite Beckman mentions business angel Mika Marjalaakso who some consider to have an aggressive style, but who really understands what’s cooking in the market. He is able to create positive pressure combining big visions with lean startup thinking.
Corporate “startup evangelist”
Beckman works as the key contact person for several financial corporations, which today in larger amount seek startup solutions outside their own R&D. According to Beckman corporations would do themselves and the ecosystem a big favour if they would nominate a visible “startup evangelist”. A good example is Fonecta, which has been one of the most active M&A players in Finland lead by their evangelist Mikko Pirinen.
The next great possibility for corporations to link with startups is Slush held in Helsinki in the end of November. Especially Slush’s Investor Day the 29th of November will gather investors to share their latest sector focused views. Beckman will also be present with his delegation of fintech interested corporations.
Claes Mikko Nilsen
Network Manager, FiBAN
FiBAN's news about startup investing.