One of the trends of last years in early stage financing especially in Finland is the emergence of small funds. Many Vigo accelerators have set up their funds, likewise a number of software development companies. There are now several small angel groups with funds of their own, and there are even funds for university students and alumni groups being planned.
So why funds?
European Investment Fund (EIF)
These possibilities for public money have been understood also in the halls of European Commission. It has through its funding arm European Investment Fund (EIF) launched an initiative to support a number of angel funds in Europe. The main goals of the initiative are to support startups in particular in the new member countries, and to network European business angels especially between eastern and western European countries. The plan is to support either by investing in angel funds or co-investing with angel investments.
FiBAN, as a significant member of EBAN network, has a major role in this process. We have been consulted during the planning of this initiative. We have also thrown our hat in the ring to be the angel network leading this effort in the Baltic region, in cooperation with other networks in the region. Our current thinking is that this cross-border angel group would make investments in startups with ties to eastern/northern Europe, with ICT in central part of their innovation. These are roughly the base assumptions set by EIF and the Commission. These startups would be selected mainly from the deal flows of the participating angel networks, and a local angel would be the main contact toward the startup.
Most of the details and structures are still being planned on, and the work is in its early phases. In any case, the EIF initiative offers FiBAN and its members major possibilities in developing cross-border investing and tapping into interesting cases from a larger deal flow. And who knows, maybe European angel investors and startups become the true integrators of Europe.
FiBAN Chairman 2015
jaakko.salminen a fiban.org
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