The Forbes Round Table at the European Business Angels Network aimed to gather key findings from a variety of stakeholders investing in start-ups across South East Europe. The aim of the discussion was to share key take-aways from the workshops; to identify methods to improve access to finance for SMEs and for the panellists to highlight trends for investors.
Forbes Key findings
The discussions resulted in panellists concluding a necessity for a holistic approach to investing, that although a complex infrastructure exists, creativity should play a part.
WILLIAM STEVENS is the founder of Europe Unlimited, which organizes 25 int’l venture and technology forums that connect thousands of investors, policymakers and entrepreneurs every year. He started out at the EVCA where he became Secretary General at the age of 25. For his extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/content/william-stevens
TIA KANSARA is an award-winning entrepreneur. She is the founder and director of Kansara Hackney Ltd. (KH), a partnership with Dr Rod Hackney (Past President: Royal Institute of British Architects and Union of International Architects). KH are the first sustainable lifestyle consultancy in the UK, leading specialists in sustainable design and implementation for the future generation of private and commercial clients. Please visit the following link for her extended bio data: http://ebaf2014.org/content/tia-kansara
Dr. Yilmaz joined the Istanbul Stock Exchange 20 years ago, working on derivatives, risk management, and as chief of staff. He became Executive VP in 2012. He is also a board member at the Central Securities Depository.For his extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/content/dr-mustafa-kemal-y%C4%B1lmaz
The Dr. in Dr. BERND REICHERT comes from his Phd in physical chemistry and quantum physics. He joined the European Commission in 1992 and has been a program officer in a number of areas. Before Horizon 2020, he ran the unit on SMEs in the Commission’s Research and Innovation Directorate. For his extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/node/10
CANDACE JOHNSON founded broadband and satellite networks, heads Johnson Paradigm Ventures, and is one of the founders of Ariadne Capital in London. And that’s not even scratching the CV. For her extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/node/19
BAYBARS ALTUNTAS founded Deulcom International, Turkey’s first vocational training school. Founded the Turkish Franchise Association, and was named Turkey’s best businessman in 2010. His book “My way to Dragon’s Den” is a bestseller in Turkey. Heads TBAA + EBAN VP. For his extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/node/17
Dr. ABDUL MALEK AL JABER has founded, run, and chaired a dazzling number of companies — and regularly features in the Global Telecoms Power 100 list, the first Jordanian to make that list. Just one example: he grew Palestinian Paltel Group’s profits from $15m to $100m. For his extended bio, please visit the following link: http://ebaf2014.org/content/dr-abdul-malek-al-jaber
ERDAL GUNCAN Completed his BS & MS in Civil Engineering at istanbul Technical University, Ahmet Erdal Güncan has 19 years of corporate banking experience and is still the EVP of corporate banking group in Aktif Bank. Mr Guncan is also BoD member of several subsidiaries of Aktif Bank in Kazakhstan, Tataristan-Russia and Turkey.
- Reliability of the local ecosystem is vey important to get the cross-border investments from angel investors. So, stock markets can play an important role by opening its doors to create a reliable platform for local startups and angel investors.
- A good way to create such kind of a platform is to open a Private Market for startups and enterpreneusr where they will be registered by stock exchnages and meet the registered accrediated angel investors and be able to access to finance in a secure environment.
- To create a successful ecosystem, the Platform provided by stock exchanges should be armed by mentorship programs and service providers like independent audit firms, law companies should be part of it to allow startups to take advantage of some cost cutting services.
- Developing co-investment funds is very important to develop early stage investment market. Banks should also be accepted as public entities and should be forced to make startup investments with angel investors. So, a certain amonut of their profits every year (for example 0,01%) should go to co-investments by law.
- Private investors should be licensed as ‘Liabel to make co-investment with Public Funds’
- Policymakers must be trained to show the best practices, pros-cons and how-tos of co-investment funds. EU should finance these trainings.
- Startups need demo to show angel investors while they are pitching. So, crowdfunders should be accepted as mini-BA and accepted as a seed funding structure all over the world.
- Stock Exchanges and crowdfunders are in complimentary distribution. One of them occurs where the other one does not. So, they are in a co-operation position rather than competition.
- Crowdfunders are supporting startups at the beginning stage of the entrepreneurial journey where stock exchanges are in the final stages of that path. So, think-tanks should be set up with the participation of stock exchange teams and crowdfunders to look for better understanding and cooperation to ease access to finance for startups.
- Startups need more than money. They also need network, know-how and mentorship. Public can just provide finance but not know-how, networking and mentorship. So, it will be a good strategy for public to cooperate with Business Angels to convert public money to smart money.
- The first step to realise this policy, an accreditation scheme for qualified angel investors should be set up. Public authorities should recognise the qualifed angel investors and create a ready-pool to invest in startups.
- Second step is release a law to put minimum same amount of money if the accredited angel investor decides to invest in a startup. So, public money will use the expertise of the angel investor in this method.
- Turkish angel investment ecosystem is very dynamic and fresh. Angel investors and Business Angel Networks are aware of the fact that in a few years later, they will be in a position to convince the startup ecosystems with succesful exits. Otherwise, market will loose its energy.
- BANs in Turkey have to develop their connections with the global angel investment market to ease the exits. So, following global events and creating links with the global players are very important for fresh markets like Turkey.
- Turkish Business Angels see the foreign angel investors as ‘mentor’ of themselves.So, Turkish Business Angels are fostering policy makers to give more incentives to foreign angel investors who completed succesful exits in Silicon Valley or in another market to be able to act together with them in their co-investments in Turkey and transfer the ‘making exit’ know-how to Turkey.
- Accelerators will become more important than today in the very near future.Angel investors will forward startup applications to acceleration centers where they will be checked professionally to understand if they are investment ready startups.
- Acceleration centers are going to be accepted as an institutional angel-investor in the future since they are realizing all functions of angel investors.
- Startups will not come to angel investor first but will go to acceleration centers first in the future. Because they will understand that acceleration centers are high ways of the access to smart money (angel investors).