The angels on entrepreneurs' shoulders

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Business Angels invest their money, time, expertise and even their charisma in start-ups or businesses that are relaunching. In this edition of Business Planet we take a look at the concept with a focus on one network in Malta.

The Mediterranean island is home to the Go Beyond platform which, using a kind of crowd-funding model, connects entrepreneurs with a community of investors all around Europe and the rest of the world.

Its CEO, Brigitte Baumann, is an international figurehead for women Business Angels: “When we decide to invest in a startup, we look first for a great team. Second: a scalable innovative business model, and third: good terms and good co-investors.”

Every month Baumann’s platform organises face-to-face or virtual meetings between investors and entrepreneurs. In recent years the scheme has raised seven million euros to launch or develop 25 enterprises. Notably, women are widely represented in the Business Angels network.

“We are very proud that a third of our business angels are women. Compared to five percent, which is the industry average,” said Baumann.

So why do female Business Angels play such a large role in the development of this funding model and what are the advantages of this online platform?

To put it simply, more women Business Angels means more women entrepreneurs, even if they still represent only a third of the total in Europe. A key aspect is diversity.

Women tend to invest in more diverse sectors than their male counterparts, as investor Angele Giuliano explained: “Women tend to look at more practical issues, for example ICT (information and communications technology) applied to health, education and culture, and this creates diverse areas of investment. Some women might also find it less daunting when pitching to other women.”

Whether it is through video presentations of entrepreneurs’ projects or sharing legal documents on line, the collaborative platform is well adapted for women Business Angels, allowing them to maximise their investment activities.

“What I like is having all the pitches in one place, so that I can look and find my next investment. And then of course for me, it makes the administrative process much simpler,” said Angele Giuliano

So what are the keys to success in the field? Brigitte Baumann told Business Planet: “For entrepreneurs seeking financing, I recommend they are well prepared before they start. They pool small investors, and they make sure their investors can help them grow their business.”

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