The Early Stage Investing Launchpad got off to a flying start in Poland, as the initiative was presented at the prestigious Impact Fintech ’18 event in Krakow, which gathered more than 1500 attendees and 150 top speakers.
The #ESILangel for Poland Jacek Blonski, Board Member of Aper Angels network, informed participants about this new opportunity. “In Poland we are still missing the venture capital investing early stage, and entrepreneurs need the help of angels during the ‘death valley’, the initial phase of investments,” he said.
This doesn’t mean that the early stage investment scene in Poland, right now, is non-existent. “Angel investment is also happening in Poland. This year we closed our first angels co-fund. Together with our angels, we invested over 100 million polish zlotys (23m euro) into 23 projects, mostly startups. In this fund we were sector agnostic, so we invested in good teams, with nice technologies behind. This is exactly one proof of concept that is really happening. We have closed 40 angels, but we need more educated investors and that is why APER Angels is the local leader of the Early Stage Investing Launchpad.”
Jacek is aware that there is a lot of work ahead. “We want to share the know-how from the experienced angels and experienced business angel clubs, to educate the Polish market and to grow a Polish ecosystem of angel investing. It’s a lot of hard work. I know because I have been in this business for 10 years, launching Leviatan Business Angels, now APER angels, acting as a board member of Business Angels Europe… we know how the ecosystem should evolve and grow, that’s why we would like to have more cross-border deals, more angels dealing with their portfolios, investing more, maybe less into one round but more diversified in terms of the risk and this exactly why we are developing and promoting ESIL.”
As one of the pioneers in early stage investing in Poland, Jacek knows what the needs are: “We experienced more and more founders coming to us, asking not for the money but what else – it's well-known famous smart money. This smart money comes from experienced angels specialized in specific sectors. We have different experienced angels, they made money in different deals. There is really a lot of knowledge and that’s why all investors are willing to share and give something back to the founders”.
After the presentation, the people attending had the opportunity to participate in the workshop given by Philippe Gluntz, founder of Paris Business Angels, who shared his expertise on how to become a successful angel investor: how to start investing, how to diversify your portfolio by investing in many deals, and how to co-invest with more experienced angels.
In the video below, you can see Jacek Blonski introducing the ESIL initiative at the Impact event, preceded by an interesting talk by Luigi Amati, president of Business Angels Europe.