The Hellenic Business Angels Network (HeBAN) has been established as a national, non-profit organisation in response to a gap in the Greek entrepreneurial ecosystem of providing sufficient funding and expertise to innovative start-ups in their early stages. While in many countries across the globe it is increasingly Business Angels who can offer this required input when other resources are not available, in Greece there is still a lack of successful and visible angel investing models. With the first initiative and activities undertaken in 2012 HeBAN was fully incorporated in 2015, HeBAN is envisioned to create a national platform for bringing together the stakeholders of the Greek start-up ecosystem and help implement a sustainable Business Angels and early stage investors network in the country. While not being active in funding start-ups by itself, HeBAN aims to support with a wide array of activities the formation and cooperation of local Business Angels groups, clubs and networks and motivate and support potential and active Business Angels and other related stakeholders in Greece to contribute to the creation of a functioning eco-system for early stage investment. Services entail, among others, education and training for private investors, interest lobbying, facilitation of networking and high-quality deal-flow, as well as dissemination of latest research and best practices. For entrepreneurs and start-up facilitators, such as incubators, accelerators and others, HeBAN serves as an access point in their search for private investment.
HeBAN is emphasizing the link to the international early stage investor community. HeBAN is the Greek National Member of EBAN (European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and other Early Stage Market) and the National Lead for Greece of GBAN (Global Business Angels Network).
Business Angel Investing
Who are Business Angels and what do they do?
Business Angels are individual investors investing their own money and expertise predominantly in seed or start-up companies respecting a certain code of ethics with the expectation of high returns in a medium to long term set time-frame. This source of private capital, business skills and networking has become an increasingly important way for start-up ventures to foster their development and growth. There were more than 270.000 such private equity investors worldwide in 2013. In the same year the amount invested by Business Angels was 5,5b€ in Europe alone, surpassing VC early stage investment. Business Angels usually invest at an earlier stage of company life cycle and provide more business guidance than venture capital providers. With their personal engagement Business Angels can make the essential difference for success or failure of a young company.
Business Angels are key players in generating innovative high-growth companies and creating jobs. They are essential to regional economic development.
The above graph shows how Business Angels can help bridge the ‘valley of death’ for young ventures.
Why do Business Angels do what they do?
Business Angel investment is high-risk investment. The private investor must be prepared to incur a total loss of his/her investment. So one might wonder why Business Angels seek this kind of investment. Surely, one reason is the outlook for a potentially extraordinary return on the investment. But most often this is not the only and not the most prominent motivation. The feeling of giving something back to the community, of doing something good, the affection for entrepreneurship, the excitement of being involved in an innovative start-up company’s development, the joy of dealing with high-spirited and talented people, and the exchange of ideas and experience with like-minded investors are important factors for Business Angels to get engaged.
What is syndicated Business Angel investing?
Business Angels are individual investors but this does not mean that they need to invest only by themselves. By co-investing (syndication) together with other Business Angels in the same investment the individual investor enjoys a number of advantages, such as taking a lower risk (through lower investment amount and shared expertise), achieving a better diversification of his/her investments, learning from other (more experienced) investors, and, last but not least, having the joy of sharing the experience of the investment.
HeBan’s vision is to establish Angel Investing as an essential part in the Greek eco-system and to embed innovative start-ups in their early stages in an effective global network of finance and expertise providers that enables their growth and development, strengthening local and regional capabilities and skills. HeBAN is to become the trusted national and international partner, facilitator and advocate for private equity investments in early stage businesses in Greece and the SEE region.
HeBAN creates a multifaceted platform with a wide variety of activities to offer in cooperation with its national and international partners the necessary expertise and services to facilitate successful early stage private equity investment in Greece. Adhering to the highest ethical standards HeBAN is dedicated to help awake, together with the relevant private and public stakeholders, the hidden potential in the country and make it a most attractive place to invest in innovation.
The main goals of HeBAN are to:
Create, grow and maintain a large network of business angels and other early-stage investors, professionals, policy makers, technologists and innovators.
Foster public awareness and understanding of the importance of a strong early stage investment ecosystem for the economy.
Advocate the needs of the Greek angel community towards the relevant local, national and international bodies.
Adopt and promote, in cooperation with national and international stakeholders within the angel community, relevant market and business know-how, training and best practices through the provision of a common platform (teaching, training, toolkits, workshops, events, news, communication, etc)
Serve as an access point for foreign Business Angels networks and early stage investors to Greek Business Angels and start-up investment opportunities as well as connect local Business Angels with the international early stage investor community.
Serve as a reference point for local Business Angels.
Help the certification process of Business Angels in Greece.
Encourage the engagement of women as Business Angels
Channel deal-flow to local BANs and facilitate match-making of equity investors and start-ups
Foster syndicated investments (private –private & private – public, on national and international level)