Better Together: EBAN Winter Summit 2018 Puts the Spotlight on the Importance of Collaboration and Inclusivity in Sustainability, Innovation, and Investment

On 22-23 October, over 400 business angels, VCs, corporates, policy-makers, and innovators came together in Luxembourg for the 17th annual edition of the EBAN Winter Summit. The theme of the event “Better Together: How to Shape a More Sustainable and Innovative World” gave rise to discussions on impact investing and sustainability, angel investing and entrepreneurship, blended finance and public/private partnerships, and more. Despite the many different topics being discussed at the Summit, the central message coming from speakers, entrepreneurs and guests alike was this – collaborating with different stakeholders in our industry, as well as across gender and national lines, is the key to bringing systemic change to the world, be it for saving the planet, scaling businesses or investing. In congruence with the Summit’s goal to promote inclusivity, EBAN was proud to have 30% of the attendees be women, as well as to host attendees from 45 countries around the world.

From left: Filipa Ramalho, Policy Officer at the European Commission; Peter Cowley, EBAN President; Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce; Larissa Best, LBAN President; Geoffroy Bazin, CEO of BGL BNP Paribas

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EBAN would like to thank its co-organisers Lux Future LabLuxembourg Business Angel Network and the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP), without whom it would not have been possible to hold the Winter Summit. Thanks also to our sponsors BGL BNP ParibasEYThe Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg, and Arendt & Medernach, and our partners Silicon LuxembourgDDGKussbusTechnoportLuxinnovationLPEASilversquareThe House of StartupsInnoEnergyLondon Stock Exchange ELITEESAGustICEX – Invest in SpainIris CapitalABAN and MBAN, each of whom contributed in making the event a standout success.

In addition, we would like to thank the 65 speakers and mentors who volunteered their time to share their knowledge and expertise with the participants. Special thanks goes to the keynote speakers: Sasha Baillie, CEO of LuxinnovationYvan Bourgnon, Founder of The Sea CleanersTristan Edwards, CEO of Life BiosciencesPierre-Alain Masson, Co-founder of SeedstarsDava J. Newman, Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the MITHedda Pahlson-Moller, Chair of EBAN Impact and CEO of TIIMEPeter Platzer, CEO of SPIREFilipa Ramalho, Policy Officer at the European Commission, Viviane Reding, former European Commission Vice President and Member of the EU Parliament, Linda Smith, Chair of the Angel Capital AssociationSimon Thorpe, UK Angel of the Year 2016/2017, Guillermo Trotti, President of Trotti & Associates, and Jérôme Wittamer,  Managing Partner at Expon Capital.

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As making connections is essential to collaboration – particularly so with entrepreneurs and investors, the Winter Summit featured pitches from 40 startups representing 16 countries and broken down into four categories – Tech for Good, Fintech and Insurtech, Big Data and AI, and Scaleups. After a close competition, 4 finalists were chosen to pitch on the main stage by an expert jury of 27 angels and VCs. Thanks to EBAN partner DealMatrix, the pitches were scored live by the jury and the audience, with Sensius, a medtech scaleup that fights cancer with thermotherapy, taking first place and receiving a €5,000 prize from EBAN and Lux Future Lab.

From left: Olivier Selis, CEO of Lux Future Lab; Peter Cowley, EBAN President; Paul van den Biggelaar, CEO and Co-founder of Sensius; Jacopo Losso, EBAN Director of Secretariat

The Summit also celebrated the start of new relationships for EBAN, exemplified by the MoU signed on stage with BGTA Accelerator with the aim to create a stronger link between Europe and China, and the reinforcement of existing ones with EBAN’s counterpart investor communities in North America – the Angel Capital Association (ACA) in the US and National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) in Canada.

As always, networking was a big part of the Summit with an elegant Gala Dinner at the Abbey of Neumünster, as well as a matchmaking app powered by the EIPP that resulted in over 300 meetings and plenty of lasting connections.

EBAN would like to thank all Summit attendees for joining us at the event and taking an active role in being “Better Together” through innovation, entrepreneurship and early stage investment. We hope to see everyone at our next event – the 2019 EBAN Annual Congress in Helsinki, Finland, on June 3rd-4th.