Business Angels Crossing the Atlantic: EBAN Sofia Brings about a Joint Investment from EBAN and NACO Members

Fostering cross-border collaboration is one of EBAN’s key goals – with an early stage ecosystem that is increasingly globalised, there is a great need for business angels to work together not just across countries, but also across continents.

Following a successful 2018 EBAN Annual Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, EBAN was pleased to learn that SC SPACE&DATA (previously known as ShootCapsule), one of the startups that participated in the EBAN Sofia pitching competition, has closed a cross-continental investment round. Peter Braun, EBAN Board Member and serial entrepreneur/angel investor based in Switzerland, and Randy Thompson, Chairman & CEO of Valhalla Private Capital based in Canada, both invested in the startup. The latter came across the investment opportunity through speaking at the EBAN Sofia Congress as part of the collaboration between EBAN and NACO, the National Angel Capital Organization in Canada.

NACO and EBAN have been working together since 2014 to promote cross-border networking, investment & best practice sharing. To take their collaboration to the next level, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 25th 2018, at NACO’s World Angel Investment Summit to encourage mutual participation in each other’s events, awarding member discounts and allowing access to research & media libraries to each other’s members. The cross-continental investment in SC SPACE&DATA is a great testament to how well the collaboration is working already.

Yuri Navarro, CEO of NACO, commented: “This is another great example of how Angels are turning good ideas into great businesses. This shows great growth among investors in Canada and Europe, the importance of building relationships between investors globally is one of our key focuses. NACO looks forward to more of these examples in the coming years as we continue our work supporting Angel investors and early-stage startups.”

Founded in Poland, SC SPACE&DATA is working to implement the first data centre in Space for back-up data placed on the Moon. Patryk Gajda, CEO of SC SPACE&DATA commented: “The EBAN Annual Congress in Sofia was certainly an extraordinary experience for me and my partners – it allowed us to meet Peter and Randy, who invested not only their money, but also their time and knowledge in me and in this project.”

From left: Patryk Gajda, CEO of SC SPACE&DATA; Peter Braun, EBAN Board Member; and Randy Thompson, Chairman & CEO of Valhalla Private Capital

On how the investment round has allowed the company to develop and what the future holds for SC SPACE&DATA, Gajda added: “We have just expanded our activities into Canada and this is where our company will be thriving in the coming years. Thanks to the funds we have raised, we are starting intensive work on the construction of our prototypes and on expanding our team. We have also established a partnership with one of the key private space companies in the USA. I am sure that SC SPACE&DATA will be among those who will contribute to the building of lunar stations.

None of this could not have happened without the help of Candace Johnson, EBAN President Emeritus, who invited us to the EBAN Sofia Annual Congress; without Peter Braun and Randy Thompson, who put their faith in our company and put it on the path it is now on; and without Yuri Navarro, CEO of NACO, who provided a lot of support to our team.”

Peter Braun, who has joined SC SPACE&DATA as a Board Member in addition to investing in the company, commented: “When I first met Patryk, Kinga and Lukas in Sofia, I thought “This project is completely crazy!” And then my next thought was: “Wait a moment. That’s exactly what people told you when you started your first enterprise. So, let’s have a deeper look at this!”. And what I then found was the enthusiasm, faith and passion with which they spoke about their project. I got to know their stories, how much work they put into their venture and how devoted they are to it. I knew then that this team would be able to make the project a success – it may turn out in the coming years that SC SPACE&DATA becomes another global unicorn.”

Randy Thompson, who was recently named as the 2018 Canadian Angel of the Year by NACO, added: “This was a unique international opportunity, and that, coupled with the energy of the 3 team members, makes it something I am curious to watch develop as well as be involved in. There will be very few opportunities in this sector for sure.”

EBAN would like to congratulate SC SPACE&DATA and its investors on closing this crucial funding round and is glad to continue cooperating further with NACO, hosting their members at the upcoming 2019 EBAN Annual Congress organised on June 3rd-4th in Helsinki, Finland. The Congress will be held in collaboration with the Finnish Business Angel Network, and Arctic15, with early-bird tickets already on sale.

EBAN Helsinki will be followed by the NACO World Angel Investment Summit on June 5th – June 7th, 2019, in Calgary, organised by Alberta Innovates and NACO in conjunction with the INVENTURE$ Conference. Details regarding the World Angel Investment Summit agenda and registration will be available starting March 2019.