February 8, 2018
Larissa Best Becomes the First Female President of LBAN
On 5 February, the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN) held their General Assembly, during which Larissa Best, entrepreneur and angel investor, was elected to replace Marc Molitor as the new LBAN President. EBAN caught up with Larissa, who will be the first female President of LBAN, to chat about her experiences with angel investing, as well as her vision for LBAN.
Having started her investing career young, Larissa’s first investment, and her first exit, was in her family business when she was only in her late twenties. Although she didn’t see this as an angel investment, it was the first step in her journey to becoming a business angel, which reached a turning point when Larissa met Hedda Pahlson-Moller, a Board Member of both EBAN and LBAN, and Chair of the EBAN Impact Investing Committee.
Larissa recalls that her previous background – her experience as an entrepreneur, as well as her work in corporate M&A – had prepared her perfectly to take on the role of an angel investor, but she only thought to connect the two sides of her expertise when Hedda invited her to join LBAN.
When asked what she enjoys most about angel investing, the newly-minted LBAN President mentions straightaway the innovation inherent in entrepreneurial activities, likening working with startups to “getting a glimpse into the future” – seeing the path the development of technology will take through the work of those who are creating it. Larissa also underscores the importance of social impact in her business angel activities – whether it be the diversity of the startup team, or impact created by the startup’s business model.
Now that her mandate has officially started, Larissa is keen to start work on bringing her vision for LBAN to reality. The first order of business will be to grow the number of first-time business angels in Luxembourg. Larissa plans to take an entrepreneurial approach to this task – instead of waiting for potential clients to approach LBAN, LBAN will take the initiative and go after prospective business angels. Beginner investors will be quickly brought into the fold via trainings intended to familiarize them with the process of investing in early stage companies, including all of the risks and rewards being a business angel entails. Another important task for LBAN will be getting involved in the co-investment schemes and blended finance that are becoming more and more mainstream in the early stage investing world. Larissa will also be leading LBAN in its endeavor to work with the Luxemburgish government to implement more favorable legislation for business angels – including tax incentives that have proven to increase angel investing in other European countries.
A great opportunity to show all of Luxembourg how important angel investing is will be the upcoming EBAN Winter Summit 2018, which is set to take place in Luxembourg on 22-23 October. LBAN will be collaborating with EBAN and fellow EBAN Member Lux Future Lab, the acceleration program of BGL BNP Paribas, to organize the 2-day conference, which is one of the flagship angel investment events in Europe. According to Larissa, the 2018 Winter Summit will be an excellent platform to raise awareness on angel investing in Luxembourg, with the presence of expert business angels and other early stage stakeholders acting as a great guideline for those in Luxembourg wishing to invest in innovative startup companies. The Summit will focus on the financial and non-financial opportunities that business angels can benefit from, as well as emphasizing the positive impact that fiscal and tax incentives can have on angel investing.
EBAN would like to congratulate Larissa for becoming the President of LBAN and looks forward to working with her and the entire LBAN team to further develop angel investing in Luxembourg.
Article written by Keti Chikhladze, EBAN Marketing Manager