Best Practices from EBAN Soft-Landing Programme

In the last phase of THE NEXT SOCIETY, some of the best startups EBAN could find MENA joined us in events all over Europe: first at the EBAN Annual Congress held in Cork on the 18th and 19th of May, then at the International Investor Forum in Barcelona on the 9th of June, and finally at the Hellenic International Business Angel Summit on the 23rd and 24th of June in Athens. In the six years of the project, TNS has supported over 125 startups, facilitated more than 90 one-to-one meetings between entrepreneurs and investors, and organised 20+ workshops. 

EBAN has a long track record of supporting cross border investment and we were excited to explore new ways to make it more efficient for both investors and entrepreneurs. In this article, we will present the best practices for cross-border investments that we discovered through THE NEXT SOCIETY. 

Consider reverse pitching

“When the investor talks, they speak similarly to other investors and get more credibility.” (Wael Azar, CEO and Co-Founder of IN2)

Tarek El Kady, Founder and Chairman of EBAN member Med Angels, came up with the idea of trying reverse pitching at the Hellenic International Business Angel Summit in Athens. Reverse pitching consists of having the local lead investor pitch to other investors on behalf of their supported startup. Afterwards, the entrepreneur can answer the more technical questions. Despite initial doubts on the part of the entrepreneurs, the concept proved to work better than anyone could have expected. 

“When we do the regular pitch presenting our slides, we are following what we are used to doing. However, when we talked with other investors, they said that if the investor talks about the startup he/she is mentoring, often he/she speaks with their own words.” (David Riallant, President and Co-Founder of Visitmoov)


Go networking with your lead investor

“Networking has been amazing especially in Athens, since we had the chance to have our mentor with us. He knows a lot of people and opens a lot of doors.” (David Riallant, President and Co-Founder of Visitmoov)

Angels do not provide only equity, they provide mentorship and network too. They know other angels who trust their judgement and are ready to syndicate with them. Thus, startups could benefit by having their investors act as sponsors.Having a local lead investor sponsoring entrepreneurs is especially important for cross-border investing as the other investors can rely on them. In  fact, often cross-border deals do not take place because the investors are not confident about the legal framework of the other country.

Pitch on the first day, network on the second day

“I got to meet very interesting people, I got to network a lot, and I have people who I am in contact with.” (Wael Azar, CEO and Co-Founder of IN2)

Securing a meeting with an investor can be challenging for cross-border investing due to geographic distance. Even though entrepreneurs might be able to contact investors online, nothing compares to in-person meetings when it comes to closing a deal. Angels seek personal relationships built on trust with their supported entrepreneurs. A best practice for event organisers is therefore to make sure that the pitches are as early as possible so that entrepreneurs can take advantage of the rest of the time to meet with interested investors.

Ask another investor to mentor you on your pitch

“The meeting with the mentor is going to definitely change the way we are pitching.” (David Riallant, President and Co-Founder of Visitmoov)

As mentioned above angels provide mentorship too. Sometimes, though, they can act as mentors only. This may happen if they don’t feel comfortable investing in your company yet, because it could be too early or too risky, or if they are happy with their current investments. In this case, you can ask them to become your mentor and check your pitch, business model and business plan. Sometimes, they can also redirect you to other angels that may be more comfortable in investing. And this mentoring might prove much more beneficial.

It can help entrepreneurs understand what information is relevant for other investors and thus to make the business more attractive. Support from an angel as a mentor is also proof of validity for your business. Even if you already have an investor acting as a mentor, try finding a second one to have more diverse feedback.  

Another hot tip: Try to participate in pitch dry runs. A pitch dry run is a coaching activity where the participating companies are given the possibility to meet and test their pitches in front of a panel of experienced coaches who deliver hands-on and customised feedback on both their presentation and pitching skills.

“The pitch dry run and the meeting with the investor taught us and showed us what a pitch looks like from an investor’s point of view.” (Wael Azar, CEO and Co-Founder of IN2)



THE NEXT SOCIETY was an open community of changemakers engaged in innovation and economic development. It brought together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, NGOs, public and private innovation, research and economic development hubs from Europe and the Mediterranean countries. It already gathered a large network of over 300 business & innovation, research and investment organisations, 2,500 international SMEs and entrepreneurs from 30 countries. THE NEXT SOCIETY launched a 6 year action plan (2017-2022), co-funded by the EU up to 90% for a global amount of EUR 7.8 million budget.

THE NEXT SOCIETY partners’ community

Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie et de l’Innovation (APII) | Agence régionale pour l’innovation et l’internationalisation des Entreprises en Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (ARII – PACA) | Agence wallonne à l’exportation et aux investissements étrangers (AWEX) | Agencia per a la Competitivitat de l’Empresa – ACCIÓ  |ANIMA Investment Network | Association of European chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) | Berytech Foundation | BigBooster | Centro Este ro per l’Internazionalizzazione (CEIPIEMONTE) |  Confédération des Entreprise Citoyennes de Tunisie (CONECT) | European Business and Innovation Centre network (EBN) | Forum Euroméditerranéen des instituts de sciences économiques (FEMISE)  | France Clusters | Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence (HCIE) | IT Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) | International Network for Small and Medium sized Entreprises (INSME) | Kedge Business School | The Mowgli Foundation | PICTI.Start – up | Association Marocaine pour la Recherche et le Développement (R&D Maroc) |  Royal Scientific Society (RSS) | Start up Maroc | The European Trade Association for Business Angels (EBAN)

This project has received funding from the  European Commission under grant agreement No ENI/2016/382-726. More information about the project can be found here:

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