Cambridge Innovation Center and COBIN Angels build a community of investors in the Innovation Campus in Warsaw

As part of the Innovation Campus in Warsaw, CIC Warsaw together with COBIN Angels, the largest professional association of Business Angels in Poland will create the first specialized community of early stage investors (Business Angel and Venture Capital).

From empowering new Business Angels to invest in innovation, to being a point of contact for international Venture Capital funds seeking investment opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, the Investor Community will be a platform for education, networking and co-investment with local players. Operated by COBIN Angels, the Investor Community has the ambition to change the culture of investing in Poland and attract more foreign capital to the region.

Sparking an Investment Revolution

Strong and sustainable innovation ecosystems are reliant on a balance of key ingredients, which include: ideas, talents and venture capital. The latter component is usually the last to arrive and the most difficult to grow. Although Poland is rich with ideas and top-tier talents, Polish startups struggle with a lack of access to private investments. Last year alone, young technology companies gained over 1 billion PLN from investors, but this is still a drop in the ocean of needs. According to the State of European Tech 2019 report, Poland has as much as 5% of European technological talent in the country, while attracting only 0.5% of European venture capital. The recent multibillion-dollar investments by Google and Microsoft in Poland or the acquisition of BabbleLabs startup by Cisco are a clear signal that the CEE region is becoming more and more attractive to international players.

The power of proximity at CIC has proven effective in concentrating available capital. In Kendall Square, in Cambridge, MA, USA, one of the world leading innovation districts, venture capital under management in the area grew from approximately $100 mIllion in total in 1999, to over $15.5 billion just within CIC’s Kendall Square buildings in 2019. As the density and quality of innovation activity boomed, so did the interest of investors in the area with capital under management in CIC buildings more than doubling between 2016 and 2019. The Innovation Campus seeks to harness the power of the proximity phenomenon in Warsaw.

In turn, COBIN Angels has been attracting the interest of private investors since 2015, building a unique community on a national scale. Promoting a modern investment model, COBIN Angels and its partners are preparing to choose the Business Angel of the Year for 2020. There is no shortage of candidates for this title this year. Despite the global economic repercussions to do Covid-19, the pandemic did not stop private investments in Polish startups. Significant transactions were recently made by Robert Lewandowski and Krzysztof Pawiński, co-founder and president of Maspex. Meanwhile, Billon, led by last year’s laureate Wojciech Kostrzewa, gained another six million dollars from investors earlier this year.

“COBIN Angels has been educating and supporting investors in working with startups for years, but we believe that the market is just gaining momentum,” says Robert Ługowski, Managing Partner at COBIN Angels and a member of the management board of the European Business Angel Association in Brussels. “We have observed an increase in the involvement of Business Angels in Europe and we want to build a similar investment culture in Poland. The community we intend to create together with CIC has a chance to radically change the local mentality. We believe that there are thousands of people in Poland who can support startups in growth and internationalization as Business Angels. We want to create a one-stop-shop for members of this community, where they will have all the tools to achieve success as an investor.”

About CIC Warsaw: 
CIC Warsaw is the first Cambridge Innovation Center location in CEE. Situated In Warsaw’s Varso Place, CIC’s 8000 square-metre campus includes spaces for companies operating in today’s most important areas for innovation: sustainable development, digital transformation of real estate, Internet of Things, security, and space technologies. In its Innovation Campus, CIC is also creating a 3D prototyping space, a common work zone for international companies, an exclusive business club, and an area for social innovation available to all called District Hall.

About COBIN Angels: 
COBIN Angels is the largest professional club of business angels in Poland. Since 2015, COBIN has supported private investors in making investments in young, fast-growing technology companies from Poland and the Central European region. COBIN brings together business owners, board members and high-level managerial staff. Over the past four years, COBIN Angels members have concluded several dozen transactions under which, in addition to financial investments, they support the development of startups with their knowledge, experience and relationships.