Fostering International investments and Investor Light Houses: Connect2Scale at the 2024 EBAN Annual Congress

The Connect2Scale project panel discussion at the EBAN Congress in Tallinn, held by our project manager Jacopo Piccagli, was an engaging session aimed at addressing the critical role of Business Angel Networks (BANs) in fostering international investments. The event featured notable angel investors including founding member of the LitBAN, Rita Sakus and current EBAN President Janne Jormalainen, who shared their experiences and perspectives on cross-border investments.

The session began with a warm welcome and a brief introduction to the Connect2Scale (C2S) project’s mission, which focuses on closing the investment gap and creating a thriving environment for European startups through dynamic cross-border collaboration. The introductory remarks emphasised the urgency and importance of establishing investment lighthouses as hubs for international investors.

The discussion then transitioned to the evolving landscape of international angel investments, highlighting the pivotal role that BANs play in fostering global investment ecosystems. The call to action was clear: BANs must think beyond their countries’ borders, providing centralised support, facilitating multi stakeholder collaboration, and adapting to industry changes to enhance informed decision-making.

Success stories from FiBAN and EstBAN were shared, showcasing how these organisations support international investors and curate innovative startups and projects. Audience engagement was high during this interactive segment, reflecting a growing interest in cross-border investments.

The panel discussion provided rich insights into the experiences and challenges of cross-border investments. Janne Jormalainen stressed the importance of the team behind startups, noting that successful investments often hinge on strong, capable teams. He highlighted the necessity of local networks and local lead investors in cross-border deals to ensure success and mitigate risks. The panellists shared that a significant portion of their investments are cross-border, driven by the increased comfort with online investments post-COVID-19. However, they emphasised the ongoing need for local lead investors to navigate the specific regulatory and operational landscapes of different regions.

Following this, Rita Sakus added a crucial point about the perception of barriers in European investments. She argued that even the term “cross-border investment” suggests unnecessary divisions within Europe. Instead, Ms. Sakus proposed using terms like “pan-European investments” to reflect a more unified approach. This shift in terminology could help in envisioning Europe as a single, cohesive market, thereby encouraging more seamless and integrated investment strategies.

Challenges such as understanding diverse regulatory environments and ensuring effective collaboration across borders were discussed. Panellists recommended enhancing international engagement through strategic partnerships and educational initiatives. Examples of successful collaborations were shared, illustrating the value of strong networks and the support provided by BANs. The discussion concluded with suggestions for investment lighthouses to facilitate these processes, such as providing contacts for regulatory information and establishing platforms for networking and knowledge sharing.

The session concluded with a summary of key takeaways. Resources and contact information were distributed via QR codes, encouraging ongoing engagement and support for establishing investment lighthouses.

In summary, the Connect2Scale project panel discussion highlighted the transformative potential of investment lighthouses in bridging investment gaps and fostering a dynamic, interconnected European startup ecosystem. The insights and recommendations shared during the session provide a roadmap for BANs to become hubs for international investors, driving forward the mission of Connect2Scale.

If you are interested in taking part of the discussion then come join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the EBAN network at the European Angel Investment Summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 15 – 16.

Discover what the Summit has to offer and get your tickets here:

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