“Full speed ahead” for the first Greek investment by the President of EBAN

Interview conducted by El. Alexiadou – Article originally published in Greek on the ANA-MPA website

The Finnish serial entrepreneur and investor Janne Jormalainen, president of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), plans to make his first investment in a Greek start-up, perhaps in the next few weeks, as he announced in an interview with APE-MPA.

“I am definitely looking at my first Greek investment, along with my Greek colleagues here in Greece, and there is a possibility that it will become a reality in the next few weeks hopefully,” he noted, adding that “this way I will have a valid excuse to be able to come to Greece and Thessaloniki, which pleasantly surprised me. Thessaloniki has this unique advantage that attracts big companies precisely for this. It has a lot of talent and students, and the cost of living is also attractive for an investor, which is still at a reasonable level compared to other regions in the world.”

And he may not want to reveal the field in which he will choose to make his investment debut in Greece, but he pointed out that one sector that is promising in Greece is that of tourism and travel and hospitality. Of course, his own favorite area for investment is that of green transition, especially in green energy and its conservation and storage.

The chairman of EBAN, he has invested in more than 30 high-tech and education companies and currently chairs the board of four highly successful start-ups. Asked to advise and/or guide start uppers regarding the field in which they choose to operate, Mr. Jormalainen, noted that one can find opportunities anywhere, even in traditional industries. Especially for the tourism industry in Greece, he expressed his view that it offers many opportunities because it is about to become more digital and with the dynamic advent of artificial intelligence, “start ups I believe will find a wide and bright field of action for innovation.”

Addressing Greek entrepreneurs, the EBAN president noted that in terms of their characteristics they are no different from others in Europe. However, he urged them to become bolder in communicating their ideas abroad and not to hesitate to open the door of their board to foreigners as members, since, as he said, “they are sure to support them strongly. This is an area for growth.” 

Speaking of business angels, Jormalainen said that of the ten investments they make in start-ups, seven fail, and of the three that will return some money, perhaps only one will make a profit. In this context he pointed out that it is of major importance for an entrepreneurial angel to have a diverse portfolio.

The president of EBAN spoke to APE-MPA after the end of the organization’s annual conference, which was held this year for the first time in Thessaloniki (every year in a different EU city), following an initiative and proposal of the Hellenic Network of Business Angels (HEBAN) and co-organized by EBAN, InvestEU and Enterprise Greece.