- January 28, 2023
- Posted by: EBAN Team
- Category: News
by Co-Founder at Axel & Startup Büro, Co-Director at Founder Institute Georgia & EBAN Board Member, Guri Koiava
If you Google searched “Angel Investing” in Georgian about a year and a half ago, do you know what would happen? Nothing. You would barely find anything. Angel investing was almost non-existent in the country.
Every single search result today dates from the past 18 months. This is when Axel was founded.
Axel is the first Georgian Business Angel Network. We founded it with the aim to accelerate the development of Georgia’s tech startup ecosystem by facilitating Smart Money investments in the most promising local entrepreneurs.
Georgia is a small country. Rich in beauty – but not in natural resources. We have always believed that the most realistic way to its bright future is creating a cutting edge technology-driven economy that will foster more innovation and progress. This combined with the country’s low corruption rate and the ease of doing business, it is safe to say that Georgia is one of the best places in the region to start a business in.
But it’s not always easy to start your own business if you don’t have someone who believes in you and supports you from the very beginning. That’s exactly what business angels are for.
Angel investing is generally understood as the practice of individuals investing their own time and money in early-stage startups with the goal of profiting from their long-term growth. Taking the largest niche between investments made by friends and family and the point at which companies could realistically obtain financing from venture capitalists.
Angels typically have both business and personal interests, including:
- Opportunities to: generate revenue, diversify their investment portfolio, invest in promising startups, and engage in cross-border investments;
- Desires to: be involved with an innovative company, give back to the community, and support the economic growth of their own country;
- Possibilities to: guide startups by highly experienced professional members.
We started promoting angel investing in Georgia by:
- Giving our members the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs face to face at our monthly investment sessions, get to know other investors, and start investing;
- Create forums for the broader Georgian audience to network and meet with members of Business Angel Networks from other countries;
- Scouting, handpicking, screening, and preparing Georgian tech startups to pitch in front of angel investors at our investment sessions;
- Partnering with foreign Business Angel Networks to bring their expertise, resources, and guidance to support our members develop effective angel investing strategies.
A year and a half since its start, Axel already has 70 individual and 6 corporate members and has successfully closed 6 deals with a total invested amount of over $400K. This feels like a dream come true.
But this is just the beginning. I believe that after joining the EBAN board, I will be in a better position to further promote and develop angel investing in Georgia and integrate Axel with the European business angel networks, their dealflows, policies, and experience sharing programs. This is a great opportunity to put a spotlight on my country in the European early-stage investor community and I’m delighted to intensify building bridges between Georgia and the rest of EBAN members in Europe and beyond.
About the Author
I am a passionate entrepreneur, startup mentor, and public speaker with a strong desire to make a positive impact on the startup community. With years of experience in the corporate industry and a background in organizational development and management in the non-profit, government, and private sectors, I have developed an end-to-end understanding of the inner workings of a successful organization.
Currently, I am the co-director/co-founder of Founder Institute – Georgia Chapter, Startup Büro and Axel. In late 2022, I was also honored to be elected as a Board Member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN). So far, I have carried out 39 distinctive programs, co-organized over 200 startup events, and engaged 60,000 citizens and residents of Georgia.
Prior to my current role, I was part of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, where I played a part in increasing the influx of international visitors to Georgia by 21% and organizing music festivals in Anaklia and Poti, including KaZantip Republic, Georgian Electronic Music Festival, and Swing Festival.
I am dedicated to helping people realize their dreams through the startup process and take great joy in startup community building, angel investing, and seeing the direct impact of my actions. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and learn, and I am excited to connect with other professionals on LinkedIn.
I have some other passions too: hiking, dj~ing, business networking and giving back.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like to connect!