Dusan Stojanovic, Venturepreneur and super-angel received the Business Angel of the Year award (handed by other Venturepreneur Johann Hansmann - president of the Austrian Angel Investor Association) during The Annual European Business Angel Network (EBAN) Congress 2013 which was celebrated in Vienna on 13th and 14th May. Both Venturepreneurs shared their thoughts on what they believed angel investing was all about. Dusan Stojanovic (25 investments, 3 recent exits), emphasised the exit as his main driving force. On the other hand, Johann Hansmann (21 investments since 2010) pointed out that to him being a succsesful business angel was more focused on “building up a cash flow-positive and sustainable company that is nice to work in”. "I invest in people, not the companies", he added.
Two weeks ago, we invited you all to enter the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012. The response was overwhelming, we have received so many great projects, it was hard to choose, but eventually we narrowed it down to the final 3.
It’s finally time to name the three selected Stratups and Entrepreneurs for the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012 (in a random order):
Smadex - Jordi de los Pinos
Ludium Lab - Ignacio Arroyo
CouchCommerce - Alexander Ringsdorff
Thank you all for participation in our contest and Congratulations to the 3 finalists!
For the first time ever these 3 top startups will pitch their projects in front of the Venturepreneurs on the island of Mallorca on October 18th and will be competeing for up to €300.000 of Funding!
Best of luck to the top 3 startups!
***As Xavi Beumala (Marfeel) was unable to participate in the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012 in Mallorca, we invited Alexander Ringsdorff from CouchCommerce, being the next selected project on the list.
We’re thrilled to announce that the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation will be conducting its first “Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012” which will take place on Spain’s beautiful island Mallorca on the 18th October 2012.
A quick background for those not familiar, the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation is a structured ecosystem of serial entrepreneurs who also act like venture capitalists and provide seed-stage investments in European startups. The Venturepreneurs share their knowledge and experience, create high quality deal flow, foster growth and generate co-investment opportunities and business contacts.
For the first time, innovative startups with an international vision and expansion plan will have the chance to pitch directly to the Venturepreneurs to receive funding, guidance, and key introductions into an extensive international network.
How does it work?
1. The startup must have a need of up to €300.000 of Funding for their seed investment round.
2. Register at Foundum.com your entrepreneurial and startup profile
3. Insert your seed investment as a Need in your Profile (Private Investor/Equity).
4. Apply through firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested or tweet “@Venturepreneurs @Foundum! I want to pitch!”
The top 3 startups will then present their projects in front of the Venturepreneurs on the island of Mallorca on October 18th. The winner will receive up to €300.000 of Funding!
Deadline to apply: 08.10.2012!
We’ll announce the selected 3 startups on the 11.10.2012!
Being able to pitch your idea in such a beautiful environment should encourage every entrepreneur to apply! Stay tuned for more Information and fill out your “Funding Needs”! We look forward to your tweets and emails.
We wish you the best of luck to get into the top 3!
This year’s Mobile World Congress gathered over 60 000 (official) attendees and, as it was expected, it also brought a lot of novelties that will set the trend in 2013. However it seems that what really made the difference in this year´s edition is that alongside this huge event we could notice countless side events that took place during that busy, not only for the mobile industry, week.
Starting one day before the official Congress, the Mobile Sunday event (free, unofficial, informal meeting that has become a sort of tradition) gathered together the most influent people in the mobile industry chatting and networking with startups and VC’s who were exchanging valuable stories, this year at the City Hall club.
On day one, TechCrunch Europe organized an interactive event featuring some of the most innovative and interesting startups and investors from the industry who were discussing important issues concerning the mobile ecosystem.
Day two was really busy with a lot of informal events, including a networking cocktail at Gild International sponsored by m8 Capital (a venture capital company from London) with participation of the Active Venture Partners team. A night filled with great ambience thanks to the top notch investors, entrepreneurs and executives from the mobile industry, simply networking and sharing thoughts with each other. Even some of our very own Venturepreneurs: Eñeko Knorr, Richard Murbeck, Christian Mandl and Oliver Holle, attended. The energetic atmosphere was also enhanced by an incredible live jazz band.
Another informal, laid-back event was organized by Helen Keegan on the 29th February, where Swedish Beers were on the menu. A no-guest-list event welcomed all the ones who weren´t suited-up and equipped with the business cards. The main objective of the party was to simply enjoy each other’s company and relax far away from the MWC buzz.
The concluding event on the last day of this year’s congress was organized by MLOVE, who invited a crowd made of entrepreneurs, bloggers, startups, investors and mobile geeks to an exclusive reception that was just a perfect ending to this chaotic yet constructive week.
As far as the official MWC is concerned it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the main trends that we will witness throughout the year. We can definitely expect an increased use of mobile devices and applications and the rising popularity of smart tablets, a trend sustained by most of the mobile manufacturers that showcased their new products. During those 4 days of the conference we saw Microsoft introducing the consumer preview version of Windows 8, a combination of a touch-friendly tablet interface with the traditional Windows desktop. Samsung introduced its Galaxy Beam, a projector screen phone that besides from making phone calls, projects videos, images and even PowerPoint presentations onto any surface. Nokia presented Nokia 808 PureView with its 41-megapixel camera sensor that probably makes it the best camera in the history of mobile so far. On the other hand, HTC´s One X showcased smartphone with its blazing-fast new processor that provides incredibly fast web surfing with a great picture quality on an enormous display. And last but not least Sonny Xperia P surprised with its super bright screen with an additional white pixel to its LCD screen which makes it one of the brightest screens in the industry.
It is been only a month since the event took place and the mobile industry is already getting ready for the next year´s congress, the only thing that we are sure of is that the event coordinators have invited us to a new location: Fira de Gran Vía de Barcelona on 25 – 28 February 2013, the rest is still unrevealed, but who doesn’t like to be surprised?!
Last year we wrote a blog entry about “Entrepreneurship in Davos and the year ahead”. Entrepreneurship was a leading topic in last year’s discussions, especially because many politicians saw it as a way out of the crisis. After one year we can say that entrepreneurship has been a buzz word for many and we’ve seen amazing things happening from Silicon Valley to the “Mediterranean Valley”. LinkedIn has gone public and now Facebook is following. Skype has been acquired by Microsoft and hundreds of events around entrepreneurship are taking place! It has been a great pleasure to see that at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Global Entrepreneurship had its own section on the website - further proof of the growing importance.
Although as they say, not all that glitters is gold, in his recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review, Daniel Isenberg argues that entrepreneurship (innovative, high-growth and job creation) is not what is really talked about. Too much focus is placed on self-employment and small businesses that are enough to sustain an individual or a family, but don’t create the type of growth and job creation necessary to make a dent in a country’s economy. Below we will explore what has been said at Davos 2012 and throughout the year see if words have turned into action – something entrepreneurs are very good at doing!
Entrepreneurship and the future
There has been a lot of talk by Klaus Schwab at Davos about the future; the future of jobs, the future of youth, the future of the environment and it seems like all the roads lead to Rome entrepreneurship. Sometimes explicitly, other times inexplicitly, entrepreneurs and innovation have been mentioned as the solution to growth, job creation, saving the environment and in general as those capable of making a dream/idea a reality. On a personal note, we want to remind you that the idea is important, but the successful entrepreneur is the one that can gather the right talent around him/herself and can execute!
Is entrepreneurship the 21st Century career?
At Davos an extremely positive attitude could be seen from everyone when it comes to entrepreneurs. It’s almost as if entrepreneurship has become a career. One can now study entrepreneurship at university and take an idea to an incubator, receive courses around pitching to investors, go to events, grow the company and sell it. It has become somewhat of a structured path like building a CV, to go and work for a big firm. In addition we have seen that the rewards of building a successful startup can be huge with all the investments and exits that are available today. Obviously huge rewards are also linked to greater risk – something important to keep in mind.
Barriers to entry & commoditization of entrepreneurship
The rise of information technology, globalization and increased knowledge sharing have been crucial factors in allowing teams and individuals to find the skill sets needed to create cheap prototypes of their main products that ride the wave of platforms like Facebook or the iPhone. As a result we are seeing many small players creating apps, social games and other software or hardware at a fraction of a cost leveraging resources and talent from different countries and with the advantage of not having to move from behind a computer.
This is all very beautiful, but some key questions arise; are we creating sustainable value or seasonal companies with seasonal apps? Is there valuable intellectual property and ideas that change the world or are we simply fueling a consumer, mindless society? And most importantly, are we blurring the lines between a family bakery and a 3 person developer team with an app selling for €0.99 cents and both with a revenue of €300.000/year?
There seem to be more and more young entrepreneurs, some are high-growth, status-quo changers, many are lifestyle entrepreneurs that are happy creating small enterprises that will stay small. What is apparent is that politicians and world leaders don’t distinguish enough from the two. Both are important and essential, but policies need to differ and the future Facebook, Google, cancer curing company cannot be treated the same as a cupcake store. We want to see a greater support towards those entrepreneurs and startups that will change the world and world leaders are not doing enough, as it was apparent in Davos where entrepreneurship was in everyone’s speeches, but on no one’s agenda!
IE Business School invited for a one day conference to bring together European Entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists to assess the current entrepreneurial situation and access to capital in Europe.
The IE Business School campus is based at an old convent and we were invited to the most unique location you could imagine: An old medieval church where Queen Isabel I used to pray for Christopher Columbus’ return.
Thanks to the organizer Gary Stewart, co-founder of nuroa and new Managing Director of the Venture Lab of the IE Business School, a good number of interesting internationally focused Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists and 400 MBA students were brought together.
Juan Pablo Julia, founder and owner of Axel Hotels, created the world’s most successful hotel chain for hetero-friendly gay hotels in Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Berlin. He mentioned that one of his most difficult challenges was and still is to take the company from a first entrepreneurial stage to a real well-structured company with qualified management team (he employs 120 people worldwide).
Venturepreneur Albert Armengol and founder of eConozco, Spain's first online business network which was acquired by Xing in 2007. Later on he co-founded and invested in several pure internet start-ups participating as Business Angel and Venturepreneur. He actually is a graduated medical doctor with a passion for Internet technology so he created Doctoralia, the world’s leading doctor and medical search engine. He says the great thing about Internet companies is that they permit you to start off without investing a lot of money at the beginning and you can quickly change paths if things are not working or need to be adapted to the market.
Gary Stewart, before starting nuroa he came to Europe as a Yale graduate and first worked as a lawyer. In his particular situation of being a foreigner abroad, he very soon realized the only way to control his own destiny would mean being his own boss and creating a life within is control. Thus together with Oriol Blasco he co-founded nuroa (vertical real-estate search engine). The entrepreneurs shared a few lessons they learnt throughout their entrepreneurial activities:
In Europe we don't have the same history of success like in the US. The US have strong success cases like Sequoia Capital boosting companies like Apple or YouTube. Europe only has a few comparable growth cases like Skype for example. Europe is much more dispersed than the US. Everyone is creating their own little ecosystems but none is reaching the power that Silicon Valley has. In order to find answers to the current situation in Europe and how it affects entrepreneurs raising funds, the following VC’s painted a picture of the current VC market:
Jan Borgstädt from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI). BDMI is the venture capital arm of Bertelsmann AG, a leading global media company based out of Germany. They invest into start-ups in the sector of online content distribution (advertising, online payment solution, mobile technology). With consolidated revenues of over €17 billion (U.S. $25 billion), Bertelsmann AG is an international media company encompassing television (RTL Group), book publishing (Random House), magazine publishing (Gruner + Jahr), media services (Arvato) and media clubs (Direct Group) in more than 50 countries. Being an Entrepreneur himself,
Creator of Venturepreneurs Organization, Christopher Pommerening presented in his role as Co-Founder and Partner of Active Venture Partners. Active is a Spanish based early & expansion stage fund which invests primarily in technology related businesses. They've completed 9 investments and invest between 0,5 – 4 Mio €. He created the Venturepreneurs' organization – an organization for serial entrepreneurs who also act as venture investors. His advice to any entrepreneur is: If you act according to your passion you will find the skills and the money – not the other way round.
Olivier Tardieu, Senior Analyst at Van den Ende & Deitmer, a Dutch €150 mio fund. The fund was created by Joop van den Ende and Hubert Deitmers who sold their shares of Endemol, World leader TV production company of famous shows like “Big Brother”. They invest between 3-8 Mio € into entrepreneurial mature start ups with a geographic focus in Benelux, France, Spain and UK.
Patrick Raibaut is co-founder and Partner at Debaeque Venture Capital. His investment interests include online and mobile services as well as media investments. Even though the crisis has hit many companies hard he says there’s still enough money, more resources and a lot of talent out there. So it’s the right time to start your company now.
Xavier Lazarus, Partner of Elaia Partners, is heading up a French VC Fund of €75 million investing into Spanish and French Start Ups. They have 18 investments completed and on average they invest between 1 and 4 million. According to Xavier, the effect that the 2008 crisis had on VCs was that the money flow completely disappeared. They made only two investments in 2009 and are now slowly starting to invest more again which means there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Joaquin Alexandre Ruiz Tarré manages a Spanish Technology Fund from theEuropean Investment Fund. The European Investment Fund is an institutional investor in the VC asset class. They have 300 VC funds under their management. In his eyes the crisis has affected the VC sector in that way that it was obviously much more difficult to raise money. Nevertheless some VC’s have managed to do a first closing which shows confidence that little by little the industry is coming back now. Therefore the requirements have also changed: Whilst before the crisis most VC’s already wanted to see the Business Models to start working, they've become even more pickier “show me how you make money first and then I think about investing into your company”. He calls these the best vintage years and is confident that by the end of 2010 we will see a reactivation of the investment activity. If you think about raising capital, keep these questions in mind if you plan to approach any VC's: