Quick reads

WeFund Health was proud to participate in the latest European Business Angel Network (EBAN) conference in Malaga, Spain. The June 7-9 event drew crowds from all over the entrepreneurial community – from angels and early-stage investors to entrepreneurs spanning multiple disciplines from Europe and North America. The three-day Congress was productive and insightful as it helped us broaden our visibility to the European investor/start-up community, resulting in new opportunities opening up for us.

In addition to that, I would like to share 4 personal takeaways that I noted during my time in Malaga:

The Investor Pitch – As mentioned, the EBAN conference brought together entrepreneurs from varying disciplines across Europe. My interactions with them were positive but also interestingly informative. To me, it seems that European entrepreneurs tend to focus the core of the investor pitch on the merits and quality of their product or business concept. This is a stark difference from how Americans pursue funding because bulk of their pitch is built around the backgrounds and personalities of the management team. It seems that Americans like to highlight the track record of the management team while Europeans favor technical understanding of concepts, all to achieve the same end goals –building trust and receiving funding.

Differences in Investor Attitudes – On the 2nd day, I attended the ‘Malaga Innovation Showcase,’ a Shark Tank-style competition where 41 start-ups pitched in front of various judges and investors and where the top 3 would win seed investment funding from a local Angel group. One noticeable observation was seeing how engaged and disciplined the judges were in evaluating the quality of each of the 41 start-ups. For the whole day, the investors were compiling lists of notes and with the exception of a few breaks, they did not ever leave the event nor seem uninterested. From my experience, American investors operate much differently as they prefer more casual settings where they can come and go as they wish and focus on innovations that are only most relevant to them.

A Sense of Nationalism – There was tremendous diversity and representation from different countries all across Europe as there were 524 total attendees spanning 46 countries. Among the European constituents, we found that investors preferred to put money into innovations that represented their country or region. For example, investors that attended from the Baltic region were engaging with start-ups from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania more so than the ones from Spain, France and Germany. In the U.S, geographical bias in investing isn’t prevalent largely due to its size and heterogeneity as a population. However, Europe is not as culturally integrated as the United States which leads to some cultural and ethnic bias in the investor community.

Executing on the Good Ideas of Tomorrow – Speakers and presenters at the conference talked about the impact that new technological trends would have on society – from blockchain and bitcoin to space exploration – and how we are at a time where there is no shortage of innovation. However, a major talking point brought up was that there is a lack of execution being done to harness the good ideas that stem from these very trends. Many aspiring entrepreneurs have brilliant ideas but they lack the resources or capital to build upon them. While it’s not easy to build a fruitful business from ideation, the most effective way to execute on the ideas of tomorrow is to find the personnel already operating in the field, get involved and eventually projects will hit the ground running.

The EBAN Conference was highly informative and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Malaga. I had fun meeting with many of the entrepreneurs and investors over the course of several dinners, cocktails and the Showcase event. It was my pleasure to help sponsor the event and I look forward to future events. I want to congratulate the Congress organizers and the EBAN community on a wildly successful event and wish them the best of luck in their respective ventures.

Image Source: http://ebanmalaga2017.com/

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