Business Angel Institute goes to the Netherlands

On the picture in Kitzbühel: Esther Gons, NEXT.Amsterdam, Fabian Greiler and Berthold Baurek-Karlic from the Business Angel Institute and Timan Rebel, NEXT.Amsterdam. Photography by Tom Roschanek.


The Business Angel Institute is launching it’s established training program for early stage investors in the Netherlands. The official announcement was released at this year’s Business Angel Summit in Kitzbühel together with our local partner NEXT.Amsterdam, one of Europe’s top accelerators.

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s leading startup hubs.

NEXT.Amsterdam is headquartered in Amsterdam and will be the primary contact for Business Angels from this region. We are especially happy to launch the program in this city, as Amsterdam almost always ranks as one of the leading startup hubs in Europe. For example, the Startup & Innovation Network StartUs asked more than 700 founders about their favorite place and Amsterdam came out as number 3! Thomas Kösters from StartUs explains this with good access to capital and talent:

Thanks to Amsterdam’s international appeal, the Netherlands have grown the most in Europe due to startup migration, benefiting from a 31% net migration inflow. With relatively low burn rates and good access to capital and talent, Amsterdam has become an irresistible option for entrepreneurs on the search for a new location.


NEXT.Amsterdam was founded by serial entrepreneurs Esther Gons and Timan Rebel, who not only provide hands-on support for their portfolio companies but also own a co-working space. Participants of our training programs will also profit from their vast experience in the corporate environment, which Esther recently published as a co-author in a new book. We will be launching the training program in Q3/Q4 this year in a more compact version.


If you are interested, please give us a hint.


New Certified Business Angel: Thorben Schiborowski

Thorben Schiborowski, CBA successfully completed our training program 2016 and passed the exam as “Certified Business Angel” (CBA) – the world’s first certification of individual business angels (ISO 17024).  He officially received the certificate in March 2017 during the European Super Angels Club kickoff event at the Semper Constantia Privatbank in Vienna.

Thorben is a successful entrepreneur and founder of the convent energy GmbH. Since 2008, he developed the company to one of the leading German personnel service providers for the wind energy sector. Today, convent energy has more than 200 employees and generates more than 10m annual revenue. According to the magazine Focus, it is one of the fastest growing companies in Germany.

Thorben Schiborowski (on the left) was awarded with the title "Certified Business Angel".

Thorben Schiborowski (on the left) was awarded with the title “Certified Business Angel”. © Tom Roschanek

In December 2016, Thorben decided to end his active role within the company and handed over the position as CEO. He wants to fully dedicate his time helping new ideas to emerge and transforming them into successful businesses. Through our comprehensive training program, he prepared for his second career as a professional early stage investor. His investment focus is in the smart energy industry, offering founders not only cash but also his vast experience and network.

Thorben lives in Oldenburg, Germany. Before founding convent energy, he worked as a consultant at a personnel service provider and graduated in Business Administration at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg.


Find smart investors

If you are a founder looking for investors such as Thorben, we can highly recommend you to apply for the European Super Angels Club – a pan-European co-investment scheme initiated by Venionaire Capital and KPMG Partners.

Apply here!


Role of Incubators and Accelerators in Austria

Incubators and accelerators were the theme of last Wednesday’s event, hosted by the Business Angel Institute in cooperation with Bank Gutmann AG. Incubators and accelerators programs support early stage companies and intend to guide them to future success. The goal of our event was to identify the role of these programs in the Austrian startup scene.

After a warm welcome from Mr. Frank W. Lippitt, partner and chairman of the board of management of Bank Gutmann AG, Berthold Baurek-Karlic (founder and managing partner at Venionaire Capital) introduced to the audience the concepts of accelerators and incubators and shared his personal view on the variety of startup support programs in Austria.

Berthold Baurek-Karlic (left) in talk with Martin Giesswein (Talent Garden Vienna) and Mike Heininger ( © Fabian Greiler

Together with Michael Petritz (Partner at KPMG Austria), Arnim Wahls (Founder of Firstbird), Martin Giesswein (Innovation expert and Coordinator of Talent Garden Vienna) and Mike Heininger (Founder of he discussed the characteristics and benefits of the different types of support programs.

“Being accepted to Seedcamp implies far more than to just getting your first funding. It is rather like being part of a big family. The greatest asset is Seedcamp’s vast network of founders, mentors, and investors”, told Heininger. Seedcamp is a First Round Fund based in London.

Among other topics, the panel highlighted Vienna’s potential to unite European startup initiatives. The city is known for its high quality of startups and is on the rise to become a key player in the European innovation ecosystem. Martin Giesswein emphasized the role of Talent Garden for the Austrian startup scene.

“It is not a surprise that Talent Garden, Europe’s largest co-working network decided to open their new campus in Vienna. The city is known globally for its high standard of living and provides access to the skilled workforce from the CEE region, which possesses strong expertise in the field of computer programming”, said Giesswein.

Michael Petritz (left) and Arnim Wahls. © Fabian Greiler

Arnim Wahls, founder of Firstbird, was selected for the Microsoft Accelerator. A big advantage of the Microsoft program is, that it does not retain shares in the company. In addition, Firstbird benefitted largely from the access to corporate customers. Michael Petritz stressed that European innovation and startup hubs shouldn’t compete against each other, but rather encourage investors to utilize European capital for European business ideas – which is exactly the idea behind the European Super Angels Club.


We welcome our new Certified Business Angel: Thorben Schiborowksi

Following the panel discussion, we awarded Thorben Schiborowski, CBA with the certification for completing the Business Angel Institute Training Program. Thorben is from Oldenburg, Germany, where he founded a company with now over 200 employees and a revenue over 15 Million Euros last year. Last December, he transferred his position as CEO. He joined our training program to prepare himself for his successive career as Business Angel and also passed the exam for the ISO certification as Certified Business Angel (CBA). We are honored to have him as a new member in our CBA Circle!

Business Angel Institute President Dr. Herwig Rollett applauding Mr. Thorben Schiborowski, CBA for successfully completing our training program. © Fabian Greiler


If you are interested in becoming a Certified Business Angel please contact us for more info about the training program.

0100 Conferences: Rabatt for Investoren-Event

Die 0100 Conference in Wien vernetzt Investoren aus Ost- und Westeuropa. Für diesen exklusiven Event können wir 10% Rabatt anbieten. Einfach auf der Webseite von 0100 Conferences gehen und beim Kauf den Code VC17BIA eingeben.

Details zum Investoren-Event:

Datum: 16. Februar 2017
Start: ab 09:00 Uhr
Ort: Hilton Wien, Am Stadtpark 1, 103o Wien.


Die Veranstalter rechnen mit mehr als 350 Teilnehmern mit Fokus auf Family Offices, High Net Worth Individuals, Venture Capitalists, Private Equity und Pensionsfonds-Manager.


Zur Webseite von 0100 Conferences

Investor and Startup Events in Europe

If you want to be successful as Business Angels you need to get connected with founders and other investors. Events are listed according to date. If you miss one event, please give us a hint!


01.08.2017 – 2nd BMVI Startup Pitch, Germany, Berlin
It will take place on 1 August 2017 in the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Berlin. The BMVI invites young entrepreneurs, start-ups and founders to present their ideas and solutions to high-profile representatives of large companies, who often invest in start-ups. The three most innovative teams also receive the prospect of 10,000 euros funding.


02.08.2017 – NPM: New Platform Marketing Germany, Hamburg
The NPM Conference is a one-day event dedicated to uncovering the newest chances and opportunities from all around the digital marketing universe. Whether it’s the latest approaches, trends or untapped channels, NPM (New Platform Marketing) delivers tangible insight and knowledge to advertisers, brands, publishers, influencers and anyone else looking for an edge in their marketing.


03.08.2017 – She loves Tech: Global Startup Competition Germany, Berlin
The She Loves Tech Global Startup Competition is designed to give the world’s most promising women entrepreneurs and women-impact startups a unique opportunity to showcase their businesses to a global audience of investors and influencers from the tech community.


16.08.2017-17.08.2017 – The Conference 2017 Sweden, Malmo
You can expect everything from brain scientists and activists to marketing experts and cool makers who’ll cover topics like UX, psychology, ai, marketing and so on. In the end, it all comes down to exploring our three main themes: Human behavior, new technology and how to make it happen.


23.08.2017 – Co-Found Berlin: Summer Event Germany, Berlin
After 39 successful events together, 3 years plus and more than 3,000 Members to date, Come celebrate our 40th event like no other. We’re honored to have created the Co-Founding event catergory and have been ranked by meet-up as the NUMBER ONE Co-Founding event in the World! Hosted by one of our sponsors atop Potsdamer Platz, with great food, drinks and the best panoramic terrace and view in Berlin.
Co-Found Berlin


31.08.2017 – Growth Marketing Summit Germany, Frankfurt am Main
World class optimizers meet at the growth marketing SUMMIT. Experience international top speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Goward and Bryan Eisenberg, and get inspired by their experiences and methods. Experience a knowledge-packed business event with an entertaining factor! Look forward to an experience for all senses in a top location with top catering and live DJ!



06.09.2017 – 22. Handelsblatt Banking Summit Germany, Frankfurt
Meet over 500 decision-makers from banking, fintech, media and compliance sectors. Listen to industry movers and shakers, and opinion leaders. Be inspired by fintechs and awkward and intransigent thinkers. Engage digitally, using apps for questions, live surveys and networking. Network at the Future Banking World event and the evening event in the Palmengarten.
Banking Summit Frankfurt


06.09.2017-07.09.2017 – Pirate Summit Germany, Cologne
An event that links entrepreneurs with venture capitalists and business angels.


08.09.2017 – Startupnight 2017 Germany, Berlin
Startupnight is one of Europe’s largest startup events, where startups present themselves to corporates, investors and potential customers. It will take place for the 5th time on Friday, September 8th 2017 in the heart of Berlin with 5000+ participants and 250+ startups from around the world in categories like mobility, energy, communication, AI, AR/VR, health and many more.


14.09.2017-17.09.2017 – New Mobility World Germany, Frankfurt am Main
The New Mobility World 2017 is the place at the IAA where pioneers meet and innovation comes to life. Digital experts, technology companies, startups, disruptors and the automotive industry come together to discuss and build the future of mobility.


15.09.2017-17.09.2017 – Innospace Weekend 2017 Germany, Cologne
We invite all aspiring entrepreneurs to join us over an extended weekend in Cologne where you will where you will create a startup in just 60 hours. Whether you are a student, graduate, or young professional or want a change of career direction, INNOspace Weekend is for you!


18.09.2017-20.09.2017 – SaaStock Ireland, Dublin
SaaStock 2017 will be the biggest conference in Europe for global SaaS companies of all stages to meet and network. If you want to build your sales pipeline and meet with SaaS investors, then SaaStock is the place to be. Whatever your objective for attending Europe’s leading SaaS Marketplace, the outcome is growth for your SaaS Business.


19.09.2017 – Signal London 2017 UK, London
If you’re a developer, product manager, enterprise architect, CTO or CEO, then SIGNAL London is the event to be at on Sept 19th. This year, SIGNAL will be opening up three content tracks filled with inspiring developer and strategy sessions, there will be loads of networking with more than 600 liked minded Doers, and the legendary $BASH party will arrive in London for the first time!


19.09.2017-21.09.2017 – Zukunft Personal Messe/Start-Up Village Germany, Cologne
The start-up area also has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. A new spirit of change can be sensed at the exhibition stands! The challenges of the modern working world require new technologies, recruiting approaches and working methods – this has spurred many young entrepreneurs into action. In the Start-up Village HR, young entrepreneurs show you the new products they have developed at first hand.


21.09.2017-22.09.2017 – NEXT 2017 Germany, Hamburg
Two days, more than 1,300 digital minds, a vibrant and inspiring atmosphere: Join the conversation on how emerging technologies and digital products are shaping the world we live in – and explore what that implies for you and your business at NEXT Conference 2017 at Reeperbahn, Hamburg.


24.09.2017-26.09.2017 Bits and Pretzels, Germany, Munich – (recommend)
With 5.000 participants the biggest German startup event. You can get 10% discount with the promotion Code Venionaire.


25.09.2017-26.09.2017 – Sigfox World IOT Expo Czech Republic, Prague
Sigfox, the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT), and SimpleCell, the exclusive Sigfox Operator in the Czech Republic invite you for the first Sigfox World IoT Expo, taking place in Prague, Czech Republic, on September 25th – 26th 2017.



04.10.2017-06.10.2017 South Summit Spain, Madrid
South Summit is the leading Event from the south, connecting the most innovative entrepreneurs with the most important investors in the world and the corporations seeking to improve their global competitiveness through Innovation.


04.10.2017-05.10.2017 – IP Expo Europe UK, London
IP EXPO Europe is Europe’s number ONE IT event for those looking to find out how the latest IT innovations can drive their business forward.


06.10.2017-07.10.2017 – IdeaLab! – Germany, Vallendar (recommended)
The event is organized by the university WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany. It offers Investor Speeddating, Workshops and Pitch Battles.


09.10.2017 – Shoptalk Europe Denmark, Copenhagen
Shoptalk Europe is the only large pan-European event for innovation in retail and ecommerce, and covers the evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy. We fill a major industry gap by bringing together over 2,000 innovators, including 250+ world-class speakers, from all of Europe, all ecosystem stakeholders and all industry verticals.


12.10.2017-13.10.2017 – herCAREER Germany, Munich
herCAREER the career exhibition for female graduates, women in specialist and executive positions and female founders. herCAREER contrasts with other career exhibitions due to the wide exhibition offers.


13.10.2017-14.10.2017 – Deutsche Gründer- und Unternehmertage DEGUT Germany, Berlin
The deGUT is the largest trade fair for start-ups and entrepreneurship in Germany. It provides information, advice and inspiration on starting off in the world of selfemployment and running an own business.


16.10.2017 – WHS Startup Track 2017 Germany, Berlin
Held under the high patronage of Hermann Gröhe, Germany’s Federal Minister of Health, the WHS Startup Track 2017 is looking for outstanding ideas that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare and improve global health. It provides young entrepreneurs with access to world leaders in science, industry and politics, and gives them unparalleled opportunities to set up future collaborations and get to know potential mentors, investors and advisory board members.
WHS Startup Track 2017


18.10.2017– Webrazzi Summit  – Turkey, Istanbul
The most influential internet conference in Turkey.


21.10.2017-22.10.2017 – Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 – Citizen Entrepreneurship Germany, Berlin
The Entrepreneurship Summit brings entrepreneurs, artist, scientist, etc. together to share, learn and to connect.


25.10.2017-26.10.2017 – The Business Booster by Innoenergy Netherlands, Amsterdam

TBB is a two-day international networking event that connects leading industries and bright minds from business start-ups, leading energy companies and SME’s to enable tomorrow’s sustainable energy solutions today.


25.10.2017-29.10.2016 – Os!o Innovation Week – Norway, Oslo
Oslo Innovation Week is a five-days series of events held in Oslo, Norway each October.With 61 events, 184 speakers, 100 pitches and 10700 visitors (in 2016) the Olso Innovation Week it is one of the biggest startup events in the north.



02.11.2017-03.11.2017 – NOAH 2017 London UK, London (recommended)
Focused on connecting capital with great companies and helping service providers to find relevant customers.
NOAH Berlin


06.11.2016-09.11.2017 – Web Summit, Portugal, Lisbon – (recommended)
Hugh startup event with more than 50k attendees with top-tier speakers and leading corporations participating.


15.11.2017 – Big Data London UK, London
Big Data London will host leading, global data and analytics experts, ready to arm you with the tools to deliver your most effective data-driven strategy.


14.11.2017-16.11.2017 – Smart City Expo World Congress Spain, Barcelona
Over 16.000 participants and 420 speakers attended the event 2016. The congress will bring together over 400 global influencers and innovators to share knowledge, debate the challenges faced by our cities, encourage out of the box thinking and inspire a worldwide call for action in order to develop smarter and more sustainable cities.


23.11.2017-25.11.2017 – Zurkow Startup Festival Poland, Krakow
The Zurkow StartUp Festival connects the vibrant StartUp communities in Zurich and Krakow. Get inspired by interesting talks and workshops. Network in a relaxed atmosphere or enjoy live music by Swiss and Polish artists in one of our partner clubs.


28.11.2017 – Germany, Berlin is Europe’s interactive business festival for digital movers and makers. Key players of Europe’s leading industries, politics and 500+ startups come together in a unique environment to discuss, shape and experience the digital transformation.

30.11.-01.12.2016 – SLUSH  Finland, Helsinki
Slush brings together the leading actors of the global tech scene to Helsinki for something very special. Described by many as “Burning Man meets TED”, the event has grown in just a few short years to 17,500 attendees and 1 million live stream viewers.



06.12.2017-08.12.2016 – OEB 2017 Germany, Berlin
23rd global, cross-sector conference on technology supported learning and training.The conference is likely to attract over 2,200 education and technology professionals, entrepreneurs and policy-makers from over 100 countries.


Le Web France, Paris
The #1 European Internet event, where more than 4000 entrepreneurs, leaders, investors, bloggers and journalists gather together.


Who is a typical Business Angel in Austria?

Austria has a long tradition in excellent universities, technology and economics. Combined with several government efforts to support startups, this has led not only to a higher number of startups, but also to a more tangible startup culture in the country. On the other hand every startup ecosystem needs smart money to florish. So who are these venturesome people, investing in early-stage companies?

The typical Business Angel in Austria is

  • male,
  • in average 46.48 years old,
  • married with children,
  • and has done 7,6 investments
  • for a total of € 1.078 Million

Information and communication technologies constitute the most popular sector by far. If you want to find out more about Angel Investors, we are always happy to help.

Training program for business angels

Investing in startups often turns out to be much more complex than it may seem at first glance, and it generally involves a high degree of risk.

Training courses for professional angel investors
You need to know a lot to be successful as a business angel: How do I guarantee a high-quality deal flow? What is the methodology behind efficient startup analysis? How do I professionally monitor and manage my portfolio? These are important topics you will learn in our early stage investment training program. The program is modular and very flexible. The course  is divided into two parts: during the first part – “pre-investment” – participants will learn how to set up a professional investment process and how to implement it, followed by financial planning methodologies and major contract terms negotiations. The second part – “post-investment” – revolves around the necessary steps once the investment has been made. It includes modules such as exercises and mediation methods for the active portfolio management, business development, follow-on financing and the successful exit strategies. The course is suitable both for active investors who want to refine their expertise and their methodological skills, as well as for first time angels.

The world’s first ISO certification for business angels
Our classes can also be attended in order to prepare for the world’s first business angels ISO certification, the “Certified Business Angel (CBA)”. The CBA serves as a seal of quality for startups as well as for fellow (co-)investors. It consists of a written exam and an oral presentation, carried out by the WKO quality academy Incite.

For more information about the program, have a look at the details or contact us.

Qualitätssiegel für Business Angels verliehen

Wien, 19.03.2015. „Business Angels sind unverzichtbare Impulsgeber für die Wirtschaft. Als erfahrene Unternehmer geben sie neben Geld auch ihr Wissen und ihre persönlichen Netzwerke an die nächste Generation weiter“, stellte Alfred Harl, Obmann des Fachverbandes Unternehmensberatung und Informationstechnologie (UBIT) der Wirtschaftskammer, gleich bei der Begrüßung fest. Gestern Abend lud die incite, die Qualitätsakademie seines Fachverbandes, zur feierlichen Verleihung des Titels „Certified Business Angel (CBA)“ ins Hotel Sacher. Das Zertifikat verliehen bekamen (Foto von rechts) Christian Vogrinec, Gründer der Grazer Value Impact Consulting, Otmar Kühner vom Science Park Graz, Carlos Fernandez de Retana vom INiTS Gründerservice und der mehrfache Unternehmensgründer David Dietrich. Die vier Manager hatten sich in einem sechs Module umfassenden Kurs beim Business Angel Institute erfolgreich auf die Prüfung vorbereitet. Anschließend zur CBA-Urkundenverleihung lud der CMC Masters Club zum Austausch mit Außenminister Sebastian Kurz ein, der unterhaltsam über seinen Werdegang und über aktuelle Herausforderungen in der Außenpolitik erzählte.

„Wir haben gemeinsam mit einem internationalen akademischen Beirat und der incite die Zertifizierung ‚Certified Business Angel (CBA)‘ entwickelt, um die Kompetenzen und Erfahrungen von Business Angels gegenüber Startups transparent zu machen und die Entwicklung der gesamten Szene voranzutreiben. Wir wollen mit unserem Programm neben etablierten Business Angels auch die heranwachsende Investorengeneration ansprechen und sie umfassend auf diese verantwortungsvolle Aufgabe vorbereiten“, erklärte Berthold Baurek-Karlic, Mitgründer des Business Angel Institute. „Insgesamt spielen alternative Finanzierungsformen und Angel-Investments für die Unternehmensfinanzierung und damit für die Wirtschaft eine immer wichtigere Rolle. Denn gerade Startups können zu Beginn nur unzureichend auf Kredite von Banken zurückgreifen. Business Angels schließen diese Finanzierungslücke und leisten damit einen gesamtwirtschaftlich enorm wichtigen Beitrag“, ergänzte Business Angel Institute Präsident Herwig Rollett.


Location, Location, Location

There is an old saying in real estate that the three most important factors are location, location, location. Given the hype around startup hubs, one might think that the same holds true for company and investment prospects.

Lots of places around the world have been trying to position themselves as the next Silicon Valley (while at the same time, people have criticized the echo chamber nature of the Valley). Even with favorable trends, Europe certainly still has some homework to do: Among the top 20 cities of the world as measured by venture capital investments in the $5-200m range, 5 are in Asia compared to currently only 2 in Europe (London and Paris; no, not Berlin, and not Vienna yet either), the recent study Rise of the Startup City: The Changing Geography of the Venture Capital Financed Innovation found. However, Europe does continue to get more and more attention as a location for startup hotspots, as evidenced in a recent Forbes article.

While the hype is often superficial, there are sound economic and policy reasons for supporting specifically the kind of companies that are also attractive to early-stage investors like business angels and venture capitalists. Companies geared towards high growth are responsible for disproportionately high contributions to important economic indicators. The Octopus High Growth Small Business Report examined the situation in the United Kingdom and concluded that high growth small businesses (defined as £1-20m turnover and >20% average annual turnover growth), while accounting for only 3.4% of gross value added in absolute terms, contribute 36.2% to the growth of national gross value added, and a whopping 68% to employment growth.

No wonder then that countries like Austria are not content with qualitative indications like the tremendously successful annual Pioneers Festival (which regularly sells out its 2,500 available tickets to participants from all over the world), but also start to look at quantitative measure in earnest.

Now where does all this leave us with respect to the overarching question of how to deal with the location factor? Everybody seems to agree that among all kinds of economic growth, the growth of startup ecosystems is particularly desirable. But maybe we should look beyond the pure numbers and the “we (try to) get the largest slice of the pie” mentality by remembering some old wisdom of early-stage investors: That making a larger pie together can benefit everybody much more than fighting over how to slice the existing pie ever could. This also applies to locations for startups and investors. We should promote more and better knowledge transfer not just within startup ecosystems, but also across borders. Let’s all talk. Let’s all win.

FFF – Family, Friends, Fools

Love Money vs. Smart Money

Small start-ups are always in search for promising financial support. Usually there are two favored options, either to turn to family members and friends or to hire a Business Angel in order to get the business started. In other words we are speaking of love money adverse to smart money. However, what exactly does this mean? Love money is received primarily from the people in the environment of founders like friends and family, whereas smart money takes a step forward and provides money, besides knowledge and important know-how. Smart-money investors are generally sophisticated business people, who bring an understanding of the financial markets, strong networks and an intuition for spotting trends before others with them.

The advantages of love money are obvious: good rates, lenient credit standards and the chance for FF-investors to take part in the start-up entrepreneur’s success. However, there are some notable disadvantages to love money that should be considered too. First of all, relations can suffer. The personal connection might lead love money-investors to ignore the uncertainty of such a high-risk business venture. Expectations regarding repayment, for instance, can be too high which leads to disappointment, if the friend or family member had not been clear about the possible risks. Another problem could be a lack of documentation. If an agreement is too unclear and not properly documented, it could lead to troubles later on. Furthermore, if the terms and conditions are documented, another potential obstacle could be failing to follow them. The best paperwork is useless, if you do not care about supervision.



Conflicting interests

One special case concerning troubles in this area of investments is now a Business Angel who takes on the role of an FF-investor. This of course could happen, if a family member or friend needs financial help to build up an enterprise. A Business Angel – usually investing in third-party companies – finds himself in the situation of providing both, love money as well as smart money. Obviously this is a very attractive combination for any aspiring entrepreneur, but it brings definitely some difficulties for the investor with it. The most important difference for a Business Angel who invests in some friends or family member’s start-up, is the way of communication which will not be the same as with any stranger. Everything will be discussed in a rather cautious manner, since you are dealing with very familiar people. They may very well address the “private” person in you, however the issues are predominantly relating to business. This leads to a discrepancy that is not so easy to handle.

Warning and advice

To manage the delicate tightrope walk between being the generous friend or a family member on the one hand and a cautious as well as a reliable investor on the other hand, it is extremely important for the Business Angel to be aware of the risks behind such an FF-investment. It could easily happen that you don’t judge things the same way you would do with a normal business client. Regular updates from the start-up entrepreneur, for instance, take a crucial part in the mentoring process. If they are missing, appear in irregular intervals, or do not address critical business issues in-debt, a Business Angel would normally disapprove. On the contrary, the same Angel is in danger to overlook this behavior, if he knows the person very well in private. But then look out: a nice friend might not necessarily be a good businessman! As for any other investment as well you should always keep in mind that the friend or family member could also fail. Some Angels do not invest, if there was no FFF-seed investment placed, as they will figure: “Not even the family of a founder trust him, why should I?” All in all handling the circumstances and paying attention to separate emotional and business issues as clearly as possible should be of first priority.



Caroline Ramberger, Bakk. phil.:

Miss Ramberger finished her studies of Journalism and Communication Science at the University of Vienna and is currently studying International Business Administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.




Debaise, Colleen: The family plan: (2013-07-25)

Ennico, Cliff: Accepting money from friends & family: (2013-07-09)

Robbins, Stever: Asking friends and family for financing: (2013-07-09)

Zwilling, Martin: How to get funding from friends and family: (2013-07-09)

Zwilling, Martin: Don’t hurt friends and family investors who love you: (2013-07-09)