In a historic move, the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) recently came up with a joint Manifesto that will pave the way for steady early-stage investments growth within the next decade.
I was very fortunate to be at the 14th EBAN Annual Congress and Election of Officers in Dublin when the Manifesto was presented, and I believe that it is a very remarkable achievement. The concerted initiative inarguably gives European Union (EU) startups the boost, after a relatively slow pace in terms of growth.
EBAN, established in 1999, is the pan-European community of early stage investors with 111 member organizations in 39 countries. The group represents a sector with an estimated €7.5B worth of investments.
Candace Johnson, founder of SES ASTRA and SES GLOBAL, Europe Online and Teleport Europe-Loral Cyberstar and newly-elected EBAN President, aptly defined the Manifesto as "a landmark document for Europe” even as she is confident that the fiscal policy “would help start-ups to properly capitalize not only their early-stage but also their growth stage”.
The joint “Startup Investors Manifesto” is subscribed by investors in all of EU28 and accession countries. It is in consonance with the Startup Manifesto of 2013 which was authored by 9 leading EU tech investors.
EBAN is banking on the Manifesto to trigger a robust increase in EU’s early stage investment market, forecasting a reach of €15B by 2017 from its present take at €7.5B.
Luis Galveias, EBAN Director for Secretariat, said the Manifesto targets both policy-makers and market players toward attaining a “single market” in Europe. “It presents 5 areas in which progress is needed to achieve a true and efficient European market for early stage investments,” Galveias quips.
EBAN is confident that if all the proposals of the Manifesto will be adopted, Angel Investor Market will increase by 113 percent or from €5.5B to €11.7B. Early Stage VC Funds is likewise expected to swell by 45 percent which is €2.9B, from €2B today. Equity Crowdfunding, on the other hand, stands to see a 525 percent rise, which is translated to half a billion Euros.
The Manifesto recommends actions and policies that center on providing a sound financial climate for entrepreneurs and a safe haven for investments. One significant action plan is the putting up of a “Fund of funds” facility to strengthen Venture Capitalist capacity. I see this initiative to be a huge step towards wealth and job generation, even as the Manifesto also recommends incentives for investments that target both.
Another key initiative the document recommends, and which undoubtedly will further raise investor spirits up, is for government to ease tax burden on startups. Clearly, this will ignite more activity from Seed stage and VC’s which will render the market very liquid.
Everyone is all agog and positive predictions come in handy as the highly strong investor driven initiative is seen to encourage EU’s decision-makers to lay the ground for the its implementation.
EU Vice President Neelie Kroes also supports this Manifesto. She said, “ I'm determined to make Europe more "startup-friendly", with the right environment for web entrepreneurs to innovate and power Europe's economic growth. And I was very keen to get their ideas for how to do that. In response they created a Startup Manifesto - not just a series of ideas, but a call to action for this community to mobilise and make its voice heard.”
EBAN is truly moving forward, to enhance, sustain and grow their startups. Their newly-elected officers are:
President - Candace Johnson, Sophia Business Angels, FRANCE
Vice-President - Ari Korhonen, FiBAN, FINLAND
Vice-President - Baybars Altuntas, TBAA, TURKEY
Albert Colomer, Business Angels Network Catalunya, SPAIN
Aleksandar Cabrilo, Serbian Business Angels Network, SERBIA
Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Luxembourg Business Angels Network, LUXEMBOURG
Ivar Siimar, Estonia Business Angels Network, ESTONIA
Jeanette Andersson, CONNECT Sweden, SWEDEN
Jesper Jarlbaek, Business Angels Copenhagen, DENMARK
Juan Roure, AEBAN, SPAIN
Konstantin Fokin, National Business Angels Association, RUSSIA
Michael Culligan, Halo Business Angel Network, IRELAND
Peter Braun, Red Alpine Ventures, SWITZERLAND
Ricardo Luz, FNABA, PORTUGAL
Selma Prodanovic, Austrian Angel Investors Association, AUSTRIA
To view the Startup Investors Manifesto, visit http://www.eban.org/sign-the-startup-investors-manifesto/#.U4bIDvldX54