Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Where are the women entrepreneurs, angels and venture capitalists?

by Heather Thompson, VP Professional Development, ASTP-Proton

Women remain under-represented in science and business including in the creation and operation of spin-off companies from public research institutions. Whilst a recent study lead by Cassidy Sugimoto at Indiana University reported that women in academia globally are patenting at a higher rate compared to those in industry or as individuals from USPTO filings analysed between 1976 and 20131, this has not fed through to significant increases in the numbers of women founding spin-out companies from Universities. A study of spin-outs created by UK universities published in July 2015 by the Enterprise Research Centre found that just 8.3% of University spin-outs included a woman as a member of the founding team2.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Entrepreneurs Touched the Stars at the Copenhagen InvestHorizon Early Stage Camp

On Monday and Tuesday 16-17 November, EBAN Winter University 2015 hosted in the Copenhagen Business School, one of Europe’s leading institutions for business and entrepreneurship and the KADK, Copenhagen's Royal Academy of Arts around 200 entrepreneurs and angel investors for the InvestHorizon Early Stage Camp and Global Investor Forum

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Invest Horizon Coaching Academy at Startup Bootcamp Athens

 The major cultural venue of Technopolis set the ideal stage for the Startup Bootcamp Athens on 1-3 October 2015. InvestHorizon hosted a coaching academy on the second day of the bootcamp with 14 participants and 4 coaches joining the in-depth workshops and one2one mentoring. Overall, the three-day entrepreneurial venturing event featured more than 70 startup entrepreneurs from 10 European countries, 43 startup-teams as well as more than 15 investors and experts from both sides of the Atlantic.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November - What's up for fundraising startups?

Do you know, there are more than 5000 startup programs in the world, providing early stage funding? Yes, that's a lot! At InvestHorizon we want startups to become investment ready and a good chance of doing so is by getting into one of those programs.

Same way as October, we'd like to give you a shortlist of what's happening in November. Hope it helps!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lisbon, Brussels and Warsaw - The InvestHorizon October Trifecta

The ICT 2015 conference, organised annually by the European Commission, welcomed over 7000 participants from all over the world in the great city of Lisbon. Many events and networking opportunities for startups were scheduled, among which the InvestHorizon Investment Forum that took place in the afternoon from 1:30 to 4:30.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to finance your innovative ideas?

Pan-European SME support schemes

Access to Finance Portal

The Access to Finance Portal  is definitely one of the main access points for any SME searching for finance. It is available in all official EU languages and Norwegian. It also permits you to conduct a search depending on amount, country, company category, type of finance, investment focus and source. Visit the portal to learn more link

How to finance your business?

Regardless if you are at the beginning of your entrepreneurial road, in the middle or at the end of it, it is crucial for your business to be able to get the right type of financing.

In order to hit the sweet-spot of a financial provider and to grow, an SME has to ask the right questions. Recently published practical guide on raising finance launched by AFME (Association for Financial Markets in Europe) gives an overview of different forms of financing and guides the SMEs through a decision making tree to bring them to most successful solution.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How do successful entrepreneurs act and take decisions?

Fishbowl Jump | Kay Kim | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source:
Fishbowl Jump | Kay Kim | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source:
Imagine 27 entrepreneurs who successfully build ventures in a range of different industries. How do they behave? What is the basis for their decisions? How do they deal with uncertainty? In 1995 Dr. Saras Sarasvathy, University of Virgina, started a research to find answers to these questions. Her answer is Effectuation as counterpart of managerial thinking.

This blog entry is the start for a spate of webinars that are discussion innovation and start-up topics like “Smart production & Industry 4.0” or “Financing your start-up”. Different experts and experienced entrepreneurs are presenting. More information coming soon!

Let us explore the roots of Effectuation
With her research activities Sarasvathy fathoms how expert entrepreneurs make decisions, take actions and build ventures. Her understanding of an expert entrepreneur is someone who founded multiple companies for 15 years or longer including successes and failures and taken at least one company public. She aimed to investigate “entrepreneurial expertise” to see what is teachable and learnable about entrepreneurship to bring it into the classroom. She defines expertise as “tacit as well as learnable and teachable aspects of experience that are related to high performance in specific domains”. How did she investigate? She created a problem set of 17 pages including typical decisions to make when starting a new venture. She gave the problem set to 27 expert entrepreneurs from different industries and asked them to think aloud. Afterwards she analysed all the collected data. Do the expert entrepreneurs have anything in common? Yes, they do. Sarasvathy identified that the way they approached problems and took decisions to start a new venture were strongly concordant. In fact, they inverted what actually is taught for managerial thinking of MBA classes. The research results are the Effectuation principles – a toolbox for entrepreneurial thinking. The principles refer to activity-orientation, handling of risks and resources, handling of surprises and accidents and handling of stakeholders.

Have a look at the Effectuation principles
The Effectuation principles support you in doing the first entrepreneurial steps quickly and by controlling the uncertainty when you are starting your venture. The principles guide you, if you would like to disrupt or create a new market. To better understand the four principles, it is helpful to oppose them to the causal management logic. You can see it as two toolboxes: One is for managerial thinking and the other one for entrepreneurial thinking. Depending on the game you are playing, you have to choose the rules of the toolbox. To shape the unpredictable future, expert entrepreneurs prefer the toolbox of Effectuation considering the following four principles (contrasting the toolbox of managerial thinking):

Bird-in-hand: Start with your means
When expert entrepreneurs set out to build a new venture, they
start with their means: who I am, what I know, and whom I know.
Then, the entrepreneurs imagine possibilities that originate from
their means. It contrasts with pre-set Goals.

Affordable Loss: Focus on the downside risk
Expert entrepreneurs limit risk by understanding what they can afford
to lose at each step, instead of seeking large all-or-nothing opportunities.
They choose goals and actions where there is upside even if the downside
ends up happening. It contrasts with expected return.

Lemonade: Leverage contingencies
Expert entrepreneurs invite the surprise factor. Instead of making
“what-if” scenarios to deal with worst-case scenarios, experts
interpret “bad” news and surprises as potential clues to create
new markets. It contrasts with avoiding surprises.

Patchwork Quilt: Form partnerships
Expert entrepreneurs build partnerships with self-selecting
stakeholders. By obtaining pre-commitments from these key
partners early on in the venture, experts reduce uncertainty
and co-create the new market with its interested participants.
It contrasts with competitive Analysis.

What is your personal preference of action and taking decisions?

If you would like to dive deeper into Effectuation and its principles, check the 14 minutes Webinar of Alexandra Rudl, Head of Innovation Programmes at bwcon GmbH. She is a certified Effectuation Coach and developed with other Effectuation coaches the “Effectuation Grid” for start-up teams to take entrepreneurial action under uncertainty.

Source: www.effectuation.org

Friday, October 2, 2015

October - What's up for fundraising startups?

Fundraising can be frustrating and hard, however it is vital to know when and what fish is there waiting for you. This article will briefly run you through the main innitiatives, accelerators and events that could be exactly the fish you have been waiting for. Not all of them will neccesarily bring you money right away but some of the events could lead you to exposure and so financial success. And wait no longer as they have open calls right now – within the month of October 2015.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Investment Forum highlights the high tech hub of Turkey and the Balkan region

On Monday 7th September 2015, it was Istanbul’s turn to welcome the InvestHorizon coaching workshop and Investment Forum.
Together with Turkey Business Angels Association (TBAA) and with the support of Baybars Altuntaş, EBAN’s Vice President, EBAN welcomed at the Istanbul Technical University more than a hundred participants from Turkey but also from other Balkan hubs. Among them, a significant number of female entrepreneurs, high level investors and businessmen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the spotlight: Sentiance

Sentiance is an Antwerp based technology company enabling businesses to tap into context aware personalisation and mobile profiling on the basis of sensor information gathered in smartphones and wearable devices.

I spoke with Vincent Jocquet, their VP Finance & Operations to understand their experience regarding financing their activities to date and what learnings are there for other entrepreneurs.

Sentiance has been operational since 2012 and realised pretty early on that they were going to need investment from external sources in order to get the company up and running. In 2012 they reached out to family and friends to try to drum up the initial funds required. This got the company through 2012 and in 2013 they once again went looking for funding. This time however, they looked beyond the FFFs*, to the business angel community. Sentiance needed funding in order to develop their market. However, they realised that they also required people that could connect them to potential clients. They were able to bring on board several angels with strong knowledge in the advertising market in order to try to help advance their market penetration. However, the angels pushed them to re-examine their model and they pivoted to a B2B2C model, allowing them to raise additional angel funding. A strong endorsement of their investors’ faith in the team was that the initial investors, re-invested following the pivot.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

In the spotlight: KonnectAgain

KonnectAgain are a Dublin and San Francisco based company who help universities keep in touch with their alumni, and help alumni make the most of their networks.

Jayne Ronayne, KonnectAgain’s CEO, spoke to me about their journey and their experience in securing funding so far. Jayne also has a couple of nuggets for entrepreneurs looking for funding at the moment.

KonnectAgain knew from day one that investment was going to be required. With a young team, financial resources were not in abundance in the team so funding was needed very early on. While friends and family gave great support (and Jayne was eager to point out are always welcome to do so again), they knew that to expand and grow their team and their idea, more money was needed.
Ignite100 in Newcastle brought the first £15,000 as a part of their accelerator programme for KonnectAgain. From there they went looking for investors who could offer advice, assistance and market knowledge. KonnectAgain decided on angel investment on the basis of these requirements and the level of funding required and so set about trying to identify the right investors. Their focus was those that they looked up to, and those that could really bring value to the company. Jayne’s focus was building a relationship with the people that she thought could really help and asking them directly if they would be interested in doing so. KonnectAgain brought together funding from a number of angels at seed-stage and this amount was matched by Enterprise Ireland*

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

invstr - the App for investors

Information is everything today. A UK app- invstr- democratizes access to financial news and market data with an easy-to-use app that provides in-depth financial news, crowdsourced market sentiment and on-demand, real-time data on stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities from major exchanges around the world for both financial professionals and independent investors everywhere. 

It features a unique crowdsourced game that predicts the prices of individual stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities – enabling investors to weigh the strength of market convictions immediately when making real-world investment decisions. The app has also been praised for providing casual investors and professional financiers on-demand access to financial data that previously required an expensive subscription terminal, such as in-depth financial news, live market data and professional research.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

COSME and Horizon 2020 – Learn which are the already adopted Financial Instruments for SMEs

There are several programmes and measures at EU level to facilitate SMEs’ access to finance. Here is a snapshot of the already adopted programmes. 
The COSME programme is expected to provide up to EUR 25 billion of financing in loans or equity investments over 2014-2020.
The InnovFin financial instruments are part of HORIZON2020, which provide funding that spans all across the innovation cycle, from lab to market.

Monday, July 27, 2015

1001 Accelerators – The Tale of the Right Choice

Accelerators. They often promise to make your company a billion-dollar business, to help you make your product a must-have or get you a follow-on investment that will secure a bright future for your company and allow you to have a good night sleep again. Since 2005, when the first accelerator Y combinator emerged, we have witnessed an expansion of entities, platforms, initiatives that call themselves accelerators and often claim to be saviors of early-stage startups. Europe is not an exception. There are more 70 accelerators active within the borders of European Union (some sources say even 100) and due to freedom of movement and small amount of seed capital that they provide, it is fairly easy for any startup to give it a shot in any member state. Given the amount of accelerators, how should you choose the one that can provide you with most value-add?

Science to business database maps scientific research

We live in permanently changing environment, surrounded by a lot of information. Sometimes, there is a problem that arises in picking out the useful one from the crowd.
The “Science2Business” database enables companies to get the information about new technologies and knowledge easily and efficiently, which is the best way to protect and enhance their competitive advantage in the era of turbulent technological development.

Getting accelerator ready - getting investment ready

Large amount of new companies in the web/internet area are looking into startup accelerators as the possible source of first-seed-money. Not only that, but also mentorship, access to investors and suddenly startup accelerator became a trend, that Y generation is preferring even more than a university education.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Aprende a financiarte

Learn how to get finance

Aprende a Financiarte (Learn how to get finance) is a program coordinated by the High Council of Chambers of Commerce of Spain and implemented by the Regional Council of Chambers of Commerce of Andalusia. The Program is co-financed by the Chambers of Commerce and the European Regional Development Fund.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hottest event in Austria: IH Brainslounge 2015

Another outstanding InvestHorizon event was celebrated last July 7th - in Siegendorf, Austria – where 22 promising startups, 5 coaches and 20 investors participated in Brainslounge 2015, the hottest Early Stage Camp and Investment Forum ever recorded in history. The 37 degrees of heat although were not enough to compromise the success of this event organized and hosted by Austrian Brainswork and DreamAcademia.Founded and led by serial entrepreneur and business angel Selma Prodanovic, Brainswork is one of Austria’s most influential consultancies for startup and new business development. Thanks to the cooperation with DreamAcademia, the center of dream development, the event took place in the Dreamicon Vally, an innovation and technology hub on the outskirts of Vienna where talented entrepreneurs from all over the world can get the support necessary to make their dreams a reality. Definitely the ideal location to set the right tone for the event.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

EU Funded Projects for Startups

Whats the first thought coming to your mind thinking about how European Commission helps you? might say, it probably helps me somehow, but i'm not really sure. Some think of EC as a complicated organisation with lots and lots of bureaucracy and little real-world action. This idea shines even brighter in the minds of tens of thousands of startup founders, getting their little ventures off the ground. Well think no more!

Thursday, June 4, 2015 - sharing knowledge

This site is about exploring how teams collaborate, negotiate and innovate to achieve consistently best outcomes. You will see here articles relating to the observations, experiences and views on various aspects of leadership, entrepreneurship and management, self-development, or innovation. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Entrepreneurs, Coaches and Investors flock to Eindhoven for the EBAN Open Forum day, powered by InvestHorizon.

Another successful event powered by InvestHorizon was celebrated this May when an international ensemble of more than 100 entrepreneurs, coaches and investors participated in the EBAN Open Forum day at the High Tech Campus.

After a good cup of coffee, the day started off with a Coaching Workshop in the morning in collaboration with the EBAN Institute, EBAN´s knowledge transfer program headed by Turkish serial entrepreneur and education expert Mr. Baybars Altuntas. More than 20 startups participated in the workshop which was extraordinarily led by 3 experienced and international coaches: Daniel Tomov (Founder & CEO of Eleven Accelerator), Patrick Riley (CEO Global Accelerator Network) and Michael O’Connor (CEO of CorkBIC). The participants received insight on how to answer three important questions that every startup has on their minds: How to arrive at a justifiable valuation? What is the right balance between hype and delivery? Do I really have a scalable proposition or is it hope?

Monday, May 18, 2015

InvestHorizon- entrepreneurs want equity?

It is important to look at access to finance matters from a broader perspective bearing in mind the interdependence of the actors, legislation and systems. It is as impossible to detach supply from demand side of financing as it is to dismantle the financial ecosystem from the broader economic framework.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

European Future Internet start-ups get between €10,000 and €170,000 of direct funding for developing innovative applications FIWARE

The accelerator Finodex funded by the European Commission opened its second call for proposals in ICT based on Open Data and FIWARE technologies and will select up to 51 innovative projects willing to create products or services using FIWARE technologies and re-using open data from any origin. The selected projects will benefit from up to 4.64 million euros. Each selected project may obtain between €10,000 and €170,000 of direct funding.

SMEs and entrepreneurs who wish to participate on this occasion, will have time to submit their projects until next June 17th at 5PM (Brussels time).

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Invest Horizon Policy Conference

On April 23rd Invest Horizon has organised a policy conference bringing high-level EU officials and organisations representing angels and VC's to discuss the current issues of boosting investment and Europe as well as increasing investment readiness.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Entrepreneurs and investors, why crowdfunding can be beneficial for you?

Crowdfunding is a disruptive way to finance individuals, companies, and  projects via online marketplaces and electronic payment. Aggregating rather small amounts of capital from many individuals, projects or businesses can finally raise huge amounts and involve their community in its financing process. This sector is experiencing incredible growth since 2010. A recent report published by Cambridge University and Ernst&Young highlighted that the European crowdfunding market grew by 144% in 2014, from 1,2 billion euros in 2013 to nearly 3 billion euros in 2014. This increase is mainly due to many success stories showing that crowdfunding is a viable and effective source of funding for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs in Europe.

In the report Crowdfunding for Impact in Europe and the USA, ECN and Toniic identified main benefits of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs, private investors and professional investors, listed below.

Friday, April 17, 2015

InvestHorizon - adapting to a new financial landscape

Europe’s business community remains heavily reliant on debt-based financing, despite the increasingly incompatible expectations of the main lending source, banks. Meanwhile, alternative, equity-based sources of financing are evolving and new ones emerging across Europe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

InvestHorizon - 3 ways to learn & attract investment to your business

Nowadays, when every second article on tech blogs is about new gadgets raising millions on a crowdfunding platform or about startups that yet does nothing raising millions of dollars from top VC firms, makes people wonder - could my idea be attractive enough to potential investor and could i scale and grow my business with this additional money?