Thursday, January 21, 2016

Meeting Invest Horizon 1 December 2015 in Amsterdam

More than 30 entrepreneurs and experts attended the InvestHorizon Raising Awareness Seminar on December 1, 2015 in Amsterdam at the premises of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The participants were keen to enlarge their knowledge about attracting financing and the European Programme Invest Horizon.

Pieta Stam of Chamber of Commerce welcomed everyone and gave an overview of the afternoon programme. She introduced the European Programme Invest Horizon to the participants with special attention to the online training possibilities, the workshops and the pitch opportunities with investors.
Micha Zwaaf of IMX Capital gave the first presentation. He introduced the participants to various types of financing related to the development phase of the company.  He made it clear that the risk for many companies is in the early phase. Either you need more money, or you need more time to give your company a proper start. Very often a company has to finance the first phase by own means; investors start to get interested from the moment the entrepreneur has sold a working product to the first customers. The larger the company, the lesser risk for the investor. This means you need not only proof of concept but proof of market. Crowdfunding is more and more used as a type of financing in the early phase.  For a successful crowdfunding campaign, you do need to have a clear and convincing story. Micha also gave the participants many tips for approaching business angels. Investing by business angels is a process that takes a substantial amount of time and a lot of networking. Finally, don’t forget to ask references to business angels!

The next presentation was held by Jasper Munier of ERAC. The advisor sketched the overall European investment budget targeted at European SMEs. The focus is on new technologies, sustainability, new materials and employment. Generally speaking, only 10% of the requests for European subsidies are rewarded. Note that the search for the right partners is essential.  Make sure that you get to know your partners really well. Example: ask for their annual reports. Prepare a realistic and concise plan, and strengthen your plan with graphics and figures. Pay attention to a strong businesscase!  Jasper has shown the playing field of the European programmes in the timeframe 2014 – 2020. He mentioned EFRO and Horizon2020. Horizon2020 contains also instruments for the smaller SMEs.

The last presentation was given by investor Patrick Polak of Newion Investments.

He explained clearly to the audience the outlook of a private equity investor on providing Private Equity. Newion invests in four companies per year with an investment size of € 0,5 – 4 million. Newion is aiming at building market leaders out of the portfolio companies with substantial growth rates. As investors they stimulate entrepreneurs to grow their companies instead of working themselves in their companies. The investor contributes with strategic perspectives, knowledge of the sector, and a large network. The network is specially of use for attracting the best people. The successful situation is a partnership between investor and entrepreneur. Private equity is always for a limited period of time. The objective of the investor is to sell the company, on average after five years. In the selection phase the investor pays special attention to the qualities and track record of the entrepreneurs, the feasibility, exit potential and optimal returns.  

The participants have appreciated the meeting with an 8 out of 10. The feedback was that they were provided with new information and have better insight in financing.