Luxembourg’s leading business angel network welcomes four new board members and announces a new strategy. Manager Teona Khubutia and President Stephan Peters chat to Silicon Luxembourg about the latest developments.
Who are the new board members?
Teona Khubutia (TK): LBAN has been joined by four new board members. Ning Kong, who has been an LBAN member for over a year and an active angel investor, Christophe Bianco, managing partner at Excellium Services and strong investor in tech startups, Olivier Keiser, a Luxembourgish investor who intends on merging his network with LBAN’s and lastly Thierry De Poerck, who has been CEO of a couple of companies across Europe.
How are board members selected?
TK: They are selected on the basis of their track record and activity in the ecosystem. We want them to already have a good grasp of the community and the inner workings of LBAN. It’s not just about business angels, we also provide a service to startups, which is important for new board members to understand. It is also important that they have contributed to various committees of LBAN before.
What fresh perspectives do you hope the new board members bring with them?
Stephan Peters (SP): I don’t think we necessarily missed any qualities in the past per se, but each individual member will bring a set of experiences that is unique to them. We hope to obviously leverage those experiences and put their knowledge to good use.
TK: As Stephan mentioned, it’s not that we lacked anything, but with new people, new energy, new networks and new ideas come in, all of which are extremely valuable for LBAN.
What can you tell me about LBAN’s new strategy?
SP: Our mission and new strategy go hand in hand. We want to be one of the preferred partners for the early-stage ecosystem in the greater region. This takes different shapes depending on who our counterpart is. We continue to be actively involved in the various incubators and support programmes in Luxembourg and bring our unique perspective to the table. We facilitate meetings between promising startups and business angels.
We also try to create value for our network of business angels. While some of our members are experienced investors, others want to learn more about early-stage investing and be introduced to the various players in the ecosystem. Here our mission is to provide them with the most complete information so they can engage with startups they like as quickly as possible.
TK: We strengthened our strategy to cover a few areas. Firstly, we want to increase our memberships and continue to grow the investment capital that our members deploy. Secondly, we want to expand our local corporate partnerships. We are currently talking to a number of partners and have recently finalised a partnership with EYnovation. The idea is to be a valued ecosystem player. Lastly, we want to continue partnering with local incubators and accelerators and really channel our know-how to structures outside of LBAN.
Which part of the strategy are you most excited about?
SP: For me, it’s the membership and training side of things, which I will be leading with Christophe Bianco, our new board member, and Ronaldo Rossi, one of our active members. We are working to design and schedule a bespoke training programme for business angels. We are also considering holding a couple of these sessions openly for the startups to attend so that they can have a peek into how business angels invest.
TK: I’m really excited about our partnerships with the ecosystem. There are many avenues for collaboration that I want to explore, especially concerning the provision of our services and how we can create more value and in that sense really give a boost to the ecosystem.