LBAN, the Luxembourg Business Angel Network, in collaboration with the House of Training launches a training program dedicated to Angel Investing. With the objective of growing the community of business angels in Luxembourg, LBAN has designed a training program dedicated to private investors and individuals interested in becoming a Business Angel. The training sessions will take place at the House of Training throughout September and November 2016. We asked Cécile Sevrain, LBAN’s director and Larissa Best, Business Angel, to give us more insights about the state of angel investment in Luxembourg.
We are delighted to have our own training program built with the collaboration of the House of Training – Marc Molitor, president of LBAN.
What is the state of angel investment in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg’s start-up scene is still nascent and one of the many needs created by this eco-system is Funding. With the quality and quantity of start-ups steadily increasing, we can also see an increase in business angels ready to take the leap of faith in Luxembourg. Despite Luxembourg being an important player in the financial industry, we still have some way to go when it comes to early or seed investments.
The persistent volatility of stock markets and the low interest rates on debt however seems to be pushing more individuals into alternative investments such as start-ups with high risk but also high potential. Two years ago we had a fairly small number of members at LBAN and have grown to nearly 50 members in 2016.
As the tax incentives are not particularly attractive in Luxembourg today, we are having a hard time attracting business angels.
As a leading financial center in the E.U. how could we explain the low number of angels?
Business angels are either bred or attracted. As the tax incentives are not particularly attractive in Luxembourg today, we are having a hard time attracting business angels. That leaves us with home growing them. This is the role of LBAN which seeks to make high net worth individuals comfortable with the direct investment process. With the local entrepreneurial ecosystem becoming stronger, we have access to a growing number of individuals that could potentially invest into early stage companies. Of course, investing capital into start-ups is a risky business that requires a certain type of mindset and interest in the area.
How to seduce individuals to become business angels?
We think there is first the idea of being part of a new and exciting adventure. When you start looking at potential investment opportunities, you are always amazed by the innovative ideas of entrepreneurs. And when you make your investment decision, most of the time you become part of the team: helping them with sales, marketing, strategy etc. This is always an exciting experience even if eventually you run the risk of losing some of your investment.
Investing in early stage companies is also a way of giving back to the society: you get to help a young entrepreneur (and the team) with your money and experience to build and scale their business.
At the end of the day, you could consider that being a business angel is just a way of diversifying your investment portfolio!
LBAN is here to provide a home for Luxembourg-based business angels. We offer networking opportunities, deal flow as well as trainings.
What are angels really looking for?
Business angels are always looking for promising ventures where they can bring their expertise and a decent return on capital. Who doesn’t want to invest in the next Skype or Airbnb?
But they are also interested in having fun while investing because at the end of the day, investing into a new company is mainly investing in the founder(s) which means investing into people. Being surrounded by charismatic or innovative or even crazy entrepreneurs can be very revitalising!
We are happy to see that our offering is expanding together with our target audience thanks to strategic partnership – Nico Binsfeld, CEO of House of Training
What do you expect from this training program?
We hope that this introductory training program will inspire individuals to join our community and invest into start-ups. We want to give some tools to aspiring angels, so that they become more comfortable with doing early stage investments. Early stage investment is not an exact science. It remains risky no matter how many trainings you take or experience you have.
On a personal note, we also hope that more women will consider angel investments as we regret that for now we have only a few female members. We have an increasing number of female entrepreneurs in Luxembourg and thus hopefully our numbers will also increase on the investment front.