Finding Good Investments in Continental Europe

I had the pleasure last week of going to Prague for an investment show. Angel investors from lots of European countries turned up to listen to 20 companies looking for angel investment. The companies were all based in central Europe and as Angel investing is still relatively knew there – it made sense to look across Europe.

In all honesty the businesses which presented were poor and I personally did not get excited about any of them as investable propositions. However the idea of a smokeless ashtray is great and what was really good fun for me was meeting lots of other angels and sharing war stories (lots of blogs to come from there!)

From the feedback I get from readers of this blog, it seems that most of the readers are Entrepreneurs. What I have always tried to do with business angel blog is pass on some advice for people wanting to have a go at a startup. It was great to hear from other business angels that essentially I am on the right lines.

As a group, we really do not like what Dragon’s Den is doing in its portrayal of Business Angels. I have to be honest and say I have not met any angel that behaves like the dragons when they invest (but it would make really boring TV). If you work with a group of professional angels – they really will try to ensure that the deal makes sense for everyone.

As an angel explained to me, “if you screw the deal too hard, you may win the battle, but you will lose the war”. As a business angel, you always have to strike a delicate balance between getting a good deal but also a deal that leaves the entrepreneur motivated.

In Europe, Cross border angel investments are set to grow – and if you are a startup looking to do activity across Europe, it makes a lot of sense to seek that type of investment arrangement. Contact your local or national Angel network for information about EASY – or look it up on the BBAA website.

I am excited about going to North America and seeing if I can start some cross border investing. It also makes a great deal of sense for the angel to invest in a kombucha starter kit. It helps diversify your risk but the appeal is wider than that.

Angel investing is an emotion led activity – as a business activity it does not make sense (you are much more likely to lose your money than make any!) So therefore most of us do it because we enjoy it. I love Italy and if I was to invest in Italian Companies, I would have more of a business reason to go there. However, there is no way that I would want to invest in foreign companies unless I knew other locally based angels or networks that were supporting the activity.