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Early Stage Investing Launchpad - Unleashing the potential of early stage investing in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ESIL (Early Stage Investing Launchpad - Unleashing the potential of early stage investing in Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

Europe has a very small early stage investing market, when compared to US. This is particularly true when it comes to the private sector investment, mainy represented by business angels.
This is due mainly to a lack of entreprenurila and give back spirit and not so much to a lack of wealth. As a matter of fact there are about 5 million HNWI (high net worth individuals – World Wealth Report by Capgemini).
The Early Stage Investing Launchpad (ESIL) aimed at building the capacity and capability of investors across Europe and links those investors to the best companies, and to fellow investors, locally and internationally.
ESIL provided a portfolio of actions, packaged within a capacity building programme, designed to stimulate local investment communities based on the specific needs of each regional market.
The programme was delivered in partnership with selected local partners who shared the commitment to create a dynamic investment environment by mobilising new leaders within the Business Angel and wider investment community, encouraging more individuals to become investors and improving the effectiveness of the investment process.
ESIL provided country-specific capacity building actions with a blend of online and offline activities including an online networking and matchmaking platform, access to best practices and knowledge of the world’s most effective Business Angel and early-stage investors and training materials.
Thanks to the ESIL community Business angels and early-stage investors benefited from:
- Being members of the pan-European investment community;
- A unique toolkit with training and support materials to help mobilising local investment communities;
- Connecting to a pool of international peers and experts;
- Exchanging ideas with fellow investors at the ESIL open days;
- International exchanges and study visits to share global best practice;
- The ESIL platform for local and international networking, syndication and deal flow.
The ESIL programme is made available by a consortium led by META Group, with Business Angels Europe (BAE), the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN), the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), GoBeyond, BPI France and LINC Scotland.
To set the ground for its intervention during ESIL assessed and validated 32 local implementation, with two of them addressing a cluster of countries (Nordics and Baltics), involving 37 countries and it set up the toolkit, the pool of trainers and the portfolio of online tools.
The toolkit comprises training modules targeting different levels of angel investors (from potential to experienced ones), network managers, crowdfunding platforms, policymakers and entrepreneurs.
It includes videos, slide decks, 4 specific tools for investors and is available in the digital academy.
ESIL produced more than 50 inspirational videos, all available in the dedicated YouTube channel, with tips and personal experiences from leading business angels and other early-stage investors.
The online tools include a network/matchmaking platform, the digital academy and the ESIL website, an info point for those interested in early-stage investing.
In implementing its capacity building programme, ESIL started with activities related to building professional business angels and structures via training activities and open days.
In total 40 webinars, 61 offline training activities, 52 open days, 14 intimate events, 5 study visits and 15 pitching events were delivered, involving more than 8500 stakeholders.
To disseminate and communicate the programme, its objective and results, ESIL prepared a full set of materials, ready to be used across Europe, and made available online media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, a dedicated website for the project).
More than 100k individual accessed on-line videos, more than 6k visited the website, more than 1.000 followed both in Twitter and LinkedIn, these are some figures indicating the impact of the efforts put into dissemination and communication, making ESIL a point of reference for early-stage investing. Moreover an online community with currently 389 members was animated.
A sustainable, comprehensive strategy for building capacity in early-stage investments across Europe
ESIL took special care of both less developed markets, transferring and adapting all the knowledge of its partners and more developed ones, providing support to improving their operations focusing on challenges such as illiquidity and co-investments. To maximise impact, ESIL raised awareness and disseminated, through its online channels, a wide set of tailored capacity building materials. Local Leaders contracted for the implementation of the capacity building action acted as multipliers involving other members of local BA groups, individual investors, successful entrepreneurs, institutional players. Moreover, the recruiting process opened up opportunities for further cooperation and cross-fertilization among all ESIL Local Leaders, their ecosystems and the consortium partners.
ESIL managed to design the professional BA Curriculum and validate it according to the time plan. To help structure and professionalise business angels' activities, ESIL designed and validated 37 Local Implementation Plans (LIPS), covering almost all countries targeted by the project. Those LIPs set the roadmap for the delivery of the activities planned to structure and professionalise BA’s activities in each target country and to pave the way for sustainability. ESIL also succeeded to train the trainers in some of the merging countries, in order to allow the rising ecosystems to keep growing once the project ends.

Higher levels of early-stage expertise in Europe
ESIL involved more than 2.500 investors in capacity building activities all over Europe, managed to involve more than 100k investors, enablers and entrepreneurs, using the communication channels of the consortium and platforms such as Euroquity. ESIL put a lot of effort into encouraging more women to become investors: more than 400 women participated in in-person awareness sessions.
ESIL also managed to engage the early-stage ecosystems and to make investing become more structured, by designing and providing a set of activities, such as the ESIL Open Days, the International online pitches and the intimate events, which allowed the consortium to involve more than 3.000 stakeholders.

Increase the number of early-stage investments in Europe, including cross-border
To reach the expected impact, project partners focused on empowering more active angels to act in syndicate and being exposed to cross border investment leveraging on ESIL Open Days and use of platforms, using e-platforms to improve deal flows, empowering more active angels to act in syndicate and being exposed to cross border investment opportunities, involving the early-stage investment players during ESIL Open Days to facilitate more investments locally and abroad.
There were more than 178 groups attending the ESIL Open Days, more than 50 deals suggested by other players to BA groups, 472 companies accessing CB materials.
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