Investors Academy 2017

One can feel, that the investors scene is developing and increasingly more people become active business angels. For this growing target group, the aaia created a new event format that allows the participants to get a taste of the business angel world and learn all skills needed to make first deals confidently. The Investors Academy is conceptualized as an investors boot camp – a way for the participants to learn all skills needed in a short and intensive time. Tickets were limited to 20 participants only, to ensure fruitful debates and individual working. They sold out fast and were especially popular among female participants who accounted for 20% of the group– a good omen that the industry is about to get more open.

Who could better explain the armamentarium of a business angel if not a high-quality lineup of lecturers who are each expert in their respective field? Together with dear partners from I.E.C.T. – Hermann Hauser, Standortagentur Tirol and the Werkstätte Wattens, speakers and venue were arranged. They were paired with an informal setting and an environment where the angels had no other option than getting connected – a village in the Alps! And what could be more Austrian than this view:

“The valuation of a startup can be compared with bargaining at a bazar in Istanbul: The price arises from supply and demand!” started Business Angel Herbert Gartner (aaia Business Angel of the Year) the first day. After everyone got to know each other, he presented important know-how about daily business and portfolio management. His main investment criteria usually are market, team and technology and he is usually interested in deep-tech projects. Even though there are exceptions from that rule, like his investment in the oldest forest in Austria. What if you are not investing alone? “Finding Co-Investors is like marriage”, he let the group know, “you have to know with whom you settle.”

The first day continued with a talking legal session with Philipp Kinsky . The motto was “Know your Co-Investor” as the group discussed the establishing of term-sheets and many more details about the legal environment in Austria. “So, a bad leaver is someone who wants to leave, and a good leaver is someone who dies?” joked someone from the audience when summing up the leaver clause. As someone with a lot of experience, Philipp had more valuable insight “You determine which angel you want to be and this influences your success rate! Passive angels face 5% – active ones 20%”

Stefan Kreppel from the FFG finished off the talk series for that day by giving insights of leveraging investments and follow-up financing. “The definition of startup is absolutely not clear – every stakeholder in the ecosystem has a different one!” he started off and ended with a more detailed explanation of the de-minimis regulation. After his talk the group concluded the day in Innsbruck, where they attended the opening of the Inn’cubator – the event was a mix of intensive input and a deep dive into the local ecosystem.

As the next day started, Oliver Holle, CEO of Speedinvest, talked about due diligence and valuation. “Founder’s assessment is key”, he stated, Speedinvest even developed its own unique method for that step. “Never forget to put the international glasses on as an investor. When similar business models abroad raised money in similar industries, you’re gonna have a problem to find co-investors for the next rounds!”

aaia board member Werner Wutscher continued the input by explaining the most important do’s and dont’s for business angels. It was the time to get rid of myths around the startup life in Europe and get ready for the facts. He presented the ecosystem players in Austria and showed the participants why a good angel investor could be indispensable for a startup.

“You need two things in life: Fun and Money. Money just because otherwise the fun is short-lived”, started Hermann Hauser after lunch. He rounded out the input with a session about scale-up and growth money. His criteria for investments are: size and growth rate of the market, a defensible technology and a team that should include at least one star. But how do you recognize a star? “recommendations of peers, a track record, a certain feeling… But if everyone around that person tells you she or he is a star, that helps too!”

After the last session, the investors had the first opportunity to apply everything they learned during the finale of the I.E.C.T. – Challenge 2017. And one could already feel that something about how they do business changed. Because as a participant stated in the beginning: “I want to know how investment really is done. So far I only invested in a company if I knew where the founder and the family lives” …Just how they do business in sicily! let’s hope that the investors academy helped to minimize such practices in the investors landscape in Austria 😉

The aaia looks forward to seeing new faces at next year’s academy!