Business Angels Coming out of the Shadows

"Business Angels Coming out of the Shadows" - Opening Session I European BA Week

“Business Angels Coming out of the Shadows” – Opening Session I European BA Week

Business Angels Coming out of the Shadows

Opening Session I European BA Week
Cascais, 18 November 2013

Francisco Banha, Board President of FNABA, Member of the Board of Directors of EBAN ( and WBAA (

Business Angels Coming out of the Shadows”  support presentation


As FNABA’S President (Portuguese BA) and EBAN board member I want to share with you my enormous honour and satisfaction welcoming all of you to the first moment of this European Business Angels week in Portugal and around Europe.

This EBAN’s initiative has arrived with an enormous sense of opportunity, calling the attention to the power of smart money, at a time when Europe is facing serious problems. But, we are here to remember that SOLUTIONS are possible.

Bringing solutions into examination is our motto!

We obviously have a challenge getting economic growth going in European Union and we have a massive challenge rebalancing our economies and providing sustainability for all those who integrate this economic and political space.

It has been identified, by several important economists and researchers , that the problems of Europe are on the side of production, not on the side of expenditure. We have a GDP generation problem, and that is the side we have to face: more and better businesses, more innovation, more technology, more knowledge.

The creation of new start-ups has the potential to drive the job market, to give a proper use to highly qualified people and to set the road for future success.

There are oodles of examples how a business grows from a tiny idea on a person’s brain to a multi-billion Euro business in few years, nevertheless this events are only possible if those ideas find fertile land to grow.

Those ideas need the help and trust of more experienced owners who wish to share their smart capital. All the people involved in this European BA’s Week are essential for the European economic revival.

Please remember that Business Angel means a lot more than just some euros for someone to invest. It is not venture capital, it is something a lot more sophisticated and intense, each of you are really backing the entrepreneurs, with your hands and head always available to avoid pitfalls, and therefore reduce the number of failed start-ups.

BAs have also an important role in getting investment issues in the political agendas.

BAs Associations get to gather the attention of the politicians and manage to in-fluence assuming the role of powerful elite able to change the course of policy.

In all countries, if it wasn’t for the intervention and power of people like us many programmes and rules wouldn’t be effective – good examples are co-investment funds, specific tax laws for investment in star-ups and as the UK’s Prime Minister has said when he invited Bas to his Residence.

I quote “I hope that it’s recognised that the government is trying to do, what it can, to help Angels and business investment”.

Events like this European BA week increase the general attention to our work and attract people to join both as BAs or entrepreneurs. One of the objectives of the current week is to double the number of BAs communities with evident consequences for the increasing of power both at the investment level and at the policy level.

Potential entrepreneurs get the opportunity to chat with several Business Angels who will in turn take their projects and ideas to Bas clubs adding critical ideas that contribute to a better delineation of the projects and business plans.

Some of these projects will be supported by local Co-investment funds or by individual Bas, giving rise to a spiral of wealth not only for the people involved but also for their countries – job creation, value creation, taxes paid, new services and products.

I want to share with you just one more concern before I finish. It’s got to do with the need of cross border investment, and the emergence of some programmes that will impulse investments in projects emerging in different parts of the world.

1) First, EBAN is in the process of launching a Pan-European instrument (European Investment Fund) to support investments within Europe, showing our concern and belief on cross-border investment, making it possible for any good project to raise money anywhere in the continent. This fund will contribute to a change of culture within the European Bas community, transforming Smart money into No-Border investment.

2) Second, Diaspora Investments, with the creation of Diaspora Business Angels Clubs around the world, using the power of people who emigrate but keep the links to their homeland. According to Wikipedia there are about 475 (four hundred and seventy five) million Europeans outside Eu-rope, which represent 7% of the global population, especially at the American Continent.

In Portugal, and because our diaspora represents 50% of our population, we have recently started lobbying movements near the government and our president for the creation of diaspora side-car funds, with the main objective of helping start-ups, that have proved at the local level, to grow global.

Actually, the first BA Diaspora Club is now starting, it is in California (USA), Navigator, and its leaders hold an enormous experience as managers and also a strong network of customers, partners and suppliers. Some elements of the Portuguese Diaspora in the USA have signed a compromise to invest as far as the Portuguese government moves on with the official creation of the referred fund.

The idea would be to create a similar European Diaspora Fund to introduce the best of the best European start-ups to amazing Diaspora citizens who might be willing to invest in a BA perspective.

Before you go, let me reinforce that I am very proud to belong to a community like this, and I feel really pleased and honoured to be on the side of solutions and please remember, as Richelle Mead put it, “The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very calmly, in the dark of the shadows.”

Events like the European Bas week contribute to the coming out of the shadows.

Thank you.

Licenciado e Mestre em Gestão de Empresas. Presidente da Gesbanha, S.A., especialista em capital de risco e empreendedorismo, investidor particular ("business angels"). Director da EBAN e da WBAA

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