This article by NordicBAN's MD Claes Mikko Nilsen was published first on Slush News (16.11.2018).
Slush is one of the world’s largest startup investor events, attended by over 1600 investors, of which 30% are business angels. Angels play an important role funding startups, but are hard to attract to startup conferences. Slush has been able to crack this and become one of the most important meeting points for business angels. How has this been done?
Business angels in the Nordics are typically individuals with a background as an entrepreneur or corporate manager. The median investment* per angel is 20.000€, group investment 200.000€ and the acquired stake 2% per angel. Only 20% of the visible angels are full-time investors, and the rest invest more part-time or as a hobby. This majority usually invests when a friend asks to join a co-investment and don’t necessary actively look for investments themselves. Startups often face the situation that they are competing against the spare time of an individual, who has readiness to make startup investments, but also has; grandkids, hobbies, and so on. These individuals don’t have to make startup investments and especially not pay expensive tickets to attend startup conferences where they are bombarded by new (big risk) investment opportunities.
It is still hugely important to inspire these individuals to attend startup events and channel their skills, networks and capital to support startup growth goals. And this is something Slush has succeeded with, as almost 500 angel investors purchased their investor ticket to attend the 1+ 2 day startup conference.
Below why Slush is so valuable for angels.
The high-point of the year – Investor Day
This might come as a surprise, but for the majority of business angels finding new investment opportunities is not the main reason to attend Slush, or any other startup conferences. Typically conferences are attended by more experienced angels that have a larger startup portfolio, and in their main interest is to meet “next level” investors, who might become potential new co-investors, even exit channels.
Therefore Investor Day is perfect for this. Those with investors tickets meet up the day before the main conference. This is especially important for the international investors (70% non-locals!), which want to meet local investors and discuss the latest startup updates and receive the last minute tips about which startups to meet.
Slush Investor Day will have very little main stage presentations, so that investors can focus on what’s most important, which is networking. The matchmaking platform allows investors to book 1-on-1 investor meetings in advance to optimize the amount of new connections.
Investor Day also educates investors about the latest startup investing best practices in industry focused workshops. Investors can also apply to join round-tables, which mixes different level investors and is hosted by an expert.
The most valuable services at Investor Day
Finding new co-investors and exit channels
As you can note, Investor day plays an important role and fits the need for many angels seeking new co-investors and exit channels. When a relation has been made, there is a good chance international investors can be introduced in more detail to an angel’s startup portfolio. Many of the investors have never seen a main-stage keynote as they use all they time in the meeting area matching with as many of the +2600 startups attending. Slush has built their matchmaking platform themselves, which is today one of the best in the world allowing filtering and to book meetings.
Below the main services used by angels at Slush:
How to get the best out of Slush as an angel?
Slush understands the need special interest for angels and the higher barrier to purchase the ticket. Therefore Slush has a separate price for angel ticket (595€) compare to the normal “Investor” ticket 795€, still including the same benefits. The most valuable change this year done by Slush is that all the Investor tickets are cheaper than the “Other attendees” ticket (€895). This is a very important symbolic change and sends a very positive signal that Slush focuses primarily on matching startups and investors.
So, feeling ready to join? Here are some practical tips for angels attending:
Please register your Slush angel ticket here. As soon as your profile has been approved, you will be able to update your profile and pay the ticket. You can also find our summary about the activity of visible Nordic angel networks here. See you at Investor Day! Read Claes’ thoughts on what was cooking in the Nordic angel ecosystem last year here.
Claes Mikko is an angel network expert who has has been part of developing Slush’s Investor Day. He is the Managing Director of Nordic Business Angel Network and previously co-founded and built the Finnish national angel network FiBAN. He is part of the Rising North’s Steering Board and listed as one of the Nordic100 tech scene influencers.