From the 6th to the 8th of May, I was in Eindhoven for EBAN’s 15th Annual Congress and 10th European Awards Gala Dinner. The Congress hosted distinguished speakers from all over the world and was held at the Eindhoven Technology Park, one of the best technoparks of Europe.
I moderated 3 sessions this year, became a jury member for 3 independent investment forums and gave a lecture for potential business angels.
Sessions I moderated:
- How stock exchanges can foster early stage markets and create more liquidity for start-ups
- South East Europe as an emerging angel investment market
- How policymakers can help to create better ecosystems for start-ups and angel investors
- EU Horizon
- Global Angel Investment Forum
- Live Crowdfunding Forum
- How to become an angel investor in a short period of timeThis year’s event’s programme had 4 main chapters: EBAN Institute Trainings, EU Investment Forums, Annual Congress Panels & Speeches and the Awards Gala Dinner.
A great surprise was waiting for me at the awards dinner — I was recognised by EBAN as 2014’s Best Individual in Europe Engaging Globally With the World Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. I was surprised because I had received the same award last year in Dublin. I think this was the first time an important EBAN award has gone to the same person two years in a row — which, of course, now loaded more responsibility onto my shoulders. It was a great honour for me to receive one of the most important awards of Europe. I’d like to thank the entire EBAN community for recognising my efforts and honouring me with this award.
The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been leading sectors of the Dutch economy. The Netherlands has a high level of economic freedom. It is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report (3rd in 2014).
As of 2013, the key trading partners of the Netherlands were Germany, Belgium, UK, United States, France, Italy, China and Russia. The Netherlands is one of the world’s 10 leading exporting countries. Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector. Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, and tourism (in 2012 the Netherlands welcomed 11.7 million international tourists). Examples of international companies operating in Netherlands include Randstad, Unilever, Heineken, financial services (ING, ABN AMRO, Rabobank), chemicals (DSM, AKZO), petroleum refining (Shell), electronical machinery (Philips, ASML), and car navigation (TomTom).
The Netherlands has the 17th-largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita. Between 1997 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably from 2001 to 2005 with the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2007. In May 2013, inflation was at 2.8% per year. In April 2013, unemployment was at 8.2% (or 6.7% following the ILO definition) of the labour force.
In 1891, brothers Gerard and Anton Philips founded the small light bulb factory that would grow into one of the largest electronics firms in the world. Philips’ presence is probably the largest single contributing factor to the major growth of Eindhoven in the 20th century. It attracted and spun off many hi-tech companies, making Eindhoven a major technology and industrial hub. In 2005, a full third of the total amount of money spent on research in the Netherlands was spent in or around Eindhoven. A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT, with companies such as FEI Company (once Philips Electron Optics), NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors), ASML, Toolex, Simac, CIBER, Neways, Atos Origin and the aforementioned Philips and DAF.
Due to its high-tech environment, Eindhoven is part of several initiatives to develop, foster and increase a knowledge economy. Chief among these are:
Brainport Top Technology Region: A cooperative initiave of local government, industry and the Eindhoven University of Technology to develop the local knowledge economy of the Eindhoven region.
Brainport Development: An extension of the Top Technology Region, Brainport Development serves commercial exploitation and advertising of the region.
SRE: The Samenwerkingsverband Regio Eindhoven is a cooperative agreement among the municipalities in the Eindhoven metropolitan area. Although SRE is far more than just an economic agreement, it includes economic cooperation.
The Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle: An extensive cooperation agreement between the universities and surrounding regions of Eindhoven, Leuven (Belgium) and Aachen (Germany).
Within the Eindhoven region (particularly around Helmond), several parties are working together to set up an automotive testing facility of European scale, for testing and European certification of vehicles. This cooperation involves the Eindhoven University of Technology, TNO Automotive and the different automotive companies in and around Helmond.
As a result of these efforts, the Intelligent Community Forum named the Eindhoven metro region one of the top-21 intelligent communities in 2008 and one of the top-7 intelligent communities in 2009 and 2010. Finally, in 2011, the ICF named Eindhoven the Intelligent Community of the Year.
The High Tech Campus Eindhoven is a high tech centre and R&D ecosystem in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. The High Tech Campus houses more than 100 companies and institutions, comprising over 8,000 R&D staff and entrepreneurs, and 50 nationalities.
One of the goals of the campus is to foster cooperation between companies and the free exchange of ideas in order to enhance technological and product development — which is why the campus can be considered a ‘business ecosystem’. As such, the business model of the High Tech Campus Eindhoven is two – fold: first, facilitate and support the R&D and product development processes of individual companies at the campus by providing access to shared resources (e.g. cleanrooms); and second, create an innovation community that enhances knowledge sharing and transfer among companies and their R&D staff.
The High Tech Campus was built on the terrain of the former NatLab, Philips primary R&D facility in Eindhoven. During its history Philips found that the most innovative projects were developed in those places (physical locations) where teams from different projects and different scientific disciplines interacted. The decision to open the grounds and facilities to other companies was based on the idea of Open Innovation, in which campus tenants share knowledge, expertise and R&D-facilities in order to improve their levels of innovation, development speed, quality and customer service.
The campus is open to all companies with a high tech signature, but the principal focus of the campus is in the technology areas of High Tech Systems, Microsystems, Embedded Systems, Life Sciences and Infotainment. From those areas, campus tenants develop products that include electronics, home environment innovations, and ultra-fine filtration systems using filters made with chip etching technology.
The campus hosts a mix of corporate research and publicly funded research institutions, as well as cooperative efforts (such as the Solar Alliance, a cooperation of ECN, TNO, the Holst Centre and the TU/e to do research into thin film solar cells).
In March 2012, Philips sold the High Tech Campus Eindhoven to the Chalet Group, a Dutch consortium of private investors lead by Marcel Boekhoorn. Philips remains on the Campus as a tenant, but its status changed from owner/manager to resident.
EBAN is the independent and non-profit European Trade Association for Angel Investors, Seed Funds, and Early Stage Market Players.
EBAN was established under the auspices of the European Commission in 1999 by a group of early business angel networks in Europe and EURADA (the European Association of Development Agencies).
Its charter is to represent the early stage investment market in Europe, carry out research on the angel market and produce facts and trends, identify and share best practices in the early stage funding industry, promote the role and visibility of business angel networks and early stage funds in Europe, promote synergies and networking opportunities among various players in the industry, support the emergence of professional structures and quality standards across Europe, and support the internationalization of the angel and early stage industry and movement.
Members include individual business angel networks from European countries, regional and national federations of business angel networks, business angel networks with an international focus, early stage venture capital funds and other entities involved in promoting the early stage investment market in Europe. Together with its North American counterpart, ACA, it was a founding member of WBAA, the World Business Angels Association. EBAN President is one of the 5 co-chairs of the GBAN – Global Business Angels Network established on the 19th of March 2015.
Each year EBAN holds a pan-European Congress in a different European city.
EBAN’s 5 Pillars of Activity
- Setting professional standards, training, and certification
- Benchmarking, research and networking with peers
- Raising awareness and capacity building
- Cross-border syndication and co-investment support
President: Candace Johnson
The EBAN Institute is an independent international research and education initiative fostering the development of business angels. Headquartered in Brussels, it bridges the gap between scientific research and practical experience. In Europe in particular, the potential of risk capital is far from being exhausted. The EBAN Institute facilitates an on-going exchange of experiences not only within but also across regional angel networks. The goals of the Institute are to:
- increase the number of business angels in start-up ecosystems.
- strengthen active angels with best practices grounded in both experience and research.
- connect business angels across borders for on-going learning.
In order to achieve these goals, the Institute organises workshops, conducts a comprehensive course preparing participants for CBA certification (Certified Business Angel) and supports alumni through the CBA Cercle.
Chairman: Baybars Altuntas
EBAN EU Office
This office runs the EU projects. Every year EBAN runs many EU projects in cooperation with governments, NGOs, etc.
Head of the EBAN EU Office: Ana Barjasic
These are presented every year at the Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony as part of the EBAN conference.
There are 6 main award categories:
- Best European Early Stage Investor
- Successful Business Financed by Early Stage Investors
- The Best Individual in Europe Globally Engaged with the World Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
- Best European Business Angel Week Initiative
- Best Performing EBAN Member
- Best Performing New EBAN Member
This year the 10th EBAN Awards Ceremony — a special event to celebrate individuals and organisations that have made a successful and significant contributions to the early stage investment market — took place in the Evoloun on the evening of 7 May 2015 .
Here is the press release about the winners of the 10th EBAN Awards
Here are the photos from the 10th Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony in Eindhoven
EBAN Annual Congress
EBAN holds its congress every year in April or May. These annual Congresses are traditionally preceded by EBAN Institute Trainings for business angels, potential business angels, BAN managers and entrepreneurs. Following the EBAN Institute Trainings is the Annual Congress, opened by the EBAN President. On the evening of the EBAN Institute Training, a tradition has evolved where sponsors and international speakers come together with the EBAN Board at a VIP Dinner. Generally a board meeting takes place before the VIP Dinner. In the evening of the first day of the Annual Congress is the Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony. The Annual Congress is held at the end of the first day – just before the Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony. The Annual Congress ends with the closing remarks of the EBAN President in afternoon of the second day.
So the Annual Congress is actually a combination of Annual Congress + EBAN Institute Trainings + Board Meeting + VIP Dinner + Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony.
This year, the 15th EBAN Annual Congress took place at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Europe’s leading innovation hub and R&D centre, from the 6th to the 8th of May. This year’s Congress focused on the theme of creating, financing and building global success stories made in the EMEA region and welcomed business angels, family investors, VC funds, business accelerators, seed funds and venture philanthropists, inviting them to interact with entrepreneurs from all over Europe and the world.
Here you can find the full programme of the EBAN Annual Congress 2015
First Day: 6th May, Wednesday
I arrived at the Brussels airport at 10am after a 4-hour flight from Istanbul. I had to fly to Brussels instead of Amsterdam because I had been invited by the US Ambassador to the EU for an event on US-EU dialogue. You can find my notes about that event by visiting my Brussels Notes in this blog. After completing our meetings at the US Embassy, Jacobbo, the marketing manager of EBAN, collected me, Candace and Ari from the Embassy and headed up to Eindhoven.
It was a 2-hour drive from Brussels to Eindhoven, where we stayed at the Hotel Glow, very well situated right downtown. We arrived around 11:30pm. When you read my other notes in this blog, you will see that there are a few hotels I have particularly enjoyed and Hotel Glow is one of them. I invite you to visit the website of the hotel and do not think twice about making a reservation. Hotel rooms are super large, the staff is super friendly, and the breakfast system is really exceptional. If you ask me which I would choose if given the option —a five star hotel in Eindhoven or Hotel Glow, I will always choose Hotel Glow.
The next morning I was in the hotel’s coffee room at 8am with Candace and Pablo to go over the final details of the operational process of the Congress. At around 9.45am we left the hotel by taxi to go to the Eindhoven Technology Park, the venue for EBAN’s Annual Congress.
On the 6th of May were the pre-congress activities. The EBAN EU Office and the EBAN Institute organised very good activities for entrepreneurs and angel investors.
I was a jury member in the morning, and I listened to the pitches of entrepreneurs from different countries with my colleagues Paulo Andrez, Peter Braun, Modwenna Rees-Mogg and Kasper. This session was from 9:30 to 11:30am.
Here you can watch the pitches – coming soon
Here you can overview the official documents of the session:
At 11:30am I was in the auditorium to deliver a training session with my colleague Modwenna Reess-Mogg on how to become a business angel. Here you can download the slideshow of the training and you can enjoy the EBAN video we used in the training:
After the training, it was lunchtime and we all came together for the Global Investment Forum to judge the entrepreneurs, an event Eileen Cork, co-founder of Cork, Ireland’s outstanding accelerator centre. Jury members voted for the best ready-to-invest entrepreneurs. After the voting, Candace Johnson, EBAN President, EBAN Vice President Ari Korhonen, and EBAN Vice President Baybars Altuntas presented the Success Recognition Award of EBAN to two winners.
Here I want to congratulate Anna, the EBAN EU Office Director on the great job she did matching the entrepreneurs of Europe with global investors. Thank you, Anna!
Following the Global Investors Forum, the EBAN Board Meeting was held from 7 to 8pm, and after the board meeting it was VIP Dinner time. It was a dinner given for 50 distinguished guests and speakers coming from overseas. At this dinner, everybody introduced themselves to the community, a nice ice-breaker between the EBAN’s executive team and the guests.
After the VIP dinner, we left the venue around 11pm and were back at the hotel around 11:30pm. Hotel Glow was approximately 10 minutes from the Eindhoven Technology Park but we had to wait 15 minutes for the taxi come to take us there!
At the VIP Dinner, I had an opportunity to chat with Prof Magdalena Cholakova from the Rotterdam Management School. We plan to conduct a survey about the cognitive skills of the angel investors. For me, this meeting with the Professor was a really valuable outcome of the evening.
Second Day: 7th May, Thursday
A bus collected us from the Glow Hotel at 8.20am and we were all at the congress centre around 8:45. After getting our badges from the reception desk, it was time to listen to the opening speech of the Congress.
Here you can enjoy the Opening Speech of Candace Johnson, EBAN President – coming soon
At the coffee break, I presented a copy of my book to Brian Cohen, the Chairman of the New York Angels and he presented a copy of his to me. By the way, he was one of the best speakers of this year’s Congress and his speeches offered highly valuable content. For example, I’ve picked up a new saying from him, which I should use in my speeches: ‘Raising the Investment? Or Raising the Investor?’ I suggest you read his book as soon as possible to learn such catchy phrases.
- How Stock Exchanges can foster early stage markets and create more liquidity for start-ups
Moderator: Baybars Altuntas, EBAN Vice President & TBAA President
- Mustafa Kemal Yilmaz, Executive Vice-President, Istanbul Stock Exchange
- Hans Leufkens, Euronext
- Axel Kalinowski, London Stock Exchange
- Attilla Toth, Deputy CEO, Hungarian Stock Exchange
- Ludwik Sobolewski, CEO, Romanian Stock Exchange
Here you can enjoy the whole panel – coming soon
- South East Europe as an emerging angel investment market
Moderator: Baybars Altuntas, EBAN Vice President & TBAA President
Keynote Speaker: Bofingen
- Dimitris Tsingos, President, Hellas Business Angels Association
- Ivan Jovetic, President, Montenegro Business Angels Association
- Alejtin Berisha, President, Kosovo Business Angels Association
- Leslie Jump, Startup Angels, USA
- Alicia Robb, Kauffman Foundation Director, USA
Here you can enjoy the session – coming soon
After lunch, I enjoyed the following panels very much:
- Co-investment Funds Panel, moderated by Paulo George Andrez, Emeritus President of EBAN
- Innovation & Technoparks Panel, moderated by Kenan Colpan, the CEO of the Istanbul Technical University’s Technopark
At 6pm, we were ready in the Annual Congress Room to vote on the budget, etc. We all left for the Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony.
The Gala Dinner was at another venue and I was able to chat with friends from all over the world at the pre-dinner cocktail.
After the reception & cocktail, we moved to the dinner area, where we would learn the recipients of the EBAN awards.
Everybody was listening very carefully to the EBAN President.
I was surprised when I was invited to the stage to be presented an award. It was a really special moment to hear my name being announced. It was also very nice to receive an award in such a beautiful building.
Paulo Andrez, EBAN Emeritus President and EBAN President Candace Johnson were on the stage to present the award to me. It was a huge honour for me to be recognised again this year (for the second time) as The Best individual in Europe Globally Engaging Within the World Entrepreneurial Ecosystem!
Here you can enjoy the video of award ceremony – coming soon
After this great night, we went back to our hotel where we would have time to sleepJ
Third Day: 8th May, Friday
I had breakfast in the marvellous Meneer De Boer Restaurant, just 5 metres away from the Glow Hotel. The hotel gives you a coupon with which you get your breakfast in this restaurant. I guarantee that you will have marvellous moments in this place. The breakfast, the atmosphere, the design, the people, the owners, the staff . . . You just have to experience it.
After breakfast, we moved to the congress centre. I was ready in the main auditorium to moderate the following panel:
- How can policymakers help to create better ecosystems for start-ups and angel investors
Moderator: Baybars Altuntas, EBAN Vice President & TBAA President
- Ali Arslan, General Director, Financial Regulations Market, Turkey
- Ricardo Luz, Director, VC Fund of the Government, Portugal
- Mustafa Kemal Yılmaz, Vice President, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Turkey
- Norbert Van den Hove, Dutch Ministry Economic Affairs, Netherlands
Here you can watch the full panel – coming soon
I was on the stage as a jury member to judge the start-ups of the Live Crowdfunding session. In this event, members of the audience could make donations to the entrepreneurs online by using their mobile devices. A similar event was run in Lyon last year, using the name ‘Crowds’ Den,’ where I was also a jury member.
Here you can enjoy this session – coming soon
The Congress ended with the closing remarks of Candace Johnson about 12:30pm, and following lunch we held an extra-ordinary board meeting with colleagues.
After the board meeting, it was time to leave the Eindhoven Technology Park. Because Paulo and Michael were going to the train station, I decided to go along because the Hotel Glow was just 5 minutes’ walking distance from the train station.
After saying good-bye to Michael and Paulo at the Eindhoven train station, I returned to Hotel Glow to meet with my dear friend Cristine from Slovenia. After chatting with him until 6.45pm at a very nice restaurant close to a church and after a very intensive 72 hours, it was time to sleep.
I got up around 9:30am and I had an excellent breakfast again at my favoroutie restaurant. After completing the check-out procedures and chatting with the receptionist about her memories of her trip to Turkey, I took a taxi to the train station. At the train station, you can find a train to Amsterdam Schiphol airport every 18 minutes. Even if you miss one train, you have to wait a maximum of only 18 minutes for the next one.
After a 5-minute drive, I was at the train station to go to the airport. It is a pleasant 90-minute trip that treats you to beautiful scenery along the way. I got a business class ticket thinking the trip would be more enjoyable that way, but you don’t have to do that because I couldn’t see any difference between the business and regular compartments of the train, except for the price.
The last station of the train is inside the airport, so it is very easy to go up to the check-in counters. I had a flight at 2.30am to Bahrain via Istanbul. I flew Turkish Airlines because they offered the best connection, with just a 60-minute layover in Istanbul to make the connecting flight to Bahrain.
Before leaving this article, develop your dutch by reading an interview with me in Dutch:)
See you next November in Copenhagen for the Winter University of the EBAN Institute!