Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN), together with Nordea, annually awards The Finnish Business Angel Exit of the Year. With the award, FiBAN aims to increase the interest towards business angel investing and to share the best practices from startup investing. Exits play an important role in inspiring private investment into the startup field. Positive exits also increase the private investment capacity. A great deal of the profits earned from exits are returned to the startup market in the form of new investments and this is something FiBAN wants to promote.

This year the award was given to a business angel syndicate that invested in the same company NordSafety. This is the first time FiBAN awards a whole investor syndicate for an exit. Nordsafety is a Finnish growth company that provides a new mobile method for handling occupational safety, quality and site information management. The syndicate made their exit in November 2017 when the deal was made with EcoIntense GmbH. Together Nordsafety and EcoIntense GmbH can continue developing the technology improving occupational safety and grow the business.

A syndicate is a group of investors who choose a lead angel amongst themselves to represent the syndicate towards the company during the investment discussions. Still, the company can enjoy the know-how and network of the whole syndicate group. For a growth company, getting angel investment is more than just money “The benefit of an investor syndicate is the diverse know-how and the wide networks that you get. We were able to utilize these benefits efficiently through the members of this syndicate. This gave us a good base for our fast and successful growth” says Fredrik Löfberg, founder and CEO of NordSafety.

An Investor Syndicate Pools Together the Know-how of the Business Angels Who Can Share the Risk and Therefore Get a Diverse Portfolio

The dynamic team and globally scalable niche market of Nordsafety attracted the business angels when Nordsafety came into the FiBAN deal flow and pitched for the investors at PitchFinland in December 2014. The business angels who invested in the company did not know each other on beforehand, but met through FiBAN and got to know each other during the investment discussions. 

The German company EcoIntense first contacted NordSafety in June 2017 and thus started the discussions on potential cooperation. “The business angels were positive from the start and we discussed with the active members of the syndicate during the whole process. It was a great benefit that we got help from our own angel investors to the different areas of the exit process”, says Löfberg.  The deal was finally made in November 2017.
For business angels, a syndicate is a way to gather a broader group of people to support the growth of the company, Toni Mattila tells us. Mattila was one of the investors in the syndicate and was also a board member of NordSafety. “A syndicate enables a more diverse and a less risky portfolio, and syndication makes it possible for an investor to be involved in more projects”, Mattila emphasizes.  He says that all seven members of the syndicate have all provided valuable insights and support to the company. “On behalf of the syndicate I would like to thank you for this award. A special thanks to the team of NordSafety, who did most of the job.”

FiBAN Supports Syndication

FiBAN has an excellent angel investor network where most of the investments are done together with others. “Finland has one of Europe’s largest and most active business angel networks, which creates a suitable framework for forming investment groups. There is a huge opportunity in structured syndicates” says Reidar Wasenius, FiBAN’s managing director.

FiBAN actively enables forming structured syndicates through trainings, events, network possibilities, contract templates and sharing know-how. For an entrepreneur, a syndicate is legally a lighter alternative than a fund investment.

“Business angels are helping growth companies to get over the “valley of death”, and without the risk-taking capacity of the business angels, many companies would get stuck in this valley. Many successful syndicates have formed within FiBAN, and their number will increase. NordSafety is a great example of a working investor syndicate, and we await many similar news.” Wasenius rejoices.

Check out the interview with Toni Mattila, where he speaks on behalf the syndicate about the whole journey. 

Business Angel Exit Awards from previous years: Ainomaija Haarla (2016)Petteri Laitala (2015)Kaj Rönnlund (2014)Jari Ovaskainen (2013)Antti Pekkanen (2012).
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