FiBAN Monthly: 5 Common factors between successful teams and active angel networks
April 14, 2023
In this article, FiBAN’s Training and Development Manager, Johanna Ahtiainen, shares five common key success factors between successful teams and active business angel networks based on her key learnings from FiBAN over the previous three years. The article overviews upcoming opportunities at FiBAN for startups and investors.
At FiBAN, we occasionally receive questions from new and emerging business angel networks on how we have grown and managed our investor network. As our members share their time and experience helping startups on their growth journey, so do we as a team.
Below, I’m highlighting the five key learnings I’ve gathered at FiBAN while working with the most amazing team on some of the foremost common success factors of a strong network, which go hand in hand with building a successful startup team.
1. Values and clear goals
One of the most essential things successful teams and strong networks have in common are strong vision, mission, shared values, and goals. When everyone is aligned around a common goal, it’s easier to make decisions, prioritize tasks, and stay focused on what matters most.
In addition to values and goals, ethical rules back up the values that every member of the team and member and partner of the network shares. These can guide a culture of openness, trust and respect, and fair business practices. At FiBAN, we have established a code of conduct that every member agrees to when joining our network. If you don’t have a code of conduct yet, why not build it together with your team members?
2. Strong communication
Communication is a critical component of successful teams and networks. When communication is clear, consistent, and transparent, team and network members know what to expect, how to share ideas, provide feedback, and address challenges in a timely and effective manner. For example, FiBAN board member Elina Koivumäki hosted an Investor-Founder Communication workshop at Tahko Ski Lift Pitch on April 12. The workshop was part of our EU-funded Business Angel Knowledge for Entrepreneurs (BAKE) program, which focuses on investor-founder communication and aims to provide tools for aspiring and new entrepreneurs to work with business angels.
3. Embrace diversity
The third feature of a strong team and network is its diversity – having members and partners who come from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. At FiBAN, we have an extensive investor network of over 670 members with over 20 nationalities who invested 37 million in startups in 2023. In addition, to our investor members, we have over 30 trusted corporate partners and VC members, bringing even a wider range of skills, ideas, and perspectives to the table.
However, as in many startup founding teams, there is still a significant gender imbalance in the investment world, as EBAN’s President, Janne Jormalainen, highlights in his latest article on gender diversity. At FiBAN, we regularly assess how we could make angel investing and funding more diverse. Based on our recently published annual statistics, the percentage of women in our network has increased from 10,5% to 12,3%. Embracing diversity is an ongoing process where there is always something new to learn.
4. Focus on inclusion
Diversity is essential, but alone it’s not enough; there must also be opportunities to contribute and influence. At FiBAN, one of the best things about working with our members is their willingness to help.
Our members invest their time, knowledge, and experience not only in startups but growing and developing our network through working groups, speaking at events, regional angel activities, and sharing development ideas with our team.
Our 15 regional angel investors that are activating the local startup investment scene in cities and regions across Finland, the members of our screening boards helping us match the best startups with our members, and individual members giving their feedback and answering our annual survey – just a few examples of how our members are active and included, helping us to build our member services and comprehensive data on angel investing.
5. Continuous learning
Successful teams are constantly learning and growing. They seek out feedback, embrace new ideas, and continually strive to improve. At FiBAN, we support our members’ continuous learning throughout their investor journey.
Our member onboarding process, FiBAN Academy training program, and events with innovative and trending topics are all designed to provide learning opportunities for different stages of angel investing.
We also support startups by giving constructive feedback to those who apply to pitch at FiBAN Pitch Finland, which can provide insights into how you can improve your pitch or product in the future.
FiBAN also takes part in international projects, where we have the opportunity to learn from and in collaboration with other business angel networks. For example, FiBAN is a part of 4NGELS, a cross-border investing project between COBIN Angels, Slovenian Business Angels and estBAN, coordinated by CiVITTA.
Overall, building a successful team requires attention to a range of factors, including clear vision and goals, strong communication, trust and respect, diversity and inclusion, and continuous learning. By focusing on these building blocks, teams can create a culture of success and achieve their business goals with greater ease and efficiency. Whether you are launching a startup or managing a large organization, focusing on these factors can help you build a startup equipped for success.
P.s. Don’t forget to celebrate the successes – big and small ones!
Startup, looking for investors to join your growth journey? Submit your application to FiBAN at fiban.org/submit
Investors and partners, join our upcoming FiBAN Academy Investment fundamentals training on May 3. Register here.