Aalto University’s Capstone project has collaborated twice with FiBAN. This fall, FiBAN wanted the participating students to analyze our services. As FiBAN is turning 10 years in 2020, it is important to assess whether the services FiBAN offers to its members are still relevant – whether something should be changed, and what could be improved.

FiBAN has a wide range of services, with three core elements; deal flow and co-investing; trainings and investing materials; lobbying and research. Some of the services are done in collaboration with FiBAN partners. 

The Capstone students were given a task to analyse similar-sized, non-profit organizations, that offer similar services to their members. In order to gain more innovative and fresh, out-of-the-angel-network-box results, other angel networks were not included in the scope of the study. In addition, our offerings are very interlinked with other angel networks, particularly with our umbrella organisation EBAN and the other networks in the New Nordics. 

To support the research, students also analyzed the results of FiBAN membership survey, conducted in September 2019. Complementing the results from the member survey, the group conducted deep-dive interviews with selected FiBAN members. In order to get the whole heterogenous investor pool represented, the deep-dive interviewees represented a founding member, a relatively new member and intentionally not all were from the capital city region.

The results were clear: FiBAN members are content with the service providing, and the vast majority is content with the current membership pricing. When comparing with other similar organizations, FiBAN stood out with a wide range of services and activities.

FiBAN members valued most:

  • Co-investing (syndication) possibilities and deal flow
  • Networking and education, both in domestic and international sphere 

However, FiBAN was lacking 

  • Small peer-to-peer online groups 
  • Certification of members based on education or other activities
  • Online participation possibilities

Some of these are already addressed in the future plans. Smaller groups based on sector or industry interest or geographical location is something that FiBAN wants to emphasize in the future even more. Also, when members were interviewed, they brought up the possibility of having in-house legal counseling, which could be beneficial for the non-stop negotiations between investors and startups. Luckily, FiBAN legal partners can provide these services.

Currently FiBAN members can join Pitch Finland stream online, thus, looking into the online possibilities will be on the agenda in 2020. FiBAN Academy modules are also online for members and non-members to enable more remote participation. Educating business angels has been in the core of FiBAN activities, which shows in the valuation of it. FiBAN educational possibilities are more wide than ever to answer the educational needs of investors with different experience levels.

As a conclusion, the study showed that although FiBAN members are content with the services, it’s hard to stay relevant for everyone, as the needs change throughout the investor’s investing lifespan. More active an angel investor can be, the more they can benefit from FiBAN services. However, even if they weren’t that active currently, they still continue to be part of FiBAN. This study shows that FiBAN is on the right path, but there’s always room for improvement. 

FiBAN warmly thanks Severi Sopenlehto, Maija Golubovica, Lauri Holländer, and Alice Ahlström for their hard work, and wishes them good luck in their future projects!