Together with Arctic15 Funding Program, Nordic Angel Program received over 270 applications to the joint funding program. The aim was to remodel the funding track that startup conferences usually have done: it was not to decide the investment target by pitching, but to let angels carefully evaluate startups based on their materials and how well they responded to coaching.

Remodeling the funnel was a key factor for Screenful also to participate to the program. Screenful creates functional and clear visual dashboards for project management. Their customers include professional project management corporations as well as other companies that run big projects that need ongoing reporting. 

”We decided to participate to Arctic15 Funding Program/NAP based on the fact that it was not a traditional pitching competition. We wanted to find a great group of investors that can support our goals. For this the program was perfect, and we achieved what we aimed to do”, states Screenful co-founder, Sami Linnanvuo. In addition to the NAP syndicate, they filled up their round together with old investors and Gorilla Capital. ​

​”What will you use the money for?”

“The money goes to expanding our team and supporting our sales. We look to hire at least two new team members within a year”, Linnanvuo concludes. Screenful was a clear choice for the syndicate. “Screenful has a great product and excellent, coachable team. For an angel investor it is a case where you can add value by your skills, not only by the funds you bring to the table”, describes Reima Linnanvirta, one of the NAP Lead Angels. ​

To enable angels to make the best possible decision, they have received practical training sessions on several aspect of angel investing. Themes of the training sessions have covered syndicate building, lead angel role, investment criteria and many other relevant topics. Best practices from each training have been shared with all Business Angels Networks running their own NAPs – EstBAN, DanBAN and BAN Norway. You can read the findings from FiBAN News feed. In addition, angels from FiBAN flew to meet fellow Danish angels to deepen the investor relations and understand the Danish ecosystem better. Branding yourself as an angel was one of the key learnings. ​

“The whole NAP was excellent for networking with other angels. It already started in Helsinki in the training sessions, but the Copenhagen trip was the cherry on top. This really was the greatest platform for cross-border investing!” – Saga Forss, Partner at Broadius Partners Oy, and Business Angel

​Investor Sparring Session to replace startup pitching

What differentiated the program from traditional way of choosing startup for an investment was that the syndicate never saw startups pitching. Instead, the syndicate met with the Top15, which they together with the public had chosen, in a Startup Sparring Session. Each startup got a thirty-minute slot of private coaching with a group of angels, thus receiving invaluable comments and improvement suggestions. Startups got valuable feedback and angels got to know the startups in more detail than would be possible in a three-minute pitching session. It was also a chance for the startups to meet with their potential board members. ​

The next Nordic Angel Program will take place in autumn together with Slush.   ​In addition to Slush deal flow, the program organizes training sessions, online workshops and a possible joint study trip abroad to meet with interesting ecosystem abroad. Interested angels can participate to the next program until October 2018.