Over the last ten years, FiBAN’s operations have grown from 20 founding members to over 650 qualified investor members. At the same time, the cultural diversity has increased from one nationality to 20 nationalities. This cultural diversity has brought new perspectives and cultural know-how, a highly valuable aspect in the world of early stage investing.

As FiBAN’s operations have grown, our regional angel activity has become increasingly important. The regional angel investors around the world have diverse backgrounds, but they’ve got something in common as well: the passion in helping early stage companies to grow.

At the moment, these international angel representatives represent FiBAN in the Benelux Area, Russia, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, and the US (West Coast, Boston, and North Carolina).

Get to know these awesome business angels below.

Ivar Siimar

Ivar is a partner in Trind Ventures, an early stage tech VC fund. Over the past decade, he has been investing in early stage opportunities in the Nordic-Baltic region through their investment company WNB Project with a current portfolio of 10 startups. 

Ivar was one of the initiators of Estonian Business Angel Network EstBAN where he  served the network as the President for 5 years. He has been FiBAN member since 2012.

In addition, he has been a member of the board of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), where he has helped and encouraged the establishment of business angel networks in Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania.

Being a business angel makes me excited because of awesome people around as co investors and founders. Every case is so different and there is lots of stuff to learn. As well, it will be nice to earn some profits on some sunny day.

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about all kinds of metrics. As well there is always a lot to learn from organizational behavior and human nature.

My tip for entrepreneurs:
“Never give up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Petri Kajander

Petri Kajander is a business artist building the future with growth companies focusing on strategy, branding and funding.

He advises startups and leaders, mentors, coaches in startup programs, lectures in universities, writes and shares his views on technology and society. He also hosts Talks with Petri –podcast. See Petri’s LinkedIn for more details.

Being a business angel makes me excited because I can work with innovative and passionate people for a better future.   
At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about the ways our world will be changing and transforming this decade with greater virtualisation and post-corona ramifications.

My tip for entrepreneurs:
“Be playful, curious and hands-on. Planning is good but the best results come from doing and quickly learning from the market feedback. It’s never too early to start marketing and talk to potential customers.

Christian Wig

Christian Wig works 50% as a consultant and 50% as early stage mentor and investor, specialized in the intersection of business models and technology. He is mainly focused on B2B software, and quite engaged in the startup ecosystems through several accelerators and as mentor for and investor in a number of startups.

Christian works out of Norway, but with a certain interest for cross-border investment. He has attended two of the ‘Nordic Angel Programs’ arranged by FiBAN, and became a member of FiBAN and a regional representative as a result of this.
Outside Norway and Finland, he is a member of EstBAN (Estonia) and Viktoria BAN (Kenya).

Being a business angel makes me excited because I get to work with truly committed and enthusiastic entrepreneurs half my age. 🙂

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about the future of education business and the various business models for new ways of learning. This is one of the sectors I find most exciting going forward.

My tip for entrepreneurs:
“Really focus on the customer-perceived problem. Be passionate about solving it! Too many startups fail because they address nice-to-solve problems and not need-to-solve ones.”

Dmitry Ermakov

Dmitry Ermakov is a co-founder of a Russian pret-a-porter chain OODJI. He has been working in different positions (purchases, production, business development, finances) in the group from 1994 to 2011.
In 2017, Dmitry Ermakov joined SOBA – St.Petersburg organization of business angels and in 2018 FIBAN.

Being a business angel makes me excited because I want to share my experience and knowledge with young people and I love helping them. I like learning. And I like meeting people.

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about how startup ecosystems work in other countries, I like making contacts with other angels.

My tip for entrepreneurs is:
“Be prepared for a long run…”

Thomas Desimpel

Thomas is a Belgian business angel. He is a member of several angel groups: BAN Vlaanderen (Belgium), Core Angels Atlantic (Brasil/Portugal- I have been working for almost 15 years in Brazil as a real estate investor, that explains the Brazilian connection), Arches Capital (Netherlands). 

Through the Nordic Angel Program he became a FiBAN member as one of the international members. He can help/love to introduce Finnish investor’s/startup’s in the Benelux area and beyond (Brazil/Portugal). He speaks Dutch, French, Brazilian-Portuguese as well as English, no Finnish yet but he is eager to learn some words! Thomas likes B2B SaaS & will always invest through syndication. You can find more about him on LinkedIn. 

Being a business angel makes me excited because I like to connect internationally and meet new people from completely different professional and cultural backgrounds ‘making the bridge’ & being a helping part of the journey. 

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about what could/will become the next generation of a social app (‘What truly connects people?’) & like to learn more about B2C models. 

My tip for entrepreneurs is: 
“Have a bold vision and the passion to solve a big real problem. Don’t be afraid to fail & if you do, fail fast. Believe in yourself and start again.”

Colin Orviss

Colin is an advisor on disruptive business models and technologies globally to governments, corporations and M&A companies and also is a mentor for a range of early stage companies, investing in those that he finds particularly interesting/compelling.

Colin has worked in over 60 countries and has started and sold companies on 3 continents. He collaborates with the angel networks in California/San Diego where he now lives and also leverages his network in UK/Monaco/Finland where he lived and worked for many years. He still retains a home in Helsinki, works whenever possible with cool Finnish companies and participates in local FiBAN events when he’s in town.

Being a business angel makes me excited because I get to learn about cool things from enthusiastic and driven “youngsters”, network with innovators and share experiences (and some scars) that make a difference.   
At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about AI based enablers of Industry 4.0 and the evolutionary path towards realizing Society 5.0

My tip for entrepreneurs is:
“Don’t undervalue what you’ve created (US company/product valuations vs Nordic valuations!) BUT ensure that your technology and solution is solving a real or customer perceived problem and you have a way of identifying and accessing the real market opportunity! Technology is important BUT Sales and Marketing is critical!”​

Will Cardwell

Currently, he wears a few hats. Will is a partner in the venture capital funds Courage Ventures (Finland) and Open Circle Capital (Lithuania), and Professor of Practice at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, and lecturer at Aalto University and Helsinki School of Business. He serves as a mentor in several accelerators.

Being a business angel makes me excited because it keeps me close to emerging trends and interesting people. Hopefully it yields financial rewards in the longer term.

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about digital health and well-being, and what it takes to get people to understand how to change their behavior.

My tip for entrepreneurs is:
“Find balance in your life, find great mentors, figure out the key drivers to your business growth and track them relentlessly. And of course enjoy yourself and your team.”

Fabian Sepulveda

Fabian has over 20 years of working experience in Engineering, Management Consulting and Investment Banking with the likes of Lucent Technologies, A.T. Kearney and JP Morgan. 
He is an active Angel investor and has co-founded several companies including Courage Ventures Management, a Venture Capital fund investing in Health & Wellness, Education, and Environment verticals.
Fabian is actively involved in entrepreneurial ecosystems across Nordic and the Baltics as a startup coach and Lean Launchpad® trainer, where he helps organizations Lean Startup practices and Customer Development. He also teaches numerous venture related courses Aalto Executive Education, and other universities. He has a BSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc. in Finance and a PhD in International Business (Entrepreneurship).

Being a business angel makes me excited because I love to help startups maximize their changes of success in any way I can. In my capacity as a startup investor and coach, I’ve been privileged to work with and support some of the most talented teams at various startups and other organizations, such as accelerators, corporates, and universities in Finland and elsewhere. Most of these teams have received substantial subsequent investment, gained significant customer traction, and are profitable and growing. I love to have been a part of their journey there.
It is an opportunity to empower teams to develop scalable business models through significant customer growth. My main goal? To help them scrutinize their business’ value creation and equip them to explore opportunities with exponential impact.

This has been my adventure and part of the reason why I invest in teams that want to make their mark in the world. 

At the moment, I’m eager to learn more about digital health and wellbeing post-covid.

My tip for entrepreneurs:
“Build the best possible team with people smarter than oneself, love your customer’s problem (not your product), and focus mercilessly on customer traction.”​