In the first year, the Danish NAP managed by DanBAN have received over 150 startup applications, created cross-border investor relations and trained 48 business angels, who has invested more than half a million euros into two Danish startups.
The Nordic Angel Program (NAP) is a three-month training program for Business Angels running simultaneously in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, and Norway in 2018 and 2019. The purpose is 1) educating angels so they become better investors and mentors for the startups 2) increase cross-border activity and 3) doing syndicated investment in European ICT companies.
DanBANs second NAP was launched at TechBBQ in September 2018 - the perfect event for hunting some of the best tech startups in the Nordics. Within two months, we received more than 110 applications from startups seeking funding.
The 110 startups applicants were cut down to 30 pre-screened cases, from which the NAP group evaluated in scores from 1-4, to find the final TOP 10 for a final pitch event. Following this final pitch and sparring event, the NAP group chose to go into due diligence with three of the startups, from where only one startup was selected.
Out of the 110 startup applicants, the NAP group chose to invest 250.000 EUR in the company Obital, developing low cost software-based eye-tracking technology with a vision for changing the way people interact. Obital was chosen out of the 110 cases due to:
1. A strong team, two agile young founders and a pair of highly experienced eye tracking specialists.
2. Great opportunity in the assistive technology market.
3. Prototype with the potential to significantly impact quality of life for the disabled and their families.
Many investors still tend to think, that great opportunities come along without doing the legwork. This is of course exaggerated, but the point being, if you want the princess, you need to step up your game, because a princess has many suitors.
This was indeed the case with Obital, which is why we are very excited to share the news that the second NAP investment is Obital. Obital received total funding of 400.000 EUR, where the 250.000 EUR is from the NAP group with Sune Alstrup and Kim Schrøder as lead angels.
We asked one of the lead investors Sune Alstrup, why Obital chose to accept funding from the NAP group, and what the group is bringing to the table, to help Obital succeed.
What was your role as a lead investor, and why is the lead role important?
During the initial phase the lead investor role was about identifying the best startups in the runner upfield, and later in the process, my role was coordinating a proper and fast due diligence process of the top 3, ultimately resulting in an investment offer to the best company. The best startups out there will get other offers, which is why it is key to make decisions efficiently to avoid losing good deals. Despite being a group of 23 individual angels, the startup should have the sense that they are only negotiating with one angel. Internally towards the syndicate, I believe the main task of the lead angel is to make sure nothing stalls the decision-making process, and that decisions are based on a proper level of due diligence.
What skills are the NAP group bringing to the table, that will help Obital succeed?
The syndicate and Obital chose two lead angels to become active board members in Obital. Kim Schrøder will act as the advisor for the CEO of the company based on his strong management experience, and I, Sune Alstrup will be focused on advising the team on product development and IP due to my background and domain knowledge in the eye tracking space.
What up-sides comes from cross border investment in the Nordics, and why do it in the first place?
Denmark is a very small pond to fish in, so if you are an investor, you should fish in bigger ponds, and due to strong cultural and structural similarities between the Nordic countries, the new Nordics is the obvious place to begin your fishing outside of Denmark.
We also asked one of the founders, Frederik Østergaard Neble from Obital why they chose to apply for the Nordic Angel Program, the gains of cross-border investments and challenges getting funding from a big group of business angels.
Why did you choose to apply for the NAP program?
Obital were looking to raise our first real capital and were investigating the Danish funding landscape. We’re still quite early stage, which makes it important to get the right competencies along with the investment. The NAP program came up, and the combination of capital investment and the experienced people behind was very attractive for us. Getting people with an entrepreneurial background or knowledge from the industry is invaluable for us, and we applied right away.
What was your expectations and did they match the reality?
We did not have any particular expectations for our cooperation with the NAP syndicate. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the professionalism we were met with. The angels were well prepared before our presentation and asked challenging and relevant questions. It was a sign of understanding, interest and true commitment, which for Obital also was an important factor besides the money.
What has been the best working with the NAP group?
The will to act and a low level of bureaucracy. Raising capital is usually a time-consuming process. But working with the NAP II syndicate was a pleasure. Fast, precise and thorough from the due diligence to the signature. Each Angel started working on a different aspect for the due diligence, and the syndicate had come to a conclusion within very few days.
What has been the most challenging working with the NAP group?
Agreeing on terms is always a challenge. However, NAP II didn’t complicate it more than necessary, and both parties ended with a good deal. In addition to the investment from the NAP II syndicate, Obital was raising a bigger round and the round did also include a venture fond and external angels besides the syndicate. NAP acted as lead investors without any challenges and made the process fast and transparent.
Why should other startups apply for the next NAP program?
NAP is a great opportunity to take the skills and network of 23 angels and merge them into one representative in the CapTable. NAP is also focusing on getting international angels on board, so the cross-border element will hopefully be very valuable to us, once we go international. Besides the investment, presenting for the NAP syndicate is a unique opportunity for exposure and practice of presenting your business case in a “Dragon’ dens” style and getting feedback from experienced people.
Foto: Maria Albrechtsen Mortensen
De mest ambitiøse danske iværksættere rejser i de her år masser af kapital fra blandt andet udenlandske fonde, men fundamentet for de succesfulde iværksættere bliver grundlagt langt tidligere. Det er en særlig gruppe af private investorer, der tager de første og mest risikable investeringer. Antallet af de såkaldte aktive business angels stiger støt i Danmark.
Bureaukrati og administration er iværksætternes fjende nr. 1. Hvis vi virkelig skal gøre op med bøvlet, kræver det, at der bliver hugget til. Her er otte konkrete forslag til, hvad de danske politikere bør gøre ifølge Jesper Jarlbæk, formand for Danish Business Angels, og Peter Kofler, formand for Dansk Iværksætter Forening.
Inden Danmark flytter hånden fra de store reform-håndtag, gør vi alle klogt i at sørge for, at motoren kan køre, når renten på et tidspunkt ryger i vejret, og den globale økonomi går på køl. Nedenstående er ikke en forsinket ønskeliste. Det er snarere toppen af de nødvendige forbedringer, der skal sikre, at hjulene også drejer i Danmark, når vindene vender:
1. Sænk aktieskatten så vi kommer på niveau med OECD-landene, 23 pct. Det sikrer for alvor unge iværksættervirksomheders adgang til investeringer, og at fremtidens vækstvirksomheder i højere grad bliver herhjemme.
2. Udvid investorfradraget som i Sverige og England. Det er altafgørende for, at flere tør løbe den kæmpe risiko med investeringer i de nye opstarters.
3. Afskaf iværksætterskatten helt. Den rammer stadig små ejerledere med andel i virksomheden på under ti pct. og vender den tunge ende nedad: De små investorer straffes, de store går fri.
4. Indfør en ny forskerordning for iværksættere. Sikre adgang til nøglemedarbejdere fra udlandet på baggrund af kompetencer, fremfor løn eller land.
5. Gør det lettere at geninvestere penge i startups. Fjern beskatning af aktieavance, hvis pengene geninvesteres i nye startups fremfor at ryge hjem på bankbogen.
6. Indfør en iværksætterkonto. Almindelige lønmodtagere skal fradragsberettiget kunne indbetale op mod én mio. kr. til etablering af egen virksomhed.
7. Væk med byrderne. Det kræver mod at gøre livet nemmere for iværksætterne. Men det kommer tusindfold tilbage.
8. Støt de eksisterende kræfter i økosystemet. Pas på med at slippe erhvervsfremmekræfterne uhæmmet løs. Støt op om de eksisterende private initiativer og ildsjæle. De, der ved noget og tager risiko.
NAP by DanBAN launched back in September at TechBBQ and since then, one hundred startup companies have applied for NAP by DanBAN. Now, the 25 NAP investors have chosen the TOP 10 candidates for the pitch and sparring session on Tuesday the 20th.
Nordic Angel Program (NAP) is an international cross-border training and investing program for business angels which includes an introduction to Business Angel investing, how to build your portfolio, being founder friendly, due diligence, lead angel activities and much more.
This is the second NAP program running in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Norway. As part of the program and training, the Danish and international NAP angels (with Sune Alstrup as the lead angel) creates a syndicate and invest in one or more startups who are looking for smart money to get their startup off the ground. The 25 angel investors will offer to help the startup to the next level with an investment of up to 250,000 EUR.
Obital: Obital develops low cost software based eye-tracking technology with a vision of changing the way people interact. Read more here.
Limelight: Limelight is a music streaming app that matches listeners with music from upcoming artists via our proprietary algorithm. Read more here.
Ourhub: OurHub makes outdoor games accessible for rent 24/7 and connects players, thus tackling lack of physical activity. Read more here.
Data & More: In 2017 Data & More launched an Automated Data Compliance Toolbox to help companies become and stay compliant with GDPR. Read more here.
Clareply: Clareply is building a tool to ease the administrative burden for lawyers who need to comply with anti-money laundering. Read more here.
Digital AML: Digital AML is developing Denmarks first Anti Money Laundering software enabling companies to be 100% compliant. Read more here.
Plantjammer: We empower plantbased home cooking, by bringing machine learning to your kitchen. Our app is a chef in your pocket! Read more here.
Grid Optimizer: Grid Optimizer is developing an intelligent digitalization engine to help utilities optimize workflows and cut costs. Read more here.
MagCath: We have developed and patented a medical device, that instantly gives 80% of incontinent women complete bladder control. Read more here.
Klipworks: Klipworks has developed a unique camera app that assist companies with automated video productions - no human editing! Read more here.
NAP facilitates cross-border angel syndicates and shares angel investments’ best practices. Led by experienced local angels, NAP offers a unique opportunity to invest as a group in promising growth companies linked by leading startup events in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Norway.
Head of Operations
We asked Nordic & Baltic angels to list their most favorite digital tools and services they use to build global startup successes. Below a preliminary list which is divided according to angel investing life-cycle: 1. Screening, 2. Investing, 3. Growing and 4. Exit.
Nordic Angel Program (NAP) is a training and investment program for startup investors ran simultaneously in addition to Denmark also in Finland, Estonia, and Norway. The Danish program hosted by DanBAN received almost 40 applications from startups seeking funding from the Nordics during the first NAP. After months of support and acceleration of both the investors and startup, DanBAN is thrilled to announce the winner of the companies that reached the TOP10.
Nordic Angel Program (NAP) is a training and investment program for startup investors. The goal of the program is to increase cross-border investing awareness among existing and potential startup investors. This is done through sharing angel investments best practices, inspire cross-border investing and offer a unique opportunity to screen and invest in the most promising early-stage startups in the Nordic & Baltic area. NAP culminates in a syndicated investment into one or more startup finalists and the investments are made in cooperation with experienced business Angels.
The initial application period for this first round of the NAP program at DanBAN ended on 24th of April and almost 40 startups applied to the deal flow room. All startups were carefully screened by the 22 investors of DanBANs Nordic Angel Program, led by the experienced lead investor, Thomas Black-Petersen. From this first batch, the 10 best startups were selected for an exclusive pitch event in front of all NAP investors on the 8th of May 2018. After the event, three startups were chosen for individual follow-up meetings and finally, it was chosen to continue the due diligence process and negotiation of terms with two finalists. The minimum ticket size for each Business Angel investor was 13,400€ (100,000 DKK).
After three months of investor training, screening and meeting the startups from the final top 10, three startups were chosen by the angel group to go through a due diligence. Three became one, and we are happy to announce the two final startups, the angel group decided to invest 235.000EUR in, Meploy.
We asked one of the founders, Michael Bugaj from Meploy why he choose to apply for the Nordic Angel Program, the gains, and challenges getting funding from a big group of business angels:
Why did you choose to apply for the NAP program?
It is a fantastic initiative to connect startups with business angels and an intriguing format. Syndicated investment are a great opportunity to get a wider network connected to your startup, so when I saw the opportunity, I couldn't resist.
What was your expectations and did they match the reality?
I didn't know what to expect to be honest. I was very much focused on delivering a great pitch and get as many people as possible interested in our mission and the product we have brought to the market. If we succeeded with the first and got picked as finalists, I was prepared for a thorough due diligence process.
What has been the best experience working with the NAP group?
So far the people and the open dialogue. It is great when you can have a clear and honest conversation around every aspect of the company and also the future relation you embark on.
What has been the most challenging working with a big group of business angels?
I wouldn't' stress anything as challenging beyond normal. When you grow +50% each month your biggest challenge is time. So anything added on top becomes a choice of priority. But I would rather say there has been a great understanding of that.
Why should other startups apply for the next NAP program
It is an unique chance to get +20 investors to join your company and help you scale and grow. The combined experience of the whole group is invaluable!
More details about the program and the other available NAP syndicates in the Nordic & Baltic region (Estonia, Finland, and Norway) can be found at www.nordicangelprogram.com