Chedy Riahi, Innovation Project Manager at BNP Paribas tells his missions in 5 questions
Banking and Business Angels: give your project wings
You have an amazing idea. Your team is strong. Your business plan is competitive. There’s just one hitch: you don’t have the resources you need to get it off the ground. Fortunately, Business Angels are there just for that purpose. And when banks team up with angels, they can give your project wings in no time.
Business Angels: a blessing for entrepreneurs
- Early investors called Business Angels provide a springboard for innovative projects that offer high potential.
- All around the world, Business Angels have continued to play a larger role in funding startups. Their contribution has doubled in Europe over the last five years. A few figures: In Europe, 30,000 Business Angels are registered members of networks, but many estimate that their numbers may actually reach 250,000 for total investments between four and five billion euros. In the United States, where this financing model first appeared, there are at least 300,000 active business angels for total investments of 18 billion dollars in 2016.
- Who are they? Business owners, executives, successful entrepreneurs—business angels come from vastly different professional backgrounds. Above all, they are passionate businesspeople ready to invest financially and personally in startups.
- In each region, they join together through virtual or physical networks (Business Angels Europe), with platforms like AngelList. But the majority of their ranks consist of individual investors.
- In addition to raising the initial funds, they constitute a clear advantage for accompanying entrepreneurs over time (experience, network, vision, etc.)
- Transition: Business Angels play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the startup ecosystem. Especially when they can count on the support of a bank like BNP Paribas.
BNP Paribas works alongside entrepreneurs
BNP Paribas supports entrepreneurship in every form and works together with Business Angels on their mission to support and nurture startups.
Among Business Angels, co-investment is a common and often necessary practice for financing a company’s first steps. In 2016, BNP Paribas invested 11.5 million euros both directly and indirectly into innovative startups.
In France, BNP Paribas has become a privileged partner of the country’s first network: France Angels (see focus). The bank is also committed to expanding female entrepreneurship in Europe through Women in Investment Day, the first forum on female entrepreneurship.
To expand its role as the "first bank for startups” (according to BPI), BNP Paribas has united all of its services for young businesses under the banner of WAI (We Are Innovation). This brand focuses on aiding startups at every step of their development, including:
- Getting started with WAI Funding, which encompasses “Fintech & Corporate” and “Innov & Connect” accelerators, and operations like #Lancezvous 2017 or the La Tribune BNP Paribas Young Entrepreneur Award
- Growing with WAI Banking and its specialized agencies in France or abroad
- Expanding internationally with WAI International, because entrepreneurship is also about daring to enter new markets
Conclusion: in the bustling world of startups, Business Angels and banks represent two sides of the same coin in terms of detecting and accompanying tomorrow’s most innovative companies.
In France, focus on the partnership between BNP Paribas and France Angels
France Angels comprises 72 networks and 10,000 Business Angels all across France. Since its creation in 2001, it has invested nearly 500 million euros in over 2,500 companies. A founding member of Business Angels Europe (BAE) and WBAE (World Business Angels), the network maintains an international vision of entrepreneurship.
In 2014, BNP Paribas and France Angels decided to band together by signing a national partnership to solidify their common vision and complementary roles in accompanying young entrepreneurs.
By partnering with France Angels, BNP Paribas places its banking expertise and experience at the service of the innovative startups selected and supported by the Business Angel networks.
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