Accelerace has in collaboration with Nordea launched an investor network for business angels and startups in Denmark and the Nordics. The network gives the startups access to qualified capital in the hard growth phase and gives more aspiring private investors an opportunity to support future companies and technologies.
Armed with score sheets and coffee, a group of existing and aspiring business angels was gathered in the co-working space Symbion just outside inner Copenhagen. They were invited for an exclusive matchmaking event. Not to find love. But to find the next – or maybe even the first – investment in Danish and Nordic startups.
Together with Accelerace, Nordea has launched a matchmaking network aimed at their Private Banking and Business customers. Through the network, they get access to startups carefully selected by Accelerace among the vast portfolio of alumni in which they can choose to invest. And the startups get access to a new opportunity for smart money in the bill size between the small initial investment and an A round. A classical tough nut to crack for growth companies.
“The matchmaking network is a great opportunity for startups to pitch in front of smart money investors. In Accelerace, we ensure exclusivity on all parameters to create a bigger incentive for investing, a better return on investment, and to make sure that the startups are exposed to qualified resources collected in a curated setting,” says Martin Holm Mortensen, Director of International Programs in Accelerace.
A successful initiative
As part of the network, the investors are invited to around 16 networking events per year held in Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Odense. This was the fifth event, and Martin Holm Mortensen welcomed the familiar faces among the investors, the newcomers, the five startups that would pitch in the afternoon, and of course the partners in Nordea.
“We wish to facilitate that every single talent in Denmark working within areas of interest to Nordea can have access to resources and people that can support their business and maybe even invest in it. We have collaborated with Accelerace in a year and a half by now and it has been very interesting and, also from our customer’s point of view, very successful. That’s why we wanted to be part of this network; to do our part in supporting and help to grow the future companies in Denmark,” said banking executive in Nordea, Hans Henrik Klestrup before he gave the floor to his colleague Jacob Faber Andersen, Head of Startup and Growth.
“Earlier on, Nordea had a hard time handling the new technologies, sectors, and markets that constantly arise around us. We established Startup and Growth as a way to find out how we best can be relevant and a competent collaborator to the new companies in the ecosystem. We realized, that many startups throw away money in the beginning and as a bank, we had to learn how we can still support business models with red numbers on the bottom line,” he said and continued:
“We learned that new companies are often forced to spend a lot of time on all the things around their business that do not relate directly to their core product. They spend hours and hours on marketing, SEO, book keeping, and finding the right investors. During this year and a half, we have created a vast network for the companies to tap into to help them get connected to the right people from day one and to offer them free or greatly discounted services so the founders can focus on what they are experts in.”
Investors are presented to startups from all over the Nordics
All kinds of startups can be chosen for the programme. For the fifth showcase, the startups represented life science, future of work, lifestyle, nanotechnology, and fintech. They each get a timeslot around ten minutes to pitch, then the investors immediately can ask questions.
Hooves is a startup that brings horses into the sharing economy by connecting horse owners with renters in a management app. A horse costs up to 1200 euro a month and needs caretaking every single day. Hooves is tapping into a 50 billion dollar market in Europe alone and already secured 250.000 euro in funding.
“What makes this setup interesting to us is the fact that we can go more in depth. At many pitch events, you have 3-5 minutes and you don’t know the audience you’re pitching in front of. Are there other startups, what kind of investors, are there corporates, you simply don’t know. For a niche product like ours, it takes a bit longer to get people to grasp the challenges and the market. Then a bit more stage time is very welcome. We also know that here in front of us are people with the resources to invest, which means we can focus our pitch to that target group,” said Suvi Kaario, CEO of Hooves.
The other four startups this time were:
Tobi is the world’s first wealth manager for kids. It is a long-term savings account that treats your kids’ money as you would an adults’ assets.
ATLANT 3D Nanosystems
ATLANT develops 3D printers for rapid prototyping in the R&D sector of the microelectronic industry and enables low risk, high precision and material versatility with more than 450 different materials.
ResoTher Pharma is a biotechnology company developing an innovative drug, relying on a natural peptide, for patients who have suffered a heart attack.
Manpremo helps leaders in transforming organizations by promoting ways of working that optimize how employers and employees work, rest, and play for mental health and performance.
During the pitches, the investors kept score on the provided sheets of paper. It is part of the quality control. Through the investor notes, Accelerace and Nordea get a sense of what the business angels think about the companies in general and if they’re interested in a personal meeting or more information – which can lead to a future investment, something several startups are in talks about.