Testimonials from entrepreneurs
What was captivating is that we felt the experience and the journey of business angels. It was very interesting for us to be confronted with a wide variety of external profiles, because the project was challenged on different aspects. With business angels, we feel mentored, directed by a broader structure that expects a lot of us. It's both stressful and stimulating to the project.
The fundraising took place very quickly, thanks to BeAngels. In less than a month, we met several investors with whom we found an agreement.
Our business angels bring much more value to the company than their capital investment. Their diversity, experience, network, expertise and coaching are valuable assets for our start-up phase. We are fortunate to have these investors who are involved at cost and offer all the kindness they can give.
After having already gathered some private investors to supplement the capital necessary for the growth of our company, we appealed to Be Angels without really knowing what that could bring us. We therefore followed the selection process and participated in the various presentations of the selection committees. From the beginning, we have been cared for and supervised. We found investors, but also and especially real professionals who "challenged" us on our approach. They helped us consolidate our business plan and strengthened our strengths. We greatly appreciated their wide variety of skills, be it technical, managerial and financial. Investors have become true partners who help us, through their skills and network, to grow the business. The fundraising is a real success that has now given our company its best chance.
Having to present the project in front of investors, but especially to be able to discuss with them at meetings later, really allowed us to develop the project with the help and the experience of Business Angels. Even those who did not invest brought something to the project.
Testimonials of Investors
I joined the Solvay Business Angels Connect network in 2006 before it merged with BAMS to become Be Angels. Initially, I followed the Business Angels Academy training at Solvay to familiarize myself with the environment of SMEs and Start-ups, coming from the world of multinationals where I had executive roles for nearly 30 years. This helped me to appreciate the important points in the cases presented. Be Angels also offer this type of training today, and I recommend it. As part of the Be Angels Selection Committee, I see many cases of entrepreneurs who always surprise me with their talent and potential. Be Angels does a great job at selecting and coaching entrepreneurs, so that they can present their cases in the Forum in the best possible way, where we are usually sixty members present. My training and my experience allowed me to develop great selection skills, and this has always made me able to manage cases. Selection criteria are primarily based on the quality of the contractors, because my philosophy is that an excellent contractor can carry out a good project, as opposed to an excellent project led by a “below average” entrepreneur. Be Angels allows us to review about fifty projects per year, which gives the possibility to each member to find those for which they have a preference and especially an added value; as well as access to an address book available to assertive entrepreneurs, in addition to financial support. Moreover, Be Angels offers a network of potential partners and even friends with whom it is always nice to exchange views on issues, some of which represent the future of our industries and services.
Sales engineer and management consultant, I joined the Be-Angels network in 2011. For me, it was a bit of a homecoming. Because of my job, I am less involved in business creation projects than in business transformation projects whose "development" dimension is always based on solid achievements. So I had not touched the world of start-ups since the student era where I hosted a junior company specializing in business creation support. At Be-Angels, I first entered a network of rather senior professionals. They come from very different backgrounds, but all want to share the entrepreneurial experience with starters much younger than them. This allows them to share their experience and their opinion, and to enrich themselves with those of others. Be-Angels is also a type of school that allows you to broaden your personal horizon to sectors of activity in which you no longer necessarily have access, because of the inescapable focus that characterizes the golden age professionals. We invest more wisely in what we know well - yet I did not hesitate to get on board of two projects of consumer goods where I had no experience. Finally, Be-Angels brings unique experience. For me, it is just beginning - you only become a BA in the long run - learning is first of all knowing how to take advantage of your failures and that of others. Of the six projects I have invested in, two have already bitten the dust. The other four are not yet ready for an exit, the hour has not yet come, and I remain open to investment opportunities presented by Be-Angels. Faced with the multiplicity of projects presented within the network, each member makes his choice according to his own criteria. My favorite projects are: a mature product for commercialization, a European ambition, and of course, a credible entrepreneur combining energy and rigor. It is also necessary that the "energy" travels positively between all the speakers around the table. Note that I also contribute to the functioning of the network as a member of the selection committee and deal-maker. This is a good observation post to leverage the Be-Angels experience.
Catherine Alexandre, Member of the network since 2012:
"I joined the network of Woman Business Angels three years ago because working in a large company, I wanted to understand and feel the world of entrepreneurs in Belgium. Their dynamism and their sense of innovation attracted me, just as well as the diversity of projects presented and the entrepreneurs that I was fortunate to meet. But one thing is to be interested in a project, and another thing is to invest in it, to select the entrepreneur who you want to trust and who you think you can bring something to, to know how to negotiate the valuation of your startup, set the terms of your deal and define exit strategies…Here, the network is obviously very interesting to learn. I also participated in the first group, Angel Beyond, that was organized. With this group of 20 people who had all invested the same funds, we made three investments over the year. But regardless of these investments, what I greatly appreciated was the dynamics in our meetings that followed each investment forum. We had to decide if we would continue the discussions and launch the due diligence, and then divide the work. It was fascinating to have different experiences around the table and this allowed us to close some deals that I would never have taken on with no experience in the sector. In terms of training, it was also very rich in content. We had access to webinars and we could count on the enlightened advice of Brigitte Baumann (coach of the AB1 group). Today, I have invested directly and via the group in several companies with more or less success, I learned a lot from my failures and successes and I created some connections with many Business Angels. In summary: I will continue to pursue this adventure ...”