October 19, 2020
From promoting angel investments to being a point of contact for international Venture Capital funds seeking opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, the Investor Community will become a platform for education, networking and co-investment with local players.
Managed by COBIN Angels, the Investor Community has the ambition to change the culture of investing in Poland and attract more foreign capital to the region. The initiative accompanies other activities of the Warsaw Innovation Campus.
Within the Campus, the headquarters of CIC Warsaw and Venture Cafe Warsaw Foundation, there are a number of initiatives aimed at the Polish innovation market. Cooperation with CIC as part of the Innovation Campus has already been announced by several industry hubs that focus on the needs of sectors such as: real estate, space and Internet of Things (IoT). More specialized hubs will join them soon.
Jerzy Brodzikowski, CIC Warsaw’s General Manager, said: “Creating the Innovation Campus in Warsaw shows our conviction about the future and the role of the capital in the innovation ecosystem’s development in Central and Eastern Europe. The experience from Kendall Square in Cambridge shows the value of physical proximity to VC companies, but it also teaches us that investors want to be where the main events take place.
“We believe that our actions will attract more investment capital to Warsaw and at the same time change the culture of cooperation. COBIN Angels is an organization that not only has experience in building a network of private investors, but also shares our values: putting trust in the community and supporting entrepreneurs who want to repair the world through innovation.”
Developed innovative ecosystems are based on a balance of key components: ideas, talent and capital. The latter usually appears last and at the same time is the most difficult to build. Although Poland is rich in ideas and top talent, Polish startups still have problems with attracting sufficient investment capital.
Last year alone, young technology companies gained over PLN 1 billion from investors, but this is still a drop in the ocean of needs. According to the State of European Tech 2019 report, Poland has 5% of European technological talent and yet it attracts only 0.5% of the continent’s venture capital.
Historically, CIC has experienced on its own skin the opportunities coming from being in close proximity to capital. At Kendall Square in Cambridge, USA, one of the world's leading innovation districts, investment capital has grown from USD 100 million in 1999 to over USD 15 billion in 2019. And the amount comes only from the funds that have located their headquarters in the space directly managed by CIC or directly adjacent to CIC!
As the activity of innovators increased, the interest of investors grew as well and only between 2016 and 2019 the size of assets in the area doubled. Creators of the Innovation Campus in Warsaw hope for the same phenomenon.
Robert Ługowski, COBIN Angels’ Managing Partner and Board Member of the European Business Angel Association in Brussels (EBAN) commented: “COBIN Angels has been supporting and educating private investors in working with startups for years, but we believe that the market is only now gaining momentum. We have observed an increase in the involvement of Business Angels in Europe and we want to build a similar investment culture in Poland.
“The community we intend to create together with CIC has a chance to radically change the local mentality. We believe that there are thousands of people in Poland who can support startups in growth and internationalization as Business Angels. We want to create a haven for such people, where they will have all the tools to achieve success as investors.”
COBIN Angels has been attracting the interest of private investors since 2015, building a unique community of Business Angels in Poland. Promoting a modern model of investment, COBIN Angels, together with its partners, will soon select the winners of the Business Angel of the Year competition. Just like in previous years, there is no shortage of candidates for this title.
The pandemic did not stop private investments in Polish startups. Significant transactions were recently made by Robert Lewandowski and Krzysztof Pawiński, co-founder and president of Maspex. Meanwhile, Billon, led by last year's winner Wojciech Kostrzewa, has raised another six million dollars from investors.