January 29, 2021

Voting is open for the Ecosystem Award!

Six change-makers and trend-setters who shape the Polish startup ecosystem are nominated for the 2020 Business Angel of the Year Award in the Ecosystem category. Through a public vote, one of them will receive the award recognizing their impact on both the enterprises they invest in and the market.

The Business Angel of the Year competition (BAY) recognizes the most outstanding, engaged, and active private investors who play a significant role in supporting the startup ecosystem in Poland. Established by COBIN Angels, the largest professional association of business angels in Poland, the award strengthens the recognition of angel investing as not only a viable way of allocating capital but also a formidable career path.

The BAY award is presented in three categories Business Angel of the Year, Debutant of the Year, and the Ecosystem Award. The winner of the last category is decided by an online vote.  

The voting is open until February 10th, 2021.


Tomasz Ciąpała

Tomasz has been investing and supporting startups as a business angel since 2015. His investment portfolio includes Unamo, MTM Europe, 3 R Games (formerHubstyle), SMART55, and others. Tomasz first involvement as a business angel was with PhotoAiD, a leader in biometric photos. The company has a unique AItechnology and is planning an IPO on the WSE in 2021.

Another company Tomasz invested in that is planning an IPO this year is Mazop Group. The company specializes in packaging for the fast-growing e-commerce and "protective packaging" markets. His professional experience began with the successful restructuring of his family business. In 2008, he created Lancerto S.A., of which he is currently president of the board and main shareholder.

Robert Ditrych

Robert has been involved with the emerging startup ecosystem in Poland for over 12 years. He is also active as a lead angel investor and organizer of investment syndicates enabling a group of private individuals to invest in this asset class. He started his career as an analyst at Helix Ventures fund.Between 2010 and 2016, he served as the chief financial officer and board member of the public company PAGED S.A..

Since 2017 he has been working strictly with technology companies(including gaming marketplace G2A, public gamedev representative Artifex Mundi,leading software house Tooploox and numerous startups). His track record as a business angel includes investments in the following projects, among others: Symmetrical AI, Therapify, Zowie AI, LinkerCloud, Metadata.io (US), uConnect (US),DesignTown.pl.

Ela Kozera

Ela is an entrepreneur at heart. Apart from founding ELMA Ventures, she has worked with numerous U.S.-based emerging growth companies, focusing on marketing, strategic partnerships, and operations. She also led an accelerator program for international founders in the heart of Silicon Valley. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and new technology trends. She believes that each person’s voice matters, and everyone can make a difference, following her life’s credo: Respect everyone. Fear no one. Act with impact.

Ela invests in purpose-driven entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds whose passion and mission are to solve the social pains of humanity while transforming the world of technology and science. Her premise is to backcompanies as early as possible, mostly at their incubation or seed stage. Ela is a life-long learner and a big dreamer. She loves reading, learning new languages, theater, traveling, and staying active. For her, a day without learning and laughter is a lost one.

Ola Lazar

Ola has been active in the  startup ecosystem since 2007, first as an entrepreneur and founder of Gastronauci.pl (now ZOMATO), currently as an advisor and investor. From 2019 she runs a foodtech accelerator FoodForward. She specializes in the agri-food sector, fast-moving consumer goods and hospitality industries,having unique knowledge and network of contacts in those areas, which she is happy to share with startups.  

Ola is probably the only person in Poland who is active in the area of open innovation, connecting startups with the recipients of innovation in the industry and retailers. The long list of startups she works with includes:  PoraNaPola.pl (artisanal food delivery),Fibritech (organic substrates and packaging), Gaminate (mental fitness supplements), ShelfWise (planogram management in retail chains), RestPay(unattended payments in food service).

Maciej Noga

Maciej is an investor and entrepreneur, the co-founder of Pracuj Group,currently serving as the supervisory board chairman and managing partner of Pracuj Ventures Innovation Fund. Their portfolio companies include:  Gamfi, Gymsteer, Worksmile, Inhire.io,Kadromierz, Sherlock Waste and Wandlee. As a business angel, in 2020 heinvested and participated in subsequent funding rounds in Symmetrical, which heco-founded, Therapify, Tomorrow Medical, Senuto, Versum/Books, Sundose,Uncapped, SonarHome, Network Perspective, and Worksmile, among others.

Maciej is also the co-founder and partner at angel investment type funds - HedgeHog Fund and Ataraxy Ventures. He is a member the MOC Fund’s supervisory board, the co-founder and partner of Valores, the first philanthropy venture fund in Poland.

Paweł Zylm

Paweł is a business angel, investor, and manager in the financial sector with experience in consulting. He is an expert and active participant in the insurance market. Paweł actively supports five to seven  startups per year offering them smart money in addition to funding. In 2020, they included Simpl, Cryptoracle (a Coinerro project),Privacy Optimization, BLENDS, Noctiluca SA, It's not 1999 Ltd and Work and Travel App project.

As an investor, he uses his extensive experience and managerial knowledge as well as business contacts in the financial market. Paweł enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with young entrepreneurs.  He is a leading mentor in ReaktorX, apre-accelerator for first-time founders. He also sits on several supervisory boards and advisory committees, as his portfolio includes over 40 companies.

The winners of all three BAY award categories will be announced during the online gala on February 15th. To register for the event, please follow this LINK.

Business Angel of the Year 2020 Partners