Philippe Gluntz – The role of a national association for Business Angels

Philippe Gluntz – The role of a national association for Business Angels


In France, in my country, there was start
of business angel around 1997. Probably a hundred business angels
appeared and then there was the crisis. In the internet crisis at the stock
exchange so immediately after nobody wanted to invest anymore because that
was too risky that has demonstrated to us too risky but people lost a lot of
money in the stock exchange with startups. So it took some years after that up to
2004 approximately to rebuild some business angels groups. In 2003 was
created National France Angels. At that time four groups
existed with maximum 100 business angels and last year we had 5000 angels and 80
groups, so it has been a push to the development through the national
organization. So what is the national organization doing? First they are
representing the business angel community to all the ecosystem. They are
talking about business angel, explaining what it is, showing the impact of business
angel to demonstrate to whoever that they are a significant actor in the
startup world. Second thing is to communicate a lot of angels, on the
beauty of being an angel to the potential angels, so to create
communication events for helping the groups to at least to recruit additional
members and to grow in numbers. Third thing is professionalization, is also to develop the first training programs that are needed for making angel efective.
The National Federation is also doing a lot of field work
going in the field to help create new groups and in particular to join the
Chamber of Commerce, to join the development agencies and try to have
them helping to gather more potential angels
and then the federation making a speech to try to convince people to become
member of the club in in a particular region. It has to be managed by private
sector, has to be managed by private investors but it can make use of the
support of the local government agency or innovation agency. The next step which
is important is to develop the number of people that would take the risk of
investing in early-stage startups it has to be through tax incentives. It’s clear
that even people that have a lot of money, that’s not usual for somebody who has a lot of money to invest with the 50 percent chance of not finding his money
back. They are preferred to invest in real estate, in large listed company and
if you want those people that have the money to invest in early stage startups
you have to do something and so we try to convince and we succeeded in 2004 and 2005 in France and particularly 2007 to convince the government to accept some
tax deduction for the investment in startups.
You need a National Federation or a National Association to bring that idea
to the government, lobby the government to get them at the end to accept that
kind of a tax incentive. So the National organization is doing a lot of the local
work to create clubs but also national work to convince the different ecosystem
and particularly the government.

Author: Kevin Mason

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