While Silicon Valley might be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of startups and venture capital, Germany too has a robust and growing ecosystem for young innovative companies. And at the heart of this ecosystem is the Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland (BAND).
What is BAND?
The Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (BAND) is a registered association dedicated to nurturing the Business Angel culture in Germany. Established in 1998, BAND has been recognized since 2001 as the umbrella organization for German Business Angels and their networks. The organization serves as the voice of Business Angels networks towards politics and the public, representing the interests of young innovative companies and their Business Angel investors.
BAND embraces the vision of the “two-winged” Business Angel. Such angels support young, innovative startups not just with capital but also with expertise and know-how. They often stand at the beginning of the financing chain, especially where the bottleneck is most significant. Given their vital role in early-stage financing and subsequent funding rounds, Business Angels are of great economic importance in Germany.
The Business Angel Ecosystem
The Business Angel ecosystem is dynamic, with constant changes and evolution. BAND acknowledges these shifts, incorporating developments like Super Angels, crowd investing, accelerators, incubators, and family offices. They offer partnerships to new financing forms as well as traditional venture capital funds, especially where mutual interests align or when startups’ needs are the focus.
The Official Website
The website www.business-angels.de serves as the primary portal to activities in the German Business Angels market. It contains vital information, including an archive. The site also provides links to all Business Angel Networks that shape the market alongside BAND, its members, and sponsors.
Guardian and Protector
BAND operates under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, highlighting its significant role and recognition in the country.
Founding and History
BAND was founded on August 25, 1998, in Berlin, later relocating to Essen in 2001. The association is among the founding members of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN). Esteemed institutions like the Federal Ministry of Research, the KfW promotional bank, the Association of German Savings Banks, the Deutsche Börse, and the Investment Bank Berlin are among its founders.
BAND’s primary mission is to establish, disseminate, and represent the Business Angel culture in Germany. In its early years, BAND offered various services tailored for Business Angels, including online matching platforms and standard contracts for venture capital investments. The organization also provides a foundation for research into the informal venture capital market.
Regular surveys conducted by BAND offer insights into the Business Angel sector’s dynamics. The association also ensures the quality of the listed Business Angels. With BAND’s initiation, many new regional Business Angel networks sprouted, and existing ones joined BAND. As of a 2007 study by ZEW, out of around 5,000 Business Angels in Germany, 1,000 were listed with BAND, a number that’s been on the rise.
Since 2001, BAND has organized an annual meeting known as the “Deutscher Business Angels Tag.” This event, attended by over 500 participants, primarily facilitates interaction among the 35-40 active Business Angel networks in Germany. It also provides a platform for startups seeking venture capital. Apart from this main event, BAND organizes numerous other meetings to foster networking among Business Angels and between Business Angels and startups.
For sector-specific events, ventures like Venture.Med NRW focus on the medical and health sectors, while the Venture.Forum Umwelttechnologien targets environmental sector startups. BAND also plays a role in the international startup competition “Get in the Ring – Entrepreneurs with Ideas Wanted.”
To maintain a certain quality standard and offer qualifications, BANDacademy was established. The association also provides extensive information for Business Angels and entrepreneurs on their website.
BAND: The First Point of Contact for Startups
BAND serves as an immediate point of contact for startups. Startups can fill out the BAND One Pager on the association’s website. After a brief plausibility check, the request is forwarded to the members of the Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland, ensuring widespread visibility within the network.
Startups can also directly contact a Business Angel Network in their region via the member directory. BAND also acts as an advisor for startups seeking venture capital, making their website a valuable resource for capital-seeking entrepreneurs.
Phone: 0201 / 89415-60
On the Hunt for Angels
Dr. Roland Kirchhof, Co-Chairman of BAND since 2001, shared insights in an interview about how startups and Business Angels can connect effectively. He emphasized that a true Business Angel has two wings: one for capital and the other for know-how and networking. Business Angels are distinct as they invest at very early stages when few others are willing. To find the right Business Angel, he recommends turning to reputable networks, like BAND, which offers a structured platform for startups to present their business ideas. Startups should also consider the sector and regional preferences of potential investors. Above all, honesty and trust between the startup and the Business Angel are paramount for a successful collaboration.
BAND plays a pivotal role in Germany’s startup ecosystem, bridging the gap between innovative startups and the Business Angels ready to support them. As the startup culture in Germany continues to grow, BAND’s role will undoubtedly become even more vital, ensuring that young companies find the support they need to thrive.