The Launch of Business Angels Network in Lithuania
The highly anticipated Lithuanian business angel network LitBAN is set to launch on the 14th of March this year. LitBAN was initiated by a group of business angels operating in Lithuania, who are looking to gather 100 founding members for the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania.
It is expected that LitBAN will further strengthen the local start-up ecosystem and enable new business ideas to mature and accelerate faster.
“Lithuania was the only one in the Baltic States to have no network of business angels. Networks and associations that unite angels in neighboring countries have been operating for several years now. A similar network, EstBAN in Estonia, was established in 2012, while LatBAN – the Angel Network in Latvia – has been operating since 2014.
Business angels in our country have operated individually so far or have occasionally partnered up for private initiatives only. The founding of LitBAN is a major initiative for Lithuania, which will significantly help both start-ups and the development of innovation in the country,” says Gytenis Galkis, one of the initiators of LitBAN.
In recent years, venture capital funds have been growing rapidly in Lithuania, which was encouraged by the structural and investment funds from both the state and EU.
There are, however, remaining gaps in financing early stage businesses that hinder the development of start-ups and innovations. Therefore, in the spring of 2017, the public venture capital fund Koinvesticinis Fondas was set up to stimulate business angel investments.
“We are constantly communicating with business angels and start-up founders and we feel that up until now it was quite complicated for them to find each other. In 2017, we organised the very first Business Angels Forum, during which the established connections turned into a great initiative to set up a business angel network. We hope that the active business angel community will help to spawn even more success stories of Lithuanian start-ups,” says Daiva Gerulytė, Director of UAB Kofinansavimas managing the Koinvesticinis Fondas.
The main task of the Lithuanian Business Angel Network at the beginning of its operations will be to publicize the possibility to attract investments from business angels and investment syndication. Vladas Lašas, entrepreneur and author of various social initiatives, will become the chairman of the Lithuanian Business Angels Network.
LitBAN will have three main directions:
- encouraging communication and collaboration between business angels as well as stimulating business deals
- sharing of investment experiences, knowledge, tools and reducing investment costs
- representing the interests of private investors through constant dialogue with the authorities.
It will be a great opportunity to hear the presentation of Ivar Siimaro, the founder of the Estonian Business Angels Network and the Board of the European Business Angels Network, on the success story of EstBAN.
The guest will talk about the importance of the business angels network for an entrepreneurial eco-system and share practical tips. All participants of the event will be able to become members of the Association of Business Angels. Actively operating or potential business angels are welcome to register at www.litban.org and become founder members of LitBAN.
The emergence of a local business angel network is important not only for business angels and start-ups, but also for those who care about the overall competitiveness of a country’s economy or businesses. Hence, initiatives are expected not only from businesses, but also from public authorities.
Business angels are mostly individuals who have accumulated business experience and funds, investing in enterprises in their early stage. They often contribute not only financially to the project, but also their experience and relationships.
Vladas Lašas is the chairman of the board of directors of LitBAN association. Members of the board are Arvydas Strumskis, Martynas Kandziarauskas, Venantas Miškinis, Audrius Milukas, Mindaugas Cidzikas, Vytautas Kalmatavičius, and Gytenis Galkis