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Throwback - EBAN Winter Summit 2018 proudly hosted by BGL BNP Paribas

Written by Stephen Evans

Major startup summit in Luxembourg


The major EBAN Winter Summit came to Luxembourg on 22-23 October.


Co-organised by Lux Future Lab, EBAN, LBAN and EIPP- European Commission and hosted at BGL BNP Paribas’s Kirchberg HQ, this event is part of a European initiative to highlight impactful best practice and to discuss a range of relevant topics regarding the early stage investment sector.


This unique venue brought more than 400 inspiring people together from 45 countries to participate in around two dozen conferences, workshops and master classes.

They included around 50 speakers, innovators, international business angels, venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, startups, and other players from the public and private sectors. There were sessions to help entrepreneurs practice their pitching techniques and facilities to help them raise funds.

This 17th annual EBAN Winter Summit was themed around the topic “Better Together: How to Shape a More Sustainable and Innovative World”.


Check out the EBAN Winter Summit Aftermovie


A central goal of the event was communicating practical advice to entrepreneurs and investors. There were also strategy discussions that ranged from investing into space projects, making diversity an investment strategy, FinTech, BioTech, as well as a focus on Green Tech.


To give a taste, here we look at two sessions from day one.


Tips for startup success

An early seminar featured Julian Costley, a serial entrepreneur, experienced global angel investor, mentor, writer, and lecturer. His talk “Growth Hacks for the Ambitious Entrepreneur” featured 20 practical tips of how to make the most of your entrepreneurial spirit, hard work and bright ideas.

The slides from his presentation and other material can be found here.

Mr Costley’s number one tip was to recommend that entrepreneurs should focus on seeking to recognise key turning points.

“There is no such thing as luck, you are in control, but life is a jumble of defining moments, and you need to spot these opportunities and expose yourself to the risk of success,” he said.

He suggested using analytics to understand what makes your firm unique, but warned about over-analysing data. He also suggested learning from how others have succeeded, so recommended finding a mentor and speaking to as many people as possible with a view to receiving unbiased, uncluttered opinions. For example, one of the topics startups should consider with an open mind is when to exit.

“If you exit before all growth potential is realised, and you deliver value to the VC, this will help you raise capital more easily for your subsequent businesses,” he said.

“Stay professional” was another of Mr Costely’s key messages. He gave an example of one of his investments which failed partly due to him becoming too friendly with his CEO.

“Be a benign dictator” and “deal with problem-people early” are part of this.

Another aspect is understanding the value of the firm now and its potential, so avoiding being too generous when issuing shares to staff and investors. He also highlighted the importance of hiring bright people, including offering interesting internships to business school students. Also practicing good communication with investors and staff should not be underestimated.


A host of challenges

Next up was a round table with VC players who underlined the challenges startups face.

“We receive about 2,000 business plans a year, we study about 400 of these, we might interview about 50, and we might end up supporting six or seven projects,”

commented Daniel Beck an investment manager at the European Investment Fund.

Other panelists had tips for entrepreneurs when making pitches.

“In the first minutes we need to understand what pain you are seeking to take away, and how big this could become: what is the vision, what is the market,”

advised David Waroquier of Mangrove Capital Partners.

Guy Geldhof of Vesalius Biocapital Partners agreed:

“The presentation is important and it can be very technical, but we need a good understanding of your practical vision after 10 minutes,”

he said.


You can download presentations from many EBAN Winter Summit speakers via this link to the eban.org site.

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