Polish business angels - do they exist or are they just a legend?

Service Business

A business angel, i.e. a private person (most often an experienced entrepreneur) investing his own capital in a fledgling venture, is a concept that is still poorly recognized in Poland. No wonder, because this form of financing the development of young companies appeared in the country on the Vistula relatively recently - in the 1990s (after the system transformation). For almost 25 years, there have been several jumps in the activity of business angels related to Poland's accession to the European Union or the popularization of access to the Internet. However, in this respect, we are still far from the countries of Western Europe and the cradle of business angels - the United States.

Business angels did not fall from heaven

The USA is considered the birthplace of business angels, and more specifically - the Silicon Valley. This is where investors with capital surpluses (e.g. from purchased shares) were looking for investments that could provide them with above-average rates of return, while being aware of the risk they may be burdened with. The result of this type of activity are often very interesting and innovative solutions.

However, the effectiveness of this type of solution has already become convinced by Henry Ford, who started his company - Ford Motor Company - among others with the help of his wealthy friends. Thanks to private capital, he managed to create one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

History knows many enterprises that have developed and become extremely successful thanks to the support of business angels. For investments that ended very positively, both for the creators of the project and people who put their capital on them. you can include, among others Google, Skype, Apple Computer, Amazon or Body Shop. For these projects, the return of business angels far exceeded the money they invested.

Business angels in Poland

Polish business angels focus on the so-called networks of business angels, i.e. organizations that act as an intermediary between the originator and the capital giver. They allow the latter to remain anonymous, help prepare relevant documents, etc. They are looking for projects that require investments in the amount of 50 thousand. up to PLN 5 million.

Polish networks of business angels:

  • PolBAN Business Angels Club,

  • Lewiatan Business Angels,

  • SATUS Private Investor Network,

  • RESIK Regional Investors and Capital Investments Network,

  • Business Angels Guild,

  • Women's Business Angels Network - Black Swan Fund,

  • Hedgehog Fund,
  • Trinity S.A. Group

For comparison - there are several thousand groups of business angels in the USA.

As you can see - Polish business angels do exist. Their number and achievements are not as high as in the case of this type of investors from Western Europe or the USA, but in their relatively short history, several successes can be found. Among them, it is worth mentioning, among others the “W Biegu Cafe” cafe chain, or the Merlin.pl online store.

Angel money is not everything

The primary reason why business angels are supported is, of course, their capital. However, it should be remembered that such people are often experienced entrepreneurs who, in addition to money, provide good advice, knowledge and experience.

Together with them, valuable contacts, proven management techniques, etc. are introduced into the company.

So why still so many Polish entrepreneurs decide to look for money in banks, among friends or family, or use subsidies? This is often due to the lack of knowledge about such a solution, lack of belief that the idea will interest investors, or fear of the so-called venture capital. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in interest in such forms of investment - both among entrepreneurs looking for capital and those who have a surplus of it. Experts predict that this growth will continue.