Today, the Tunisian ecosystem has developed well with more than 1,000 start-ups and two dozen incubators and accelerators, in addition to several start-ups with incredible successes on a global scale, abroad, such as “Instadeep”. Maher Kallel, president of the “Carthage Business Angels” association, tells us more about this expanding ecosystem.
As president of “Carthage Business Angels”, the first association created for the development of Business Angels in Tunisia, can you tell us more about your activities? What does this term really mean?
A “Business Angel” is a natural person who invests part of his assets in an innovative company with potential and who, in addition to his money, makes available to the entrepreneur his skills, his experience, his relational networks and part of his time. Their contributions are capital, skills and strategic support. He is the first ally-accomplice of the high-potential innovator. A Business Angel is both an entrepreneur and a player, filling the gap in the first upstream financing of innovative young companies with high potential. To become a “Business Angel”, you need to be part of the real economy and invest differently, gain visibility and conquer your market share, but with the spirit of an expert and the fervor of a young entrepreneur.
What is the modus operandi of the “Business Angels”? Who are they for?
“Business Angel” presents a study alternative for young innovative companies or companies with high growth potential. The “Business Angel” is, above all, passionate about entrepreneurship, who understands this universe as a whole and wants to support innovative companies with strong growth prospects, injecting their own money. It usually occurs in the start-up phase, when entrepreneurs begin to generate revenue. It is a vector of trust and a true lever for the acquisition of other forms of financing, venture capital and banks, for example.
How can one become an expert in this field?
To become a member of the first association of “Business Angels” in Tunisia and be part of our vast network, we invite you to visit our website and fill in the form available online. There are three types of “Business Angels”. First, the “Angel Corporate” member, where entities or investment institutions are ready to participate in the activities of the association supporting entrepreneurs and contributing to the financing of projects (500 dt per year). Then there is the “Angel Investor” member. There, angel investors are qualified people who undertake to participate in the association’s activities by supporting entrepreneurs and contributing to the financing of projects (300 dt per year).
Finally, there is the “Angel Expert” member where angel experts are experienced people who are ready to provide knowledge and technical support to entrepreneurs (100 dt per year).
What skills are you looking for in an entrepreneur?
Business Angels are looking for passionate entrepreneurs committed to their project who are willing to dedicate themselves to their business to lead it to success. The latter seek companies with high growth potential and that can generate significant returns for shareholders in the medium and long term. Finally, they look for companies that have significant market opportunities and can capitalize on emerging trends.
How do you support startups?
With advice and mentoring, we provide entrepreneurs and in particular by selecting them in programs from our contact networks to help start-ups establish partnerships and attract customers. We bring our expertise in areas such as strategy, marketing, finance and management to help startups grow. We help startups raise funds by introducing them to other investors and helping them prepare their pitch and business plan. We also help start-ups develop internationally by providing advice and introducing them to other international investors.
How do Business Angels reduce business risk?
They can help companies reduce risk by bringing their expertise and network to help establish business or technology partnerships, find markets and secure additional funding. Business Angels can also help companies address legal and regulatory challenges related to innovation.
How can they be an alternative to financing the economy?
“Business Angels” are an alternative to traditional finance for the economy, namely bank loans, as they provide funds to companies with significant financing needs, but which do not meet the strict criteria of traditional lenders. They are often more flexible in terms of funding terms and may be more willing to take risks than institutional investors.
What are the returns on this type of investment?
Business Angels are also an attractive alternative for investors looking to diversify their portfolio by investing in start-ups or growing companies. Investments in startup companies can offer higher returns than traditional investments, but they also come with higher risks. They can help mitigate these risks, bringing their expertise and network to help companies grow and succeed.
What would be your reasoning to convince someone to invest in startups?
There are several reasons why investing in start-ups can be more profitable than leaving your money in a bank account.
Startups can offer higher potential returns than traditional investments like savings accounts or the stock market. In addition, investing in startups allows you to diversify your portfolio by investing in companies that have different economic models and sectors than traditional investments. As for the economic impact, investing in start-ups helps to sustain the economy by contributing to the development of innovative and job-creating businesses. Startups are often at the forefront of innovation and investing in startups allows you to participate in the emergence of new products and services that can change the world. The success of start-ups like “Instadeeop” is a shining example. Startups often have strong growth potential, which can translate into significant returns for investors. It is important to note that investing in start-ups is a high-risk investment, so it is important to fully understand the risks and not invest more than you are prepared to lose. It is also important to diversify the CBA’s investments to help the “Business Angels” in this regard.
Who are the investors that can become “Business Angels”?
There are different types of investors that can become “Business Angels”, entrepreneurs who have been successful in their own business can use their experience and know-how to help start-ups succeed. Venture capitalists can use their experience and network to find attractive start-up investment opportunities. Industry professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and consultants can use their expertise to help start-ups navigate legal, tax, and business documents. Individual investors can also become “Business Angels” by investing in start-ups that appeal to them. It is important to note that not all “Business Angels” are high net worth investors, some may invest to support a cause or project close to them, without expecting financial return.
How to finance new projects thanks to “Business Angels”?
There are several ways to finance new projects thanks to “Business Angels”. There are “Business Angels networks” such as “Carthage Business Angels”. Business Angels can participate in investor networks that allow companies to raise funds from a pool of investors.
Business Angels can directly invest in companies by purchasing shares or stock in the company. Business Angels are part of the innovation ecosystem that is also made up of other players, such as venture capitalists, incubators and accelerators that play an important role in the development of innovative companies. They are, however, a key part of the innovation ecosystem as they provide funding and skills for start-ups that need funding and support to succeed.
It is clear that crises may impact the financing of start-ups by “Business Angels”. They may change their investment priorities depending on the evolution of the economy. For example, they may be more inclined to invest in companies with resilient business models or that have products or services that are relevant to current market needs. Business Angels may also see attractive investment opportunities in companies that have resilient business models and products or services relevant to current market needs. They can also take advantage of falling valuations to invest in companies with strong fundamentals.
What advice can you give a young entrepreneur?
You have to prepare your presentation well “there are no second chances to make a first impression”.
You need to start your presentation off right because the first 30 seconds are critical. It is important to prepare a solid and compelling business plan that outlines market opportunities, business models and financial projections for the business. It is also important to show how the company will use the funds raised to generate income and create shareholder value. It is necessary to show the company’s team and its skills. Business Angels tend to invest in people before ideas. To conclude, I would say that a startupper dreams of changing the world, the “Business Angel” accompanies him from the beginning to make that dream come true and he must never be discouraged and, by dint of failure, we learn and succeed.