About the Business Angel Section at SECA
In 2008 all Swiss Business Angel Networks have decided to organise themselves within the Chapter “Seed Money and Venture Capital” of the SECA.
Goals of the Business Angel Section within the SECA are:
- the professionalisation of the Business Angel industry in Switzerland
- the extension of the existing basis of Business Angels in Switzerland
- the promotion of Business Angels Business activities in favor of young enterprises
- the representation of interests of Business Angels towards politics and the public opinion
- the optimization of economical and political general conditions for Business Angels
- the promotion of informal contacts and exchange of experience between Business Angel organisations, VCs and Business Angels
- the networking with international Business Angels organisations.
SECA is a member of EVCA, European Venture Capital Association as well as BAE, Business Angels Europe.
What is a business angel?
A Business Angel is a private individual that invests in dynamic young companies. In doing so he ideally does not only support the start-ups with capital but also brings in professional know-how and an extensive network of contacts.
In order to be accredited as Business Angel at one of the SECA member networks the following requirements need to be fulfilled:
A Business Angel is a entrepreneurially experienced individual. Thus coaching of start-up founders is of high importance, beyond the pure capital financing. More precisely: a Business Angel supports start-up companies with industry specific know-how and with a network of industry contacts, both of which he gained during a past professional career as an entrepreneur.
Moreover, an extensive financial know how and understanding as well as experience in company business management enable a Business Angel to adequately evaluate the benefit and risk of an investment.
A Business Angel is a financially independent private investor that fulfills the SEC (Securities of Exchange commission) criteria for accredited investors as follows:
Individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse that exceeds $1 million
income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years, or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000, and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year.
The invested sum per individual investment should be $100’000 at the minimum. Additionally, a Business Angel should not be reliant on capital gain from investments into start-up companies, which means that the capital invested should be a free resource. Statistically it does make a lot of sense to invest in at least 10 companies. Doing this alone is very hard work or nearly impossible; reason why co-investments with trusted Partners in a suitable network or jointly with friends sharing deals is highly recommended.
The role of Business Angels
An attractive start-up is characterized by an innovative, marketable business idea, a strong founder team and high growth perspectives. However, the search for capital appears to be quite difficult for most start-up companies, even with best qualifications, since there are no assets or guaranties to rely on for institutional investors.
In the United States, this apparent financing gap is often filled by Business Angels. Renown companies like Bell Telephone and Ford Motors have been financed by Business Angels in their early company history. More recent examples include Apple Computer, Amazon or google.
In Switzerland, too, examples of successful companies whose founders were once financed by Business Angels can be found easily. For instance, an «external investor» supported the creation of the famous restaurant chain Moevenpick in 1948 by giving the necessary starting capital to its founder Ueli Prager. Another famous example represents entrepreneur Walter Boveri who founded Brown, Boveri & Cie in 1891 using start-up financing that he received from the Conrad Baumann, a silk tycoon from Zurich. Approximately 10 years after the united states the so far informal Swiss Business Angel industry has started organising itself in clubs since the late 90’s.