Whether you are fundraising right now, expanding your future contact list, looking for a mentor, or just a role model to look up to — start with this list of European business angels who gained recognition and surrounded themselves with a community of inspiring investors and founders.
Each angel investor on our list actively manages their social networks, so you do not need to play a super agent to get the opportunity to chat with them.
We chose Twitter because it is less formal and is tailored for mass mailings, unlike other social networks, like Linkedin. Hence, you are more likely to get personalized and live-like communication. So, update your account, tidy up your feed, and good luck!
Brent was born into an entrepreneurial family — his father and grandfather created a network of 650 clothing stores, starting with a tiny store. This shaped his business vision: according to Brent’s opinion, shared in an interview, an entrepreneur can succeed when faced with a problem that his/her product can, in fact, solve.
Brent founded several companies, two of which became unicorns — the travel marketplace lastminute.com and the online furniture and home accessories store Made.com. He also leads the entrepreneurial community of the Founders Factory venture studio and the Founders Forum.
Awarded the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to the development of technological entrepreneurship, he was a profile consultant to the country's four prime ministers. In addition, as a business angel, he invested in dozens of projects, nine of which became unicorns.
Paola has had an exciting career as a strategic manager at McKinsey & Company and has gone on to top positions at companies such as eBay, Vodafone, and Facebook. Her critical skills have always been scaling up projects and entering new markets.
For more than ten years, Paola has invested in tech startups as a business angel, focusing primarily on the Italian market. Among other things, she leads Stanford University's regional alum office, where she received her MBA.
Raphael was responsible for developing Maps and Shopping at Google as Product Director. He achieved great success in this role and, after leaving the company, continued to advise startups on the direction of product development as a mentor and founded the Product Management Festival.
As a business angel, Raphael supports startups from Europe and the USA. Since 2014, he has been paying particular attention to projects built around blockchain technology. His portfolio includes Blockstream, Protocol Labs, OpenSea, Circle, and others. He has also made over 20 successful exits from various projects.
Apostolos is a serial entrepreneur who has contributed significantly to the digitalization of various markets in Greece. Behind him is the launch of the e-shop.gr marketplace for household appliances, furniture, and other goods, the e-food.gr food and groceries delivery service, the doctoranytime.gr doctor appointment service, and the Taxibeat taxi app.
Since 2010, Apostolos has been investing in SaaS and e-com startups; he is also a partner of the VentureFriends fund that invests from €500K to €2.5M in projects from Europe, MENA, and LATAM.
Taavet started his career as one of the first employees of Skype, where he later made headway to the position of Chief Strategy Officer. In 2011, together with the Estonian entrepreneur Kristo Käärman, he founded the money transfer service Wise (ex-Transferwise), where he took the CEO position.
Among other things, Traavet consults the Estonian government on digital policy. His investment portfolio includes projects such as OMGPOP game studio, Tweetdeck browser, Mendeley software developer, as well as Sunrise, Mapillary, Property Partner, and Improbable.
Eileen founded Passion Capital, a venture capital firm specializing in investing in early-stage startups. The company invested in the online bank Monzo, which subsequently became a unicorn.
Look for the pitch deck of Monzo and other European unicorns via the link.
Before investing, Eileen had a successful career in marketing, holding leadership positions at companies such as Apple and Skype. In 2018, the Financial Times listed her as one of the top 100 technology leaders among ethnic minorities.
Xavier is one of the wealthiest people in France, the founder of the telecommunication giant Iliad (Free brand), co-owner of the Le Monde newspaper, and other assets. In 2010, with entrepreneur Jeremie Berrebi, he founded a fund to invest in startups worldwide.
In 2011, Business Insider named Xavier and Jeremie the world's most active business angels. Their Kima Ventures fund closes deals with checks from $150,000 at least twice weekly. In addition, both investors are active on social media, sharing business news and common interests.
Jacques-Antoine is a French entrepreneur. Founder of online retailer Veepee. He is called the inventor of the principle of a "hot" sale, which lasts only a few days or hours. The French magazine Challenges estimates his net worth at $1.9 billion.
Jacques-Antoine rarely talks publicly about his deals, but the press calls him one of the most active angels in the country, along with Xavier Nie, who inspired him to start investing in startups.
Carlos Blanco takes place among the most famous business angels in Europe. He is the founder of the venture builder Nuclio and the Encomenda VC angel fund, which has supported more than 150 projects.
In 2014, Carlos received the Best Business Angel award from the Spanish Association of Business Angels AEBAN. In 2001, he founded the Grupo ITnet business incubator, which sprouted dozens of successful companies. Their wealth of experience is in the book "The main mistakes of the entrepreneurs."
Thibaud and Quentin founded eFounders in 2011, a startup studio that helps create, develop and promote technology projects. For 11 years, the studio has launched 34 companies, 3 of which have turned into unicorns — Aircall, Spendesk, and Front. According to Thibaud, when developing a product, founders are 10,000 times more likely to nurture a unicorn with eFounders than if they would do it independently.
Before launching eFounders, Thibaud had established himself as an entrepreneur. Then, in 2004, he came up with the idea to create an image storage platform so marketers and creators could find content with a swift of hand.
As a result, his Fotolia project has become one of the largest photo banks in the world. Since selling Fotolia for $800 million to Adobe Inc., Thibaud has made numerous independent investments in startups. His portfolio includes Algolia, Payfit and Meero, and other projects.
Quentin Nickmans began his career with the Boston Consulting Group as a consultant and has also been involved with several foundations.
Martha co-founded the online travel marketplace lastminute.com in 1998, bringing her first capital and business prominence. Today, she serves on the boards of directors of Twitter, WeTransfer, and Chanel. Also, she is a co-founder of the Lucky Voice karaoke bar chain and invests in startups as a business angel.
Martha gained the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honors for her "contributions to the digital economy and philanthropy." In addition, in February 2013, the Woman's Hour of BBC's Radio 4 voted her one of the 100 most influential women in the United Kingdom.
In 1998, Jesper opened a diner in a Danish seaside town, sold it a year later, and went into profit. The small success story became the lead-in to his entrepreneurial beginning, Just Eat, which he launched in 2000 and built into the world's largest fast food supplier in nine years.
In 2011, he sold his stake in the company for several million dollars and began investing in promising startups — Autobutler, Miinto, Mentaline, and others, among many in his portfolio. Also, Jesper had the honor to attend a royal family dinner and have a private conversation with Queen Margrethe as a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit in Denmark.
In 1994, Sherry founded the investment platform Interactive Investor International and managed it until the sale of AMP in 2001. After stepping down as CEO, Sherry began investing in startups as an angel investor and worked on dozens of projects before announcing in 2015 that she was cutting back on investing in favor of philanthropy. However, she selectively works with promising entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale.
In June 2015, in partnership with Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, Kutu launched the Scale Up Institute, a non-profit organization to support UK companies looking to expand. The team helps founders improve their leadership skills, provides access to a network of consultants, and facilitates fundraising opportunities.
Sherry was named Barclay Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.
Today Sophia Bendz is a partner of Cherry Ventures. Advisor to Atomico, angel investor, board member VRG foundation & Race for the Baltic.
Prior to working with startups as an investor, she was one of the original employees of Spotify. In the company, she was responsible for PR and marketing strategy, and she is credited for the brand's success in the international arena.
Among other things, Sophia is a co-founder of the Allbright educational platform and an advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister.
According to Niko's public statements, he specializes in investing in super early-stage projects. He prefers to work with first-time Gen Z founders who make products for themselves.
"I don't mind if you weren't born in the US or if your accent sounds funny — mine does for sure. I also don't care if you went to Stanford or you're not a domain expert yet," says Niko Bonatsos.
His investment portfolio includes projects such as Collective, Discord, Snap, Microverse, and others.
Andy co-founded the music platform Mixtape Madness with friends. He also sits on the boards of startups YSYS and Flipside, and at one point, he was the managing director of the investment firm Backstage Capital.
Today, Andy invests in startups in the role of an angel and teaches others how to do so at The Angel Investing School, which he founded. As a result, Andy can help take your project to the next level and open access to a vast network of networking with current and future business angels.
Milen Ivanov is a Managing Partner at Sofia Angels Ventures and Co-Founder and Chairman at CEO Angels Club, an investment club with the motto "Smart founders. Smart money", which invests from 10,000 to 200,000 euros in technological projects with a formed team and a valid hypothesis. His portfolio includes 11 Bulgarian startups from different industries.
On his Twitter page, Milen posts announcements of events where one can meet him and shares observations and exciting materials from the press.
The story of Morten is remarkable in that it is not only about success but also about the ability to rise and continue on their way after failure. In 1996, he and his friends founded the consulting agency Neo Ideo, which became one of the most successful in the country and was sold to Leo Burnett three years later.
After this deal, Morten focused on investments and founded the company LundXY, which supported several startups and the Nyhedsavisen newspaper, the failure of which eventually led to the bankruptcy of the entrepreneur.
However, a year after the official recognition of bankruptcy, Morten returned to the game and is currently recognized as one of the most active angels in the country, whose portfolio has visited over a hundred projects.
When Bulgaria opened up to the direct presence of international business in the country at the end of the twentieth century, Sasha Bezukhanova became the first director of the Bulgarian subsidiary of HP (Hewlett-Packard). Under her leadership, the company has created thousands of jobs in the country and implemented several major infrastructure projects. Later, Sasha headed the international division of HP Growth Markets, which includes 67 countries.
After 2013, Sasha left her corporate career and focused on ecosystem projects to improve the business climate in Bulgaria. So, she founded the MOVE. BG platform, designed for interaction between the state, business, and society, initiated the creation of the Green Restart Coalition and several other projects.
Sasha is one of the most prominent figures in the Bulgarian economic space. She selectively invests in startups as a business angel and co-owner of three venture capital funds.
Peter leads the EBAN European Business Angels Network, and previously he was a longtime Chairman of the Cambridge Angels. He has invested in 76 startups and successfully exited 11. According to his website, 48% of portfolio company founders are founders who have already tried to launch a business, failed, and are open about it.
Peter doesn't limit his focus, but he's clear he won't invest in teams with a single founder, preferring groups of two or three people.
He also develops the Invested Investor project, including his book, VC content, and podcasts from current angel investors. Among other things, he founded the non-profit Project Cancer, designed to support those who suffer from this disease.
Born in Mumbai, Sonali graduated from Harvard Business School and joined the American venture capital firm Accel in 2008. There, she led investments in Spotify, Avito, Monzo, and other companies that later became highly successful.
Sonali is based in the UK and focuses on young and growing teams developing fintech, SaaS, Cloud, and Consumer products. On her Twitter account, she shares news and announcements of events in which she participates. Among other things, Sonali has two children.
In the early 2000s, Thomas, together with co-founders, founded the affiliate marketing network Zanox, which reached a leading position in Europe seven years later and was acquired by the German newspaper publisher Axel Springer and the Swiss PubliGroupe for $214.9 million.
Having made one of the most successful exits in the German startup scene at that time, Thomas focused on venture capital investments. His key area of interest is decentralized technologies and blockchain. He has already invested in 200+ startups and also leads the international community of web3 and UFOstart crypto enthusiasts.
Sarah is the co-founder and CEO of Angel Academe, supporting startups founded by women since 2014. Her portfolio includes projects from various industries, including MedTech, EdTech, Cyber Security, and others. Angel Academe supports 17 startups, out of which four have already made an exit.
On her Twitter page, Sarah shares her interviews and thoughts on women's entrepreneurship and industry news.
Cover image: Unsplash
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