Business angels help start-ups to get really big. The scene in the region is still quite clear – but it is growing. Some of them meet regularly at the Business Angels Frankfurt / Rhein-Main association.
WWhen exactly he heard the word “business angel” for the first time, Andreas Lukic cannot remember that, but he can remember where it was: in Silicon Valley. Lukic, who had hired a mutual fund after completing his studies, traveled to the United States in the late 1990s to explore the market. It was the time of the first internet boom, Google, Netflix and Ebay were founded, and within a year six billion dollars were invested in start-ups – by business angels. “I was in my late twenties at the time and it was just great,” recalls Lukic. When he returned to Germany shortly afterwards, he decided to become one himself, not in Silicon Valley, but in the Rhine-Main area. In 1999 he ventured his first investment, a little later he quit his job and became a full-time investor.
The job title Business Angel, which means corporate angel in German, sounds more esoteric than it is. This refers to patrons and mentors who invest their own money in young companies so that they can grow. An angel investor does not do this completely selflessly, he risks his money because he hopes for a return, but also to pass on his knowledge and experience. Without them, there would be no thriving start-up scene. The investment is often too risky for banks, and the state alone cannot replace the start-up helpers who are prepared to take risks.