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Female angel investors team up to invest in European startups – an interview with Candace Johnson

We sat down with Candace Johnson, President of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), to chat about Rising Tide Europe, a programme aimed to attract business women to come together, become angel investors, and invest together. The programme is primarily for women who are new angel investors and want to learn through trainings and observation how experts conduct due diligence, as well as negotiate and manage investments. After a successful Rising Tide Europe 1, which gathered together 94 women from 24 countries across 4 continents to learn by doing with angel investing and making 8 investments across 5 countries, EBAN and its partners are now launching Rising Tide Europe 2.

What is Rising Tide Europe? Who is it for?

Rising Tide Europe is a global movement which got started in the USA and Europe simultaneously in the summer of 2015 and is now extending to Africa. The idea behind Rising Tide is to attract women angel investors to come together and invest together. There is a group of experienced “Lead Investors” who then share their knowledge and experience in making good investments with a group of executive women who may not ever have made angel investments before, but bring a lot of experience, expertise, and network to investee companies.

Why this focus on female investors? Is not it better to have gender balanced pool of angel investors?

To be honest, first of all, it is fun! 🙂 I, for one at age 64 after having almost always been the only woman as an entrepreneur or angel investor in a group, find it absolutely delightful and invigorating to be together with a group of exceptional women dedicated to investing in “The Next Generation”.

Yes, of course it is nice to have a gender balanced pool of investors. Take the example of Golden Seeds in the USA. They started out as an all-women investor group and today have 40% men.

At the moment, we are focusing on women angel investors because it is an un-tapped pool and we want to create a “nation of investors” in Europe. Women represent the largest group of “low-hanging fruit” for angel investors in Europe

How much money are you planning to invest?

In our first programme and fund, Rising Tide Europe 1 raised €1 million and we invested in 8 wonderful companies across 5 countries in Europe.

With Rising Tide Europe 2, we are targeting €2 million and will invest in about 15 companies across Europe. All those interested in applying for the Rising Tide Programme of “investing and learning while doing”, should register your interest.

You’re also the President of EBAN. Please give our readers a short intro regarding this association and its goals.

EBAN is the European Trade Association of Business Angels, Seed Funds, and Early Stage Market Players. We are a Network of Networks dedicated to creating a “Nation of Investors” here in Europe to insure that we have a “Next Generation” and not a “Lost Generation”. We encourage, inspire, and help private investors to make the best investments in innovative companies that will change the world for the better.

Who is Candace? What is driving you in life?

I bound out of bed every day, eager to bring positive change to the world. My slogan is “Never accept no for an answer, Never give up, and Never go away even when others want you to”. I believe that everyone has a personal responsibility to make the world better than when they entered it. Be it as an entrepreneur, be it as an angel investor, this is what absolutely drives me every day of my life.

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Pavel Curda
Pavel Curdahttps://cz.linkedin.com/in/pavelcurda
Pavel Curda is an entrepreneur, marketer, storyteller and writer. With experience from various multinational companies, he now helps connect startups and corporates @pavelcurda www.investably.co https://www.linkedin.com/in/pavelcurda/

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