European Union and World Bank support Georgian Business Angel Network Axel to Strengthen Angel Investing in Georgia

European Union and World Bank support Georgian Business Angel Network Axel to Strengthen Angel Investing in Georgia

European Union and World Bank, in the framework of their joint project “Georgia: Increasing Capacity for Innovation (GICI)”, support the development of Georgia’s angel investment ecosystem, in partnership with Georgian Business Angel Network Axel. Within the GICI program, Axel’s members will participate in a 9-month-long “learn by doing” program led by angel investing experts to deepen the network’s expertise in key aspects of investing in startups and exploring how to build, manage, and exit a portfolio of startup investments. Coaching will be provided by experienced angel investors and business angel group managers from Europe and the US who will also work with Axel’s leadership to share their experience and to train them in best practices of managing angel networks.

In Georgia, business angel investing is emerging as a new form of startup capital and could play a foundational role in the country’s entrepreneurial financing ecosystem. Access to finance, especially access to “smart money,” is one of the most significant obstacles founders face when launching startups in Georgia, particularly those introducing new, innovative technologies. Angel investing typically involves successful entrepreneurs, corporate/business executives and investors investing their own capital – and importantly, time – into startup and early-stage businesses. Angel investors have the dual aims of supporting entrepreneurs and developing innovative entrepreneurial communities, as well as making a financial return.

“Under its economic and investment plan for the Eastern Partnership region, the European Union will provide substantial investments to accelerate the integration of SMEs into wider EU value chains and promote diversification of trade, supporting green and digital transition in Georgia. We, therefore, very much welcome Axel’s activities and cooperation under our program,” says Sigrid Brettel, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Georgia.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting the growth of Georgia’s innovation ecosystem, and a strong network of angel investors plays a crucial part in its development. I believe that by leveraging the international best practice and knowhow of investing in new ideas, Georgia will be well equipped for its journey of digital and green transformation,” says Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.

Launched in June 2021, Axel already unites over 30 local and international angel investors. Network aims to accelerate the development of Georgia’s tech startup ecosystem by facilitating Smart Money investments in the most promising Georgian entrepreneurs. Since its launch, Axel has hosted 2 large-scale conferences, where they invited Baltic and Nordic Business Angel Networks for experience sharing and showcasing Georgian technology startups. As a result, Axel is now forming a Georgian-Nordic syndicate as one of their cross-border investing initiatives in a local startup. Additionally, Axel became a member of EBAN (European Business Angel Network), putting Georgia on Europe’s angel investing map.

“Angel investing is still a fairly underdeveloped concept in Georgia, and we’re excited to partner with the World Bank to bring the best practices of angel investing to Axel and to strengthen our capacity to facilitate investments in the most promising Georgian entrepreneurs. During the program, our participants will have a chance to attend trainings and knowledge-sharing sessions to deepen their expertise in areas such as startup valuation, doing technical and financial due diligence, deal syndication, managing their investment portfolios, etc. The program has launched –but there is still time to join,” says Tatuli Okriashvili, the Managing Director of Axel.

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