In 2018 a new local network of investors was created in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Fast forward three years, our group contributed with investments of approximately 2 million euro in startups from telemedicine to agritech.
We started with a clear aim to facilitate deals between angel investors and early stage startups, with each investor individually deciding their participation in each funding round.
During this period we noticed that, besides funding, startups need support programs, business advisory and strategic partnerships. Also, investors need support in investing and collaborating with startups. Through this network, we aim to offer all of these valuable resources.
Our community of angel investors almost doubled this year! Currently, there are 40 angel investors and business people that can do more than just investing money into a startup.
Behind this growth there is a team of 6 people that work, meet, argue, vote, laugh, learn and contribute, as best as they can, to the growth of both the organization and the overall Romanian startup ecosystem.
Transylvania Angels Network is a project of Cluj Startups (NGO aiming to help the startup ecosystem grow). Together our network and the other projects and activities in the organization (Cluj Startups Pre-accelerator, Upster Startup Conference, “Startup House” i.e. our startup club, meetups and other events and programs) work synergically together to reach our goal of meeting the investment needs both from an investor and from a startup perspective.
This means a meetup a month, where 3 startup founders pitch (in english) to our investors. For many of the founders this pitch was a turning point – either they received valuable feedback regarding their valuation and business ideas in general, or feedback and funding. The smallest individual investment ticket was 2.500 euro from one member and the highest contribution by one of our members was 25.000 euro.
This year we have talked with a total of 86 startups that expressed their desire to pitch for investment. From telemedicine to agritech we had startups that had a great tech team but lacked the marketing and sales expertise; other startups had a great product but a weak business model. And also some of them were at the MVP stage while others already had found paying clients. Nevertheless no matter the stage of the startup, we will always appreciate the founders that want to take their startup to the next level by presenting the opportunity to investors.
They say that 7 is a lucky number and we can confirm it! Our investment group contributed with investments that totaled over 1.3 million euro during 2021. In some of them T.A.N. was the lead investor, others already had a lead investor and two of them raised their second round of investment from us.
Here are the startups that triggered our members to invested in:
Telios (2021) – founded by Philip Choban and is one of the earliest telemedicine companies in Romania. They brought over 25 years of experience in remote health care services from the United States. Their vision is to innovate health care services in Romania through technology and telemedicine solutions aimed at improving the experience of beneficiaries.
This is our second investment in Telios and we appreciated the strong growth in the use of services as a number of customers, the maturity of the management team and the future prospects for partnerships and expansion. This investment was led by T.A.N. and with the contribution of the other angel investment groups, like Fortech Investments, Growceanu and TechAngels, we managed to raise together 800K euro.
Metabeta – portfolio management software for early-stage investors, accelerators, angels, and venture capital firms founded by experienced founders in the startups world. Our members saw a great value in the team and contributed 25K euro for the startup’s growth.
IFactor – an innovative online alternative financing solution for SMEs, bringing together small and medium-sized companies interested in financing their accounts receivable amounts, with investors and banks looking to diversify their asset portfolio through low-risk investments. 60K euro is the sum that our members invested based on the team expertise and dedication.
AIVA – a deep-tech startup bringing A.I. solutions which help clients monetize their CCTV infrastructure by: increasing sales, decreasing costs and unlocking data that is collected but never used.
Enterprises like retail chains, commercial spaces and public spaces spend hundreds of thousands of euros in setting up CCTV infrastructure that monitors and records data 24×7. However, less than 0.01% of this data is used by these enterprises. AiVA unlocks the potential of this data by plugging into existing infrastructure and helping clients monetize this by increasing sales and/or reducing costs and theft.
This is the second time, T.A.N. members invested in AIVA and along with other investment groups, we managed to commit 200K euro.
CBN Agrotech – offers smart solutions and technologies satisfying tangible needs for the agriculture sector, in the post-harvest niche. They increase value to all stakeholders from harvest to food processors, with 24/7/365 monitoring, remote management and instant alerts from storage silos and various transport modes. The expertise of the team and evolution of this startup’s revenue, were positive signs for an investment. There is a considerable sum committed investment from our members, along with other investors (soon to be disclosed).
StageMe – with their platform, clients can add influencer live streaming events to their e-commerce portals. This brings benefits including; increasing customer engagement, loyalty and sales by integrating this new marketing channel: influencer live streaming events. For this startup our members committed to invest 20K euro.
Sypher – a software platform that manages how businesses collect, organize and review the information needed to assess, document, and maintain GDPR and other regulatory compliance needs. They already have clients, including one very large group of companies that is also investing in them. Two of our members see the same potential in this opportunity as that client and are investing 10K euro.
We’re grateful to Fortech Investments, Growceanu and TechAngels for their collaboration with T.A.N. during this year.
Several of the above investments would have not been possible without the collaboration with the other angel investor groups in Romania. We are glad that we increased our investments together and look forward to more in 2022!
In this way the ecosystem is growing and more quality startups with local products and services will be available on the Romanian market, and beyond.
Also besides funding, we are happy that our members participated in hackathons and other events / webinars where they had the opportunity to mentor “early stage” startup founders and help them with valuable feedback and connections.
1 New Team Member
This is the last year in review number and we are glad to introduce Adrian Suteu as our newest team member in the role of Operational Manager. Him joining the management team is a sign of our growth and desire to continue the professional structure of our organization. His role is to handle the day to day operations of T.A.N. Adrian is also a marketing specialist. He’s also a startup, stocks, crypto investor and likes reading and rock climbing (hobbies in antithesis). Feel free to connect with him on Linkedin.
They say that not making a plan for your success is like making a plan for your failure. Like a sniper, in 2022, we aim to:
Reach 70 active members
Sounds like a small number but it’s not. Most Romanian investors like to play it safe (investment funds, government bonds, real estate) and that’s understandable. When we invest in a startup, we invest in the energy, time and desire of a group of people that really believe in their solution and the risk is much higher than other types of investments.
Most of the startup founders are looking for smart money – investors that also bring their industry expertise and contacts to the startup. That’s why we are searching for investors that bring to the table their knowledge and energy to help the startup they invest in. We are looking for people with the desire to learn about startup investments, their markets, their risks and their opportunities; while also being open to ideas that seem “impossible to implement in Romania, or grow internationally”.
Just like in a relationship, problems will appear. The only thing we can do is to adapt and make the best of it. Crisis (for example the chip crisis), pandemics or government laws will always knock on our door and can interrupt our work. We know that communication is the key and we plan to do it better.
We will continue to search for early stage opportunities as well as later stage ones with some traction. With our connections to the Romanian ecosystem we will continue to work hard to find the most interesting opportunities for investment.
By networking with the right people, you can reach your goals faster. From time to time we organize dinners and other events with the members. They are a great opportunity for everybody to get to know each other live or online and share some ideas. We plan to do it more often. We know that context is everything and by providing the right context we are sure that some unexpected partnerships will arise.
Education is a key pillar in our activity and we will continue to provide different webinars and educational programs for our members. To date we have had webinars topics on various subjects, including: term sheets, pitch deck analysis, collaboration with venture funds.
In the past year we have grown once again compared to 2020. Our members have committed to investing in 7 startups, we’ve hosted 12 meetups (almost 1 per month), 29 startups pitched and much more are in the pipeline. We have also managed to pass the 1 milion EUR mark in investments (direct and in partnerships), which is a huge achievement!
This year more than 40 people put their trust in us and joined us as members. Internally we grew as well – our board team is 6 strong. We also had the pleasure of having Adrian Suteu join us as operations manager and make sure all things come together. In 2022 we aim to get closer to the 100 members target, consolidate our internal team and align our processes to enable us to grow even further.
We have seen increased collaboration with other angel investment groups like Fortech Investments, Growceanu and TechAngels and others. In 2022 we aim to continue and build on those partnerships both inside and outside Romania.
Being a project of the Cluj Startups NGO, we have continued our efforts of helping and supporting the ecosystem through our dedicated programs, mentoring, our network as well as continuing to collaborate with other organizations across the board. We at T.A.N. are focused on offering both investment opportunities to our members, but also help the startups get the feedback and support that they need, and of course those that are also ready for funding. – says Calin Sipos, board member of T.A.N. and president of Cluj Startups.
Do you know that feeling when you had a startup idea, did nothing and a year later somebody else implemented it? Now think about how it will feel to have the opportunity to be a part of the business idea that you help to succeed.
Getting to this point of the article means that you have interest for more than “the safe” investments. 2022 is right around the corner and maybe it’s time to see what other opportunities are available with higher risks and the potential for much higher returns.
By joining T.A.N. you will have the opportunity to:
They say we are 5 contacts away from anybody in the world. Who would you like to meet and didn’t have the chance to be introduced to?
Never keep all your assets in one basket. It doesn’t matter if we talk about real estate, investment funds or crypto. Diversify your assets just like you diversify your diet.
Rule no. 1 of investment is to always be informed and educated. Rule no. 2 is to not forget rule no. 1.
Everything looks easy until you have to work through the processes and create the paperwork. Sure, lawyers can do it but will you understand it?
The ecosystem is growing and it’s hard to keep up with all of the startups. It’s more time consuming to find the best opportunities for your investment parameters. An investor’s job is to say “No”, most of the time; only an informed investor will know when to say “Yes”.
The people are the most valuable asset that T.A.N. has. We are grateful for the chance to learn from all of their expertise and experience.
If at least one of the above items spiked your interest, then fill out the form and we’ll arrange for a discussion about becoming a member.
A new year is coming and maybe some new dreams will be born inside your mind. Some will say that it’s impossible, others will say that it’s foolish and a few will say just start it!
Dare to dream, have the courage to start and work EVERY single day for what you want. With every small step you will be closer to your desire.
Don’t forget to educate yourself and…
Ask for help when you need it. Many people took this road before you and it’s smartest to learn from their mistakes. They will gladly share their insights and give you advice (everybody loves to give advice) but only if you ask for it.
We are here to listen to you and help you with whatever we can. Why? Because it’s all about people, learning and enjoying the process!
But first, start with a dream, or even better a plan!
P.S In this article you can find the whole process of how you can communicate with us. We kindly ask you to read it before applying to us.