TechAngels Start-up Review: The pandemic has brought forward the value of teams and the need for business and market know-how.

  • Almost one third of the tech start-ups catch the investors’ eye
  • Team quality was the best metric of the year in the 230 start-ups participating in the TechAngels’ pitch sessions
  • 12% of the start-ups pivoted in 2020
  • Half of the start-ups need more client and market focus

Bucharest, December 9, 2020 – 31.3% of the start-ups attending pitches in the first 11 months of 2020 have caught the eye of TechAngels investors. Of the 230 start-ups participating in the pitches hosted by TechAngels, 10% succeeded in gaining individual investment commitments. Another 21.3% were appealing to joint funding, with investors manifesting their desire to join other potential angel investors, or for subsequent funding phases. Approximately 40% of the start-ups were found to be too early in seeking angel investors, and were recommended to undergo an acceleration program before making use of an investment. One quarter of the start-ups were little convincing and did not raise any interest from the investors.

The most frequently positively noted dimension in 2020 was team quality, with almost 50% of the start-ups scoring under this criterion. This is quite a progress from the previous years, when team structure was one of the start-ups’ vulnerabilities when participating in pitches.

“This year, we have noticed that the teams attending the pitches were better structured, with an improved combination between product expertise and relevant competences. This could mean faster progress towards maturity, which was also driven and pushed by the pandemic context,”

says Malin- Iulian Stefanescu, President, TechAngels.

For 52% of the tech start-ups encountered throughout the first 11 months of 2020, angel investors have noticed the need for better focus on understanding client needs and the market where start-ups operate. Although these have been trends that have been constantly noted over the last years, they were all the more apparent in 2020, with changes occurring in all sectors that have driven transformation and quick pivoting, and have underlined the necessity of responding to the growing needs of potential customers, optimal positioning and even changing the chosen solutions.

About 12 percent of the start-ups pivoted throughout the years and adapted their strategy or products to the pandemic-generated circumstances.

The industries represented in the pitches were diverse, in line with the previous years, covering fintech, sales, gaming, market research, marketing, etc., with a noticeable rise for projects in remote medical services, collaborative tools for various corporate segments, and digital.

More than 80% of the start-ups had, throughout the year, business models that were rated average or below the average, therefore indicating the need for better preparation.

Angel investors also look beyond the projects’ immediate figures, as they can also assume the roles of involved mentors and advisors for the business plans. The 70 TechAngels members have extensive experience in both entrepreneurship and major corporations, so they can help with the testing, product adjustment and business plan development processes. Over the last year, our monitoring of the start-up ecosystem has also grown more structured, as we want to pitch in where most needed,”

adds Malin Stefanescu.

TechAngels investors delivered more than 1,100 hours of coaching and mentoring throughout 2020.

If you want to grow your business or if you want to become a member of the TechAngels Business Angels Association, please don't hesitate to contact us - [email protected]

Download The Good Advice Booklet

Season 1, 2021

Pitch season is always on at TechAngels, we meet over 70 startups per year and we are screening other 200. Every team we meet is unique but there are also some common traits, especially in business organization and management. We asked our angel investors, who have unique experiences and act as individuals when taking investment decisions, to share one piece of advice they see as being constantly needed, as response to the recurrent problems founders may encounter or as a reflection of their own struggles as entrepreneurs, mentors, business professionals. Thus resulted The Good Advice Booklet which in the end looks like a crash course in management.

As Malin Stefanescu, TechAngels President put it: “Learning from your mistakes is great, learning from other’s mistakes is definitely cheaper.”