Kiel, February 14th, 2024

6 start-ups, 8 minutes of pitches. The goal: six-figure euro investments. The first Baltic Business Angels Schleswig-Holstein matching event this year took place at Förde Sparkasse on 13 February.

Teams not only travelled from all over Germany, but also from Iceland – the Baltic Business Angels invest internationally, even though we always like to have teams from Schleswig-Holstein with us.
Our screening committee’s pre-selection included projects on energy chewing gum, a housing search portal, a multifunctional keyboard, a cuff for therapeutic heat/cold therapy, an AI bot for gold trading and a digital method for measuring the environmental impact of companies.
„Everyone has to make really good use of the presentation. The founders absolutely have to show that they are passionate about their idea,“ says Norma Jensen, Managing Director at the BBA. Around 50 investors sit in the auditorium in front of the young entrepreneurs who want to be convinced.

„As Förde Sparkasse, we have a public mandate and are extremely proud to be organising this event here today. It creates new economic growth and networks,“ says Tim Hesse, Head of Corporate Customers, Private Banking & Specialists at Förde Sparkasse, welcoming the business angels. Behind him, Kiel’s town hall tower can be seen in the distance and the gentle cries of seagulls are omnipresent. That’s how it is here in the north. „I haven’t lived in Schleswig-Holstein for very long, but what I find here is unrivalled: The distances are short, people are keen to bring start-ups to the fore and, ideally, to establish them here permanently,“ Hesse continues.

New ideas need fresh capital

Tobias Dell and Elmar Salmassi, founders of GUMING, from Wattenbek, want to use an investment from the business angels to further commercialise their product and strengthen their marketing in order to gain more visibility. Their product is an energy chewing gum. „We were travelling a lot and realised that we needed a caffeine boost that was always with us, tasted good and wasn’t too expensive,“ says Dell. GUMING has now been available in various flavours at EDEKA and Lekkerland since a year. A chewing gum has roughly the same effect as a cup of coffee. This is how they want to convince the business angels during their pitch – including a taste test, of course!

Christian Philippi, one of the founders of Wohnsinn from Cologne, will also be there. Together with his friend Felix Weiß, he has developed an app that optimises the process of finding accommodation for landlords and tenants alike. Philippi has found a solution to his own problem: „I’ve moved nine times in four years and it’s always been a real disaster. You send out enquiries and get no answers. Then you stand in the hallway with 50 other applicants, only to get a rejection at the end of the day.“ The founders want to use the investment of 500,000 euros to drive the expansion of their property portal in the NRW region and, in future, throughout Germany.

What’s next for the start-ups?

After the six pitches, we go into the debriefing, an internal discussion round of the business angels. Here we discuss who was particularly convincing and who was not. The angels use a show of hands to indicate whether they are still interested in the start-up. During the subsequent meeting, the business angels then go into a deep dive with the start-ups that they find interesting and in which they would potentially like to invest. Open questions are clarified and initial plans for future action are forged. „Ideally, the start-ups can go home with an investment decision on the same day,“ says Julian von Hassell, chairman of the board of Baltic Business Angels Schleswig-Holstein.

All start-ups also receive feedback from the debriefing. They can use the experts‘ tips to improve their next pitches and learn from them if they do not receive investment.

How can I become a Baltic Business Angel?

Government subsidies are a central pillar in the financing of a start-up, especially in the early phase. Business angels are particularly crucial for the subsequent steps towards company growth. They finance start-ups with their own money, usually through an open investment in the company.
In addition, there are also silent partnerships or angel financing through a loan. Convertible loans also play a role, i.e. the business angel has the right to convert the loan into shares at a later date. Julian von Hassell is looking forward to hearing from interested investors: „It is helpful if you already have experience in the market, but this is not essential. We also offer help and give tutorials.“ Norma Jensen, Commercial Officer of Baltic Business Angels Schleswig-Holstein, adds: „As a business angel, you support start-ups with two wings: On the one hand with capital and on the other with your expertise and network.“ The capital available is an important prerequisite for becoming a business angel. However, the transfer of expertise is just as important for start-ups to really take off and scale. „The founders are at the beginning of their entrepreneurial activity and there are a lot of questions that can be discussed at eye level with a Baltic business angel,“ says Jensen.


© Text inspired by Förde Sparkasse
© Video and Photos: Förde Sparkasse

© 2023 Baltic Business Angels Schleswig-Holstein


Claus Ruhe Madsen

Vorstandsmitglied und Minister für Wirtschaft, Verkehr, Arbeit, Technologie und Tourismus des Landes Schleswig-Holstein​

Claus Ruhe Madsen ist seit dem 29. Juni 2022 Minister für Wirtschaft, Verkehr, Arbeit, Technologie und Tourismus. Er wurde am 27. August 1972 in Kopenhagen geboren, ist verheiratet und hat eine Tochter.

Norma Jensen

Commercial Officer

Claas Nieraad

2. Vorsitzender & Screening Officer,
Next Logistics Accelerator GmbH

Claas begann seine Karriere in der Old Economy bei „AEG und Electrolux Group“, wo er seine Leidenschaft für aufstrebende Industrien entdeckte. Das ist es, was ihn bis heute antreibt. Nachdem er bei „American Heritage Management Corp.“ an der Wall Street war und in den 1990er Jahren an den ersten internetbasierten Börsengängen teilnahm, wurde seine Leidenschaft für Technik und disruptive Technologien immer stärker. Er ist Mitgründer von „New Commercial Room“, einem VC-Unternehmen mit Sitz in Hamburg, mit dem er ein Portfolio von High-Tech-Wachstumsunternehmen verwaltet, das von medizinischen Geräten über Medien bis hin zu SaaS, IT und Cybersecurity reicht. Als Angel Investor investierte er sowohl privat in Unternehmen als auch mit dem „btov Investor-Network“. Er betreut aktiv zahlreiche deutsche StartUps, Accelerator-Programme und ist Scout im Norden für den „High-Tech Gründerfonds“ (HTGF). Dadurch hat er Zugang zu erstklassigem internationalen Deal Flow und Investoren. Darüber hinaus hat Claas mehrere Aufsichtsratspositionen inne und ist Live-Musiker mit der „Soul Lounge Connection“.

Julian von Hassell

1. Chairman

Julian beschäftigt sich als Serial Entrepreneur, Investor und Business Angel seit 2003 mit der deutschen StartUp- und Venture Capital-Szene. Dabei konzentriert er sich darauf, ausgewählten frühphasigen StartUps und ihren Gründerinnen und Gründern dabei zu helfen, Ambitionen in die Tat umzusetzen. Investiert wird meist in frühphasige B2B-Technologie-unternehmen mit erstem Track Record. Julian‘s Fokus liegt zurzeit auf Industrial IoT, Data Analytics, b2b-Plattform-Tools, e-Health und 3D. Er liebt SpinOffs, die aus Forschungsstiftungen und -organisationen oder technischen Hochschulen stammen, ist aber auch für andere Möglichkeiten offen. Mehr zu Julian findet man am besten auf seiner Webseite und hier im Interview.