Europe Fintech

How a digital-first working environment can support the start-up ecosystem amid COVID-19

Financial firms need to adopt a digital-focussed working environment if they want to survive beyond current lockdowns, says Arches Capital.

The Amsterdam-based Business Angels believe that strong technological foundations and connectivity have been among the main reasons why they have been able to support their members and the Dutch start-up ecosystem amid current social and economic uncertainty.

While physical meetings drive the investment sector, a digital-first approach has been the norm at Arches Capital from the get-go. The angel network saw a new need for a digital platform where their members could invest in projects and share deal flow in a secure and private environment, whenever and wherever they want. By placing technology at the heart of their client strategy, Arches Capital was able to meet the increasing demand of its investors and continue to support start-up businesses even when traditional investment pitches have been impossible to facilitate.

Roel Bergsma, Managing Partner at Arches Capital, said: “Investment opportunities haven’t stopped because people are working from home; on the contrary, many Business Angels still want to invest in early-stage companies and support their growth plans. Here, our digital-first approach has been a lifesaver – not just because our Business Angels can manage their portfolios as usual, but more importantly because we are still able to find the necessary funding for a great set of start-ups and scale-ups.

“The start-up ecosystem is crucial when it comes to stimulating the economy. We are proud to continue driving investments to these early-stage companies through a digital-first approach, which is helping them to scale their business during this uncertain time.

Just before global lockdowns were enforced, Arches Capital took its digital strategy to the next level by commissioning a specialised investment platform for its network. The platform, which is powered by Welsh fintech company Delio, enables Arches to connect entrepreneurs and angels alike and has helped the company to support start-up businesses across the Netherlands.

The investment sector has had to adapt quickly during the current pandemic, and many believe this will change the way that Business Angels and Venture Capitalists work in the future. Since Arches Capital was able to adapt and scale during a crisis by maximising their technology use, the Business Angels network is not planning to return to ‘business as usual’.

Instead, they already have plans in place to enhance their digital footprint further by adopting new features from their digital partner Delio that focus on social interactivity, automated messaging and developing a hybrid meetup space. The new meetup functionality will enable Business Angels and business owners to either meet in person or online in their own time, encouraging interconnectivity between the two parties.

David Newman, Co-Founder of Delio, said: “Current lockdowns have forced many financial institutions to review their processes. Over the last few years, the industry has started to adopt digital-first solutions; however, this is often a lengthy process and is not always a priority on their business agenda. Now that the industry is feeling the consequences of slow technological adoption, they are speeding up their processes in a bid to catch up. It is an uncertain time, and many financial firms have difficult decisions to make. However, they should look at forward-thinking Business Angels like Arches Capital to see the benefits of a digital-first approach both for themselves and, more importantly, for their clients.

Arches Capital is a fast-growing network that bridges the gap between Business Angels and Venture Capitalists, combining smart capital with engagement and community.

Author

  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

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