Amel Gaily has been a new face around the startup ecosystem for the past year after she started as FiBAN’s Deal Flow Manager — a job that taught her the insides and outsides’ of startups to later connect them with FiBAN’s broad community of angel investors.
Before FiBAN, she worked for 5 years at Nordea on different management roles within Nordea’s Private Banking and financial crime due diligence fields.
“Pursue what you are interested in — find a job where you can utilize your strengths .”
During her time at Nordea, she didn’t yet know about FiBAN’s existence. People in her network have pointed out that her career looks very strategic on LinkedIn — the reality is that she has always wanted to pursue roles that appeal to her and where she can make the most use of her strengths.
While her roots are in Finland, she has left a bit of her Finnish-self around the globe. She has also taken a bit with her from every country she has previously lived in: Russia, US (both Hawaii & NY), Sweden, and Israel.
“My international background is essential to who I am. That’s also why I love Maria 01. Such an international startup community .”
Having an understanding and life experience of cultures around the world is a huge asset for her new role at FiBAN, where she will be managing a dynamic and diverse team of four.
Add to that, one of her greatest passions: sports. Just this summer, Amel went on a cycling trip from Helsinki to Paris, intending to raise money for children with a critical illness.
“I learned a lot about myself while biking 14 hour long days. I love to push myself out of my comfort zone”, emphasizes Gaily, who couldn’t help but admit she had both high and low points during the bike trip. However, the end goal was worth the effort.
FiBAN’s member community has also become much more international recently, which has been a welcome change as the interest in cross-border investing has increased amongst members. The FiBAN board is also eager to modernize and create an even more professional network.
A term focused on quality rather than quantity
As of today, FiBAN has a well-tailored offering to investors, such as FiBAN academy, dealflow, newsletters, networking events such as Pitch Finland, to name a few. The most recent addition has been FiBAN follow — an investment model that enables FiBAN members to have a smoother way to make bigger, faster and straightforward investments by matching active angels with followers.
Furthermore, as Gaily explained, while on duty they want to focus on quality over quantity. “There is no rush to make changes but have a strategic approach — put all our offerings on the table and analyze each one of them. Bottom line is that we want to make our services better for our members”, she added.
For now, a big focus is to stabilize this transition for her & her team. “It’s very important to me how the team feels. I want my team to be happy. But also that they are growing and developing”, commented Gaily.
Challenges in the ecosystem require joint efforts
One of the challenges from the investment scene in Finland, as noted by Gaily, has been the influx of capital and the lack of synchronicity within the ecosystem.
Several players have entered the scene such as crowdfunding platforms, hybrids and also corporates. “There is room for all of us but the key is to collaborate”, says Gaily. Part of FiBAN’s strategy is to collaborate with its partners and ecosystem members.
Another challenge recognized by a majority has been diversity & inclusion within the tech ecosystem. “ Only 11% of our members at FiBAN are female — a number that has stayed the same for many years”, Gaily told.
Being aware has always been the initial step for FiBAN — as they are very compromised to take action towards it. “FiBAN has been collaborating for some years together with Women in Tech. This year we are co-organising the Pitch Finland event , where the focus is to have more women at the forefront”, said Gaily.
FiBAN is taking action to tackle diversity challenges
As Gaily further explained, for FiBAN, diversity is not something where they only count female-male ratios. Instead, it is about having a bigger range of underrepresented sectors to give chances of incoming deal flow and investments to diversify in the future.“ We have seen more diverse investors joining FiBAN also representing different age groups”, added Gaily.
Diversity is a challenge on deal flow side aswell. FiBAN currently handles applications where female CEO’s and founders are underrepresented. One concrete action that FiBAN does is to coach business angels by sharing information and research continuously. Some of their investors who are at the forefront of the challenge are now spending more time mentoring female entrepreneurs.
Amel further explained that the key to diversity among startups, should be an effort from everyone in the ecosystem, “ it all starts way back — such as encouraging more women inside universities to start new tech companies”, added Gaily.
Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) is a non-profit association of private investors on a mission to inspire private investments. The network is one of the largest and most active business angel networks in Europe with over 650 approved members and 100 events annually.