EDUCATIONAL VERSUS TRANSACTIONAL MINDSET
For me to pursue my interest in Malta as an ecosystem for startups, there had to be an objective manner to value progress, and one reliable measure is to follow the $ trail of fundraising transactional activity connected to the island. This does not mean that bootstrapped startups are in any shape or form of lessor value, its simply that its much harder to measure progress if no $ valuation is ever placed on Malta connected startups.
Deal making still remains hard to capture, as business angel type deals continue to take place undisclosed and an impactful event like the acquisition of Altaro is reported for an undisclosed amount. However the progress of a company like Weavr, who raised funding from reputable Fintech investors paves the road for others to follow. Further to this Philip Camilleri’s SmartAssets received a 1$ billion dollar valuation in its latest funding round. Granted, the legal entities concerned may not be Malta registered companies, but the Maltese DNA of these founders is undeniable.
The goal of showcasing startup transactions is so that local established businesses, whether corporate or family-owned, will see the potential value of investing in the local startup grassroots movement. Additionally, by having a constant feed of transactional activity with strong connections to Malta, will allow international and regional investors to find comfort in investing in Malta branded startups, simply because others have done it before them.
I have been professionally involved with startups for 6+ years now. Until recently, startups in Malta were only seen as an educational pathway into “real” business. So whereas talking about “failing forward, learn-by-doing and getting shit done” is great and makes for great content on our group page, it simply is not enough to attract risk capital to the ecosystem.
I have a simple appeal to anyone in the Maltese ecosystem of startups that may happen to have spared a couple of minutes to read this:
- If you are a startup and have raised money from investors (business angels, family offices or venture capital) please do some PR around the deal;
- If you are an investor with a connection to Malta and are curious about the ecosystem, kindly attend local events or get in touch with me and make your presence known
Your actions will encourage founders to learn that there is indeed an evolving ecosystem in Malta. It will allow international investors to acknowledge that their peers have taken a risk connected to Malta, and it will encourage the Malta business community that investing into growth startups is a strategic diversification opportunity they can pursue.
Overall, the last 8 months at Malta Startups Space have matched my expectations. I am regularly meeting interesting people, talented founders, veteran entrepreneurs and the occasional curious investor-type. We still enjoy a niche following, recently I received an awesome compliment. I was told that our facebook group “feels authentic”, which in a world of misinformation, fake news and political corruption is a damn good label to have!
Thanks for being part of this journey!