Angels Up Academy Partnership

Angels Up Academy Bilbao: Empowering Local Business Angels

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In a nutshell

Angels Up Academy Bilbao was a hybrid program designed by Startup Wise Guys and run in collaboration with the Government of Biscay (via Seed Capital Bizkaia & Crowdfunding Bizkaia) to equip people from this region with the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to invest in startups: from theory to an actual investment. It served as a catalyst for the growth of the local startup ecosystem and helped nurturing entrepreneurship, attracting investments, and fostering collaboration among various players from the Bizkaia ecosystem.

Fact box:


Government of Biscay


17th April - 30th June 2023


To train a group of potential Business Angels within Bizkaia eager to invest in promising startups and support the growth of innovative new businesses within the local ecosystem by enabling more local investments in the longer run.

Program Target Solution

People located in Bizkaia who:

  • Had a genuine interest in investing in startups and innovative projects.
  • Could commit to do a personal investment of a minimum of 5,000€ into at least one company of their choice based in Bizkaia within the natural year (from 1/1/2023 to 31/12/2023).
  • Could attend at least 70% of the sessions (17 out 24 sessions).
Main KPIs 
  1. To achieve a minimum of 10 new trained Business Angels in the province of Bizkaia.
  2. To increase participants’ confidence in their ability to evaluate investment opportunities and make an informed investment decision after completing the program before the end of 2023. 

A customized program was developed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to become Business Angels. The program included a combination of comprehensive training sessions, practical workshops, and networking opportunities. Practical sessions included analyzing and connecting with a total of 30 startups from the local ecosystem, as well as from the rest of the world, providing participants with a broad perspective on types, stages, and asks of a diversity of startups, practicing the pitching and Q&A investor would face in the real world.


The program’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were achieved successfully as 14 individuals signed up and completed the entire program. Participants underwent a self-assessment both at the program’s start and its conclusion, enabling us to gauge their confidence in evaluating investment opportunities and making informed investment decisions. On average, participants’ confidence levels increased by 102% after completing the program and the program received an average feedback rating of 9.1/10.


Angels Up Academy Bilbao was initiated to address the need for capable and knowledgeable investors in the Bizkaia ecosystem, understanding that investments in angel education lead to investments in startups and then more new angels in a loop. Recognizing the potential of local startups and the importance of fostering innovation, the Government of Biscay collaborated to develop a program that would train individuals to become effective Business Angels. By nurturing a community of well-informed investors through this program, they aimed to create a positive ripple effect, propelling the growth of startups and encouraging a continuous cycle of angel investments within the region. This approach sought to strengthen the entrepreneurial landscape and contribute to the long-term economic development of the area.

To achieve this, a hybrid (online & offline) 11-week-long program was carried out in 24 sessions (±80 hours). 90% of the program was online; offline experiences were planned for key events and networking time.

Startup Wise Guys ensured end-to-end program execution providing access to expert-led workshops, real-life case studies, and fireside chats with international investors. By the end of it, the participants had the tools to make an informed personal startup investment decision. 

Startup Wise Guys role in the project

  • Developing a tailored program concept together with the client;
  • Support in participant selection and onboarding participants;
  • Curriculum design and content creation;
  • Experts/Mentors coordination and engagement;
  • Project management;
  • Communication and branding (brand identity, forms, landing page, social media);
  • Post-Program Support and follow-up.

The client’s objectives

  • To drive awareness to the different investment products promoted by the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia (Provincial Government of Bizkaia); Crowdfunding Bizkaia and the different Seed Capital Bizkaia Funds, as well as the programs that the Provincial Government has to promote entrepreneurship and innovation and investment in them.
  • To generate an investment network that is committed to the entrepreneurial and innovative talent of Bizkaia, investing regularly both through Crowdfunding Bizkaia and through the different products that will be studied during the course.
  • To encourage the investment network to participate in the ecosystem, both through projects or startups and by collaborating with different driving agents (investment forums…)
  • To facilitate early investor contact with startups from the Crowdfunding Bizkaia network to work on financing rounds in advance, create spaces for collaboration… encouraging a more active role for investor profiles in the financing process for startups in early phases.

“Angels Up Academy Bilbao has been an interactive and flexible program that has helped us to continue growing the investment network of the territory, get to know innovative projects and encourage investment by individuals in startups.”

Crowdfunding Bizkaia & Seed Capital Bizkaia.


The Bizkaia ecosystem has gained 14 new Business Angels who are actively committed to fostering the growth of local startups and advancing the innovation entrepreneurship network.

Throughout the program, participants were provided with:

  • 24 sessions (including 3 additional sessions not initially planned to complement their skills). 
  • Access to 17 experts in the international startup investment ecosystem
  • Exposure to 30 promising startups (based in the province of Bizkaia and beyond)
  • A self-learning experience of the main key pillars that startups need to go through (based on our renowned Pre-Accelerator Program).

In addition to the above, the program was also reinforced by:

  • Recurring Crowdfunding Bizkaia activities to meet the investment and entrepreneurial network (Coffees and Dealflow sessions).
  • Crowdfunding Bizkaia events to find out about new investment opportunities, in which investors have been able to test the tools and knowledge acquired in the course.
  • Having the opportunity to access events of the Crowdfunding Bizkaia network of collaborators to find out about investment opportunities, access complementary talks… (trainings, masterclasses and forums developed by entrepreneurship ecosystem, additional activities at accelerators, networking activities…)

The program received an average feedback rating of 9.1/10, highlighting the high satisfaction of the participants. Additionally, on average, participants’ confidence levels in evaluating investment opportunities and making informed investment decisions increased by 102% after completing the program.

The connections established during the program were robust and enduring, fostering a strong sense of trust and collaboration that permeated the entire project.

“The program itself is great and what makes it even better is that you exceed expectations. 10/10, I fully recommend it.”

"I now know better the local ecosystem, I found people like me and I feel more confident about my investment decisions and be able to create a well balanced small startup portfolio

“10/10. If you want to become a Business Angel, this is the training you need.”

“Amazing fit for me, it has exceeded my expectations with such chats and amazing guests. It was great, 10/10.”

Team Involved

Azzy Vera-Cobos, Nicoleta Pirvu, Brianna Quintero, Santiago Fortino.

Mentors/Speakers within Startup Wise Guys: Farid Singh, Alexa Balkova, Petra Wolkenstein, Franziska Kolk, Anni Pavlenko, Diana Karyan, Karina Lapina, Darja Ogorodnik, Cristobal Alonso, Fabienne Hakim, Timi Ilze, Günce Önür & Dag Ainsoo.

Collaborating with Partners

Startup Wise Guys has built a deep and meaningful collaboration with the Government of Biscay.

We have collaborated on other projects as well to ensure the internationalization of the local startup and investment ecosystems which contributes to faster development of a more diverse and resilient network. The agency is the host of the B2B SaaS Program in The B Accelerator Tower for the second time already; the organization is also supporting various events brought by the Startup Wise Guys to the province. 

The Startup Wise Guys Annual Portfolio gathering The Getaway will happen in Bilbao in 2023 and is fully supported by the Government of Biscay.