Important tips for startups from HAI Smart Equity GmbH

2 min read
01 Apr 2022

tarted in 2014 by Arno F. Likar and Peter Griehser, HAI Smart Equity are business angels and startup investors.

Arno and Peter have a wealth of experience in the startup scene, having worked as entrepreneurs themselves and founded their own companies prior to forming HAI. They are uniquely positioned and connected to offer cash investment – typically from €20,000 ($24,000) to €200,000 ($240,000) – to future-thinking, scalable and innovative technology-led startups. One of their most successful investments so far is a blockchain technology company, and they are keen to explore the potential of this industry more. Their main investment criteria is that the team leading the startup must be authentic and willing to commit wholeheartedly to its business. The startup should be a full-time occupation, and the founders should have already made a financial contribution to the business themselves. Arno and Peter are especially interested in ideas and business concepts that are future-orientated and provide solutions for real world problems. Having worked in the legal sector for many years, it is also of utmost importance to them that startups are legally sound and compliant.

With strong links to the local startup scene, and acting as advisers to Graz-based startups in their capacity as lawyers, Arno and Peter are mentors on a number of accelerator programs, including the Gründungsgarage, the Science Park Graz and Unicorn Graz. They bring an exceptional perspective and understanding of what it takes to grow and scale a business. They see themselves as sparring partners for the startups they invest in and work closely with them to offer advice and ensure that the startup’s potential is unleashed and the business has room to grow and scale, unheeded by intervention. They also have exceptional access to the global funding community and to a network of large funds, allowing them to connect to additional funding opportunities for the startups they work with.

Most important tips for startups

💡 Commit yourself fully. Be fully committed to making a success of your business. We expect teams to be working full time on their companies and to have made a personal financial commitment to the business.

💡 Think big. We’re looking for startups that see beyond just the business plan, are willing to think big and comprehensively, and are able to see the longer-term strategy.

💡 Protect your property. Our years of legal and intellectual property experience mean we have a unique insight into what it takes to protect your business from a legal perspective. We want you to have already begun to protect your assets.

💡 Be authentic. We are not interested in egos; we’re looking for solid teams who want to work hard and succeed.

💡 Have a balanced team. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, know when to ask for help and be open to taking it when you need it.

A version of this article is included in Startup Guide Graz, alongside many more expert insights and useful tips. Order your copy now!

Written by Lucy Beckley

Repackaged by Anastasia Ilcov

Photography by Kurt Remling