This year, the "Golden Aurora", the prize for the best female business angel in Europe, goes to Portugal - more precisely to Porto, the home of Lurdes Gramaxo. The nine-member European jury selected Lurdes Gramaxo as the winner, ahead of the two runners-up with equal points, Regina Llopis from Spain and Brigitte Baumann from Switzerland.
The prize was awarded for the fourth time by Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland (BAND), the association of business angels and their ecosystem in Germany, and Business Angels Europe, the European association of national business angel associations. "The fact that a Portuguese woman is this year's prizewinner shows that female angels are penetrating across the continent into a domain believed to be male and investing successfully", says Ute Günther, BAND board member. To further strengthen this trend in Germany, BAND has proclaimed the "Women Business Angels Year 2020" under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Peter Altmaier. Lurdes Gramaxo is a partner in Bynd Venture Capital formerly Busy Angels, a Portuguese VC with more than 30 active investments in its portfolio. It invests in seed and early stage companies in the IT/digital and sustainability (e.g. life sciences, clean technologies) sectors from Portugal and Spain, as well as in start-ups related to these markets. As a member of the Board of Directors of Associação Portuguesa Business Angels, the Portuguese equivalent of BAND, she is also committed to improving the framework conditions for angel investors and start-ups in Portugal and Europe. Lurdes Gramaxo studied Economics and Psychology at the University of Porto. After a career of more than 20 years in various management positions in a multinational family business based in the Netherlands, she has been a partner and board member of Bynd VC since 2015. "I'm delighted and tremendously honored for receiving this award. It is not only a wonderful recognition of the work done until now but mainly a great motivation for continuing contributing to the growth of the ecosystem in Iberia, while promoting the participation of women in entrepreneurial roles, both as investors and as founders. When financing early stage startups, the quality of the founding team is key and I will continue to actively promote diversity and complementary within our investments, as I believe it accounts for the future success of any project”, says this year's award winner. Originally, the prize was to be awarded on 8 November 2020 at a ceremony in Cologne, but this had to be postponed until next year due to the pandemic. The catch-up date for the award ceremony is spring 2021.
President of Business Angels Europe, Luigi Amati said: “I congratulate Lurdes Gramaxo for winning the “Golden Aurora” award. This is also an important milestone for BAND and BAE. This award shows that European connections between European women angel investors are getting stronger. As shown by being a core partner in the WEGate project, Business Angels Europe firmly believes in and supports the growth of women angel investing per se as well as because it will be a strong multiplier of women led high growth startups.”
With the "Golden Aurora", BAND and BAE have been honoring "Europe's Female Angel of the Year" since 2017 to recognize the important contributions of female business angels to the economy.