The World Business Angels Investment Forum has now opened an office and established itself in Silicon Valley, the most well-known and prosperous entrepreneurial ecosystem and high technology center for innovation globally. Silicon Valley venture capital (VC) investment is equivalent to the total amount of VC funding for all of Europe, and accounts for about one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. This concentration of capital combined with access to top universities, highly experienced angel investors and mentors, and accelerators have helped it become the leading hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation worldwide. Silicon Valley is home to over 20,000 startup companies, hundreds of billion-dollar ‘Unicorns’, and the most valuable tech companies in the world, including the headquarters more than 35 multinational companies in the Fortune 1000. Many of the largest companies in the world, spanning industries from automobiles to retail to telecommunications, have also set up innovation labs to capitalize on Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
WBAF’s SV office is the second WBAF regional office in the USA, after its Miami office which launched last year. WBAF now has 10 offices across Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and MENA. It serves the economic development of countries around the world with global institutions that include a global startup investment promotion agency, a business school, an angel investment fund, and a publication house in the UK. The governments of Mexico, Kosovo, Ghana, and Mali have signed economic cooperation agreements with the World Business Angels Investment Forum. WBAF is an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).
In 2021, more than 300,000 angel investors invested more than $25 billion in startups in the US, and more than 310,000 angel investors invested more than 6 billion Euro in Europe. The estimated total global market size of angel investment is over $50 billion every year. Angel investors support entrepreneurs in starting up their businesses, and they support SMEs as they scale up, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs worldwide every year.
As governments around the world have responded to the health, social, and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization has been recognized as being of paramount importance and relevance in ensuring continuity of access to financial services. The G20 Global Partnerships for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) members issued a statement on its COVID-19 response, reaffirming the G20 commitment under the G20 Action Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to which the World Business Angels Investment Forum is one of the signatories.
Silicon Valley, as a global hub for high technology and innovation, provides important learnings that can bring angel investors, startups, scaleups, and entrepreneurs a step ahead in their digital transformation phase. Today, millions of people call the region home, as tech companies continue to capitalize on the area’s overwhelming brainpower and financial success. Spanning the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, many cities in Silicon Valley encompass many of the world’s tech leaders. While Cupertino houses Apple’s ‘Spaceship’ headquarters, Los Gatos is the home of Netflix, Mountain View boasts the Googleplex and Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus, Oracle Towers are in Redwood Shores, and Meta (formerly Facebook) is resident in Menlo Park. In Palo Alto, HP and Tesla have large campuses, while San Jose plays host to tech giants like Cisco, Intel, PayPal, and Adobe. And as new startups continue to multiply, the region will add more names to its long list of world-renowned tech residents. Largest tech companies currently in Silicon Valley include:
- Apple: 188,000+ employees
- Hewlett Packard: 186,000+ employees
- Alphabet (Google): 184,000+ employees
- Oracle: 169,000+ employees
- Intel: 128,000+ employees
- Cisco: 91,000+ employees
- Meta (formerly Facebook): 60,000+ employees
- Adobe: 24,000+ employees
Baybars Altuntas, Executive Chairman of the World Business Angels Investment Forum, says, “As an office of the biggest organization of early-stage equity and angel investment markets in the world, the SV office will ease access to smart capital for entrepreneurs, startups, scaleups, and high-growth businesses from around the world. We believe the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem will extend its global reach through the WBAF SV Office.”
Dr Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, WBAF USA Country Director, says, “The opening of our WBAF SV office represents a crucial step in our efforts to facilitate access to finance for startups and scaleups globally. The expertise and contributions of our distinguished SV founding board members will be highly valuable in strengthening our efforts to grow the global business angel ecosystem.”
Jorden Woods, Chairman of the Board of the WBAF Silicon Valley Office, says, “The WBAF SV Office will contribute significantly to WBAF’s ability to achieve its global mission to increase access to finance for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, promote gender equity, and increase digital and financial inclusion. Our ultimate goal is to create many new impactful companies, enhance social justice and increase wealth for world economies. I believe, we are well placed to bring about positive change in the global economy by working together across borders, with a common vision, and with these core principles in mind.”
Radhika Iyengar, Founding Board Member and Executive Director of the WBAF Silicon Valley Office, says, “One of the core driving principles of Silicon Valley is in value creation, and companies in SV have driven value through technology innovation that transform our lives. Global entrepreneurs now must think about value creation in a new way, creating sustainable, diverse and inclusive organizations that leverage advanced technology to solve important global challenges. The SV Office will serve as a hub providing amplified access to smart capital and share expertise in creating a new generation of market leaders leveraging ESG and UN SDG guidelines.”
The founding board of the Silicon Valley office includes important VCs, industry & emerging technology experts, and key executives driving transformative change in Silicon Valley and globally. Each board member is passionate about WBAF’s core goals of increasing financial inclusion, gender equity, and economic wealth and is actively pursuing initiatives to make them a reality. WBAF Silicon Valley Office Board Members are Emi Yoshikawa, Dr Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, Jillian Manus, Jorden Woods, Kumar Sripadam, Lu Zhang, Maria Marenco, and Radhika Iyengar. Jorden Woods will chair the Board, and Radhika Iyengar will serve as Executive Director and Board Member at the SV Office.