The Angel Investor has emerged as an important source of funding for early-stage startups across the UK. It’s helping to power the country’s economy, providing essential fuel for young, innovative companies who are creating new services, products and jobs.
What is an Angel Investor?
Angel investors (or business angels, as they’re sometimes called) are high-net-worth individuals or sophisticated investors who look for opportunities to invest their money in startups and high-growth businesses. They hail from a wide variety of backgrounds. They are men and women of all ages. They could be a retired executive, a wealthy sports person, or indeed a fellow entrepreneur.
It varies of course, but Angel investors will typically look to take between 20% and 50% stake in your startup in return for the investment. They will often use your company’s valuation as a measure for what stake they should request. Angel investors differ from other investors (for example, stock market investors) in that they often offer their relevant skills and experience to help you improve your startup’s performance and prospects.
An Angel investor network is a collective of Angel investors who club together to network, share introductions and often syndicate their capital into a larger pot to make larger investments. Think of it as an alternative to a venture capital (VC) fund. Less corporate and more diverse, more personal.
To help you get a sense of what’s on offer, here are 22 of the UK’s most active and highest-performing Angel investor networks.
London-Based Angel Investment Networks
London is a thriving business and technology hub. Here’s a list of a number of Angel investor networks which have emerged to support the capital’s ambitious startups.
The team at 24 Haymarket typically invests in disruptive companies in the healthcare, industrial, consumer, technology and media industries. Recent investments range between £1M and £5M.
With a strong focus on diagnostics, digital health and medical device technologies, Angels in MedCity bring investors together with life sciences entrepreneurs and startups. It was launched in 2014, and has since helped 43 healthcare and life sciences companies raise £14M.
Fig, based in the heart of the capital, works with companies across any sector, who are looking to raise £500K to £5M. It operates across the US, Europe and Asia, helping growing firms to complete successful funding rounds.
Firestartr funds promising digital startups, helping them from the seed stage to Series A and beyond. The Firestartr Spark Series has become one of the leading tech events in London, facilitating high-level networking and covering topics such as blockchain and AI. Firestartr’s Angel investors invest up to $2M, with an average investment of around $100K.
Galvanise provides investment to early-stage tech businesses, typically focusing on startups in the marketing technology, advertising technology and data/analytics space. It usually invests between £150K and £1M.
Newable, which acquired London Business Angels in 2017, links Angel investors with startups across the UK. It specialises in knowledge-intensive companies, including those operating at the forefront of AI, 4IR, robotics and fintech. It services around 1,500 companies annually. The network typically invests between £250K and £2.5M.
Seedrs is an equity crowdfunding platform which has facilitated over £640M into over 800 deals on our platform across 19 different sectors. So it makes sense to start off by taking a look at the way Seedrs support the growth of early-stage businesses.
With an estimated 330,000 Angels (in 2017) in active operation within the European Union, ranging from high net-worth individuals to syndicates and groups; knowing where to start, how to get in touch, and with who, is a massive challenge.
Seedrs launched the Anchor Investor Service and Deal Room specifically, for this reason, to amplify distribution by providing access to Angel Networks that regularly use the platform.
Typically, finding Angels is a time-intensive process, even if everything goes smoothly, using Seedrs allows you to reach a wider audience with less effort.
If you do find investors directly, even executing the round can be time-consuming. That’s why Seedrs also offers private deal execution, to relieve the administrative burden by leveraging Seedrs’ back-office functions to execute deals privately, allowing you to spend more time on what matters.
Angels typically invest between £10k and £50k of personal money, with the average Angel investor investing a median of £25k (according to the UKBAA). Often angel investors alone will be unlikely to fill your entire round, so you’ll need to work out how you can bookbuild to fill the round.
Seedrs are experts in book-building from multiple sources, giving you fast access to capital from a diverse group of investors by combining one of the world’s largest investment communities alongside angel investors, VCs, customers, family and friends.
Wild Blue is especially interested in entrepreneurs and startups with a link to the West London area. It often co-invests with other Angel investor groups, and as well as providing investment, the firm offers mentoring, access to its network and even office space. The network invests between £150K and £1.5M.
Women-Focused Angel Investment Networks
Many believe that diverse investor and startup teams make better decisions, are more capital efficient and give a better return on investment. Here are some of the top women-focused angel investment networks.
Angel Academe, which is currently accepting applications for its pitch event in November 2019, backs tech startups with at least one woman on the founding team. Its network currently has around 400 investors, of which 80% are women. It has invested over £5M to date.
Astia is a well-regarded network, championed by the likes of Google and Salesforce. Founded in Silicon Valley in 1999, it hosts regular events across the UK and the US, fuelling the growth of innovative, women-led startups. Members of the network have invested over $20M into startups across the world.
Based in Edinburgh, Investing Women’s mission is to drive growth at ambitious startups with women founders. Most of the network’s Angel investors have been entrepreneurs themselves and so understand the many challenges that you face. The network typically invests between £50K and £250K.
Rising Tide Europe features over 160 women from across five continents who are innovating in the area of cross-border Angel investing. It puts an emphasis on financial knowledge and is particularly active in the growing fintech sector. The fast-growing network has invested over £2M so far.
Regional Angel Investment Networks
It’s not just London that boasts an impressive startup scene. There are active Angel investor networks supporting young businesses throughout the UK.
A collaborative Cambridge-based group, this network of Angels invests in innovative startups and mentors the founding teams. It’s active across the technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. The network invests between £50K and £1M.
Cambridge Capital Group is an Angel investor network comprised of sophisticated investors, family offices and VCs that has been investing in technology startups across the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle’ (Cambridge, London and Oxford) for more than 15 years. Investments typically range between £50K and £1M.
Dorset Business Angels is an Angel investor network that provides early-stage businesses in South England with equity capital. It holds four pitch events per year in February, April, June and October, which take place at the Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton. The network invests between £5K and £500K.
Glasgow’s Kelvin Capital was founded in 2009 and has since raised over £27m for 23 companies. It began by funding early-stage technology companies but has since expanded into a range of sectors.
Housed at the University of Warwick, the Minerva Angel investor network was established in 1994 to provide investment to emerging technology startups. The typical investment amount is between £25K and £500K, and Minerva invests both in Midlands companies and further afield.
Northwest Business Angels, based in Manchester, connects young and growing companies seeking investment with Angel investors actively looking for investment opportunities in the region. It’s one of the UK’s most successful business Angel networks, with almost half of the companies selected to present to the network able to raise investment. Since it was established, more than £22M has been raised by over 250 companies.
The FSE Group is a network of Angel investors that provides funding and support services for startups and SMEs across Southeast England. It offers equity funding between £50K and £2M, as well as debt funding between £25K and £1M.
Responsible Angel Investment Networks
Many Angel investors are increasingly focused on supporting startups that are helping the green economy to grow and thrive. Here’s a list of some sustainable angel investment networks.
This network is focused on creating positive social and environmental returns, alongside the financial ones. Founded in 2012, it meets every two months to discover and invest in UK startups that are creating innovative solutions to social and environmental problems. Clearly Social Angels provide selected high-growth businesses with between £300K and £1.5M in debt or equity.
Green Angel Syndicate positions itself as the first Angel investor network in the UK to specialise in making investments that benefit the green economy. It typically invests between £250K and £500K and can act as lead investor or in a supporting role in a larger group.
Mustard Seed invests in early-stage businesses that generate both strong financial and societal returns. It draws on a strong network that includes business leaders, an FCA-authorised VC fund and top universities. Investments range up to £1M.
A Crucial Cog In The System
Because many Angel investors are ex-entrepreneurs or business leaders, they provide an essential value-add that makes Angel investment worth so much more than just the money.
Look for those experienced in your sector, as their experience and advice are invaluable. You should also look for an ability to follow on, providing more later-stage capital to continue to support you through funding rounds.
As mentioned previously Seedrs work closely with Angel investors to fund startups through our Seedrs Anchor Investor Service and Deal Room. You can raise investment on the Seedrs platform, get started by visiting www.seedrs.com/raise.
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