A number of angel groups reported their most active years to date
Archangels investment up by 44% in 2021
Archangels, the Edinburgh-based business angel investment group, led investments totalling a record £23.7 million in Scottish tech and life sciences companies during 2021. The eleven investments represented an increase of 44% over 2020. In total, Archangels invested £11.8 million of its members’ own cash during 2021, up 46% on 2020, with co-investors during 2021 including Scottish Enterprise, Maven Capital Partners, Par Equity, Sands Capital Ventures, and NVM.
David Ovens, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, said “Our 2021 investment performance demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in promising Scottish businesses that are at the leading edge of innovation in their field.
“Scotland’s tech and life sciences markets are as vibrant as they have ever been and there’s no shortage of great ideas coming from Scottish inventors, change-makers and innovators.”
Also in 2021 Archangels co-founder, Mike Rutterford, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UKBAA Angel Investment Awards, recognising his 29-year-long contribution to business angel investing in the UK, alongside that of his Archangels co-founder, Barry Sealey.
Equity Gap reports strongest year to date
During 2021, members of the business angel syndicate Equity Gap invested £4 million across 28 funding rounds, leveraging total funding of £34 million into investee companies. Six new companies joined the portfolio: Brewgooder, Pneumagen, PneumoWave, Quickblock, Sharktower and UlemCo. Nine of the ten new companies funded by Equity Gap in the last two years are in the clean tech sectors or offer new solutions in healthcare, reflecting growing investor interest in sustainability driven businesses.
Key funding partners include Scottish Enterprise, SIS Ventures, Alba Equity, Archangels, Kelvin Capital, Par Equity, Foresight Group and, for the first time, the Scottish National Investment Bank.
Since it was founded in 2010, Equity Gap investors have invested a total of £25m, leveraging additional funding of over £100m for investee companies.
2021 also included the trade sale of Spoonfed to 365 Retail Markets, which delivered returns for 31 of the syndicate’s members, including seven of the original founder members. Equity Gap moves into 2022 with eight pipeline funding rounds valued at over £10 million due to complete in the first quarter and more potential exits in development.
Par Equity more than doubled its annual investment
In 2021 the group invested £25 million compared with £12 million in 2020. In total, the portfolio raised £89m, with £25m coming from Par and the remaining £64m invested by a growing list of co-investment partners across the UK and in the US.
This was in addition to a $400m exit on the sale of portfolio company Current Health in October, which continued Par Equity’s track record of returning cash to investors every year since 2013.
Par Equity backs emerging technology stars across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. In 2021 its team reviewed close to 1,000 business opportunities, from which it selected six new investments while also providing follow-on finance for 21 existing portfolio companies.
In October 2021, Par passed a major milestone of £100 million of capital invested since it started in 2008, a reflection on how its business model has matured. Having the ability to lead Series A rounds was a key development in Par Equity’s approach in 2021. In late March, it coordinated a £5m round into Edinburgh-based Cyan Forensics, and around the same time led a Series A investment into a Northern Irish business, Plotbox.
In recognition of its continued development, Par Equity won six UK-wide industry awards in 2021 including Best EIS Investment Manager in the EISA (Enterprise Investment Scheme Association) Awards, and Best Angel Group in the UKBAA (UK Business Angel Association) Awards.
Investing Women Angels ends year with two investments
The syndicate backed Kate Cameron, founder of Cytochroma, a company offering genetically diverse stem cell models for accelerated drug discovery (see separate report in this issue), alongside fellow female focused Angel Academe, Cambridge Ventures and Scottish Enterprise. It also invested in London-based SMASH, a rights and IP platform for the film & TV industry targeting the rapid growth global content streaming market.
Jackie Waring, CEO & founder of Investing Women, commented “Adding another two female founded companies to our portfolio brings our members’ investment total to £2.1m, 90% of which has gone into female founded companies, a statistic we’re especially proud of as we continue to ‘move the dial’ towards far higher levels of investment going to women.” The syndicate now has investments in 22 companies.