News in Brief

The AccelerateHER programme, run in Scotland by Investing Women (, has teamed up with Barclays Ventures to offer specialist mentoring to some of the nation’s most promising female-led companies.

Angel investors from Scotland’s only all-female angel group, Investing Women Angels, will deliver the one to one digital mentoring sessions.  100 ambitious female founders will access the opportunity through Barclays’ network of Eagle Labs and its fintech platform RISE ( when the first sessions kick off later this month.  Barclays is also increasing its commitment to the AccelerateHER Awards, confirming its position as lead sponsor for the 2021 awards, which will launch later this year.

In August Edinburgh investment syndicate Equity Gap ( celebrated 10 years as one of Scotland’s most successful angel investment groups with record investment figures and a healthy pipeline of new deals.  Meeting the challenge of Covid-19 head on, the syndicate completed 22 investments in the first half of 2020, with total member funds invested since inception topping £20 million.

Having grown from 15 to 150 members since inception, the firm’s portfolio of over 30 early stage start-ups has created over 400 jobs, primarily in Scotland, across a range of sectors including consumer products, food and drink, life sciences, and SaaS.

Jock Millican, founder and director of Equity Gap and also chairman of the LINC Scotland angel capital association, said “We have worked hard to ensure continuity of business and investment through an unsettling time and this is reflected in our half year figures.  With a healthy pipeline of new investments, Equity Gap is well placed to continue to support young businesses through angel investment.

“It has never felt more important to support these fledgling organisations as we rebuild our economy.

“An increase in scale up funding options for organisations with high growth potential is essential to help them realise their growth aspirations.  Scotland’s angel investment community will continue to pull together to support our entrepreneurs.  Overall figures from Q2 of 2020 show Scotland’s angel syndicates led 58 deals which totalled £40.87 million with approximately 20% of this investment going into new companies.”

Three Scottish companies (compared with one last year) featured in the recent Sunday Times Sage Tech Track 100 league table, having grown their sales by an average of 59% a year over three years to a total of more than £30m, and collectively employing 220 people.

All three are new entrants to the listing:

  • at #56, Aberdeen oil field equipment
    manufacturer EnerQuip ( saw sales reach £11m last year;
  • at #82 Dundee-based mobile app developer Waracle ( saw sales hit £11.8m last year. Its customers include Virgin Money, the NHS, and Scottish Power, and it acquired Dundee-based Mozenix in 2018;
  • at #93, Isle of Skye- healthcare software developer Sitekit( saw contracts with governments and the NHS drive sales to £8.4m this year.

Modulus Oncology, a spinout from the University of Sheffield focused on treating hard-to-treat cancers, was launched on 9 September.  Edinburgh drug discovery accelerator Cumulus Oncology ( was a founding shareholder in the company, the first of several that it intends to support with its model of delivering strong returns from the companies it creates, incubates, and accelerates.

As part of the spinout deal, executives from Cumulus including CEO and founder Clare Wareing and chair Alan Wise, have taken on senior roles in the leadership team of Modulus with Wise appointed CEO and Wareing taking up the post of chief business officer.

NB:  Hear Clare Wareing talk about her experience of achieving productive investor/investee relationships in Session 3 of the YCF virtual conference on 24th September next week.  See back page for details on how to register.

Syndicate Room ( is seeking £30m for its new investment fund, Access EIS, which allows investors to invest in start-up companies alongside Super Angels – angel investors who have exceptional track records of investing in start-ups.

SyndicateRoom has analysed every early stage funding round in the UK since 2011, and by analysing over a million data-points has identified, modelled, and now partnered with, Super Angels who have continually invested in the most promising opportunities.  To qualify as a super angel the investor must have achieved ~30% year on year growth over the last five years and have made at least one new investment per year during that time.  Most investors identified have achieved higher than 30% year on year and have invested in multiple new companies per year.

A recent analyst note from PitchBook entitled Angels: Foundational Investors to VC makes the case that “Angel investors are, in many ways, the backbone of the venture industry, providing founders with much more than capital early on in business development.”

The study focuses on the investment by business angels in companies in the USA, and goes on to say that “In 2019, more than $3 billion was invested in rounds that contained only angel investors, a figure that doesn’t even include participation in rounds led by institutional investors.  However, the high-profile, deep-pocketed angels that many believe are typical to the industry are far from it.”

The report concludes that “The data provides evidence of the benefit that angel investors can bring to their portfolio companies.  Roughly 74% of companies that raised their first investment through angel financings between 2006 and 2014 were able to raise follow-on funding.  By contrast, companies that did not raise angel capital received further funding at a rate of just 59%.”

The situation is a little different in the UK, with fewer angel backed businesses going on to raise VC investment, but the full report can be downloaded from the PitchBook website


Written by Published: 09/12/2020 Homepage Featured, News

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