Siding with the Angels – Business Angel Investing: Promising Outcomes and Effective Strategies

After entrepreneurs develop an opportunity, and use up their own resources, they often turn to business angel investors for early investment to keep the venture growing. At this point in the development of new ventures the risk of failure is significant; many aspects of the business including customer relationships, pricing strategy, talent, and other key factors are quite unclear. Yet there are a growing number of investors known as ‘business angels’ willing to invest at this point. They have become an increasingly important source of equity finance over the last decade for new and nascent businesses as venture capital investors are not able to accommodate a large number of small deals with their attendant due diligence and oversight needs. Business angels are now prominent co- investment partners in the early-stage market. Understanding why investors would involve themselves in anything so risky is important, given the contribution of innovative start-up businesses to the economy. Although there is no comprehensive survey of business angel activity available, an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 business angels were investing up to £1 billion annually by 2000. Despite their increasing importance, little is known about the outcomes of business angel investment and returns in the UK. Mason and Harrison5 conducted the first attempt to identify the returns and characteristics of the UK business angel investors, pointing out the lack of evidence on the outcomes of investments by business angels. They suggested that this “represents a significant gap in our knowledge and understanding of an important segment of the venture capital market”.

Journal or Publication:
NESTA / British Angels Business Association
Rob Wiltbank
Year Published
Relevant Principles:
Bird-in-Hand (Means)
Pilot-in-the-Plane (Control vs. Predict)
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