Angels double their investments in start-ups

Business angels - individuals who help fund start-up and growing companies - commit nearly twice as much money to each investment as they did three years ago, according to research published today to mark the 10th anniversary of the Local Investment Networking Company (Linc).

The report, by Zsolt Lengyel of the London School of Economics and James Gulliford of Bristol Business School, finds the average transaction is worth pounds 57,000, compared with pounds 30,000 in 1994, while nearly a third of deals involve investments of more than pounds 100,000.

The findings follow the publication of further research last week from the British Venture Capital Association suggesting that the number of business angels registered with networks and seeking investment opportunities has doubled since December 1993 to more than 5,600. The number of investment opportunities has also risen substantially, by over 70 per cent to more than 2,200, while the number of networks seeking to match would-be investors with opportunities has also more than doubled, from 17 to 43.

The survey in "Sources of Business Angel Capital" claims that in the past four years angels have invested more than pounds 65m in more than 700 registered companies. In the past year, 373 angels have put more than pounds 19m into 192 UK companies.

Susan Krantz, general manager of Linc, said the research was "highly encouraging to those of us who believe that business angels offer a very attractive option for growing companies and start-ups seeking finance and other support".

She added that the research demonstrated that the concept was gaining strength and meeting a real need for investors and investees. More than 70 per cent of those surveyed by Linc thought that the deals concluded were favourable to both sides. Nearly half of the investors questioned planned to make further informal investments in the future.