Although the description ‘angel investor’ originally referred to backers of theatrical productions, it is now commonly used to describe private individuals who invest cash in unlisted companies and sometimes also invest time and expertise.
Angel’s motives for investing vary widely - some are looking purely for a financial return or to encourage entrepreneurial family and friends, others are interested to play an advisory and mentoring role which can on occasions grow into a management role, executive or non executive. Angels can act singly or in groups combining their resources to offer meaningful amounts of finance for emerging companies.
Because angels normally wish to take quite a close interest in the progress of their investment, most angel investing is done locally, within say a 50 mile radius.
Formal and informal groups of angels are found close to most universities which ‘spin out’ companies formed to commercialize their research.
There are significant tax benefits available for angel investors through the EIS scheme.
Angel News Newsletter - an excellent way of keeping in touch with the angel scene. It's a free news service for the investment market, especially business angels, at www.angelnews.co.uk. Modwenna Rees Mogg, who founded Angel News has written a book which she feels is required reading for all angels, retired or active.
It is called 'Dragons or Angels' and can be found at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragons-Angels-investors-business-really/dp/1854584332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228739079&sr=8-1
British Business Angels Association: see list of members which includes many angel networks http://www.ukbusinessangelsassociation.org.uk/member/directory
Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network: www.oion.co.uk
The London Business Angels Network http://www.lbangels.co.uk/ has a total of £50m available for investment through their 130 members, who invest between £100,000 and £750,000 in small companies seeking growth capital. It also has a co-investment fund, London Seed Capital.
www.businesslink.gov.uk search ‘business angels’
British Venture Capital Association www.bvca.co.uk
UK Business Incubation www.ukbi.co.uk
European Business Angel Network www.eban.org.com
Venture Capital Report www.vcr1978.com
The growth of the internet has increased the potential for 'peer to peer' financing both of loan capital and equity. Whilst it is still mainly peer to peer lending (see www.zopa.com : www.fundingcircle.com : www.thincats.com ) a similar market for equity finance is growing see www.crowdcube.com
For a site which covers all types and levels of funding, see www.businessfunding.co.uk
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