British Business Angels Association

Business Angels nurture your Business Ideas...

A Close Look at the British Business Angels Association

The British Business Angels Association or BBAA is the only national trade association dedicated to promoting angel investing and supporting early stage investment in the UK.

Its endeavour is to create an ecosystem that will help support British industries by bringing together angel networks, private investors, early stage funds and professional advisors.

The British Business Angels Association first came about in 2004 with the help of a major impetus and backing from the government. Since then, the British Business Angels Association has managed to grow significantly within a short time frame, into a vibrant community of like-minded organisations. Today, the BBAA represents almost 100 organisations including the vast majority of business angel networks across the UK, over 20 early stage venture capital funds, as well as professional service providers and advisers, including accountancy and law firms, corporate finance, banks, regional development agencies, universities and public policy-makers.

In addition, the BBAA has direct links with the government and Whitehall which ensures that the requirements of the early stage industry are not only heard but also acted upon. The BBAA is rapidly becoming the decisive voice of early stage investment in the UK, which it is capitalizing upon to build existing relationships and communication channels at regional, national and international levels to ensure that the industry receives the recognition that it duly deserves.

The five-pronged role of the British Business Angels Association is as follows:

  • Promoting angel and venture capital as smart money and the primary mechanism for new and high growth potential businesses to fund their capital requirements;
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  • Facilitating contact and the exchange of best practice and experience between angel groups, venture capitalists and other sources of early stage funding through networking events and regular communication with its membership;
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  • Engaging in regular dialogue with the government, opinion formers and leaders at a national level to help shape policy for the benefit of the industry;
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  • Creating links with other like-minded UK and international associations and organisations;
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  • Having an agreed code of conduct for all Members to promote best practice and transparency across the industry.

That said, entrepreneurs might like to take note of the fact that as a trade association, the British Business Angels Association does not actually provide direct contact to Business Angels, and therefore cannot provide funding directly. What it can do is point entrepreneurs in the right direction, and provide them with some really solid advice that would be useful to them in their pursuit of obtaining business funding.

Membership

With a veritable number of organizations already on board the BBAA as members, it wholeheartedly welcomes other organizations to also come on board and reap the rewards of being a part of it.

In accordance, the BBAA offers three categories of memberships:

1. Angel Network Membership

There are currently 25 angel networks in England and Wales, which are members of the BBAA. Other angel networks can sign up as members, provided they fulfill the following criteria:

  • They are formally structured or constitute a business angel group, network or syndicate with an active involvement in the SME investment market;
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  • They agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure;
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  • They have requisite evidence of good standing;
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  • They must have two full members of the British Business Angel Association sponsoring their application;
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  • They complete a questionnaire that is to be compulsorily answered; and
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  • They pay the annual subscription, as mandated, to BBAA, which is £750 + vat per year.

Some of the 25 angel networks which are already members of the BBAA include Cambridge Angels, Connect London, Creative Arts Investment Network, Great Eastern Investment Forum, London Business Angels, Northwest Business Angels, Octopus Ventures Limited, Oxford Early Investments, Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network, SWAIN, Thames Valley Investment Network, and Yorkshire Association of Business Angels.

Benefits of Angel Network Membership would include:

  • Access to various networking events, meetings, conferences and other similar gatherings.
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  • Being in sync with major industry developments.
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  • An opportunity to work directly with the government.
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  • Can be a mjor source of dealflow information, viz. a major source of referrals for companies seeking investment and investors.

2. Venture Capital Fund Membership

19 Venture Capital funds currently hold membership of the BBAA. Others are welcome to join in, provided they fulfill the following criteria:

  • They are actively involved in investing in UK SMEs or at least UK-based SMEs;
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  • They agree to abide by the BBAA Code of Conduct;
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  • They have definitive evidence of good standing;
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  • They complete the given questionnaire; and
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  • They pay the annual subscription, as directed, to BBAA, which is the same as for angel network membership, viz. £750 + vat per year.

Venture Capital Fund Membership can assure various advantages, including but not limited to:

  • Access to various networking events, meetings, conferences and other similar gatherings.
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  • Being in sync with major industry developments.
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  • An opportunity to work directly with the government.
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  • Can be a major source of dealflow information, viz. a major source of referrals for companies seeking investment and investors.

3. Associate Membership

Professional service providers are also increasingly signing up as members of the BBAA. Backgrounds of such persons include corporate financiers, academics, solicitors, accountants, advisors, and other relevant professionals and intermediaries.

While the criteria for becoming an Associate Member of the BBAA are largely the same as those for Angel Network Membership or Venture Capital Fund Membership, the cost of membership is lower, at £500 + vat per year.

The benefits of Associate Membership of the British Business Angels Association are varied, including increased prospects of promoting one’s business, as well as obtaining a voice that will actually be able to influence policy and also be able to showcase the talents of the company across industries.

In addition to the enlisted advantages of being a member of the BBAA, across any of the three aforementioned membership categories, the BBAA also serves as a solid repository of information pertaining to business angel investments and networking. Various reports and case studies prepared by the BBAA provide relevant inputs to both entrepreneurs and angel investors looking to form a mutually beneficial relationship with one another.

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