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The Plethora of Business Angel Networks Across the UK
The financial slowdown and global economic crisis notwithstanding, business angel investments only got stronger than ever before in 2009, to emerge now in 2010 with renewed vigor to make further investments across industries and many more businesses.
The rise of angel funding as a whole, especially in the face of drying up of credit in the market as well as the reduced availability of funding options as a whole has meant that business angel networks have begun to thrive. With more and more upcoming businesses (as well as many of the existing ones looking for capacity expansion) opting for funding from business angels, networks of business angels have grown significantly across the country. We look at some of them in this article.
Venture Giants is a leading online solution that matches angel business investors’ and high net worth individuals’ with entrepreneurs’ seeking investment to start-up their company or expand their existing business.
With existing offices in the UK, Australia and India, Venture Giants is actively looking to expand its’ network of entrepreneurs and self-accredited investors through creative partnerships so as to enable it to enter into new territories and countries. Venture Giants’s vision is to ultimately be the world’s largest angel-entrepreneur investment funding service.
One of the biggest factors in Venture Giants’s favour is the fact that it does not charge a finders fee, nor request a percentage of any capital raised using its service. Venture Giants’s service is entirely free to use for both entrepreneurs as well as self-accredited business investors. The business model is essentially built on a pay-on-performance basis, i.e. entrepreneurs pay its one-off fee ‘when and if’ Venture Giants actually locates investors who are interested in discussing the business proposal further.
British Business Angels Association
The British Business Angels Association or the BBAA is the only national trade association dedicated to promoting angel investing and supporting early stage investment in the UK. It works towards creating an ecosystem that helps support industry as a whole by bringing together angel networks, private investors, early stage funds and professional advisors on a unified platform.
Formed in 2004 with government backing, BBAA has since grown into a vibrant community of like-minded organisations, representing 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.
Some reputed angel networks within the fold of 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, with more networks constantly looking in to join in and reap the rewards of being a BBAA member.
The UK Angel Investment Network
The UK Angel Investment Network is an online platform that connects entrepreneurs and angel investors in the UK and internationally. With over 120,000 members worldwide, it is one of the largest angel investment communities in the world, and has successfully managed to bring together thousands of entrepreneurs and angel investors for mutually beneficial purposes.
Starting off with the UK, the UK Angel Investment Network has since then managed to expand rapidly, having 30 networks worldwide that cover more than 80 countries across Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
EBAN is the European Trade Association for business angels, seed funds, and other early stage players, whose top priority is to get all these entities to network together.
Based in Brussels, EBAN represents more than 250 business angel networks in Europe. These in turn federate some 20,000 angels, and receive about 40,000 business plans a year. As of today, EBAN brings together over 100 member organisations in 27 countries.
Northwest Business Angels
A regional player, Northwest Business Angels matches growing companies in the northwest of the country such as Cheshire, Lancashire, Cambria and Greater Manchester who are seeking finance, with private investors who are looking for profitable investment opportunities.
Northwest Business Angels is a founder member of the British Business Angels Association and also happens to be one of the UK’s longest established business angel networks, providing investors and non executive directors from anywhere in the UK with selected opportunities for investment in businesses in the Northwest region that have significant growth potential.
Central England Business Angels
Central England Business Angels essentially works with relatively smaller investors looking to make tax-efficient investment in SME’s based in Central England. Therefore, it focuses on businesses seeking less than £250,000 in funding, and yet has the ability to raise even up to £500,000, if the need is for that much.
Central England Business Angels work in collaboration with other networks and organisations to ensure that the quality of the opportunity is maintained. Additonally, upon registering, both investors and entrepreneurs can request access to a library of useful information.
Halo Business Angel Network
Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) is an umbrella group representing various business angel networks, whose aim is to promote angel investments as well as supporting the early stage entrepreneurial community in Ireland.
HBAN works towards creating an eco-system that promotes and supports early stage investment market. It has taken various initiatives towards increasing the number of angel investors who are interested in investing in early stage companies. HBAN supports the formation of both new and existing angel networks, regionally as well as internationally, across diverse industry sectors. HBAN also acts as a voice to the government, stakeholders, business and the media in promoting the needs and interests of the angel and early stage investment community.
Xénos is the Wales Business Angel Network, viz. a business introduction service which introduces investors to companies seeking growth funding who are prepared to in return offer an equity share in the business.
Xénos is a part of a package of financing solutions offered by Finance Wales. Xénos works closely with economic development agencies, the business community, local authorities, banks and professionals, thus ensuring that a vital source of equity funding is recognised as an inherent part of the financial support framework available to small and medium sized companies in Wales.