An angel investment network whose investors have put in more than £20 million and facilitated around £63 million of further investment in over 100 companies has been named as one of the most active in the country by an influential ranking.
Minerva Business Angels – part of the University of Warwick Science Park – is the biggest angel investor in the Midlands by deals completed, and the second biggest in the UK between 2011 and 2021 according to business data firm Beauhurst.
It found Minerva completed 162 rounds of investment in 91 different companies – mainly in the tech sector – placing it above major London-based angel networks and BBC show Dragons’ Den.
The Scaleup Institute has also identified Minerva as the second most active investor in green economy scaleups by deals completed.
And in recent months, Minerva has helped a variety of green-tech firms attract seed investment including delivery vehicle company EAV Solutions, green marine engine start-up Ecomar, and Skyfarer – a medical supply delivery firm which uses drones.
Alex Toft, Head of Minerva Business Angels, said the angel network is going from strength to strength.
He said: “Despite the myriad of challenges businesses have had to deal with between 2011 and 2021, it has been fantastic to see how much we’ve been able to help a wide variety of start-ups and scale-ups flourish and grow through our angel network, with some now moving to IPOs.
“To be named as the second-most active in the UK and the most active in the Midlands by Beauhurst is testament to our eye for a strong business and our excellent connections within our network.
“Our investors have invested both time and millions of pounds into all sorts of companies to help them grow, with many going onto achieve great things.
“Two examples include our investment into Swindon-based plastic recycler Recycling Technologies, with plans to list on AIM on the London Stock Exchange, and Africa Mobile Networks, which has installed hundreds of mobile phone masts all over rural parts of the continent.
“Being part of the University of Warwick and using our colleagues’ expertise has enabled our network to grow considerably alongside the companies we invest in.
“And with net-zero and energy prices featuring heavily in the news of late, it is more important than ever that genuinely cutting-edge businesses that provide green solutions are able to thrive, which is why Minerva is such an active investor in that area.”
Even though Minerva and its earlier incarnation has been highly successful since its foundation in 1994, Alex warned that angel networks still need the support of investors in order for more businesses to prosper.
He added: “There remains a significant challenge outside the South West for those with a turnover of less than £2m looking for support. Historically, investing in property purely for equity has proven popular for those with money to invest with the way house prices have risen recently. Angel investing and the tax incentives it brings have been largely ignored.
“We’d urge those qualifying as investors to reach out to us to understand more about angel investing. The entry level is a lot lower than people realise and many don’t realise it’s not just about the money.
“Angel investing has been behind many of today’s successes, including Cazoo, Cinch, and Facebook. It is essential to the financial ecosystem.
“It’s about ‘smart money’ – a combination of experience, contacts, knowledge and hopefully finance an angel brings. We’d urge those with these skill sets to not let these qualities go to waste.”
Anyone wishing to find out more about Minerva should email firstname.lastname@example.org
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