Edinburgh-based business angel syndicate Archangels cheers record year of investment

Archangels, one of Scotland’s top investment syndicates, has revealed that it led investments totalling a record sum of nearly £24 million in promising Scottish tech and life sciences companies in 2021, up significantly from the previous year.

The Edinburgh-based business angel investment group said it has seen a “packed” year of corporate activity with 11 investments amounting to £23.7m, a year-on-year jump of 44 per cent from £16.3m.

In total, in 2021 Archangels invested £11.8m of its members’ cash, up 46 per cent on 2020, and co-investors this year included Scottish Enterprise, Maven Capital Partners, Par Equity, Sands Capital Ventures, and private equity house NVM.

Investments by Archangels included an initial injection of more than £1 million in BioCaptiva, which has developed a novel next-generation “liquid biopsy” technology device that it is believed could revolutionise the early diagnosis and monitoring of difficult-to-detect cancers.

'Scotland’s tech and life sciences markets are as vibrant as they have ever been,' says David Ovens, joint MD at Archangels. Picture: Jamie Williamson.

Scottish Enterprise were co-investors in the seed funding round for the University of Edinburgh spin-out. BioCaptiva also announced the appointments of Dr Frank M Armstrong as chairman and Dr Stephen Little as a non-executive director and investment director.

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Archangels cited other highlights from this year such as Calcivis, the Edinburgh-based dental technology company, completing a £1.52m equity fund raise, led by the business angel investment group and also featuring investment from Scottish Enterprise and healthcare and life science -focused fund Lynx Financial in preparation of the US launch of what is billed as the world’s first biotechnology-based dental imaging system.

Additionally, Archangels co-founder Mike Rutterford received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Business Angels Association Angel Investment Awards, which the Edinburgh-based organisation said recognised his 29-year-long contribution to business angel investing in the UK, alongside that of his Archangels co-founder Barry Sealey.

Mr Rutterford has previously said of forming the organisation with Mr Sealey: “We both believed that we had done well out of Scotland and wanted to put something back… We didn’t set out to create a business angel movement. In fact, at that time the phrase business angel was unknown.”

Pioneers

Regarding Archangels’ performance this year, joint MD David Ovens commented: “Our 2021 investment performance demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in promising Scottish businesses that are at the leading edge of innovation in their field.

“Scotland’s tech and life sciences markets are as vibrant as they have ever been, and there’s no shortage of great ideas coming from Scottish inventors, change-makers and innovators.”

Formed in 1992, Archangels says it now comprises around 100 investor members and leads investment of around £15m a year in early-stage Scottish companies, including leverage from partners. It is interested in Scottish tech firms looking for initial funding of £50,000 to £2m.

Its latest update comes after it in July announced its performance for the first half, saying it had seen the amount of investment it had led jump by about a third year on year to £12.4m.

The latest news on its activity also follows peer Equity Gap recently hailing a key investment milestone following its “most successful year to date”.

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