Edinburgh investment syndicate Archangels pumps more cash into Scots tech firms in 2020

One of Scotland’s top investment syndicates has stepped up its support for tech and life sciences companies during 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic.

Eric Young, chairman of Archangels, alongside Maureen Kinsler, who has been appointed to the board of directors. Picture: Peter Devlin

Edinburgh-based Archangels led investments amounting to £16.3 million in Scottish start-up and early stage companies, topping its 2019 total of £13.4m by 22 per cent.

Across 2020, the business angel investment syndicate directly invested £8.1m in companies in the tech and life sciences sectors and was lead investor on a total of 11 funding rounds. That figure is up on £7.4m the year before.

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Archangels’ investments in the past 12 months include £715,000 in funding for Hearing Diagnostics, which has developed a system with the potential to revolutionise hearing tests globally, and £3.1m in Integrated Graphene, which has developed a manufacturing process that enables it to produce 3D graphene foam directly onto any surface, at room temperature and in seconds.

Other highlights for 2020 across the syndicate’s portfolio included Blackford Analysis, which announced a partnership with life sciences giant Bayer to develop a cloud-based medical imaging platform, and Reactec, which repurposed its existing hand arm vibration device in response to Covid physical distancing measures to create a system that alerts workers who come within two metres of each other.

Meanwhile, Archangels has also announced the appointment of Maureen Kinsler to its board of directors.

Until her recent retirement from the post, Kinsler was chair of Marks & Clerk, the intellectual property services firm, which she joined in 2002.

Kinsler is a UK and European patent attorney with extensive experience of patent prosecution, handling many internationally diverse patent portfolios for a range of clients. She specialises in photonics, semiconductors and computer related inventions.

Eric Young, chairman of Archangels, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t stop our portfolio companies from continuing to innovate and Archangels was determined to provide the support that they, and our new investee companies, needed.

“I am particularly excited that Maureen Kinsler has agreed to join our board. Intellectual property is at the heart of each of our portfolio companies and I am confident that Maureen’s experience and expertise in this complex area will prove to be an invaluable asset for Archangels and our investee companies.”

Kinsler added: “Archangels has a proud tradition of supporting and growing technology and life science companies in Scotland. I like what they stand for.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the board, the executive team and our investee companies over the coming years to deliver sustainable growth in the Scottish market.”

Archangels was formed in the early 1990s and is based in Edinburgh. The syndicate now comprises some 100 investor members and leads investment of around £15m per year in early stage Scottish companies, including leverage from partners, the largest being the Scottish Investment Bank.

The syndicate also pointed to progress at investee business Speech Graphics, which launched its cloud-based platform powering more natural, real-time interactions between humans and artificial inteligence-driven avatars.

Meanwhile, MGB Biopharma unveiled the successful outcome of a phase two study into clostridium difficile infection treatment.

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