SCOTLAND’s biggest network of business angels, Archangels, had one of its most active years to date in 2014.
The syndicate, which has been at the forefront of early stage investing in Scotland for more than two decades, arranged funding of £12.2 million for 14 companies last year, compared with just over £10m in 2013.
Archangels’ own members contributed £7.5m, with a further £3.5m of co-investment from Scottish Enterprise and £1.2m from other partners.
The network’s annual gathering of investors and companies takes place today and will hear that the biggest single investment was a £2.5m call from prosthetic limb producer Touch Bionics. The group also invested £100,000 in Cytomos, a company whose progress the angel investing group has been following for the past two years.
Edinburgh-based Cytomos has technology that uses electronics to analyse cells. The company is at a very early stage and Archangels’ investors agreed to support it because of its strong prospects, underlining the angels’ appetite for investing in early-stage, higher-risk ventures.
John Waddell, the syndicate’s chief executive, said: “There is a misconception that Archangels only invests in relatively developed companies … Our investment of £100,000 in Cytomos reminds me of Archangels’ initial investment of £25,000 in Optos all those years ago to fund proof of concept.
“The Optos story is, of course, well-known and I look forward to seeing the current investments by Archangels’ members develop to the stage where they can either float or result in a trade sale.”
Investors in the Archangels portfolio were provided with returns of £17.3m in 2014 from disposals and dividends, with £11.2m going to members. It included the successful sale during the year of the electricity supply business Flexitricity to Swiss energy company Alpiq, for an undisclosed sum.
Waddell said that despite the advent of crowd funding, the “traditional investment model” pioneered by Archangels was going from strength to strength.
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