Edinburgh Archangels syndicate hails ‘active’ year despite turbulent backdrop

Archangels, the business angel investment syndicate, has hailed another “active year of support” for Scottish companies despite a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty.

The Archangels exec team (L to R) David Ovens, Niki McKenzie and Sarah Hardy. Picture credit: Robert Perry

The Edinburgh-based syndicate, which is believed to be the oldest of its kind in the world, said it had led investment of £14.8 million in Scottish start-up and early stage companies during 2019.

The network directly invested £8.2m across the year, which is down on £10.9m in 2018, and was lead investor on a total of ten funding rounds with total investment, including co-investors’ contributions, of £14.8m, which is some way shy of last year’s £22.4m.

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The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, was the largest single co-investor in 2019 at £3.9m, with co-investment from other organisations including NVM, Par Equity and Tricap.

Most funding rounds completed by Archangels during the past year were follow-up investments, underlining the syndicate’s long-term commitment to its investee companies. These included Administrate (£3.4m), Calcivis (£1.3m) and MGB Biopharma (£1.1m).

David Ovens, chief operating officer at Archangels, said: “There’s no doubt that 2019 was a turbulent year politically and economically. However, Archangels stuck to our founding principles of taking a long term, patient approach to building businesses in Scotland; providing growth capital but also access to our networks, experiences and wider support which are fundamentally important to scaling companies.”


Archangels currently has 17 companies in its portfolio and initiated investment in one new business in 2019, leading a £2m investment into Edinburgh-based digital marketing agency, QueryClick, supported by SIB. QueryClick is using the funds to recruit additional analysts and sales staff and to mount a major marketing push to accelerate its growth.

The syndicate completed exits from two investments during 2019. Earlier this month, it sold its 23 per cent shareholding in Bellshill-headquartered document outsourcing specialist Critiqom, as part of the trade sale of the business to Opus Trust Communications.

Archangels – formed in 1992 – also disposed of its residual holding in Borders-based timber frame house manufacturer Oregon Timber, following the purchase of that business by Barratt Homes.

It was a successful year for several investee companies, with Speech Graphics – in which Archangels initiated investment in 2018 – being voted start-up of the year at the Scottish Tech Awards. Archangels itself was shortlisted for Investor of the Year at the same awards.

During 2019, Scottish Chambers of Commerce president Tim Allan joined the board of Archangels, succeeding Alastair Salvesen who retired after ten years on the board.

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'˜Record-breaking' 2018 for business angel syndicate Archangels