The Angel CoFund, launched at the end of 2011 with an initial Government-backed funding of £50m to support the UK’s angel market, today celebrates reaching its fifth birthday.
Since its creation, the Angel CoFund’s mandate has been clear: to back the best UK-based high potential and high growth early stage companies and to partner with business angels via co-investment. With more than £33m invested directly across over 70 UK businesses so far, alongside a further £142m from angels and angel networks, the initiative has had a significant impact.
Set up as a privately managed and commercially-focused institution investing public capital, the Angel CoFund has a highly export-focused portfolio ranging from medtech to fintech. Its return on the Government’s investment has been strong so far – 3x on average across four exits, with three companies listing on the AIM stock market. These numbers put the Angel CoFund comfortably ahead of the curve when compared to other European Venture Capital for both early stage and later stage funds.
With each successful exit, the Angel CoFund has recycled those profits back into new companies, allowing it to keep investing, both in new ventures and its existing portfolio.
By investing alongside angels and venture capital funds, the CoFund has been able support and strengthen the UK’s angel market, helping to build an ecosystem that now provides UK-based entrepreneurs with more than three times the amount of startup funding compared with six years ago.
Prominent portfolio businesses include Gousto, Ebury, Hopster and Creo Medical. They have collectively increased their revenues by one hundred fold, created over 300 jobs and have received more than £100m follow-on funding, as well as being a great source of innovation in the UK. With the CoFund’s portfolio based all around the UK, investment has also helped contribute to the Government’s drive to increase regional growth.
Small Business Minister Margot James said: “The UK has an excellent record in creating new businesses and our modern Industrial Strategy has a focus on ensuring these businesses can access the right finance they need to grow and thrive. The Angel CoFund is a great example of how Government support can stimulate private sector investment into scale-ups, creating hundreds of jobs in innovative businesses across the country.”
Tim Mills, Investment Director at the Angel CoFund, commented: “Naturally, we are absolutely delighted to enter our sixth year and claim the milestones we have. This is a resounding testament to our team and partners’ relentless efforts to help the best high-growth British businesses prosper and to promote angel investment.
“Angel syndication spreads risk and strengthens investment prospects, which allows us to be bolder in the range of companies we support, and explains why we’re ahead of the performance curve compared to many other areas of European venture capital. Although investment in innovation requires a long term patient approach, and success can be many years in the making, this occasion provides a good opportunity to reflect on our achievements to date.”
Keith Morgan, British Business Bank CEO, added: “Over the past five years, our investment in the Angel CoFund has proved highly successful in supporting high-growth businesses, as well as producing impressive numbers on returns and exits.
“We look forward to continuing to play a pivotal role in Britain’s investment ecosystem, supporting scale-up businesses through the Angel CoFund and our other equity and venture debt interventions such as Enterprise Capital Funds, the VC Catalyst and the Help to Grow programme.”