23 Most Active Angel Networks in the UK

| Lucy Wilson

Angel networks—or angel groups—have become an important source of funding for startups and scaleups, either alongside or as an alternative to traditional venture capital firms.

What are angel networks?

An angel is an individual investing in high-growth companies, who’s usually but not always a high-net-worth individual (HNWI). Unlike VC funds, where financial backing comes from large institutional or corporate investors, angel investing is more personal.  A significant number of angels have made their money through exiting their own startups, and so can act as an invaluable source of experience and support for early-stage companies

Angel networks are investment groups of these angel investors, who share introductions to early-stage businesses and investment opportunities. They often syndicate their funds into a single pot to make joint investments.

Which deals do angel networks typically invest in?

Between Q1 2011 and Q3 2020, we have recorded 1,577 equity fundraisings involving angel networks in the UK. Altogether, these rounds have raised £1.67b. Of the 1,029 companies that have received investment from angel networks in this time, 77 have since exited the private market, either through an IPO or an acquisition.

45% of businesses were at seed stage at the time of investment, while a slightly higher proportion (47%) were categorised as venture stage companies. Meanwhile, 7% were at growth stage, and just 1% established, reflecting a strong preference by angel networks for investing in earlier-stage businesses with high growth potential.

Stage of evolution chart

Most of the UK’s highly active angel networks have roots in either London or Edinburgh, but there are several other hubs across the UK, including Glasgow, Cambridge, and Oxford. Whilst many of these groups consider opportunities from all over the country, most prefer to focus their funding on their local areas.

Around 42% of the companies that received angel network investment since 2011 have been in the technology/IP-based business sector. Angel groups invest across a wide range of industries, however, and several of the networks listed in this article specialise in niches like social impact investments.

Commenting on how the ecosystem has evolved in recent years, Roderick Beer (Managing Director at UKBAA) tells us that “angel groups are growing up, not only are they increasing the amount of investment that they deploy but also they’re becoming more professionalised with many groups now operating sidecar investment funds.”

How has COVID-19 impacted UK angel investing?

Despite quite a lot of variation between quarters each year, the number of equity deals involving angel networks has increased fairly steadily since 2011. 2019 was a particularly strong year for angel group investing, with the number of announced or disclosed deals reaching its highest point ever (228). 

The value of these deals has also risen over time, although it plateaued between 2016 and 2018. 2019 saw a dramatic increase in deal size, however, growing to nearly £423mmore than double that of the previous year. 

Announced investments by angel networks into UK companies over time

Angel network fundraising chart

Angel network investing in the UK seems to have dropped significantly in 2020, likely due to the pandemic and subsequent economic uncertainty. The value of fundraisings fell to around £40m in both Q1 and Q2, far lower than any of the previous year’s quarters. Q3 saw a slight increase to £53.4m, but the number of deals remained at its lowest since 2012. 

Ivan Hunter Gordon, Senior Investment Analyst at Newable Ventures, tells us that their angel fund is now taking “greater steps to ensure all portfolio companies have stress-tested their financial models” as a result of COVID-19, “in particular providing themselves with sufficient cash runway to weather future commercial or funding uncertainties.”

Meanwhile, at investor network Cambridge Angels, Emmi Nicholl explains how the “group’s general investment preference and criteria have not changed as a result of COVID, but we have marked the acceleration of digitisation in areas such as healthcare and education. Our members have, like most angel investors, focused their energy and resources on ensuring that their portfolio companies are well supported.”

The UK’s most active angel networks

We’ve drawn up a list of 23 of the most active angel investment networks in the UK. This list is based on number of equity deals between Q1 2011 and Q3 2020, where investors have been publicly announced in the press, or where they’ve privately disclosed their activity to Beauhurst.

A significant number of investors do not announce their activity, hence these figures should be taken as indicators only.

Ranking Angel Network Deals
1
Envestors
169
2
24Haymarket
123
3
Equity Gap
106
4
Archangels
103
5
Cambridge Angels
91
6
London Business Angels (managed by Newable)
89
7
TRICAPITAL
72
8
Kelvin Capital
56
9
QVentures
49
10
Dragons' Den (managed by the BBC)
48
11
Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (managed by Oxford Innovation)
45
12
Angels Den
40
13
Cambridge Capital Group
34
14
Ascension Ventures Syndicate Club
31
15
Clearly Social Angels (managed by ClearlySo)
29
16
Highland Venture Capital
28
17=
Bristol Private Equity Club
25
17=
GC Angels
25
17=
Green Angel Syndicate
25
17=
London & Scottish Investment Partners
25
21
Minerva Business Angel Network (managed by University of Warwick Science Park)
23
22=
Newable Private Investing
22
22=
Gabriel Investment Syndicate
22

Envestors 

Based in Westminster, Envestors’ network of 4000+ sophisticated investors typically invest between £250k and £2m in equity funding, with an exit horizon of 5-7 years. To date, the Envestors angel network has invested in more than 130 high-growth businesses, across several sectors but most commonly in internet platforms and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It has participated in 187 fundraisings (totalling £213m) with an average value of £1.16m. Notable exits include electric vehicle charging company Chargemaster, which was acquired by BP in 2018 for £130m. 

24Haymarket 

Made up of 100+ private investors, 24Haymarket is a sector-agnostic angel network, headquartered in London but with a regional office in Edinburgh. Whilst the fund does not publish its investment range, our research indicates that it typically invests between £500k and £5m. 24Haymarket has participated in 124 fundraisings, with an average value of £2.26m (£279m in total). The fund generally seeks a seat on the board of its portfolio companies, combined with an involved post-investment model. 

Equity Gap

Edinburgh-based Equity Gap is an angel network which invests in high-growth companies across the UK but primarily in Scotland. The network typically invests between £100k and £500k, in a broad range of industries and verticals, excluding property or traditional retail. It has participated in more than 100 funding rounds, worth £84m in total, with an average fundraising of £793k. Equity Gap provides support for its portfolio companies throughout the investment cycle, including pitch coaching, mentoring, board level input and exit planning. 

Archangels

Also headquartered in Edinburgh is investor network Archangels which, having formed in 1992, is the oldest continuously operating business angel syndicate in the world. Investing between £50k and £2m (but typically £250k-£1m), the group invests exclusively in EIS or SEIS-qualifying companies in Scotland. It focuses on the technology and life sciences sectors, with verticals including alternative energy, biopharmaceuticals and bionics. To date, the fund has participated in 113 deals, with an average value of £1.14m (£124m in total). 

Cambridge Angels 

The Cambridge Angels network invests throughout the UK, but gives primary consideration to opportunities in the Cambridge area. To date, the group has invested in more than 70 startup and scaleup companies, with a particular focus in the cleantech, biotech and hi-tech sectors. It typically invests between £50k and £500k, and has an exit horizon of seven years. The group has participated in 104 funding rounds (totalling £248m) with an average deal of £2.46m. As well as providing funding, “Cambridge Angels prides itself on the fact that around three quarters of its members are exited entrepreneurs”, giving them “real-world experience of building and scaling businesses”.

London Business Angels

London Business Angels (LBA) began operating in the early 1980s. Investing exclusively in (S)EIS-qualifying companies, the group had a particular focus on technology companies, including mobile apps, e-commerceSaaS, and medtech. LBA was acquired by Newable in 2017 and rebranded to Newable Ventures Limited (NVL). The Newable angel network continues to invest in technology led (S)EIS companies, focusing on emerging platform technologies such as AI/ML and robotics. Hunter Gordon of Newable Ventures explains that NVL and its angels “always seek to invest in the true spirit of EIS; investing into knowledge-based opportunities rather than asset-backed businesses.” NVL (formerly LBA) has invested in more than 75 companies, through 104 fundraisings, totalling £94.7m, with an average value of £928k. 

TRICAPITAL

TRICAPITAL is an experienced business angel syndicate in Scotland. The group’s investment portfolio focuses on high-growth SMEs based inor relocating toScotland and the North of England. TRICAPITAL prefers early-stage opportunities, but can invest at most stages of growth. It focuses primarily on the following sectors: IT, biomedical, optoelectronics, engineering, and textiles. To date, the group has participated in 87 fundraisings, totalling almost £70m (with an average deal size of £862k). 

Kelvin Capital

Founded in 2009, Kelvin Capital is a Glasgow-based investment syndicate (and Scottish Enterprise Co-Investment Fund partner) with a primary focus on high-growth technology companies. To qualify for investment from Kelvin Capital, businesses must be post-revenue with a maximum of £1m. The angel group has so far participated in 56 fundraisings, with a total value of more than £36m and an average deal worth £644k. The group emphasises its commitment to supporting the growth and development of its portfolio companies outside of the investment process.

QVentures 

QVentures is an investment club in London for sophisticated investors, including angels, HNWIs, VC firms, and family offices. The sector-agnositic fund looks for companies that have exceptional management teams, and typically invests between £1m and £5m. To date, QVentures has participated in 51 fundraisings (roughly £50m worth) with an average deal of £1.05m. The fund has a co-investment requirement, preferring to follow in a funding round. Notable companies in the group’s portfolio include Plum, the fintech using AI to boost users’ bank balance, and City Pantry, which was acquired by Just Eat for £16m last year.

Dragons’ Den 

BBC’s Dragons’ Den is an investment competition TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their idea and business plan to a panel of active angel investors. The fund is sector-agnostic, but many of its investee companies have been in the food and drink, and consumer goods sectors. It invests in micro companies and individuals, with 86% of businesses being at seed stage at the time of investment. Whilst this fund does not publish its investment range, Beauhurst research indicates that it typically invests between £35k and £250k. Dragons’ Den has participated in 51 fundraisings (totalling £4.23m) with an average value of £83k.

Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network 

Managed by Oxford Innovation, this fund is part of a group of angel networks in the Oxford area, which also includes the Thames Valley Investment Network and Oxford Early Investments. The Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION) looks for business opportunities across a wide range of disruptive technology sectors, typically investing between £200k and £2m. It specifically invests in companies situated in Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley region. OION has participated in 50 fundraisings, worth a total of £25.9m, with an average value of £617k. 

Angels Den 

Angels Den are a network of over 6000 registered angel investors. The fund tends to focus on SMEs in the technology sector, investing between £50k and £1m, with an exit horizon of 3-5 years. It has participated in 41 funding rounds, totalling £8.33m with an average deal value of £203k. On average, at every Angels Den SpeedFunding event, 90% of businesses have attracted at least one interested investor. Alongside its traditional angel network, Angels Den operates an online crowdfunding platform under the same name, which first launched in 2013.

Cambridge Capital Group 

Based in South Cambridgeshire, this business angel network has been investing in startups across the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle’ of research hubs (Oxford-Cambridge-London) for more than 15 years. It typically invests between £150k and £2m, with an exit horizon of 5-8 years. Rarely investing in consumer-focused businesses, Cambridge Capital Group instead focuses on technology development and the commercialisation of intellectual property, in areas such as IT, cleantech, and medtech. To date, the group has participated in 54 funding rounds (£128m in total), with an average deal worth £2.61m.

Ascension Ventures Syndicate Club 

The Ascension Syndicate Club is a sector-agnostic angel network that invests in (S)EIS-eligible companies. The London-based fund is managed by Ascension Ventures, an early-stage VC built by exited entrepreneurs to back the next generation of tech and impact founders in the UK. Their key focus areas include next gen media, healthcare, sustainability, and fintech. To date, the club has participated in 31 fundraising events, worth more than £46m in total, with an average deal size of around £1.5m.

Clearly Social Angels 

Managed by the impact investment bank ClearlySo, this angel network invests in companies that demonstrate a scalable model for positive social impact, such as Bulb. As well as the UK, ClearlySo’s group of HNWIs and sophisticated investors has funded companies in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and The Netherlands. The fund covers a range of sectors and deal sizes, typically investing between £300k and £1.5m. To date, it has participated in 30 funding rounds, totalling more than £19m, with an average deal of £659k. 

Highland Venture Capital 

Highland Venture Capital (HVC) was formed in 2006 and is a member of the Scottish Enterprise Co-investment Scheme. The group comprises around 30 investor members but is actively seeking to increase its membership. Based in Dundee, HVC invests in Scotland-based businesses, but has a preference for those in the Highlands. It’s particularly interested in technology, renewables, and other ‘green’ opportunities, and typically invests between £75k and £500k. HVC has participated in 31 fundraisings (totalling £19m) with an average value of £657k.

Bristol Private Equity Club

Set up in 2016, this Bristol-based angel investor network aims to invest in 3-4 companies per year, typically spending around £1m in total. The group of sophisticated investors gives no explicit sector restrictions, participating in 26 fundraisings to date (totalling £11.4m) with an average deal size of £458k. 

GC Angels

GC Angels is a sector-agnostic fund investing in the Greater Manchester area. It was formed by the merging of Growth Company’s Co-Angel Investment Service, North West Business Angels, and the GM Co-Investment Fund, to respond to imbalances in the North’s early-stage equity market. The group typically invests between £25k and £2m, with the GM Co-Investment Fund providing £150k of its own capital and leveraging co-investment from angels. To date, GC Angels has participated in 26 fundraisings (worth £9.25m in total) with an average deal of £356k. 

Green Angel Syndicate

This network describes themselves as “the only angel investment syndicate in the UK specialising in the fight against Climate Change and Global Warming”. The group typically invests between £150k and £500k in projects to develop technologies and solutions in the green energy space. To date, Green Angel Syndicate has participated in 25 fundraisings (totalling almost £30m) with an average deal of £1.24m.

London & Scottish Investment Partners 

This network is an Edinburgh-based angel group supported by investors from London and Scotland. It’s members are part of LINC, the Scottish Angel Network. Typically investing between £300k and £500k, with an exit horizon of three years, the group focuses on companies in the following sectors: life sciences, technology, oil and gas, food and drink, and manufacturing. To date, it has participated in 25 fundraisings (worth £36.6m in total) with an average deal size of £1.47m.

Minerva Business Angel Network

Formed in 1994, Minerva is based in Coventry and managed by the University of Warwick Science Park. The group has a not-for-profit objective, typically investing between £25k and £500k, and focusing on high-growth tech companies. In order to receive funding, investees must be based in the West Midlands, or have persuasive evidence of an intention to locate there. To date, it has participated in 23 funding rounds (totalling £12.7m) with an average deal value of £552k.

Newable Private Investing

Newable Private Investing (NPI), or Newable Ventures Limited (formerly London Business Angels), typically invests between £150k and £2.5m, this angel fund focuses on (S)EIS-qualifying companies in the following sectors: electronics, AI and automation, medtech, and space data technologies. To date, NPI has participated in 22 fundraisings (totalling £37.6m) with an average deal size of £1.79m. 

Gabriel Investment Syndicate 

Based in Glasgow, Gabriel Investment Syndicate invests in early-stage companies in Scotland. The group considers businesses from a range of sectors, but they must have pre-money valuations of no more than £1m to be eligible for investment, with 84% of Gabriel’s investees being seed-stage companies at time of investment. It invests between £50k and £150k, with funding being matched by Scottish Enterprise. To date, the group has participated in 25 fundraisings (worth more than £19m in total) with an average deal of £831k.

Want to find angel networks for co-investment?

The Beauhurst platform tracks every high-growth company in the UK, and the funds that back them.