Angel investors

Most Active Angel Networks in the UK

24th March 2022

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Angel networks—or angel groups—have become an important source of funding for entrepreneurs in the early stages of startup growth, either alongside or as an alternative to traditional venture capital firms. Here, we rank the most active angel networks in the United Kingdom between 2011 and 2021.

What are angel networks?

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

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

Which deals do angel networks typically invest in?

Between 2011 and 2021, we tracked 2,046 fundraisings into UK companies that involved participation from angel networks. Altogether, these rounds had a combined worth of £2.31b. 

Of the 1,276 companies that received investment from angel networks during this time, 115 of them (9%) have since exited the private market, either through an IPO or an acquisition.

At the time of investment, 45% of businesses were operating at the seed stage, while 46% were categorised as venture-stage companies. Whereas, just 8% were at the growth stage and 2% established, reflecting a strong preference by angel networks for investing in early-stage businesses with considerable growth potential.

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

Around 44% of the companies that have received angel network investment since 2011 were technology or IP-based businesses. Angel groups invest across a wide range of industries, however, and several of the networks listed in this article specialise in niches such as 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 upnot 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.”

Download a PDF of the ranking for your own offline analysis 

How has angel investing changed over time?

The number of equity deals involving angel networks in the UK has increased fairly steadily since 2011, with a spike in 2019, at 241 deals. Angel investing dropped slightly in 2020, likely due to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, to 218 fundraisings—the same number as in 2018. 

Activity has recovered slightly since then, with 229 deals involving angel networks identified in 2021The real number may be significantly higher; we identify angel participation through press releases and tip-offs from funds, but angel groups typically hold their cards close to their chest and keep their activity on the down low. One thing’s for certain though—angel networks are becoming an increasingly active and important part of the UK’s high-growth ecosystem.

We’ve drawn up a list of the 25 most active UK business angel investment networks. This list is based on the number of deals completed and companies backed between 2011 and 2021, where investors have been publicly announced in the press, or where they’ve privately disclosed their activity to Beauhurst.

The UK's Most Active Angel Networks
2011–2021

The UK's Most Active Angel Networks
2011–2021

A significant number of angel networks do not publicly announce their activity, hence this ranking should be taken as an indicator only.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

170 rounds
122 companies

01. Envestors

Based in Southwark, the Envestors network of over 4k sophisticated investors typically invests between £250k and £2m in equity funding. Envestors Private Investment Club (EPIC) offers screened opportunities to angel investors, many of which use the UK Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

Between 2011 and 2021, we tracked 170 fundraisings by Envestors, into 122 companies, most commonly in online platforms and high-potential SaaS companiesNotable exits include electric vehicle charging company Chargemaster, which was acquired by BP in 2018 for £130m, and recipe kit business SimplyCook, which was acquired by Nestle in 2021.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

162 rounds
91 companies

02. 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 technology companies. 

In order to receive funding, Minerva investees must be based in the West Midlands, or have persuasive evidence of an intention to locate there. To date, the angel network has participated in at least 162 funding rounds, into 91 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

142 rounds
99 companies

03. 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 at least 99 startup and scaleup companies, across 142 funding rounds.

Cambridge Angels has a particular focus in the cleantech and biotech sectors. It typically invests between £50k and £500k, and has an exit horizon of seven years. 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”.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

135 rounds
61 companies

04. 24Haymarket

Made up of over 100 private investors, 24Haymarket is a sector-agnostic angel network, headquartered in London, 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. 

We tracked 135 funding rounds that saw participation from 24Haymarket, into 61 companies. The network generally seeks a seat on the board of its portfolio companies, combined with an involved post-investment model.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

135 rounds
30 companies

05. Archangels

Headquartered in Edinburgh and formed in 1992, investor network Archangels is the world’s oldest continuously-operating business angel syndicate. Investing between £50k and £2m (but typically £250k–£1m), the group invests exclusively in Scottish companies that qualify for the SEIS and EIS tax relief schemes.

Archangels focuses on the technology and life sciences sectors, including green energy companies, biopharmaceuticals and bionics. Between 2011 and 2021, we identified 135 funding rounds into 30 small businesses that included participation from the network. 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

132 rounds
40 companies

06. Equity Gap

Also based in Edinburgh, 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 at least 132 funding rounds into 40 companies. Alongside startup capital, Equity Gap provides support for its portfolio companies throughout the investment cycle, including pitch coaching, mentoring, board level input and exit planning. 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

123 rounds
90 companies

07. Newable Ventures

In 2017, Newable acquired the London Business Angels (LBA) group, which began investing in the early 1980s. It rebranded in 2020 to Newable Ventures, after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Newable Ventures typically invests between £150k and £2.5m, with a focus on (S)EIS-qualifying companies in the following sectors: electronics, automation, medtech, and space data technologies. The angel network has consistently backed technology-led companies, particularly those in emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence and machine learning

In total, Newable Ventures has invested in at least 90 leading technology companies, through 123 fundraisings (including investments made under London Business Angels).

Known
investments
2011–2021:

77 rounds
23 companies

08. TRI Capital

TRI Capital is an experienced business angel syndicate, headquartered in Scotland. The group’s investment portfolio focuses on high-growth SMEs based in—or relocating to—Scotland and the North of England. 

TRI Capital is primarily an early-stage investor, but is open to opportunities at most stages of growth. It mainly focuses on the following sectors: IT, biomedical, optoelectronics, engineering, and textiles. To date, the angel group has participated in at least 77 fundraisings, into 23 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

72 rounds
31 companies

09. Kelvin Capital

Founded in 2009, Kelvin Capital is a Glasgow-based investment syndicate and Scottish Enterprise Co-Investment Fund partner. It has a primary focus on high-growth tech companies and, to qualify for investment, businesses must be post-revenue, with a maximum of £1m. 

Kelvin Capital emphasises its commitment to supporting the growth and development of its portfolio companies outside of the investment process. The angel group has so far participated in 72 fundraisings, into 31 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

53 rounds
46 companies

10. OION

Managed by Oxford Innovation, Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION) 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 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, and has participated in at least 53 fundraisings, into 46 companies to date. 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

51 rounds
51 companies

11. Dragons' Den

As you’re probably already aware, the BBC’s Dragons’ Den is an investment competition TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and business plans to a panel of active angel investors. The Dragons’ Den fund is sector-agnostic, but many of its investee companies have been in the food and drink or consumer goods sectors.

Dragons’ Den invests in micro companies and individuals, with 86% of businesses operating at the seed stage at the time of investment. The group has participated in 51 fundraisings so far, into 51 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

40 rounds
38 companies

12. Angels Den

Angels Den is a network of over 6k registered angel investors. The fund tends to focus on technology startups, investing between £50k and £1m, with an exit horizon of 3-5 years. It has participated in at least 40 funding rounds, into 38 companies to date. 

On average, 90% of businesses that attend one of Angels Den’s SpeedFunding events attract at least one interested investor. Alongside the angel network, Angels Den also operates an online crowdfunding platform under the same name, which first launched in 2013.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

40 rounds
35 companies

13. GC Angels

GC Angels is a sector-agnostic fund that invests 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. Between 2011 and 2021, GC Angels participated in at least 40 fundraisings, into 35 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

39 rounds
27 companies

14. Ascension Syndicate Club

The Ascension Syndicate Club is a sector-agnostic angel network that invests in (S)EIS-eligible companies. The London-based group 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. 

Its key focus areas include next-gen media, healthcare, sustainability and fintech. Between 2011 and 2021, the Ascension Syndicate Club participated in at least 39 fundraising events, with 27 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

38 rounds
31 companies

15. 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. Cambridge Capital Group 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. Between 2011 and 2021, the group participated in at least 38 funding rounds, across 31 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

35 rounds
26 companies

16. Bristol Private Equity Club

Set up in 2016, by Jerry Barnes, this Bristol-based angel investor network aims to invest in 3-4 Bristol startups per year, typically spending around £1m in total. Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) gives no explicit sector restrictions, but our research shows that more than 60% of its portfolio operates within tech. 

Along with growth capital, the network also offers an organised programme of support to its portfolio companies. Between 2011 and 2021, BPEC participated in at least 35 fundraisings, into 26 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

34 rounds
18 companies

17. 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. 

The network invests between £50k and £150k, with funding matched by Scottish Enterprise (one of the top investors in the United Kingdom). Between 2011 and 2021, Gabriel Investment Syndicate participated in 34 fundraisings, into 18 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

33 rounds
29 companies

18. Connectd

Connectd offers an online platform that facilitates fundraising events and matches early-stage startups with relevant angel investors. Differing from a crowdfunding platform, Connectd is a closed community of sophisticated angel investors who are vetted before being given access to the platform. 

Between 2011 and 2021, the group has facilitated 33 fundraisings, into 29 companies. 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

32 rounds
16 companies

19. London & Scottish Investment Partners

London & Scottish Investment Partners is an Edinburgh-based angel group, supported by investors from London and Scotland. Its members are part of LINC, the Scottish Angel Network.

Typically investing between £300k and £500k, with an exit horizon of three years, the network focuses on companies in the life sciences, technology, oil and gas, food and drink, and manufacturing sectors. Between 2011 and 2021, London & Scottish Investment Partners participated in at least 32 fundraisings, into 16 companies.

 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

31 rounds
26 companies

20. Green Angel Syndicate

Founded in 2013, Green Angel Syndicate is one of the most active impact angel syndicates in the United Kingdom. It describes itself as “the UK’s largest network of specialist investors fighting climate change”. The group typically invests between £150k and £1.5m, in projects to develop technologies and solutions in the green energy space.

Between 2011 and 2021, Green Angel Syndicate participated in over 31 fundraisings, into 26 companies. It also counts one of the UK’s most active female angel investors, Helen Chang, among its members. 

Known
investments
2011–2021:

30 rounds
11 companies

21. Highland Venture Capital

Highland Venture Capital (HVC) was formed in 2006 and is a member of the Scottish Enterprise Co-investment Scheme. HVC comprises around 30 investor members but is actively seeking to increase its membership. Based in Dundee, it invests across Scotland, but has a preference for businesses in the Highlands.

The network is particularly interested in technology, renewables, and other ‘green’ opportunities, and typically invests between £75k and £500k. Between 2011 and 2021, it participated in at least 30 fundraisings, backing 11 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

28 rounds
13 companies

22. Eos Advisory

Eos Advisory is a technology-focused angel syndicate, providing seed funding to ventures that have a positive impact on the world. On top of this, investees must also have global potential, protectable IP, and a clear commercial strategy. Based in Fife, Eos Advisory looks to invest in Scottish companies, but will consider investment opportunities across the UK.

The network typically invests between £100k and £1.5m, and has an exit horizon of five to eight years. It has participated in at least 28 fundraisings, into 13 companies, over the past decade.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

27 rounds
24 companies

23. Angels Invest Wales

Managed by the Development Bank of Wales, Angel Invest Wales is focused on investing in high-growth companies across Wales (or those planning to move to the region). The angel fund is sector-agnostic and typically invests in companies where the business managers have invested directly into the company, although this is not a requirement.

Our research shows that Angel Invest Wales gets involved in up to six fundraisings per year, each worth between £25k and £250k. Between 2011 and 2021, the angel network participated in 27 known rounds, into 24 companies.

Known
investments
2011–2021:

26 rounds
22 companies

24. Angel Academe

Although it’s open to members of any gender, Angel Academe is a female-focused angel network. It backs female-founded companies and encourages women to start angel investing. The group typically invests between £50k and £350k, providing active support to portfolio companies, and expecting an exit horizon of three to seven years.

As well as needing to have at least one female founder, its investees must have a pre-money valuation between £1m and £10m, an experienced management team, working product, business model and market traction. Angel Academe considers all types of technology startups, but has a history of backing fintech, healthtech, edtech and big data comapnies. 

The angel network participated in 26 known fundraisings between 2011 and 2021, into 22 companies.

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