14 Super Angel investment funds operating in the UK revealed
Growing Business lists the angel investment funds created by successful entrepreneurs, what they invest in and their track record to date...
In the final part of a three-part feature on the Super Angels phenomenon, Growing Business lists the investment funds created by successful entrepreneurs, what they invest in and their track record to date. Have you read parts one and two of this feature?
As we have seen, the definition of super angels is hard to pin down. The list of funds listed is not exhaustive, but focuses on those where there is a significant level of successful entrepreneurs’ own funds involved, and where they are able to provide the benefit of their experience to investee companies.
1. The Accelerator Group (TAG)
Founders/backers: Robin Klein and Saul Klein.
Their background: Serial entrepreneur Robin Klein built and sold three companies, including Innovations, before becoming an investor in early stage technology companies through TAG or family investment company Local Globe. London-based TAG has been an advisor and investor in early stage and start-up companies since 1995. Klein is also the founder and founding investor of Seedcamp. Size of the fund: Undisclosed
Investment range: Undisclosed.
Investments to date: Include Astleyclarke.com, Billmonitor, Fizzback, Glasses Direct, Mind Candy, Wonga, Zoopla
What they’re looking for: Internet services, e-commerce and multi-channel retail sectors, primarily in the US and Europe.
How active: Took part in the $1m round for UserVoice in November 2011, also part of the $2m raised by eReply in 2010.
2. ACE (Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs) Fund
Founders/backers: Julie Meyer and Karima Serageldin and 25 founding limited partners, such as David Rowe (EasyNet), Marc Worth (WGSN) and Rob Hersov (Sportal, Marquis Jet Europe).
Background: Meyer was one of the founders of networking organisation First Tuesday, as well as a member of the team at NewMedia Investors where she managed deals such as lastminute and WGSN. She founded Ariadne Capital in 2000.
Size of the fund: £20m plus co-investment alongside and further follow on funding from limited partners. In 2011, the ACE venture capital fund focusing on seed and early-stage investments launched.
Investment range: £150,000 to £1m in the first funding round and follow on in subsequent rounds.
Investments to date: Fund Zero has 20 investments, such as Slicethepie, WinCashLive and Global Dawn.
What they’re looking for: Companies led by strong entrepreneurs with relevant expertise and/or a track record of success. In particular, those with a game-changing business model in their industry via a ‘digital enabler’.
How active: Ariadne evaluates about 80 deals a month.
3. Ambient Sound Investments (ASI)
Founders/backers: Tovio Annus, Pritt Kasesalu, Ahti Heinla and Jann Tallinn. ASI Private Equity is a closed investment vehicle which includes around 30 investors.
Background: Like Atomico, Estonian-based ASI is made up of ex-Skypers, in this case engineers. It invests their own money.
Size of fund: Around €100m.
Investment range: On average €500,000, but has gone below and above this figure.
Investments to date: ASI has investments in around 30 companies in Europe, the US and Asia, including Blaast, GuardTime, Progeniq, Blip.TV and markit.
What they’re looking for: Seed or early stage companies with an R&D focus and intellectual property they own.
How active: Quiet recently.
Founders/backers: Niklas Zennstrom.
Their background: Zennstrom co-founded Skype as well as Kazaa, Joltid and Joost. In 2005, Skype was sold to eBay for $3.1bn. Zennstrom was part of a subsequent buy-back consortium before it was sold to Microsoft for $8.5bn cash in 2011. Atomico was founded in 2006.
Size of the fund: Atomico Ventures II raised $165m in 2010.
Investment range: From small seed investments of $200,000 to larger growth investments up to $50m.
Investments to date: Atomico has invested in more than 50 companies, including Last.fm, Xobni, Seesmic, Playfire, and Fon. What they’re looking for: Innovative technology companies that are, or are set to become, category winners. Good teams with game-changing technology or disruptive business models that can attack large, market-changing opportunities.
How active: Following its second fund in March 2010, Atomico has invested in a number of businesses, including Silk, Wrapp, Quid, 6Wunderkinder, myGengo and Chemist Direct.
5. European Founders Fund
Founders/backers: Samwer Brothers.
Their background: The Samwers (Alexander, Marc and Oliver) built some of the most successful technology companies in Europe, including German auction site alando which was sold to eBay and wireless content site Jamba, which was sold to News Corp.
Size of the fund: Undisclosed.
Investment range: The Samwers are notoriously secretive but in the past have invested seven figure sums in businesses such as MediaMath and Wimdu
Investments to date: Facebook, LinkedIn, HomeAway, Wimdu, Sport1.
What they’re looking for: Focused on early- and later-stage investments in technology companies especially with an internet, software or wireless focus. The Samwers have a reputation for launching or backing ‘me too’ sites that are ‘inspired’ by successful internet operations. Their incubator Rocket Internet launches several sites a year.
How active: The Samwers’ Rocket Internet incubator supports businesses in 20 countries, and director Oliver Samwer has called himself “the most aggressive guy on the internet”.
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Founder/backers: Founded by Lars Hinrichs. Investors will tend to be private individuals or private family trusts.
Background: Hinrichs founded contact management and networking site XING, leading it to IPO and profitability before selling his stake to Hubert Burda Media.
Size of fund: Undisclosed
Investment range: HackFwd is a pre-seed VC company that offers funding of between €91,000 and €191,000 for 12 months in return for 27% of the company. The funding allows companies to build their product proposition.
Investments to date: Includes Flock of Birds, The Deadline, Fantasy Shopper, Filmaster, Meetro.
What they’re looking for: Novel, technology based B2C ideas that are scalable and capable of Beta launch in 12 months.
How active: Made 10 investments in 2010, its first year and expects to scale up each year
7. Howzat Media
Founders/backers: Hugo Burge and David Soskin.
Their background: Part of the management buy in which took over Cheapflights in 2000, growing it as a business and expanding internationally. They founded Howzat Media in 2006.
Size of the fund: Undisclosed
Investment range: Undisclosed
Investments to date: Academia.edu, Alexandalexa, Cheaptoday.com, Trivago, Trustedplaces.com, WAYN, Zoomf
What they’re looking for: To invest in and build businesses that can capitalise on internet opportunities.
How active: Little recent activity. Web: www.howzatmedia.com
Founders/backers: Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet (PriceMinister), Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux (Virgin Mobile), Stéphane Treppoz (Sarenza) and Ouriel Ohayon (ex TechCrunch.fr).
Backgrounds: Alongside the founders ISAI includes more than 70 investors in the professionally managed ISAI Fund, including founders, executives or former executives of French dot coms such as Kelkoo and ChateauOnline.
Size of fund: €35m.
Investment range: €500,000 to €1.5m.
Investments to date: Covoiturage, Instant Luxe, Commerce Guys, Evaneos, Boticca.com, StickyAds, Shopmium.
What they’re looking for: Innovative companies that have been in operation for less than five years and have a turnover of under €10m.
How active: Seven investments since established in 2010.
9. Jaina Capital
Founders/backers: Marc Simoncini.
Their background: French entrepreneur Simoncini sold webhosting business iFrance to Vivendi in 2000 for €182m and went on to form Meetic, one of Europe’s biggest dating sites, which is listed on the Euronext stock exchange. He formed Jaina in 2010.
Size of the fund:€100m.
Investment range: Has invested in the €300,000 seed funding of mobile social network Plyce in 2010 and a further €600,000 in early 2011.
Investments to date: Include Made.com, appsfire, Atlantico, Ifeelgoods, and Koinz.
What they’re looking for: Priority to French and European companies in internet, telecom, media and cleantech.
How active: Steady.
10. Kima Ventures
Founders/backers: Jérémie Berrebi and Xavier Niel.
Their background: Israeli Berrebi founded Net2One and Zliom which Niel is a the billionaire behind French ISP Iliad.
Size of the fund: Around $15m.
Investment range: About $150,000 per company. Funding is solely at seed stage and the company does not follow-on in subsequent rounds.
Investments to date: Too many to mention. The fund, which was set up in 2010 has set itself the target of investing in more than 100 start-ups in two years.
What they’re looking for: Projects in the internet industry at large, as well as mobile, video games, software and telecom applications. Capital-efficient companies that can achieve profitability without needing to raise a lot of money initially.
How active: Claims to be the most active angel investor in the world, with two investments a week. It receives around 500 executive summaries a month.
11. Notion Capital
Founders/backers: Jos White and Ben White.
Their background: Brothers and co-founders of Star, Messagelabs, which was sold to Symantec for $700m, and RBR Networks. Size of the fund: First fund is £25m from the five partners.
Investment range: £250,000 to £5m. A preference is to be the first institutional investor to add the most value and develop strong relationships. Some seed deals, but only as a pre-cursor to a larger fundraising where a meaningful stake can be accumulated. Investments to date: Part of the $5m fundraising for Brightpearl and invested $7m in Tradeshift online invoicing.
What they’re looking for: Cloud computing opportunities and business-to-business models with recurring revenues, customer retention and high margins.
How active: There have been nine investments and one exit since the fund was started. The focus is on quality not quantity.
12. Par Equity, Par Innovation Fund
Founders/backers: Paul Atkinson and Robert Higginson. Par Equity has around 50 advisers, 80 limited partners and 170 members of its Par Syndicate.
Their background: Atkinson is a serial recruitment business builder with a science tech background. Higginson has invested in science companies through universities.
Size of the fund: The Par Innovation Fund is £4.5m.
Investment range: Up to £500,000 with headroom for follow-on investment.
Investments to date: The fund has made around six investments, including Star Net Geomatics, a surveying business with a 3D product, and QSpine, a medical technology company and distributor.
What they’re looking for: Companies with innovation at the heart of their businesses, mainly operating in the technology sector or providing services to the technology sector, but also companies which have innovative business models. Investee companies will have established their business model and have recurring revenues and a growing client base. Medical technology is seen as an area with high potential.
How active: Busy outfit which is extending its events schedule.
13. PROfounders Capital
Founders/backers: Set up in 2009, the fund has 21 investment partners, who are successful business founders. It is run by Rogan Angelini-Hurll and Sean Seton-Rogers.
Their background: Investment partners include Lastminute.com and MyDeco founder Brent Hoberman; Bebo co-founder Michael Birch; and Toptable founder Karen Hanton.
Size of the fund: £26m
Investment range: £500,000 – £2.5m with the scope and intention to support future financing.
Investments to date: Tweetdeck, Luluvise, OcuSpec, Lanyrd, Made.com, EasyCar, CitySocialising.
What they’re looking for: Capital efficient, early-stage companies operating in the digital media and technology space, using technologies that are new or clearly differentiated from incumbents to generate identifiable revenue streams that can be scaled.
How active: Deals have been escalating since formation with nine deals in 2011, compared with five the previous year.
Web: www.profounderscapital.com (see our profile)
14. Passion Capital
Founders / backers: Stefan Glaenzer, ex-Last.fm chairman, Eileen Burbidge, Robert Dighero. The UK Government through its Enterprise Capital Fund scheme is the largest investor backer (£25m of the £37.5m fund). The rest of the investors are former entrepreneurs and family offices.
Their background: Glaenzer is co-founder of auction site Ricardo.de. Burbidge is former products director at Yahoo and Skype. Dighero was CFO of QXL Ricardo guiding it to IPO.
Size of the fund: £37.5m, with around one third of money going on first investment rounds and the rest on subsequent rounds. Investment range: £150-250,000.
Investments to date: Luluvise, Adzuna, Duedil, Smarkets, Picklive, micropayments site Flattr, EyeEm photography app, GoCardless, Mixlr broadcast technology.
What they’re looking for: Early stage companies that have not taken on external financing in the past. Founders who have the ability, confidence, resourcefulness, pace, ambition, vision and decision-making acumen to capitalise on building growth.
How active: Increasingly active in past year.
In part one of this three-part feature we reported on how the US phenomenon of Super Angels has crossed the Atlantic and why it’s so important for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Then in part two we talked to some of the leading Super Angels in the UK as they told us what they’re looking to invest in.