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Is angel investing the right opportunity for you?

Envestors CEO Oliver Woolley draws parallels between those willing to forge a new path since the pandemic and an uptick in interest in angel investing.

‘The great resignation’, ‘the great reshuffle’, ‘the great realisation’ – whatever name it takes, what it represents is clear. 2022 is seeing a tidal wave of resignations, with large swathes of Europeans considering changing jobs within the year.

Notably, alongside the great resignation there has also been an increased interest in angel investment, with an uptick in people looking to invest in start-ups. Luigi Amati, chair of Business Angels Europe, writes that “angel investing is stronger than ever – but expect a lot more in the years to come”.

Future Human

Whilst these two phenomena may seem unconnected, when you consider what drives the people behind the statistics, much more becomes clear. There is a notable overlap between why someone may consider leaving their current role, and why they may be interested in becoming an angel investor.

While angel investing is riskier than other asset classes, it does have the potential to offer greater returns’

An angel investor is an individual that invests in early-stage companies, and is typically a high-net-worth individual with an annual salary of at least £100,000, or net assets (excluding property and pensions) worth £250,000.

After the pandemic, more people are looking to feel empowered by their work. By becoming an angel investor, you can spend your time and money helping to grow businesses that inspire you. Moreover, you have the chance to enrich yourself. While angel investing is riskier than other asset classes, and is less liquid, it does have the potential to offer greater returns.

Data collected in the US for a 2017 Willamette University study on angel investment returns calculated that the average return for angel investors is 2.5 times the investment which, alongside an average investment time span of 4.5 years, indicates a gross internal rate of return  (IRR) of 22pc.

Research conducted by Envestors in February of 2022, which analysed the portfolios of nearly 50 experienced angel investors, found a weighted average IRR of 14.7pc.

Participants were required to have invested a minimum of £250,000 in at least five companies over a 10-year period, and the study found that:

  • 89pc of respondents showed a net gain
  • 11pc of respondents showed a net loss
  • 173 of the businesses had exited while 368 had failed and 1,119 were still in play

As an active angel myself I find the results of the report enlightening. Angel investing is known for being high risk, but what the study clearly shows is that it can be very lucrative.

Furthermore, the majority of European governments recognise that incentives are necessary if investment into early-stage start-ups is to be encouraged. These incentives can include capital gains tax exemption, reduction or deferral; loss relief; income or wealth tax relief; or even a combination of these measures.

Overall, angel investment can provide individuals with the ability to empower and enrich both themselves and others.

Providing non-financial support to investments differentiates the role of a business angel from other early-stage investors’

As an angel investor, you know you are making a real difference to a start-up.

Rather than feeling like a small cog in a big machine, you can make a huge impact, not only in terms of cash but by providing the knowledge you have gained from your experience and your connections.

Angels are typically evangelists for the businesses they support, and can provide advice and strategic direction by sitting as a non-executive director or adviser, or just acting as a champion.

A study prepared for the European Commission by Business Angels Europe, in which they interviewed angels from 33 European companies, found that 34pc of the business angels were board or advisory members in the companies they invested in.

Moreover, for a large majority of the angels they interviewed, the fact that they could provide non-financial support to their investments was key, and they felt that this differentiated the role of a business angel from other early-stage investors.

Many investors join angel networks, not only to find their next great opportunity, but also to meet like-minded people. If leaving work has meant meeting less new people, angel investing can fill the gap.

In addition to the social aspects, joining a network can make it easier for you to find good investment opportunities. As well as this, investors that join a network benefit from deal flow, support in due diligence and opportunities to participate in larger deals through syndication.

On the flip side, working closely with a start-up also means increasing your network of enthusiastic entrepreneurs with whom you can share a sense of purpose.

After the pandemic, many people have opened their eyes to the possibility of flexible working. With the increased prevalence of digital angel networks, platforms and marketplaces, you can easily be a nomadic angel from anywhere in the world.

Ultimately, if you’re one of the 5.4m people in Europe that qualifies as a high-net-worth individual, and are looking for more empowerment, impact, community and flexibility, now is the time to consider becoming an angel investor.

Not only will you benefit from potential governmental investment incentives and any profits, helping a business grow from an idea through to exit can generate a real sense of meaning and purpose.

Start a new journey, and join the new wave of angel investors.

By Oliver Woolley

Oliver Woolley is CEO of Envestors, a digital investment platform that brings together entrepreneurs and investors across geographies, communities and sectors, creating a marketplace for early-stage investment in the UK. Founded in 2004, it has helped more than 200 high-growth businesses raise more than £100m through its own private investment club.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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