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Angel investors in Bristol every local startup should know
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- Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals (or syndicates) who finance early-stage companies with seed investment in return for equity
- Most angel investors prefer to invest locally as this allows them to develop a closer relationship with startups and see how their investment benefits the local community
- Startups need to be well-researched, pitch-perfect, and prepared to demonstrate their passion, purpose and perseverance when approaching angel investors
- Active angel investors in Bristol include Angel Investors Bristol, the Bristol Private Equity Club, QuantX, and the Business Growth Fund
- Startups looking to cast their nets further should check national directories and data sources such as the UK Business Angels Association, and Beauhurst
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Angel investors are wealthy private individuals (or partners who come together to form a syndicate) who invest in an early-stage company and play an active role in helping it grow. In return for their support (financial, mentorship, coaching, networking), angel investors generally ask for equity ownership in the company. There are many funding strategies startups can use to find an investment angel – starting locally being one of them. In this post, we’ll list the active angel investors in Bristol to help get you going, but we’ll also review the UK’s most established angel networks if you’re seeking to broaden your search and cast your nets farther.
Unlike a venture capital firm that uses an investment fund, angel investors use their own net worth and traditionally invest locally. Angels usually want to actively engage with the startups they fund, invest through referrals, and see how their investment benefits the local community (e.g., employment, development, sustainability). Investing in startups based in the same region allows them to do just that.
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Demonstrate your passion, purpose, and perseverance
Bristol startups are fortunate to be based in a region with a thriving business ecosystem that actively supports, promotes, and invests in innovation. This is reflected in the number of angel investors in Bristol. Still, before startups can start knocking on their doors – especially considering they often won’t have a minimum viable product or developed business model in hand – they need to be well prepared.
Preparing to approach an angel investor will require you to demonstrate your passion, purpose, and perseverance. Startups often have to hear a hundred “nos” before finding that one “yes!” Can you show that you’re resilient and confident enough in your product’s purpose to keep going and adapting until you find the right investor fit? You’re also asking a stranger to put their money where your mouth is. Have your friends and family been asked to do the same? Do you have a social media following or a successful demo to prove how much traction you have?
- Keep it short and sweet. Avoid jargon and overly technical vocabulary
- Do your research. What is it about this specific angel investor that resonates and makes you feel they would be a good fit?
- Be clear. How much are you asking for? What will you spend it on?
- Explain the problem. How does your solution resolve it, and what kind of data do you have?
- Prepare a fantastic pitch.
- Prepare for collaborative interests: Some angels may be part of an investor network that provides more resources and shares the risk. Even if you’re focusing on a single investor, be prepared to share and collaborate with others – but think carefully about whether this dilutes your equity further.
The who’s who of Angel Investors in Bristol
1. Angel Investors Bristol (AIS) provides early-stage startups with the vital capital and expertise to flourish. They have a strategic focus on investments ranging from £50,000 to £100,000 that qualify for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) or Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). These schemes are part of four investment initiatives launched by the UK government that offer tax benefits to investors financing early-stage and small startups in the UK.
2. Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) has over 90 members from various entrepreneurial backgrounds. Founded in 2016, the club has invested over £9 million in local businesses. While they ideally prefer to invest in companies with an established revenue stream, they will consider seed capital and investment proposals between £150k – £500k for the right opportunity. Recently funded startups include:
- Kelpi, a sustainable biotech innovator that develops bioplastics from seaweed
- Auroch Digital, a videogames developer
- Space Forge that is developing a reusable manufacturing space satellite
- Agronaute RNA, a medical science business
- Autonome, a digital employment training service for vulnerable people in Bristol
3. QuantX provides high-impact innovation investment in the Sout West. They invest in early-stage and high-growth startups across Zero Carbon, Healthcare, and Data Monetisation sectors aimed at providing solutions with significant global potential. Target companies they invest in have all shared the same traits:
- Strong teams with the minimum complementary skills needed to grow a business quickly
- Teams with knowledge and networks that add value
- Focused business strategy and demonstrable product-market fit
- Founders that angel investors know they can build a constructive working relationship with
- A clear competitive advantage over other startups in the same niche
- An identifiable and validated community of customers
4. Business Growth Fund (BGF) has invested over £500 million of flexible business funding in the South West to date. They pride themselves in being a ‘different type of investor’ that inspires startups to build strong and sustainable businesses by:
- Ensuring the founding company retains control. BGF acts as a junior partner alongside management teams and typically has an equity share of less than 40%
- Committing to long-term partnerships. They generally invest between £1m – £20m with no exit strategies or drag rights and follow-on funding if required
- Offering flexible financing: They provide a mix of equity and loan notes for growth and/or cashout to existing shareholders
- Supporting companies regardless of their stage of growth
- Providing access to a global network of business leaders
5. Michaelmores MAINstream is registered with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) and comprises 60 member investors who have started, scaled and exited highly successful companies. They hold pitch events throughout the year, where early-stage companies are invited to present their business to the network – with those that are either based in or have strong ties with the South West given preference.
6. Wyvern Seed Fund is associated with the University of Bristol and works closely with the business acceleration programme at SETSquared Partnership. The angel group invests up to a value of £500k in companies focused on science and technology innovation.
7. The Green Angel Syndicate focuses on companies whose ‘radical grassroots innovations’ introduce the technologies needed to slow down and reverse global warming. As the UK’s largest network of specialist investors fighting climate change, early-stage companies innovating technology and solutions in Energy, Agriculture and Food, Transport, Buildings, Water and Natural Resources looking for an investment of up to £5 million are invited to apply.
Need to cast a wider net to catch your ideal angel?
If the list above doesn’t resonate or provide you with the angel-investment opportunity you’re looking for, you’ll need to cast your net wider. While many angel investors prefer to invest locally, a comparable amount invests in companies that share their values, objectives, or industry sector. Some UK angel investors specifically look for female-founded tech startups; others seek innovative and disruptive robotics businesses or promote inclusivity and diversity.
National directories such as the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) or Beauhurst (the ultimate private company data source) are invaluable for ensuring your list of world-class investor suitors is as comprehensive and extensive as possible.
A final word on Bristol’s angel investment ecosystem
For new companies with little fundraising experience, navigating the angel investment constellation can be challenging, uncomfortable, and demoralising – especially if you keep getting a lot of “nos”. But being well prepared, doing your investor research, and being clear about what you need – and the type of investor you’d prefer to get it from – will equip you with all the tools you need to succeed.
Are there any angel investors in Bristol that deserve mention? We’ll update this list regularly, so please let us know, and we’ll include them in our next update!