A Business Angel is an individual who invests his own money in an innovative company with high potential and who offers to this company his skills, his experience, his network of contacts and part of his time.
It is currently estimated that there are between 7,000 and 8,000 Business Angels in France.
It is difficult to give a precise size at which Business Angels are no longer interested in projects. Let’s say that when the amounts sought reach or exceed € 1 million, there are only a few Business Angels networks likely to be interested in the project.
Business Angels as a whole do not have a privileged investment sector; they invest in companies with high potential. They can thus invest in new technologies or biotechnology but also in industry or services. The Business Angel will often invest in a field he already knows, in which he has worked, or in a field in which his skills or experience will be put to good use.
Business Angels are likely to step in at all stages of a company’s maturity: from financing the idea to financing the business development or takeover. However, the majority of Business Angels invest at the business development stage.
Conventional investment companies, which have very little involvement in the project’s seed phase, are mainly interested in very innovative technological companies. Furthermore, being mandated (having been entrusted with public or private funds), they are subject to a number of constraints, analysis criteria, predefined rules and schedules which inevitably make the selection and decision procedures cumbersome. Business Angels, on the other hand, behave differently. Their criterion is generally not sectoral. What matters, in particular, is the potential of the company and the personality of the businessmen who are in front. Since it is their own wealth that is at stake, they have greater flexibility in their decision-making. Another implication linked to the fact that Business Angels invest their own capital, they tend to be much more available for businessmen, to share their experience, give them advice and open their address book.
France Angels facilitates initial contact with potential Business Angels by providing a directory of Business Angels networks identified to date; this directory allows you to contact the networks best suited to the characteristics of your project (location, economic sector, amount sought, etc.).
Each year, Business Angels affiliated with networks of France Angels invest an average of 45 million euros in more than 300 companies.
Be realistic, because experience shows that starting a business is always more difficult, more expensive and longer than expected. Maximize the use of all resources Business Angels can bring besides money: experience, advice, negotiation assistance for getting investments, orientation towards sources of information, direct contact with customers or potential suppliers, technical or political connections.