The Angel CoFund, launched at the end of 2011 with an initial Government-backed funding of £50 million to support the UK’s angel market, today celebrates reaching its fifth birthday.
Since its creation, the Angel CoFund’s mandate has been clear: to back top UK-based high potential and high growth early stage companies and to partner with business angels via co-investment. Since then, the CoFund has invested more than £33 million directly across over 70 UK businesses, alongside a further £142 million from angels and angel networks.
Set up as a privately managed and commercially-focused institution investing public capital, the Angel CoFund has a highly export-focused portfolio ranging from medtech to fintech. Its return on the government’s investment has been 3x on average across four exits, with three companies listing on the AIM stock market.
With each successful exit, the Angel CoFund has recycled those profits back into new companies, allowing it to keep investing, both in new ventures and its existing portfolio.
By investing alongside angels and venture capital funds, the CoFund has been able support and strengthen the UK’s angel market, helping to build an ecosystem that now provides UK-based entrepreneurs with more than three times the amount of startup funding compared with six years ago.
Prominent portfolio businesses include Gousto, Ebury, Hopster and Creo Medical. They have collectively increased their revenues by one hundred fold, created over 300 jobs and have received more than £100 million follow-on funding, as well as being a great source of innovation in the UK. With the CoFund’s portfolio based all around the UK, investment has also helped contribute to the government’s drive to increase regional growth.
“The UK has an excellent record in creating new businesses and our modern Industrial Strategy has a focus on ensuring these businesses can access the right finance they need to grow and thrive. The Angel CoFund is a great example of how Government support can stimulate private sector investment into scale-ups, creating hundreds of jobs in innovative businesses across the country,” Small Business Minister Margot James said, commenting on the CoFund’s fifth year milestone.
According to Tim Mills, investment director at the Angel CoFund, angel syndication spreads risk and strengthens investment prospects, which allows the CoFund to be bolder in the range of companies it supports. “(This) explains why we’re ahead of the performance curve compared to many other areas of European venture capital. Although investment in innovation requires a long term patient approach, and success can be many years in the making, this occasion provides a good opportunity to reflect on our achievements to date,” he said.
“Naturally, we are absolutely delighted to enter our sixth year and claim the milestones we have. This is a resounding testament to our team and partners’ relentless efforts to help the best high-growth British businesses prosper and to promote angel investment.”
See also: Top UK angel networks for your start-up – a comprehensive list of key angel investors across the United Kingdom.