Angel Investment Network connects startups and investors from all over the world. But what does the current global startup climate look like? We have drawn together some statistics to give a brief global overview.
In terms of numbers, the USA has by far the most number of startups at 46,606. The UK comes in third place, with 4,901, just a couple of thousand behind India.
However, despite the USA having the highest number of startups, it is Uganda which has the greatest number of entrepreneurs per adult population at 28.1%. Interestingly, 5 out of the 15 countries with the highest proportion of entrepreneurs are in Africa, and Southeast Asia and South America are represented by 4 countries each.
Moving on to unicorns, meaning private companies with a value of over $1 billion, China is in the lead with 149 unicorns, compared to 146 in the USA. These two countries are vastly ahead of any other, with the UK and India coming in a distant third with 13 unicorns each.
Angel Investment Network (AIN) has announced strong growth, with annual revenues up 9.4% year on year and a record number of deals for the broking business. AIN now has more than a million users in total on the platform.
AIN received over 100,000 pitches in the past year from entrepreneurs across the globe, with the figure doubling over the last two years. Alongside existing markets there has been a rapid growth of startups coming from emerging markets. Meanwhile investors registering on the site have surged nearly 40% year on year, now standing at more than 200,000 registered business angels.
Alongside the online platform, AIN also runs a successful broking division, which has seen exceptional growth in the past 12 months. Revenues have increased by 22% as demand for the team’s expertise increases. AIN has been involved in several significant raises in the past 12 months for a variety of business. This includes eco-friendly baby product business Kit & Kin, fully customisable bio-polymer plastic company Teysha, and Pin Point, data science offering early cancer detection.
Despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and a global slowdown, AIN’s results reveal the buoyant startup culture both in the UK and internationally and the popularity for this method of financing. The biggest demand among investors over the past year has been for software-based business, however food & beverage and property ventures are also seeing impressive growth. Fast growth worldwide markets include India, Canada and Australia.
Additionally AIN has been expanding into new areas including a property investment site, BrickTribe and an impact-driven online hub SeedTribe, catering for the increasing demand from investors for businesses with sustainability at their core.
According to AIN co-founder Mike Lebus: “AIN is the largest network connecting angel investors with startups, and we continue to see strong growth with investors keen to connect to our wide pool of early-stage businesses. We reflect a strong, growing and resilient worldwide startup culture which has now taken root in every continent of the world. We are particularly encouraged by the performance of our broking business as more and more investors are coming to us for access to high quality dealflow.”
He continues: “We continue to operate a lean and agile business model and we are able to launch new products to respond to the needs of our users. This includes our two new standalone platforms, BrickTribe and SeedTribe, which we built to fulfil demand that we were receiving from our investors.”
Olivia Sibony, CEO of SeedTribe and Angel Investment Network’s Head of Impact Investing has been named one of the UK’s top 10 Women Entrepreneurs.
The accolade came from Business Game Changer Magazine in its annual showcase of The UK’s Top game-changing Women Entrepreneurs. The UK’s Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs recognises the outstanding contribution made by individual UK business women. This contribution is either to their businesses, their local communities or by inspiring and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
Olivia was recognised for three key reasons. These were:
– Founding and exiting her business, GrubClub, selling to EatWith, feeding tens of thousands of diners through hundreds of chefs, one of whom went on to earn a Michelin Star.
– Founding and launching SeedTribe. The UK’s central hub for Impact Entrepreneurs, supporting and connecting hundreds of entrepreneurs, encouraging using profit for purpose.
– Launching the Female Founders Hub for Angel Investment Network, responding to data that showed just 1 in 10 of our investors are women and a low percentage of female founder teams. She was recognised for ‘empowering thousands of women to gain confidence in becoming active investors and using their skills and money to help shape the world’.
According to Olivia: “I am honoured to have received this accolade. My success is in huge part thanks to the incredible network of entrepreneurs, colleagues and supporters with whom I’ve worked closely all these years. I look forward to continuing this work supporting female founders, as well as entrepreneurs running inspiring businesses that are able to align profit and purpose in order to address some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”
AIN’s Sam Louis talks through why Northern Ireland’s thriving startup scene deserves more attention.
When it comes to reporting on Northern Ireland’s business climate the focus has, for better or worse, been on Brexit. With discussions about how to resolve the border conundrum continuing, there’s been little talk of much else. However, one exciting aspect has definitely been under reported – the growth of the Northern Irish startup scene. It is worth examining.
I judged the Digital DNA upStart awards in Belfast earlier this year and was overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of exciting companies developing in Northern Ireland. Across all sorts of sectors, there’s really something underway in the Emerald Isle.
Breadth of opportunities
Encouragingly, our data agrees. This year we created AIN’s first ‘State of the Angel Investment Nation’ report. Built on insights from the 100,000 businesses that came through our platform in 2018, it produced a detailed picture of the angel investment landscape. Within this, the report revealed that Northern Ireland had the second fastest growth across the UK. In raw terms in new entrepreneurs it was up 67% on the year before.
This is a great sign of things to come, as confidence builds within the country that top startups can be started and scaled on home soil. N. Ireland’s highest performing sectors were software and property. Cyber security businesses are particularly well represented within the software category. However, we are seeing a really encouraging breadth of opportunities – from health food companies and CBD ventures to dog grooming startups. Northern Irish entrepreneurs are setting up across all industries.
Increasing investment from overseas
Looking to the other side of the table, we’ve always had a strong core of investors coming out of Northern Ireland, many of them from a property background. What’s been interesting though is to watch their attention shift inwards as their home market grows. With increasing investment from overseas, this is something we hope will continue, with NI investors going in alongside international firms to fuel the local ecosystem.
As the world evolves, digital talent and capabilities will play an ever-increasing role in the international standings of the world’s nations. Key areas like Cyber Security, AI and Machine Learning are already a valuable commodity in dictating not only economic growth, but also geopolitical opportunities. As the Northern Irish start up scene continues to develop, especially in these highly technical areas, it has the potential to make a serious contribution to the UK’s already strong representation at the highest levels of the digital world. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, Northern Ireland’s start up scene looks set to grow. Let’s hear more about it.
We’ve been helping startups raise money around the world since 2004. Over 900,000 entrepreneurs have used our site. And the question we get asked most is ‘How can I get my idea to investment?‘.
After all this time in the industry, you’d think we’d be well-placed to answer it. And we are. But it’s still not an easy question and the answer depends on the business in question.
We’ve been holding events and workshops to help entrepreneurs navigate this difficult first hurdle. Back in March we did a big one with global digital skills educator, General Assembly. And we filmed the whole event so we could share the wisdom with as many people as possible…
The film is quite long and you may want to watch specific sections at a time, so here’s a breakdown:
0:00–17:06 Entrepreneur & Investor Olivia Sibony describes her experiences from the Grub Club idea to finding investors
Back in 2013, I took a step that would change the trajectory of my career forever. After seven years at Goldman Sachs, I left for a new adventure. I was confident in my skill set, but terrified that I was abandoning the safety net of the corporate career path.
Fast forward six years, and how glad I am that I took that decision. I launched a foodtech startup called GrubClub, which I ran for five challenging but satisfying years, before EatWith acquired us in 2017.
One of the things I learned on that journey was how hard and how
important it is to raise funding. That’s partly why I joined Angel Investment
Network last year. I had raised money through them for GrubClub and really
bought into their mission to democratise angel investment.
So, here are my five key tips for getting investment:
1. Investors invest in teams
Many of the most successful businesses are at their core very
simple ideas. Google allows people
to search for stuff on the internet. Ford builds cars. But neither Google nor
Ford were the first in their category.
Their success is commensurate to
their ability to execute changes.
That’s why the team in charge of navigating this journey is so important. And that’s why investors invest in teams. So, keep that at the forefront of your mind both when building out the early team (obviously), but also when creating a story for your pitch.
2. Remember that investors are not the same as customers
(This point is related to #3 below but is important enough
to mention on its own.) Entrepreneurs often fail to communicate successfully
with investors because they explain the benefits of their product/service as if
describing them to a potential customer.
This is easy to do because during product and strategy
meetings their focus has no doubt been on crafting the proposition to
While your investors may also be customers, your proposition to them should not be the same. You will lose their interest if you talk to them as if they were customers. So, craft a story and a proposition specific to them…
3. Tell investors a compelling story
I hear a lot of people give advice like ‘tell a story in your
pitch’. But they often fail to explain how to do that meaningfully. So, how do
you tell a compelling story to prospective investors?
The most basic story that all investors want to hear is how they
are going to make money. There may be other factors like the desire to make a
positive impact on the world. But ultimately, an investor wants to make a
I heard a founder sum up this idea nicely on The Startup Microdose
Podcast – he said, “Show investors what winning looks like.”
So, build the story of your pitch by putting dollar signs in the eyes of investors and by explaining to them how you are well-placed to execute on this grand vision.
4. Create momentum
Investors are busy people. You will not always be top of
their priority list. So, don’t be disheartened if they don’t get back to your
message straight away.
But also, don’t be shy of sending them reminder messages.
The trick to doing this and engaging them is to try to include some impressive update that you’ve achieved since your previous message to them e.g. ‘Ex-CEO of Unilever has just agree to join the board’ or ‘1,500 new users sign ups in the last week’.
This creates the impression of progress and always helps to prove the competence of you and your team.
5. Don’t waste time
We live in a digital world. A world full of tools to boost your productivity and streamline your processes. Use them! There are some great ones for raising investment. My favourites are: Seedlegals – for digitally creating and signing all your legal documents; MixMax – for seeing if people have read your email and how many times and when; and, of course, Angel Investment Network – for meeting investors you could never otherwise hope to meet.
What do you think?
These tips are both from my own experiences. Do you agree/disagree
or need more explanation? (Let me know in the comments!)
Olivia Sibony is an award-winning entrepreneur and ethical investment champion. She left a career at Goldman Sachs to launch foodtech startup, GrubClub, which she sold to Eatwith in 2017. She then joined Angel Investment Network (having previously raised money through them) to launch and grow SeedTribe, a spinoff platform focused on impact entrepreneurship.
is also a Board member of UCL’s Fast Forward 2030, which
aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to launch businesses that
address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
London-based bakery, Orée, has raised £425,000 through Angel Investment Network (AIN) the UK’s largest online platform connecting angel investors with startup businesses.
The French-style, high-end bakery started trading in March 2016 and currently has two shops at 275/277 Fulham Road and 147 Kensington High Street. The concept is bringing ‘a taste of the boulangeries and patisseries of rural France to London’. The funding will finance the opening of the next shop based in Covent Garden with a further location in London Bridge set for later in the year. The ambition is for more than a dozen shops across London and an international expansion.
The raise is one of the largest for a food business in AIN’s 14-year history. The highest to date was the £600k raise for Rosa’s Thai Cafe which raised £500k through AIN in 2014 and has since delivered returns to investors via a private equity buyout.
The combination of Orée’s high-quality product offering and high-end, high footfall locations across London, gives it a strong position within the food retail industry and made it an attractive proposition for AIN’s network of investors. Orée bridges the £8bn bakery market and the £6bn café and coffee shop market, both experiencing annual growth of 2.5% and 5.7% respectively. According to data from AIN, food and beverage was the second most popular category among angel investors in the UK for 2018, losing out only to software.
Xavier Ballester, Director at Angel Investment Network who brokered the deal, said: “Orée was of strong interest to our investors with its offering of a premium, authentic French Patisserie to a market that is increasingly captivated by continental cuisine. It satisfies several consumer trends that have characterised the UK casual dining market in the past couple of years, including ‘premiumisation’ and a concern for provenance.”
This interview with Mike Lebus, founder and managing director of Angel Investment Network, was originally published in Sifted. You can read the full article on ‘How to Make a Smart Angel Investment’ with views from other industry leaders here.
Mike Lebus (UK)
Mike Lebus is co-founder Angel Investment Network, a platform catering to 205,000+ angels which has backed the likes of bed mattress startup Simba, geocoding business What3Words and kids media company SuperAwesome.
An angel investor for 6 years.
Number of personal investments: I try to make two personal investments a year. Through the venture division of the company (me and three others), we have a stake in over a hundred companies.
Average cheque size: I normally invest £10-25k.
The biggest misconception about angel investing is… that investors should be based in startup hubs like Silicon Valley and London. Online platforms and digital networks now allow investors to find great deal flow wherever they are based.
Do… take the time to meet and get to the know the founding team. When you invest in early stage projects the idea takes second place to the team. This is because the idea will have to change and evolve to be a success; and it’s the team who are responsible for doing that!
“Investors don’t have to be based in startup hubs like Silicon Valley and London.”
Don’t… invest in only one company. No matter how good the opportunity looks, there are so many unknowns when it comes to early stage investment. It’s a much better strategy to invest smaller in more businesses.
The biggest mistake I made was… to miss out on a great opportunity because I failed to build a good relationship with the team. In the early discussions I should have focused on getting to know them, their vision and their processes; instead, I was too blinkered on the valuation and deal terms. It ended up being a waste of everyone’s time. The company went on to do very well!
My personal top tip is to… manage your expectations. If you’re obsessed with returns and timescales, you’ll end up being a burden on your portfolio companies. If you relax and trust the team to execute on their vision, then you can focus on finding meaningful ways to help them with your experience and connections.
My most recent investment was in… Sweatcoin, an app that tracks your outdoor steps and rewards you with digital currency. It’s been the fastest growing health and fitness app in history in every country it’s launched in on the App Store. I know the founder well, so knew how talented he was. I also loved the company’s innovative approach to incentivising people to become more active and get healthier.
The deal I regret missing out on is… Funding Circle. We helped them with funding very early on, but I chose not to invest personally. Their IPO last year valued them at £1.5 billion!
If I could change one thing about the European angel scene it would be…More government incentives to encourage more people to invest into startups. The UK have the SEIS and EIS schemes, which have really helped stimulate early-stage investment. I think more European countries should introduce similar incentives.
This interview with Olivia Sibony was originally published in TechRound on 21st May 2019.
We caught up with Liv Sibony, the CEO of Seedtribe, a community hub for entrepreneurs, investors and change-makers interested in impact entrepreneurship and using business as a force for good.
Tell us a bit about your career…
I started out at Goldman Sachs before leaving to launch a foodtech startup called Grub Club. It was a platform for connecting diners with unique dining experiences. We sold to Eatwith in 2017.
I was only too aware, from my experiences at Grub Club, of the challenges entrepreneurs face in raising funds and I had always had a passion for seeing how business could be used as force for good, so I then joined Angel Investment Network (having raised money for Grub Club through them) to launch and grow their impact-focussed platform, SeedTribe.
Airex, an alternative to traditional air floor insulation reducing unwanted heat loss by regulating air flow.
Hopes Initiative which maps, analyses, and optimises the energy consumption of businesses, managing energy expenditure, consumption and impact on the environment..
But we soon realised that we could do so much more to make our own impact and help the eco-system develop.
So, what is Seedtribe now?
Seedtribe is a community platform to connect entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, jobseekers and volunteers and together inspire, create and support businesses for a brighter future.
We basically try to support the business-for-good eco-system by bringing together all the right people into events, online discussions, fundraising campaigns and educational workshops.
What’s the mission?
We want to be the glue that brings the best, most talented, driven, passionate people together to be the change we all need to see in the world. We are the go-to place where impactful entrepreneurs connect with an invaluable network that help them scale.
Collaboration is the most powerful tool we have for inspiring and empowering change. At Seedtribe, we enable collaboration between individuals, startups, corporates and governments to create a better world.
By connecting the dots, we help each party or person find the right way to contribute. That way, we can get beyond all the noise and bluster, and allow everyone to take meaningful and positive action.
Our system will allow everyone to contribute positive action according to their experience, values and competencies.
What challenges do you face?
Despite reaching a market cap of $500bn and growing five-fold since 2013, the impact space is still in its infancy.
Some people still confuse investing in impact/business-for-good/profit-with-purpose with philanthropy. Even though this could not be further from the truth. ‘Impact’ business do not seek to achieve an environmental/social purpose at the expense of profit, but rather, the purpose and profit-creation are intertwined.
What’s your vision for the future?
I want to see more businesses working as a force for good. At the moment, investment is 100% tied to the idea of only caring about a financial return.
I wish we could see a paradigm shift where we feel more engaged in investing in the future, so that we can make more long-term, sustainable decisions that don’t just revolve around our personal financial returns.
If everyone were encouraged to see investment as the “triple bottom line”, companies would be incentivised to act in the interest of people and planet, we would see less short-termism, and I also think it might engage more people in the world of investing, as they’d see how it relates to their own values and future, not just a return in the next 12 months.
Where can people find out more?
We are currently rebuilding the Seedtribe site to create more of a community focus and attract users beyond just investors and entrepreneurs. They can visit the existing version at www.seedtribe.com and help us shape it at by answering this questionnaire. I’m also always open to chat so they can connect with me on LinkedIn too!
We gained a great deal of interest for the successful SEIS raise in Q1 2019 and hope this momentum carries on with the many global angels on the AIN platform. The low-cost non-stop aspect really resonated with a lot of investors from South Asia. They make these journeys frequently themselves and could really relate to this product.
The airline focuses on point-to-point direct flights from the UK to secondary cities in several South Asian countries, starting with India. The list of affordable non-stop flights will be between the UK (initially London Stansted) and the Indian cities of Amritsar (Punjab) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
The experienced founding team, with backgrounds including Ryanair, Team Lotus F1, British Airways, Emirates, JP Morgan and UBS, have stated that flypop will be able to pass cost savings back to consumers via lower airport charges to tier 2 airports and its unique ‘wet’ lease start-up agreements.
There are ambitions to expand further from North America & Europe to South Asia via the UK and the business is now looking to raise £4m in its next EIS funding round. The team at flypop also intend to make the airline carbon neutral, offsetting each passenger that flies with the planting of a tree in a forest in the UK or South Asia.
Airlines still have an exciting allure to them and it was hugely exciting for our investors to invest in an SEIS round for one.
Ed Stephens, Head of Investor Relations at Angel Investment Network:
Good luck to Nino and the team! We will be following their progress with interest.