EDINBURGH-based business angel investment syndicate, Archangels – believed to be the oldest in the world – has recorded another active year of support for the Scottish tech and life sciences sectors, leading investment of £14.8m in Scottish start-up and early-stage companies in 2019.
The syndicate directly invested £8.2m across the year (2018: £10.9m) and was the lead investor on a total of 10 funding rounds with total investment, including co-investors’ contributions, of £14.8m (2018: £22.4m). Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, was the largest single co-investor in 2019 at £3.9m, with co-investment from other organisations including NVM, Par Equity and Tricap.
Most funding rounds completed by Archangels during 2019 were follow-up investments, demonstrating Archangels’ long-term commitment to its investee companies. These included:
- Administrate – £3.4m
- Calcivis – £1.3m
- MGB Biopharma – £1.1m
Archangels has 17 companies in its portfolio and initiated investment in one new company in 2019, leading a £2m investment in Edinburgh-based digital marketing agency, QueryClick, supported by SIB. QueryClick is using the funds to recruit additional analysts and sales staff and to mount a significant marketing effort to accelerate its growth in the fast-developing digital advertising attribution sector.
Archangels completed exits from two investments during 2019. Earlier this month, the syndicate sold its 23% shareholding in Bellshill headquartered document outsourcing specialist, Critiqom, as part of the trade sale of the business to Opus Trust Communications. Archangels also disposed of its residual shareholding in Borders-based timber frame house manufacturer, Oregon Timber, following the purchase of that business by Barratt Homes.
It was a successful year for many Archangels investee companies, with Speech Graphics (in which Archangels initiated investment in 2018) being voted start-up of the year at the Scottish Tech Awards. Archangels itself was shortlisted for Investor of the Year at the same awards. MGB Biopharma reached a significant milestone with the initiation of a Phase IIa trial of its bactericidal antibiotic aimed at treating clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea. Blackford Analysis, the medical imaging platform, received the 2019 Visionary Innovation Leadership Award from analyst firm Frost & Sullivan. It won the award for best practices in medical imaging artificial intelligence marketplace solutions.
During 2019, Scottish Chambers of Commerce President, Tim Allan, joined the board of Archangels, succeeding Alastair Salvesen CBE who retired after 10 years on the Archangels board.
David Ovens, Chief Operating Officer at Archangels, said:
“There’s no doubt that 2019 was a turbulent year politically and economically. However, Archangels stuck to our founding principles of taking a long term, patient approach to building businesses in Scotland; providing growth capital but also access to our networks, experiences and wider support which are fundamentally important to scaling companies.”