Securing angel investment is a challenge that has long been highlighted in the South West. This is a region known for its significant number of high net worth individuals (3rd in the ranking after London and the South East according to the UK Business Angels Association) but their residence here doesn’t seem to make it any easier to secure seed funding. 

Each regional incubator and accelerator has their own little black book of investors and many angel investors invest through them or through their professional services and networks. In tandem, there are a good number of corporate financiers offering platforms each with thousands of angel investors but only accessible if the founder fits their profile, is raising more than a million and is willing to pay a fee.

And now we find ourselves in a location with lots of investment potential the majority of which is flowing into opportunities in the Golden Triangle (Cambridge, Oxford and London). This issue is one of the main reasons that I created the Quarterly Investment Briefing – to bring investors together to network, share and learn and to raise the profile of investment opportunities in the region. 

So, at the latest event, on Thursday 25th March, we put the spotlight on the issue of angel investment and took a look at the spread of active angel groups/syndicates in the region:

We celebrated the creation of the new BPEC Seed investor group which will invest in companies raised <£150k and I shared an update on all those companies that have raised and are hoping to raise in the next quarter.

We also heard from 3 great lightning speakers who offered a local, national and international perspective on angel investment activity. 

  • Richard Cobb, Michelmores MAINstream

Richard talked us through MiVentures (an incubator style provision of support for ambitious companies) and MAINstream, the newest South West angel group which is helping high net worth individuals to make investments by providing introductions and virtual and in-person pitch events. The group has c. 50 active members and each person has the resources to invest £25k. Their recent pitch event saw 6 companies pitch out of 20 applicants with the majority being referred by incubators, existing members and Michelmores clients. 

  • Oliver Woolley, Envestors

Oliver shared a summary of Envestors who offer a digital investment platform and private investors club to bring together entrepreneurs and investors across geographies, communities and sectors. They receive 150 proposals each month and offer practical investment readiness support for founders. Oliver’s reflections on angel investment were fascinating – not least the fact that in the broad market only 2% of companies are successful in raising funding from external sources.

  • Gaurav Singh, JPIN Venture Catalysts

Gaurav very ably provided the ‘international perspective’ for our event. He and his colleagues are building the ‘largest bidirectional investment and growth corridor for startups’ between India and the UK. Interestingly they have built their own angel network in India which focuses on second and third tier cities – an approach which he encouraged us to consider – to focus on cross pollination rather than competition between regions outside London in the UK.

As a big fan of community building, my favourite fact for the morning came from Oliver – he reminded us of Dunbar’s number, 150, which is the “suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.” This is particularly interesting in the context of the optimal size for an angel group. 

I rounded off the event with an unusual investment opportunity – a feature film which is inspired by real life experiences on the Hartcliffe estate in the 70s/80s in Bristol. The short which preceded the film has accrued 4million views on YouTube and is well worth a watch even if you’re not in a position to help fund the film here.

As always, all the investment opportunities discussed at the QIB are available on our investwest page so I invite investors to take a look and contact founders directly if their business is of interest to you. 

If you’d like to watch their contributions in full, check out the video below and if you’d prefer to imagine the narrative and take a look at their slides, those are available too:

The QIB events are hosted by Briony Phillips, Scaleup Lead for Rocketmakers. If you would like to speak at a future event – please get in touch: or 

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