Important new report launches revealing the impact of female angel investment in the UK
New study reveals investments worth £2 billion made by female angels helping to create 10,000 UK jobs
- First comprehensive picture of female angel investment in the UK reveals thousands of female angels.
- More than £2bn has been invested in UK companies via deals involving female angel investors over the last 10 years, backing over 4,000 businesses and helping to create 10,000 jobs.
- New drive to attract fresh investment as figures show just 14% of angel investors are women.
- Almost 25% of all companies backed by female angels were female-founded, higher than the average of 19%.
Female angel investors have helped drive more than £2bn of investment in companies across the UK in the past decade, a new study reveals today.
The Women Angel Insights report from the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) and Beauhurst reveals that more than 5,000 women are making angel investments across the UK, helping to create over 10,000 jobs in the past decade.
Despite this, the new report, which is sponsored by NatWest Group, reveals that women remain a minority in angel investment. This shortage of women angels has a direct impact on the UK’s female founders. This is because data shows that women are much more likely to invest in female-founded companies, which are currently underfunded compared to their male counterparts and often unable to meet their full potential. Women angels therefore have a critical role to play in supporting female entrepreneurship in the UK.
To combat this, the UKBAA, as part of its work with the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship via the Women Angel Investment Task Force, is announcing plans to extend its Women Backing Women campaign of events, which seek to inform, inspire, educate and empower more women to become angel investors, with the ultimate aim of driving investment to female entrepreneurs across all nations and regions of the UK.
Further highlights from the report, which is the first comprehensive study of female angel investment and its impact in the UK, include:
- Female angels have been involved in deals worth £2.34 billion over the past decade, backing over 4,000 businesses – including over 1,000 female-founded businesses – and helping to create more than 10,000 jobs.
- Women angels have a strong appetite for technology innovation, with FinTech, AI, AdTech, EdTech and eHealth the most popular sectors for investment.
- Women represent a minority of angel investors. Of a total 36,800 angels in the UK only 14% (5,064) are women, and less than 0.5% (157) of female angels have achieved a portfolio of 10 or more.
- Female angel investors are investing in every region and nation of the UK, but over two thirds of all female investments are made in businesses in London and the South East, compared to just 5% in North West and South West and 1% in Northern Ireland.
- Almost 25% of companies backed by female angels, were female-founded. This compares to the 19% of female-founded companies backed by the angel community overall.
JENNY TOOTH, OBE, Executive Chair of the UK Business Angels Association, said: “This report shows that female angel investors are a vital source of equity and support to building and scaling up new businesses and have made a fantastic contribution to our economy over the past 10 years.”
“Representing only 14% of total investment at present, we need to at least double the current pool of women angel investors. That’s why we are holding events in regions and nations around the UK, through the Women Backing Women campaign, to inspire, encourage and support women to become angels.
“Our aim now is to bring together and call on the investment community, the new Government; and wider ecosystem to unlock the potential of female angel investment to back the growth ambitions of many more female founders across the UK.”
ALISON ROSE, Chief Executive of NatWest Group, said: “The Rose Review found that £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men. This first of its kind report shows the important role of female angel investors in ensuring women founders can access early-stage capital and highlights the need to do more to encourage more women to explore angel investing.
“We hope this study will act as an inspiration for action and collaboration across the investing landscape, which will in turn help female founders realise their ambitions.”
About Women Backing Women
Women Backing Women is a campaign launched in 2022 by the Women Angel Investment Task Force is an initiative sprung out of the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship to increase the number of women becoming angel investors and expand the female angel ecosystem across the UK. The task force is led by Jenny Tooth, the Executive Chair of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), representing over 15,000 investors around the UK. In 2022, the Women Angel Investment Task Force launched the Women Backing Women campaign, its flagship project to inspire, educate and support women across the UK to become business angels and early-stage investors.
By increasing the number of female angels, the campaign’s intention is that more female founders across the UK will have a better chance to access funding to scale their business, wherever they are based. This mission feeds into the Rose Review’s target to increase funding allocation to women in the UK and to create an environment which encourages and enables 600,000 more women to found businesses by the end of the decade.
The Women Backing Women campaign collaborates with angel investor groups and key ecosystem players already working on the ground across the UK, including in Wales, Scotland and the North, who know their regional and national landscape better than anyone else.
Beauhurst identifies ambitious businesses using eight triggers (outlined at the bottom of this page) that we believe suggests a company has high-growth potential. More detail on Beauhurst’s tracking triggers is available via its website.
To be included in Beauhurst’s analysis, any investment must be:
- Some form of equity investment
- Secured by a non-listed UK company
- Issued between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2021
Female angel investors
Female angel investors have been identified as those individuals who have shareholding(s) in at least two different companies, excluding those which have received crowdfunding.
Equity investment by female angel investors
To identify equity investments made by female angels, this analysis first identified the cohort of female angel-backed companies, and the fundraising events that these businesses had participated in. If a deal featured either a business angel or an angel network, or the only investor was undisclosed, the reasonable inference was made that this fundraising event featured at least one female angel investor. These deals were then narrowed down to those which took place within 10 years of the company’s incorporation date and where the company was at seed-stage at the time of the deal.