The Angels in the City initiative will receive £50,000 of funding over the next two years from the City of London Corporation, founding supporters of the initiative. This sum accompanies new funding and logistical support from Lloyds TSB, to deliver the expanded project in partnership with London Business Angels.
The programme will have a primary focus on recruiting potential business angels and increasing the pool of active investors in early-stage businesses by providing them with expert insights into angel investment to prepare them to make their first investments.
New angel investors who bring their financial capacity and business experience to invest in potential entrepreneurs, could potentially benefit from income tax relief of 50% on investments of up to £100,000 made in eligible opportunities. The benefit is part of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which became operative from April 2012. The SEIS is aimed at seed ventures that have been trading for no more than 2 years seeking investment of £150,000 or less thus making Seed Angel investment a timely and attractive proposition for investors.
The extended programme will continue to focus on providing the opportunity for seed / early-stage businesses to pitch for investments from these newly-recruited ‘City angels’ by enabling 60 entrepreneurs from the City-fringe boroughs – with emphasis on the ‘Tech City’ cluster - to pitch for angel investment from this new pool of ‘City angels’ through a series of pitching events.
From a wide number of new angel investors, selected entrepreneurs have the opportunity to access funding offering the potential to transform their future, propelling them from early start up to accelerated growth businesses.
"At a time when access to finance is such a pressing issue for entrepreneurs, Angels in the City is focused on encouraging individuals from the Square Mile to consider investing in early stage businesses and providing them with the knowledge and expertise to do so," said Mark Boleat, elected Chairman of Policy and Resources at the City of London Corporation. "The capital provided by angels for a new business will not only assist the launch of a new enterprise but it will also create employment opportunities and help stimulate economic growth in the local economy."
Since the programme was introduced in 2011, over £2 million of new investment has been secured by entrepreneurs and over 100 new angel investors from the City have been recruited.
Financial lawyer, Michelle Kingsley, decided to become an angel investor through Angels in the City in early 2012. She made her first angel investment in ReadWave, a start-up tech company, as part of a syndicate of Angels in the City.
"Coming from a legal background, I was keen to see the commercial side of how companies grow," said Michelle. "This seemed like the perfect platform to pass on my business expertise and contacts to help make a new business grow. Working with ReadWave has been a hugely rewarding process, I knew instantly they had the ability to grow in scale and nurturing the process has been a wonderful learning experience."
Raoul comments, "For tech entrepreneurs in the UK, getting early-stage investment is a difficult process, especially compared to Sillicon Valley, and Angels in the City really delivered for us when we needed it. Since securing investment our growth has soared and we’ve been able to focus heavily on product development and creating an engaged user base. With the increased resources that funding has brought, we're now confident that we’ll be able to fulfil our mission of becoming the 'YouTube for writers'."
Entrepreneurs not only have the opportunity to access financial resources but also the business experience, skills and bulging contact books of City angel investors. Each selected business is offered a one day investment readiness and pitch training session, delivered by London Business Angels’ expert trainers and its selected angel investors.
The initiative is part of the City of London Corporation’s commitment to support London communities and support enterprise and small businesses, both in the City and its neighboring boroughs.