Scots syndicate Archangels in record £22m year

David Ovens

Archangels, the Edinburgh-based business angel investment syndicate, said on Friday it led a record breaking £22.4 million of investment in Scottish tech and life sciences businesses in 2018.

“Including £10.9m of our members’ cash in 10 investment rounds across the year, with co-investment of £9.4m from investment partners including Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm, Scottish Investment Bank, which, at £6.0m, was the largest co-investor,” said Archangels.

Other co-investment partners included NVM Private Equity, Maven Capital Partners, Par Equity and US-based Julz Co.

Archangels’ 2018 investment activity included leading first-time investments in two Scottish businesses.

One was Bio-Images Drug Delivery Ltd (BDD Ltd), where a £2 million investment announced in March enabled the business to scale, focusing on its unique OralogiK precision timed drug delivery system.

The second was Speech Graphics, where in October an investment of £2 million was raised, enabling the Edinburgh and California based technology business – which provides real-time audio based, emotional facial animation – to target the customer service sector’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant market.

Two successful exits were also achieved in 2018.

In April, Selkirk-based Oregon Timber Frame Ltd, one of the UK’s largest independent timber frame manufacturers, completed a buy-out of its non-management shareholders.

This included Archangels’ 15% stake in the business, bringing to a close a 20 year investment relationship.

Then in October, ZoneFox Ltd was acquired by Fortinet, a provider of cyber security to the largest enterprises, service providers and government organisations around the world.

Reflecting the high-risk nature of early stage investing, there were also two failures among the Archangels portfolio in 2018.

David Ovens, chief operating officer at Archangels, said: “Archangels led another record-breaking amount of investment in Scottish early stage companies in 2018.

“In spite of the uncertainties around Brexit and the global economy, the tech and life sciences ecosystem in Scotland is buoyant.

“There remains a steady stream of innovative and ground-breaking ideas, satisfying the strong appetite of our members for investment opportunities that underpin Scotland’s position as an entrepreneurial hotspot.”