Archangels syndicate involved in £15m investments

David Ovens, Niki McKenzie and Sarah Hardy of Archangels Picture by Robert Perry

Archangels, the Edinburgh-based business angel investment syndicate, said on Friday it recorded another active year of investments in Scottish start-up and early stage companies in the tech and life sciences sectors.

The syndicate was involved in investments of £14.8 million compared to last year’s record £22.4 millio.

It directly invested £8.2 million across the year and was lead investor on a total of 10 funding rounds.

Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, was the syndicate’s largest single co-investor in 2019 at £3.9 million with co-investment from other organisations including NVM, Par Equity and Tricap.

Most funding rounds completed by Archangels during 2019 were follow-up investments including Administrate (£3.4 million), Blackford Analysis (£1.6 million) and MGB Biopharma (£1.1 million).

Archangels’ chief operating officer David Ovens 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.”

Archangels now has 17 companies in its portfolio.

It initiated investment in one new company in 2019, leading a £2 million investment in Edinburgh-based digital marketing agency QueryClick, supported by SIB.

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 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 of 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.

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.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.