2020 was a bizarre year: the pandemic heavily influenced our daily lives and the economy. When reviewing the effects on investments in early-stage companies – the focus of our MatchingWINGS angel network – we observe that different opinions are expressed. Some experts stated that Dutch startups and scale-ups in 2020 gathered record high investments while others posed the opinion that particularly the number of smaller deals – up to €4 million – have halved. One would expect that the last opinion also means that angel deals dramatically declined, however the figures tell a different story. The number of angel deals in 2020 increased, although the amount invested by one of more angels decreased while the size of deals in which angels co-invested substantially increased.
It is good to notice that angel investors did not lose their investment appetite and were, despite of the covid19 crisis, willing to fund the higher risk business of startups. In our view there are three reasons why angels moved towards both smaller and larger (co-investment) deals.
First the Covid19 pandemic brings a lot of uncertainty. In order to deal with the increased market risks, angel investors were more critical on funding requests and their individual ticket size resulting in smaller rounds.
Second, support measures by the government also influenced the funding landscape. The Corona Bridge Loan (COL) provided essential support to startups and scale-ups suffering from the Covid19 crisis. Deal flow of angels consisted of more startups that recently started their business and who did not qualify for COL since they were not affected by the crisis. In general, these earlier stage companies have lower funding needs.
Finally, we see that the group of scaleup entrepreneurs that monetized their efforts during an exit has increased. Their experience is very valuable and this is also recognized by other investors such as Venture Capitalists, Regional Development Agencies and Corporates. For this reason, those seasoned entrepreneurs are welcomed in syndications of formal investors.
Please note that the share of angel investments in these deals are unknown.
MatchingWINGS has spent time and effort to register angel investment transactions in the Dutch market. Based on a variety of news sites, newsletters and social media announcements, MatchingWINGS has built a database of Dutch startup equity and convertible loan transactions. Only transactions of which information is available in the public domain and can be verified by external sources have been added. Confidential or informal information about deals is not included.
From the investors in our network and the contacts with startup entrepreneurs, we conclude that a large number of angel investments are not published. Studies of European Business Angel Networks (e.g. EBAN Statistical Compendium 2019) indicate that throughout Europe approximately 1 out of 10 angel deals are visible.