Co Angel celebrates £15m investment milestone

Darren Gowling

The Co Angel investment service has hit a major investment milestone of £15m this month, with 20 completed deals across the North West creating more than 100 new jobs.

Some 90% of the deals completed have been into the tech sector with £3m from the Co Angel investor base leveraging a further £12m from institutional investors, venture capalists and other sources of funding.

Building on the success to date, Co Angel is now preparing to launch its own investment fund to meet the need of growth hungry businesses requiring of early stage equity as well as support an expanding portfolio of businesses embarking on further rounds of funding.

Co Angel Investment, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) supported service, links syndicates of business angels to innovative high growth businesses, merged with North West Business Angels (NWBA) in 2016, to create the region’s largest and most active Angel network.

The merger has given the Angel service considerably greater capacity for scaled investment and several businesses that have been supported at seed stage have returned for second and third rounds of six figure growth funding and scale-up capital.

With over 300 angels  within the new joint network, the flow of referrals from NWBA to Co has included ‘ones to watch’ including interactive gaming studio Desk Dragons who are Xbox and Playstation development partners and are building on their own success to create a central hub for gaming development in the NW; e-commerce business Ecomnova, which is fast tracking its digital expansion into  Europe and biomedical business Blueberry Therapeutics, currently developing an innovative range of treatments for athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.

Darren Gowling, senior investment director at Co Angel, said: “Co has leveraged a remarkable amount of support for GM businesses, culminating in this month’s £15m funding milestone. Entrepreneurial appetite for investment in the North West has never been higher with the region now attracting global attention as the home of game-changing tech and digital businesses.

“These are businesses that need to secure early stage equity but which also benefit from the expertise, wisdom and contacts that our angels and professional investors bring to the table.

“By bringing our two Angel networks together we are continuing to build an early stage market offering that creates better and lower risk opportunities for angels and supports businesses that are struggling to find funding.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority have taken a new and innovative approach to helping cutting-edge businesses find the early stage equity they need to build and grow. Co Angel, which is part of The Growth Company, and NWBA support businesses to access equity investment from syndicates of investors and VCs from across the region and the wider UK.

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