Angel network attracts 200 applications from would-be investors

Avanite founders Peter Jones, left, and Francesco Giarletta

Less than nine months after the launch of Dow Schofield Watt Angels, the new northern angel network has received moe than 200 applications from would-be investors looking to join.

Daresbury-based Dow Schofield Watts says the response shows the strong interest in angel investing among entrepreneurs, professionals and high-net-worth individuals in the region, and the way technology is opening up new investment opportunities.

The network currently has around 100 angel members, with the remaining applications being processed.

Launched in June last year by advisory firm Dow Schofield Watts, the network brings together potential investors with promising northern technology businesses.

Angels are offered pre-screened investment opportunities and can choose whether or not to participate in any funding round.

Its first deal – a £500,000 investment in Warrington-based software company Avanite – completed last month and was backed by 30 angels.

David Smith, who leads the network, said: “While Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) relief is the primary driver for some angel investors, for many it is the excitement and sense of satisfaction that comes from taking control of your own investments – choosing the right business and helping it to achieve success.

“Angel investing across a portfolio allows entrepreneurs and executives who have exited their previous demanding roles to re-create the challenges and rewards of building a successful business.

“However, angel investing is, by definition, a risky business and no matter how hard you try, you never remove the risk entirely.

“Therefore, investors should always go into it with their eyes wide open and tax breaks should never be the sole reason for any investment.”

James Dow, founding partner of Dow Schofield Watts, said the response demonstrated that the Northern Powerhouse needed an angel network to act as a conduit linking investment with opportunity.

“For centuries, wealthy investors have backed new business opportunities,” he said.

“The difference today is technology. Not only has technology spawned many more businesses with exceptional growth opportunities, but it has enabled angels to see them.

“The number and breadth of investment opportunities which we have screened and the number of angels coming forward demonstrates that the Dow Schofield Watts Angel network is providing a vital role in connecting the two.”