SUPPORT | December 3, 2015

Angel Investing Sees Innovations in Entrepreneurial Finance

Photo Credit:

The angel investing movement saw two significant steps forward last month. This field of private equity between “friends, family and fools,” as well as institutional venture capital, has grown over the last decade as a key player in innovation finance. There are city, alumni, regional, market vertical, national, and transnational networks and clubs. Even though a developed country phenomena historically, all growing economies are seeking ways to involve high net-worth investors – Angels – to mentor and support entrepreneurs everywhere.

In the last 30 days, two key events in this movement occurred. First, a book on trends in policy and organizations across the globe was published. Angels Without Borders is available in paperback and eBook from World Scientific Publishing of Singapore. Editors are Mannie Liu from Beijing, and John May from Washington, D.C. Authors from 26 countries illustrated status reports from a range of countries – from countries including South Africa and Hong Kong, to Finland, New Zealand and Colombia. Overview chapters also present the state of angel investing from a variety of perspectives, including emerging crowdfunding, women and angel investors, impact investing angels and the venture perspective. This look at global trends should help guide new and budding angel activity in emerging markets, and welcome future editions with new country perspectives.

Along with this publication, there was also a Chinese version of Angels Without Borders published for the growing Chinese angel market. To launch it and inaugurate the first forum of its kind, the editors and authors of Angels Without Borders were invited to the 2015 Global Business Angel Investing Forum in Beijing on Nov. 13-14.

There were 22 foreign guests from 15 countries, joined by 400 Chinese entrepreneurs, accelerator managers, government officials and angels, in a day-long conference at the Shangri-La Hotel Beijing. The energy of the group and the sharing of business cards was high. The next day the foreign authors obtained a better perspective on the Chinese economy while sightseeing at the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tieneman Square.

The best outcome of the book launch, the sharing of best practices and cross border opportunities was the growth of a community of like-minded entrepreneurship supporters.

Another piece of this movement is the creation of the Global Business Angels Network (GBAN), a new program of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) – the founding organization of Global Entrepreneurship Week, just held around the world in November. GBAN is a global community of business angel networks and organizations that bring greater public awareness and engagement to the role that business angels play in helping new firms start and scale. The inaugural co-chairpersons are Douglas Abrams, chairman of the Business Angel Netowork of Southeast Asia; Candace Johnson, president of the European Trade Association for Business Angels; John May, managing partner at New Vantage Group; Claire Munck, board member of Business Angels Europe and Jonathan Ortmans, president of GEN.  To receive more information about joining this first global network of angel country leaders, visit the GBAN website. To attend the next meeting of GBAN members from dozens of counties, register for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin, Colombia on March 14-17, 2016.

These are exciting times for innovations in entrepreneurial finance, and angel groups are leading the way toward a truly global culture and cross-border collaboration.

John May is the managing partner of New Vantage Group, a McLean, VA firm that innovatively mobilizes private equity into early-stage companies and… About the author