Belgian community blogging platform targeted by angels in July

2017 got off to a fairly impressive start in terms of the aggregate value of European angel investment. According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, 277 deals worth a combined EUR 656 million were announced or completed over the course of the six months. In terms of value, this represents an improvement on the EUR 577 million invested during H2 2016, but is down on the EUR 833 million-worth of dealmaking signed off in H1 2017. However, aside from this result, value in H1 2017 was higher than for any other H1 period in the entire timeframe under review, dating back to H1 2006. Indeed, the only other result which surpassed it was H2 2015 (EUR 1,230 million). Of the EUR 656 million invested in European companies by angel investors in the first half of the year, EUR 404 million is attributable to Q1 while Q2 accounted for EUR 251 million. The most valuable month of the year to date was March, when EUR 168 million was invested. This was followed by June (EUR 127 million) and February (EUR 124 million), while January also broke the EUR 100 million-barrier with EUR 112 million. Although there are still 11 days to go until the end of July at the time of writing, so far there have been 25 European angel investments worth a combined EUR 92 million announced or completed during the month.

Companies targeted during July so far include French online payroll administration software-as-a-service provider Payfit, which secured EUR 14 million via a Series B injection led by Accel Management and also including Otium Capital and Xavier Niel. This is the month’s most valuable European angel investment to date and was followed by a EUR 9 million Series A round by UK bank card payment processing platform provider Curve 1. Participants included angels Henry Ritchotte, Gael de Boissard, Alessandro Hatami, Paul Townsend, Emilian Popa and Rohan Haldea, among others such as Oxford Capital Partners.

As always, the software sector accounted for the lion’s share of European angel investment in July, with seven of the month’s top ten deals featuring targets in the industry. Many of the usual countries were also targeted, namely France and the UK. One country which features less frequently is Belgium, but among July’s deals was an angel investment in Hasselt-headquartered community blogging software-as-a-service provider Small Teaser. The company received EUR 800,000 in a Series A round from Bart Claeys, Koen Desmedt and Frank Bekkers, as well as the CoFoundry and the Limburgse Reconversie Maatschappij. The firm said proceeds would be used to invest in research and development and marketing with a view to launching it in the US. Small Teaser’s platform is designed to help writers and bloggers monetise their work using advertising revenue.

Data processing companies are frequently targeted by angel investors, with 6,463 such deals having been announced or completed worldwide since the beginning of 2006. The most valuable of these was worth EUR 447 million and involved a US company as online benefits, payroll and HR management platform operator Zenefits Insurance Services was targeted by investors including Oscar-winning actor and musician Jared Leto, who participated alongside Fidelity Investments, TPG and Sound Ventures, among others. That deal closed in May 2015. Other companies in the sector to have been targeted by angels since the start of 2006 include Chinese online second-hand car trading platform operator Chehaoguo Old Motor Vehicle Brokers, which received EUR 357 million from Yang Haoyong, H Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group and CapitaLand Financial, among others, in June of this year.

In conclusion, European angel investment is off to a good start in 2017. While figures have so far not managed to keep pace with 2016, they are still fairly impressive when compared with preceding years. The second half of the year will give a better indication of overall performance as we move towards 2018.

© Zephyr