October 24, 2017
Swedish research firm targeted by angels in October
October has so far been an extremely quiet month in terms of the volume and value of angel investment deals targeting Western European companies. In all there have been just 14 deals worth a combined EUR 15 million announced during the month to date, although it is worth noting that at the time of writing there are still 11 days to go until the end of the month. In terms of the result, the 14 deals announced in October represents a 75 per cent decline on the 56 deals signed off in September 2017, while value declined 91 per cent from USD 164 million over the same timeframe. Both volume and value also dropped year-on-year, albeit to a slightly lesser extent; in October 2016 49 deals worth a combined EUR 140 million were announced. In fact, the EUR 15 million invested across 14 deals during the month to date represents the lowest deal volume and value since August 2012, when 12 deals worth just EUR 5 million were announced. Even taking into account that October has yet to conclude, the figures are still low and volume and value are unlikely to reach the same heights as September at this rate.
Despite the disappointing result, there have been a few significant transactions announced during the month under review in terms of value. The most valuable of all was worth EUR 7 million and featured a French company as Antabio, which researches treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections, secured a Series A round of funding from iXO Private Equity, Irdi Soridec Gestion, Galia Gestion and Christophe Ricard, among others. This deal was over three times larger than the second-placed transaction as UK-based laundry and dry-cleaning services provider Laundryheap brought in just over EUR 2 million in a round led by Simon Smith and Quintessentially Ventures, with additional participation from undisclosed investors. Other companies targeted in high value European angel investments during October to date include France-headquartered connected brake light device manufacturer Cosmo Connected, Finnish virtual reality games developer 3rd Eye Studios and UK-based Curiscope, which produces an online specialised t-shirt for use with virtual reality anatomy applications.
As always, tech companies were the main recipients of angel investment in October as the sector continues to be a popular destination for investment from angels. However, there were a few deals which featured targets in less frequently visited sectors. One example is InfiCure Bio, which secured a funding round from Northern Light Capital AB and Partnerinvest Ovre Norrland in early October. The company has earmarked proceeds of the deal for increasing sales and developing its current customer network. InfiCure Bio is focused on the preclinical development and validation of drugs which are designed to treat chronic inflammatory and fibrotic conditions. The firm began life as a project at the Umeå Biotech Incubator back in 2013, but was established as a company in 2015. It lists its key strengths as its unique preclinical fibrosis model, as well as its competence in the inflammation/fibrosis field and expertise in work with preclinical models.
Although InfiCure Bio is in the minority in terms of the sectors targeted by angel investors in October 2017, there have been plenty of other deals in which scientific research and development companies have been targeted by angel investors worldwide in recent years; 174 such deals have been announced since the start of 2006. The most valuable of these was signed off in November 2015, when German vaccine and cancer research company CureVac received a EUR 100 million injection led by Baillie Gifford, with additional participation from Chartwave, the Coppel family and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. This was followed by a EUR 73 million investment in British Virgin Islands-headquartered Biohaven Pharmaceutical led by Venrock Associates and also including RA Capital Management, Vivo Ventures and Aisling Capital.
In conclusion, October has been a disappointing month in terms of European angel investment. As we move into the year’s final quarter all eyes will be on the markets to see how the situation will shape up in the run-up to the end of the year