June 23, 2017
UK blood testing kit maker among June’s recipients of angel investment
June has been a productive month in terms of the aggregate value of angel investment. According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, some EUR 94 million has been invested across 19 deals during the month to date. In terms of value, this represents an improvement on the EUR 64 million invested in May, despite the fact that there are still ten days to go until the end of the month at the time of writing. The increase in value month-on-month is particularly notable given that volume has actually declined from 28 to 19 over the same timeframe. This suggests higher individual considerations during the month under review. A glance at the month’s top angel investments to date confirms this as June’s most valuable transaction so far is worth EUR 51 million, which is extremely large for a deal with the involvement of angels. There are of course a number of other significant investments, but all are dwarfed by this deal, which took the form of a Series C injection in French PC software-as-a-service provider Blade by Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Michael Benabou, and Nopporn Suppipat, among others. This transaction alone accounts for 54 per cent of total European angel investment in June and was significantly larger than the second-placed deal, which was worth a still impressive EUR 9 million.
Although June is comparing well with May and already represents the second consecutive monthly increase in value, the trend is less promising in a year-on-year comparison; in June 2016 EUR 139 million was invested across 57 transactions, meaning both volume and value have a long way to go if they are to reach such heights by the time June comes to an end in 10 days’ time. Similarly, Q2 as a whole is well behind both Q1 2017 (169 deals worth EUR 404 million) and Q2 2016 (181 deals worth EUR 522 million).
In all five deals broke the EUR 5 million-barrier in June and 11 were worth in excess of EUR 1 million. As always, the software sector continues to be a popular area for angels. However, there are always exceptions; one of this month’s involved UK-based home blood testing kit manufacturer Thriva, which brought in almost EUR 2 million from Alex Chesterman, Taavet Hinrikus, Seedcamp Investments, 500 Startups Management Company, SME Wholesale Finance and Capital Enterprise. Proceeds of the round have been earmarked for ongoing product development. Thriva’s blood tests are designed to be carried out at home and use a finger prick to draw blood; this stems from a belief that many people’s personal approach to their health is flawed and could be aided by the introduction of a convenient way of tracking internal health markers including cholesterol levels and liver and kidney function.
Thriva is not the first manufacturer of surgical appliances and supplies to have piqued the interest of angel investors in recent years. In fact, since the beginning of 2006 31 such deals have been signed off worldwide. The largest of these investments dates back as far as August 2006, when US-based implantable weight loss device developer IntraPace secured just under EUR 24 million from multiple parties, including the Angels Forum. At the time the company was developing a gastric simulator for the treatment of obesity. Proceeds were to be used to bring the firm’s product towards clinical trials in 2007. Its abiliti system is now on the market in the European Union, having received the CE Mark, but is not available in the US. This was followed by a 2014 deal in which US implantable neuromodulation technology player Axonics Modulation Technologies brought in over EUR 23 million from investors including Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, NeoMed Management and a group of private individuals. Other companies in the sector to have been targeted since the beginning of 2006 include Israeli hemostatic bandage developer, US therapeutic respiratory systems manufacturer Breathe Technologies and Californian orthopaedic implants maker Sonoma Orthopedic Products.
To sum up, June has been a fairly positive month when compared to those which preceded it. Value has already trumped both April and May with ten days to go until the end of the month. The result is still far from a record, but is hopefully a sign of things to come as angels start to dig deep again after a few quiet months. Q3 will provide a more concrete indication of how the year is developing as a whole and whether 2017 will be able to keep pace with 2015 and 2016.