As we are now in the run up to what will no doubt be a somewhat limited festive period for many and with the final throw of the dice on Brexit negotiations underway, this seems a good opportunity to reflect on the past year for our investment community.
2020 has brought many unexpected challenges for the investment market and the small businesses that we back, but one thing is clear: angel and early stage investors have been a lifeline to very many entrepreneurs across the UK throughout this time, not only bringing much needed additional risk capital, but also hands on help , strategic advice and experience of past crises to support their investee businesses. We know from our recent research carried out in partnership with British Business Bank, that many of our investors have been impacted by the pandemic and deep economic and political uncertainty over Brexit, with over 50% of business angels citing a negative impact on their level of investments and with the value of initial and follow on investment considerably lower than previous years, having fallen by 41% during 2020 and follow-on investments by 34%. At the same time, we know that many of our investors have found that their portfolio businesses have shown huge resilience and capacity to not only survive but grasp new and exciting growth opportunities during this time.
Our investment community and notably our Angel groups and syndicates across the country have also shown amazing capacity to adapt to the restrictions of Covid and have successfully digitalised their services and interactions with investors and entrepreneurs, operating online pitching, education and networking events, attracting new participants and often new investor recruits – and notably getting deals done and even some exits in this virtual environment.
At UKBAA we have also transformed our services to an online offering for our members and indeed, we have hosted 64 webinars since the start of the crisis attended by nearly 4,300 participants. Whilst we also held our three-day Future Forward investment summit at the end of November, which many of you attended with over 41 industry thought-leaders speaking and over 700 participants from across the UK and internationally. We have also launched our new branding and website during this period providing more effective access to information advice and support for our members and wider community. We have been especially concerned to keep our community informed and have provided regular updates on developments at Government level, including both the Covid support schemes and wider developments set out through our dedicated Covid 19 information hub. I have been especially keen to ensure that I was able to reflect the views and concerns of our community in my interactions with Government and would like to thank all those who have responded to our surveys and opinion polls, providing vital insights and evidence for me to pass on to key Government departments.
The remainder of Jenny’s article can be read on the UKBAA website.