Business Angel Networks and the Development of the Informal Venture Capital Market in the U.K.: Is There Still a Role for the Public Sector?
Business angel networks (BANs) provide a channel of communication between private venture capital investors (business angels) and entrepreneurs seeking risk capital. Most operate locally on a not-for-profit basis with their costs underwritten by the public sector. However, the recent establishment of BANs by private sector organisations in the U.K. has led to a questioning of the government's continuing role in the financing of BANs. This paper demonstrates that there are significant differences between public sector and other not-for-profit BANs and private sector, commercially-oriented BANs in terms of the investments that they facilitate. Private sector BANs are primarily involved with larger, later stage deals whereas investments made through not-for-profit BANs are generally smaller, involve start-ups and other early stage businesses and are local. The emergence of private sector BANs has therefore not eliminated the need for public sector support for locally-oriented networks. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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