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Founding angels as an emerging subtype of the angel investment model in high-tech businesses


  • Gunter W. Festel
  • Sven H. De Cleyn


Some important hurdles hamper the commercialisation of (scientific) knowledge, especially in Europe. Currently, the support provided by investors and technology transfer offices seems insufficient for new technology-based firms (NTBFs) and academic spin-offs to overcome these. Both from a financial perspective and from an operational perspective, opportunities are emerging for investment models to support their development. This paper introduces the founding angels' (FAs) concept as an emerging subtype of the angel investment model and provides empirical evidence based on 16 case studies in Germany and Switzerland to elucidate the potential of this investment model. FAs join the start-up teams of NTBFs, complementing the scientific members coming mainly from universities and research institutions with business expertise and scientific understanding. They make significantly fewer investments than in the case of business angels (BAs), but because of their very early engagement, they hold more shares and are much more engaged operationally. FAs have more the role of a founder and an entrepreneur and less that of an investor because of their early engagement in the venture. They complement BAs and venture capitalists and normally support the start-up's efforts to raise funding.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunter W. Festel & Sven H. De Cleyn, 2013. "Founding angels as an emerging subtype of the angel investment model in high-tech businesses," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 261-282, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:veecee:v:15:y:2013:i:3:p:261-282
    DOI: 10.1080/13691066.2013.807059

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Changhong & Shi, Yulin & Wu, Cong & Wu, Zhenyu & Zheng, Li, 2016. "Policies of promoting entrepreneurship and Angel Investment: Evidence from China," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 154-167.
    2. Würmseher, Martin, 2017. "To each his own: Matching different entrepreneurial models to the academic scientist's individual needs," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-17.

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