Finally, Some Good News for Women Entrepreneurs in Latest Angel Capital Study

Women entrepreneurs are making progress in obtaining investment capital; minority entrepreneurs still have a ways to go; and the overall angel investment news is cautiously optimistic. So says Q1 Q2 2011 Angel Market Trends, the latest report on angel investing from the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

business angel investor

First, the positive news about women. In the first half of 2011, women angel investors represented 12 percent of the angel market, and women-owned businesses accounted for 12 percent of the entrepreneurs seeking angel capital. While these numbers aren’t outstanding, they do represent progress. More impressive is that 26 percent of the women entrepreneurs seeking angel investment in the first half of the year received it. In fact, the report notes, the percentage of women actually getting angel investments is above the overall average.

The news was not quite as good for minority entrepreneurs or angels. Minorities made up just 5 percent of the angel population, and 11 percent of the companies seeking angel financing were minority-owned. Like women, however, minorities received angel financing at a higher than the average: 17 percent of minorities seeking angel capital received it, compared to 15 percent of businesses overall. This is the positive news, but the report’s authors feel that the low percentages of minorities seeking angel capital is cause for concern.

If you’re not a minority or woman business owner, the news about angel capital is still pretty good (at least, relatively speaking). “The angel market appears to have reached its nadir in 2009 and has since demonstrated a slow recovery,” the report states. The market yield rate (the percentage of companies seeking financing that actually receive it) reached 15 percent in the first half of 2011, continuing a slow climb from 10 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2010.

Overall, total angel investments in the first half of 2011 were $8.9 billion—up 4.7 percent from the same period last year—and 26,300 companies got angel financing, up 4.4 percent from last year. The average investment was $338,400.

Some of the most popular areas for angel investing are not surprising, including healthcare services/medical devices and equipment (25 percent of total angel investments), industrial/energy (17 percent), biotech (14 percent) and software (11 percent). What is surprising is that media and retail sectors have become firmly entrenched in the top six most popular sectors for angel financing, with each getting 8 percent of total investments.

And for those of us looking to angels as a stimulator of job growth, there’s also good news. Angels have significantly increased seed and startup stage investing, which accounted for 39 percent of angel investments in the first half of this year—up from 26 percent during the same period last year. The report notes this is an “encouraging sign” for new business formation and job creation. And with an estimated 5 jobs created by each angel investment this year—or a total of 134,130 new jobs due to angel investment so far in 2011—it’s clear that angels can be a major engine of job growth if they feel confident enough to invest.

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.