Essential for financing the first steps in the creation of a company, French business angels have increased their financial obligations in 2021. As in 2020, Pierre-Édouard Stérin and Xavier Niel occupy the first two places in the ranking prepared by Angelsquare for the magazine Challenges. Bruno Rousset, April’s founder, took the podium and moved up two places. Discover the top 10 most active business angels in France:
1. PIERRE EDOUARD STERIN
80 million euros and 20 investments. The first business angel in our ranking by Angelsquare is none other than the father of the Smartbox giftbox, founder of the Otium Capital fund. Pierre-Edouard Stérin remains a hyperactive investor. He is the 128th richest in France according to our ranking for 2021. As a serial entrepreneur, he has invested several hundred million euros in more than forty start-ups through his family office. Whether it’s sports, cybersecurity, e-commerce, education, software, finance or health.
2. XAVIER NIEL
With no less than 35 million euros and 120 investments since January 1, 2020, Xavier Niel is second on the podium of the top 10 business angels. His personal holding company continues to be managed by Jean de La Rochebrochard. The founder of Free (turnover: 5.3 billion) has increased the capital of his group from 53 to 75% and takes the 13th place in our ranking of the great fortunes of France 2021. He commits to two new companies every week for an average ticket between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.
3. BRUNO ROUSSET
The founder of insurance broker April can invest up to 3 million per share through his holding company Evolem Start. Bruno Rousset has collected 24 investments in 2021 amounting to 17.6 million euros and is in third place in the ranking. Among them Project Voltaire, mobile opticians and Kalray microprocessors, with no release horizon. After the sale of his broker in April, this Lyonnais develops his Evolem holding (turnover: 550 million): health with Nutrisens, surveillance with Acoem or even leisure with Sodikart. Bruno Rousset is also listed as the 119th richest person in France in 2021 according to the ranking of Challenges†
4. MICHAEL BENABOU
The co-founder of Veepee (private sales) takes fourth place in the 2022 ranking. Michaël Benabou helps entrepreneurs “who do good to people”. Through Financière Saint-James, he devoted himself entirely to his business angel activity. Count 45 investments made on a personal basis since January 1, 2020 for an amount of 17 million euros. This 50-year-old art lover also owns a large Parisian real estate portfolio (20% of Beaugrenelle), as well as holdings in start-ups such as Glovo, Colonies and Feed.
5. THIBAUD ELZIERE
With 11 million euros for 70 investments in 2021, the founder of Fotolia is investing between 100,000 and 250,000 euros per project. He likes the software, but works impulsively, especially for projects for the planet or the common good. Thibaud Elzière is in 421st place in the ranking of the great fortunes of 2021 Challenges†
6. PAULINE DUVAL
After a brilliant first attempt at the Lydia app turned unicorn, the boss of the Duval real estate group has started impact startups like Neofarm (organic fruits and vegetables) or Midnight Trains (night trains). Pauline Duval is sixth in the top 10 best business angels. It shows 16 personal investments since January 1, 2020, for 6.7 million euros.
7. OLIVIER BROURHANT
5.2 million euros and no fewer than 17 investments. The founder of the advisory group Mantu (ex-Amaris) has invested between 100,000 and 250,000 euros in each project over two years. Olivier Bourhant has mainly invested in Geev (object donations), Ekwateur (energy supplier) and Weekendr (excursions). It ranks seventh in the Angelsquare ranking.
8. THIBAULT POUTREL
Son of Ingenico founder, Thibault Poutrel (center of photo) has been supporting start-ups for twenty years. He made good bets very early on: Airbnb, Revolut, Aircall, Algolia or even Back Market. The investor is also betting on digital advertising, education, health, sports and blockchain. It comes in eighth with its 4.1 million investments in 34 projects in 2021.
9. DOMINIQUE ROMANO
4 million euros and 25 investments position Dominique Romano in ninth place in the top 10 business angels. This philanthropic entrepreneur has been running the Guibor family office for thirty-four years. Dominique Romano has invested in Ventes Privées, Mesdépanneurs, Lalilo and Blade. His goal? “Transferring and helping new transformation projects to emerge”.
10. JULIAN LOPIZZO
Julien Lopizzo, in his forties, has twenty years of experience as an entrepreneur at Optisantis, Apollo SAS and Maj. Over the year 2021, it shows 10 investments for an amount of 4 million euros.
This ranking is based on information collected from November 15 to December 15, 2021. It takes into account investments personally made since January 1, 2020 by French business angels, resident in France or abroad.