If angels have no gender, French business angels today remain mostly male. ” Of the 5,000 to 6,000 natural persons who invest in France with their own money, no more than 9 to 10% of women » estimates Catherine Abonnenc, vice president of Women Business Angels (FBA), which campaigns for the growth of women’s direct investment.
With success: this network, founded in 2003, currently has about 150 active female investors, twice as many as ten years ago. In addition, two women are among the top ten ‘young French business angels’ in the latest Angelsquare ranking.
Brakes, impostor syndrome
However, there are many economic and psychological hurdles that still prevent women from making privately held risk investments. ” Some people think that risk aversion in women is more important, but it seems to me mainly that family, cultural, educational pressures etc. can complicate the direct investment process explains Catherine Abonnenc.
” Many women suffer from impostor syndrome. A shame, because they can consider themselves underqualified and don’t dare to start » adds Morgane Rollando, entrepreneur and investor, who has just finished writing a book of testimonials from female investors.
Mutualization of the study of stocks
To help newbies, the FBA network has developed training presenting all the necessary technical aspects: financial, legal, valuation, shareholder pacts, governance or even due diligence process, and offers a sponsorship system that allows you to be accompanied by a “former” for your first operations.
Finally, the selection and analysis of stocks is bundled (but the decision to invest belongs to each). In financial terms? ” A moderate envelope is sufficient. Our members commit to investing 20,000 euros in three years. This type of investment, which is risky, should not represent more than 5% to 10% of its assets… explains Catherine Abonnenc. In total, FBA members will invest almost 1 million euros on about twenty projects in 2020, often by co-investing with funds.
Return on investment
Is the approach different because female? ” We mainly look at the development capacities of the projects and at their financial profitability: the expected return on investment is on average 2 to 5; in some cases it can reach 8 or 10, but we can also register failures… In addition to these financial aspects, the quality of the team, the complementarity of the founders’ skills, the diversity, the impact of the projects, their dimension CSR, etc. are very important criteria for us, and have been for a long time “, emphasizes Catherine Abonnenc.
An approach that has led to investments in all sectors: health, education, but also industry or pure “tech”. For business angels? The return on investment is not just financial. ” Meeting highly resourceful and enthusiastic start-up managers is an extremely positive wind of optimism, especially during the difficult period we are going through. summarizes Catherine Malaval, a manager who joined the association three years ago and made two investments in 2020. Because thanks to Zoom, the pitches of 5 business angel networks to finance your start-up. ” Why not you? say all those who have tasted it.
During this difficult period, entrepreneurs and managers of VSEs and SMEs need support more than ever. The Les Echos Entrepreneurs site contributes by offering free information and testimonials in the coming weeks.
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