The Paris Business Angels association now has 180 individual investors from the Paris region. It is one of the most important networks in Île-de-France. It is part of the France Angels federation. Within this association the principle is as follows: each member invests the amount he wishes in the to start that he wants. Currently Paris Business Angels members have a portfolio of 150 to start, mainly present in Île-de-France. In 2021, they made more than €3 million in investments, including a nearly €1 million operation in a to start Parisian in the field of health. This is an example of an established trend within this association: investors are looking for to start that will have an impact on society. Élisabeth Lécuyer, president of Paris Business Angels, takes stock of these two years of health crisis.
Actu-Juridique: What do the members of Paris Business Angels think about the current economic situation?
Elisabeth Lecuyer : Our members have invested much more than last year. We registered more than €3 million in investments in 2021. A doubling compared to 2020. They are very confident and positive for the future, after a period of uncertainty. With the health crisis, all processes of Paris Business Angels have been adapted from March 2020, in digital version. In the past, all sessions took place physically. During the crisis we worked via videoconferencing and now we are continuing the momentum.
We have experienced a period of adjustment and appreciation of this crisis by investors. Faced with the health crisis, the government has introduced aid to improve the cash flow of to start such as the State Guaranteed Loan (PGE). This type of device allowed to start to have a relay, visibility and pass. In 2021, our investors believed in the recovery. They have faith, believe in the technologies that have been and will emerge and in the ability to to start to spin. There is a willingness to participate and support to startdespite difficult times. The economic life of a to start is made of high, low and bounce. It is also subject to macroeconomic events over which it has no control. ‘s mission corporate angel is part of the continuity, by making use of its experience and expertise, especially in the field of crisis management. Today we see that our members are more mobilized than before with to start to support them in economic recovery.
AJ: What were the preferred investments in 2021 by the members of Paris Business Angels?
e. l. : First, we are a generalist network. We don’t have a favorite sector. But in 2020 and 2021, the healthcare sector dominated our members’ investments. The health crisis has brought health solutions and innovations. In particular, we find digital health and medical technology. The sectors of green technology such as technological agriculture, food technology or intelligent building management are also attractive.
“Our network has been able to develop its investment capacity to support start-ups in the best possible way”
Investors value projects that offer solutions to a real, sensitive and visible problem of the moment. But we have a diversified portfolio. Companies that need financing, that call on us, need growth. The by the . requested amounts to start are becoming increasingly important. Previously it was between 300,000 and 500,000 €. Today they have almost doubled. Our network has been able to develop its investment capacity to support start-ups in the best possible way.
AJ: How? corporate angel of your association direct their investments?
EL : We are dealing with a very sensitive underlying trend. Today, our business angels want to give meaning to their investments. Through their involvement in the health sectors,agritechof the food technology, investors take social issues into account. The idea is to make a better and more responsible world. Social and environmental responsibility is a totally cross-cutting topic and we take it into account when analyzing the files submitted to us. Some of our members have specific expertise on these topics. In this way they transfer their knowledge to the members who have to investigate the file. Then we have a lot to start who in them? pitch point out criteria for saving water, energy or other resources and social issues such as diversity. Almost all to start take this CSR dimension into account and our investors are sensitive to it.
AJ: How have your members paid attention to the various sector funds that have fueled the economic recovery?
e. l. : We always make sure that the to start have different funding sources. During the crisis, our investors advised to start about the support schemes they could benefit from, in particular the PGE. Fundraising in a crisis context has always been complicated. The to start may have trouble promoting his business or profession, especially when he is in slow motion or even standing still. It is therefore a matter of being smart by looking for financing in the right places, such as the Investment Program for the Future (PIA). These measures allowed them to fund themselves during this period, before organizing new fundraisers to finance their growth.
AJ: What is your assessment of 2020?
e. l. : In 2020, our investments had decreased. In 2020, they had reached €1.5 million, while our members had invested €1.8 million in 2019. This year we are doing more than € 3 million better than 2019 and 2020 and even 2018 as we were at € 2 million. Despite the health crisis, investments have been made. For example, at the very beginning of the incarceration, we managed to start a fundraiser for a to start. We have held video conference meetings in connection with this operation. Another example with to start The Parisian company Yelda specializes in artificial intelligence for speech processing. It raised €400,000 from our members amid a health crisis. In 2020 our corporate angel have also largely supported entrepreneurs: moral support, help with decision-making, support to also benefit from government support in the face of the health crisis. Moreover, we had no start-ups that went bankrupt during that period.
AJ: How does the Paris Business Angels system work, from identifying start-ups to presenting them to your members?
EL : De sourcing of the to start is carried out by the permanent team of Paris Business Angels. She is accompanied by some of our members who are part of our selection committee. The contractors of to start selected bowl pitch for our entire network. The members then decide the file of the to start or they refuse. The realization of the investment takes between two and three months from the date of pitch of the to start.
AJ: What criteria do your members use to make an investment?
e. l. : We invest very early in the development phase of a to start, between six and thirty-six months. At Paris Business Angels we have three investment criteria. First the team to start which must show real ambition and complementarity. This is our criterion No. 1 and its weight is dominant in the decision. Then there is the market, which has to be large and growing. Finally, we need to feel some degree of technological or service innovation. But it is necessary to respond in a distinctive way to what is being done today, with a proposal of real added value.
AJ: How do start-ups use the money invested by your members?
e. l. : Today there is strong competition between to start. It is therefore necessary to develop quickly and optimize all channels to achieve this goal. about the to start committed to a technology with R&D, funding for the technology is necessary. The value proposition put forward should be effective as soon as possible. Then the money is also used to attract key skills. Then the to start must fund communications and marketing to identify with partners, suppliers and customers. The ambition is to anticipate the national market and also to look bigger through the European or even global market, depending on the situation.
“Today there is strong competition between start-ups”
In short, when a to start presents us with its financing needs, it is often technological development, recruitment and communication, as these are the main levers for rapid growth.
AJ: How do you work with other investment players to best support? to start ?
e. l. : We recently created an association called Paris Region Angels, which brings together all the major networks in the Ile-de-France. It was launched at BpiFrance in early November 2021. Our founding members are Val’Angels, Health Angels, Business Angels of the Grandes Ecoles, Arts et Métiers Business Angels and Women Business Angels. Other networks will join us soon. The aim is to increase co-investment capacities and improve collaboration. And we are developing a very constructive partnership with the Île-de-France region.