During an exceptional evening at the Merode Hotel, organized in partnership with Puilaetco, BeAngels unveiled key figures illustrating the impact of its activity over the past 20 years in terms of economic value, job creation and financial returns for business angels. An opportunity to (re)discover this key player in the private financing market in Belgium.
Almost 200 people gathered in Brussels yesterday to celebrate - albeit with a slight delay - the 20th anniversary of BeAngels. The event was also the opportunity to go over the evolution of the network, which has gradually developed into an effective hybrid-financing tool.
It all started in an “artisanal way” at the end of the 1990s when two networks were set up to help entrepreneurs find private financing in a structured rather than an ad-hoc basis. Back in those days, this bold initiative was one of the first in Europe, at a time when the term Business Angel still belonged to the realm of confidentiality.
Now 20 years later, 286 companies have benefited from investments totalling nearly €50 million by the network’s members. Companies financed by BeAngels have generated almost €500 million of added value from 2000 to 2019. Active companies in the portfolio today employ 1200 FTEs, in addition to self-employed and freelancers.
BeAngels offers five investment formulas, a unique offer in Europe, a combination of conventional business angel formulas, and innovative portfolio diversification formulas. The professionalization of the network has had an undeniable impact on the selectioin and quality of projects. Indeed, nearly 80% of the companies financed through the network over the past five years are operational today. This figure also underscores the quality of the network’s investors, who support companies through different phases of their development, with patient capital.
This anniversary was the opportunity for BeAngels to highlight for the first time the profitability potential of its members’ portfolios. Looking back on the period 2009-2019 and based on values of the capital increases, the internal rate of return (IRR) to date stands at 19.9%. This performance is comparable to that of other business angels markets in Europe, and especially compares very favourably with other asset classes.
What is BeAngels’ ambition for the coming years? To become the first point of contact for entrepreneurs who are funding raising, in the start-up or scaling-up phase; the privileged partner of investors who want to become business angels, to help them create and successfully manage an investment portfolio in the real economy; and finally to contribute as effectively as possible to shaping Belgium’s entrepreneurial and financing ecosystem.