Top 10 French business angels in 2021

French business angels, which are crucial in financing the first steps of business creation, have increased their financial commitments in 2021. Just as in 2020, Pierre-Édouard Stérin and Xavier Niel occupy the first two places on the rankings produced by Angelsquare for the magazine Challenges. Bruno Rousset, the founder of April, appeared on the podium and moved up two places. Discover the 10 most active business angels in France:

1. PIERRE-EDOUARD STERIN

80 million euros and 20 investments. The first business angel in our ranking of Angelsquare is none other than the father of the Smartbox gift box, the founder of the Otium Capital Foundation. Pierre-Edouard Stérin remains a hyperactive investor. He is the 128th richest in France according to our ranking in 2021. As a serial entrepreneur, he has through his family office invested hundreds of millions of euros in more than forty start-ups. Whether it is in sports, cybersecurity, e-commerce, education, software, finance or health.

2. XAVIER NIEL

With no less than 35 million euros and 120 investments since 1 January 2020, Xavier Niel takes second place on the podium among the 10 best business angels. His personal holding company is still managed by Jean de La Rochebrochard. The founder of Free (turnover: 5.3 billion) has increased his group’s capital from 53 to 75% and achieves a 13th place in our ranking of the great fortunes of France in 2021. He engages in two new companies every week for an average ticket between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.

3. BRUNO ROUSSET

The founder of the insurance broker April can invest up to 3 million per share through his holding company Evolem Start. Bruno Rousset has accumulated 24 investments for an amount of 17.6 million euros in 2021 and occupies a third place in the rankings. Among them Project Voltaire, Mobile Opticians and Kalray microprocessors, with no release horizon. After selling its April broker, this Lyonnais is developing its Evolem holding company (turnover: 550 million): health with Nutrisens, monitoring 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) achieves fourth place in the rankings in 2022. Michaël Benabou helps entrepreneurs who “do good to people”. Through the Financière Saint-James, he fully devoted himself to his business angel activity. Count 45 investments made on a personal basis since 1 January 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 ownership interests 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 betting between 100,000 and 250,000 euros per project. He likes the software, but works on impulse, especially for projects for the planet or the common good. Thibaud Elzière stands at a 421st place in the 2021 rankings of the great fortunes of Challenges.

6. PAULINE DUVAL

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After an excellent first attempt in the Lydia app, which has become a unicorn, the head of the real estate group Duval has embarked on powerful start-ups such as Neofarm (organic fruit and vegetables) or Midnight Trains (night trains). Pauline Duval ranks sixth in the top 10 of the best business angels. It shows 16 investments made on a personal basis since 1 January 2020 for 6.7 million euros.

7. OLIVIER BROURHANT

5.2 million euros and no less than 17 investments. For two years, the founder of the consulting group Mantu (ex-Amaris) has invested between 100,000 and 250,000 euros in each project. Olivier Brourhant has mainly invested in Geev (donations of items), Ekwateur (energy supplier) and Weekendr (excursions). It is ranked seventh in the Angelsquare rankings.

8. THIBAULT POUTREL

Son of the founder of Ingenico, Thibault Poutrel (in the middle of the picture) 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 also focuses on digital advertising, education, health, sports and blockchain. It comes in eighth place with its 4.1 million investments in 34 projects by 2021.

9. DOMINIQUE ROMANO

4 million euros and 25 investments place Dominique Romano in ninth place in the top 10 business angels. This philanthropic entrepreneur has run the Guibor family office for 34 years. Dominique Romano has invested in Ventes Privées, Mesdépanneurs, Lalilo and Blade. His goal? “Transmit and help new transforming projects emerge”.

JULIAN LOPIZZO

As a young man in his forties, Julien Lopizzo already has twenty years of experience as an entrepreneur at Optisantis, Apollo SAS and Maj. During the year 2021, it shows 10 investments worth 4 million euros.

This ranking was established on the basis of information collected from 15 November to 15 December 2021. It takes into account investments made personally since 1 January 2020 by French business angels, resident in France or abroad.

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