If angels do not have a gender, French business angels today remain predominantly men. ” Out of the 5,000 to 6,000 natural people investing in France with their own money, no more than 9 to 10% of women would », Estimates Catherine Abonnenc, Vice President of Women Business Angels (FBA), as Campaigns for the Growth of Women’s Direct Investment.
Successful: This network was founded in 2003 and currently has around 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, fraudster syndrome
But there are many obstacles, financial and psychological, that would still prevent women from embarking on unlisted risk investments. ” Some believe that risk aversion is more important in women, but it seems to me above all that family, cultural, educational pressures, etc. can make the direct investment process difficult “, Explains Catherine Abonnenc.
” Many women suffer from fraudulent syndrome. It’s a shame, because they can consider themselves underqualified and do not dare to start », Adds Morgane Rollando, entrepreneur and investor who has just finished writing a book with statements from female investors.
Reciprocity of the study of files
To help neophytes, The FBA network has developed training presents all the necessary technical aspects: financial, legal, valuations, shareholder pacts, management or 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 files is combined (but the decision to invest belongs to each individual). In financial terms? ” A moderate envelope is sufficient. Our members commit to investing 20,000 euros over three years. This type of investment, which is risky, must not exceed 5% to 10% of its assets … “, Explains Catherine Abonnenc. In total, FBA members invested almost 1 million euros in 2020 on around twenty projects, often by investing with funds.
Return on investment
Is the approach different because it is feminine? ” Above all, we look at the development capacity of the projects, as well as their economic viability: the expected return on investment is 2 to 5 on average; it can reach 8 or 10 in some cases, but we can also detect errors … 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 investment in all sectors: health, education, but also industry or pure “tech”. For business angels? The return on investment is not just financial. ” Meeting very imaginative and enthusiastic start-up leaders is an extremely positive wind of optimism, especially in the difficult period we are going through. sums up Catherine Malaval, a business leader who joined the association three years ago and made two investments in 2020. For thanks to Zoom, pitches from 5 business angel networks to fund your start-up. ” Why not you? says all those who have tasted it.
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