If angels do not have a gender, French business angels today remain mainly male. ” Of the 5,000 to 6,000 natural persons investing in France with their own money, no more than 9 to 10% would be women », Estimates Catherine Abonnenc, vice president of Women Business Angels (FBA), which campaigns for the growth of female direct investment.
With success: 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, cheats syndrome
However, there are many obstacles, financial and psychological, that still prevent women from entering unlisted venture investments. ” Some people think 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 impostor syndrome. It is a pity, because they may consider themselves underqualified and do not dare to start », adds Morgane Rollando, entrepreneur and investor, who has just finished writing a book with testimonials 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, valuation, shareholder agreements, management or even due diligence process, and offers a sponsorship system which allows you to be accompanied by a “previous” for your first operations.
Finally, the selection and analysis of files is gathered (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 amount to more than 5% to 10% of its assets… “, explains Catherine Abonnenc. In total, FBA members committed almost 1 million euros in 2020 to 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 financial profitability: the expected return on investment is 2 to 5 on average; it can reach 8 or 10 in some cases, but we can also register errors… In addition to these financial aspects, the quality of the team, the complementarity of the skills of the founders, 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 only financial. ” Meeting highly imaginative and enthusiastic start-up leaders is an extremely positive wind of optimism, especially in the difficult period we are going through. summarizes Catherine Malaval, a business manager who joined the association three years ago and made two investments in 2020. Because thanks to Zoom, pitches of 5 business angel networks to finance your start-up. ” Why not you? say all those who have tasted it.
In this difficult period, entrepreneurs and managers of VSEs and SMEs need support more than ever. The Les Echos Entrepreneurs website is contributing by offering free information and testimonials for the next few weeks.
>>> To stay informed about news about entrepreneurs and startups,
Consider subscribing our daily newsletter
and/or at weekly newsletter Say goodbye to the crisis!