If angels do not have a gender, French business angels remain, today, mainly men. ” Of the 5,000 to 6,000 natural persons who invest in France with their own money, there would be no more than 9 to 10% of women », Estimates Catherine Abonnenc, vice-president of Women Business Angels (FBA), which campaigns for the growth of female direct investment.
With success: founded in 2003, this network currently has some 150 active female investors, twice as many as ten years ago. Moreover, two women are among the top ten “young French business angels” in the latest Angelsquare ranking.
Brakes, impostor syndrome
However, there are many obstacles, economic and psychological, which would still prevent women from embarking on unlisted risk investing. ” Some think that risk aversion is more important in women, but it seems to me above all that family, cultural, educational pressure, etc. can make the direct investment process difficult “, explains Catherine Abonnenc.
” Many women suffer from impostor syndrome. It’s a shame, because they may consider themselves under-qualified and do not dare to start », adds Morgane Rollando, entrepreneur and investor, who has just finished writing a book of testimonials from women investors.
Mutualization of the study of files
To help neophytes, the FBA network has developed training presenting all the necessary technical aspects: financial, legal, valuation, shareholder pacts, governance or due diligence process, and offers a sponsorship system, which allows you to be accompanied by a “former” for your first operations .
Finally, the selection and analysis of files is pooled (but the decision to invest belongs to each). In financial terms? ” A moderate envelope is sufficient. Our members undertake to invest 20,000 euros over three years. This type of investment, which is risky, must not represent more than 5% to 10% of its assets… “, explains Catherine Abonnenc. In total, FBA members bet nearly 1 million euros in 2020, on around twenty projects, often by co-investing with funds.
Return on investment
Is the approach different because feminine? ” Above all, we look at the development capacities 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 record failures… 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 very imaginative and enthusiastic start-up managers 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. Because, thanks to Zoom, the pitches of 5 business angel networks to finance your start-up. ” Why not you ? say all those who have tasted it.
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