French Tech: how do business angels work?

Published on July 5, 2022, 7:30 am

They are present at the very beginning of the startup adventure. Business angels provide both a financial package and various consultations (strategic, personnel, commercial, etc.). But who is behind these individual French tech investors? The Angelsquare investor community has conducted a study among its members, the results of which it provides exclusively to Les Echos.

Not surprisingly, business angels are overwhelmingly male – only 16% of women. As with startup teams, women are a minority, but they are increasingly investing, especially through associations like Femmes Business Angels or specialist funds like Leia Capital or WinEquity.

Founders and first employees on the front line

Business angels surveyed by Angelsquare are on average 45 years old. “He is quite young,” emphasizes Charles Degan, president of the investor community. More and more tech entrepreneurs who are selling their businesses are creating holding companies to invest in startups. It’s kind of become trendy. “Some early startup employees who have activated their BSPCEs (stock options of sorts) are also investing in young shoots.

According to Angelsquare, approximately 77% of angel investors surveyed have been in the business for less than ten years, and 53% for less than five years.

Angel Square

Angelsquare also asked participants in its study to provide detailed information – the data is declarative – about their investments, in particular their performance. To be more representative, medians were calculated rather than averages.

Result: the median number of investments in a startup is 15, and the most active business angel has a portfolio of 200 investments! It should be noted that investing in a startup allows you to benefit from tax cuts, just like investing in small and medium-sized businesses. The average investment ticket is €31,833: €35,208 for men and €29,545 for women.

More or less positive results

What about exits (transfer of shares in a takeover, IPO, etc.)? More than 45% of investments in startups lead to a partial or complete loss of capital, 37.6% allow you to at least triple the rate. And about 11% expect to win more than 10 times their bet. “The average exit multiplier is 5.2. It seems huge, but it is pulled along by several huge sorties, ”explains Charles Degan.

Angel Square

The average release time is three years. “This is a rather short time,” comments Charles Degan, specifying that the longest service life is fifteen years. Respondents also indicated that it takes about three years to realize that you have lost all or part of your bet.

Finally, Angelsquare asked attendees what happened to the startups they had seeded: 20% went into Series A, 3% went IPO, and 11% went bankrupt.

Due to the slowdown in fundraising and the current decline in cost, the coming years for business angels could be very different. Not to mention the possible bankruptcies that lie in wait for French Tech.

Angel Square


Angelsquare collected data from 130 French angels belonging to its community, representing 3,081 investments totaling €544.2 million. Angelsquare uses medians rather than averages because averages, inflated by extremes, do not reflect the situation of all participants.


Investing in startups is a very risky investment. Past results are not a guarantee of future results.