Founding angels as early stage investment model to foster biotechnology start-ups
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venture capital
business angels
founding angels


As a rule, in biotechnology and other technologies, a gap exists between innovations coming from academic research and the commercialisation of the results, which is a serious barrier for innovation processes. This article investigates the role of founding angels as an early stage investment model, which has been applied in North America for a number of years and is now also being established in Europe. Focus is the commercialisation of pre-seed and seed stage technologies developed at universities and research institutions. Founding angels close the gap by actively founding and building up biotechnology start-up companies, together with scientists, typically before the engagement of business angels and venture capital. For providing business expertise and day-to-day operational support they are not compensated monetarily, but with an equity share of the new company. This article analyses the approach and investment strategy of founding angels and contains case studies from Germany and Switzerland showing how this business model is realised.
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