Not all industries get the same attention, and there is a pattern to what angel investors prefer. For example, according to a recent report based on an analysis of 2,492 transactions across 2,444 companies, all completed in 2019, angel investors are more likely to prefer certain industries and deal structure types (e.g., convertible notes).
Selected portions from the report below:
The 2019 data revealed a first-time decline in the information technology/software segment as a percentage of total transactions relative to other investment segments (2019/2018) — 29% of the investments (2019) were in information tech, compared with 38.6% (2018). Yet Information Technology still remains the dominant segment for angels.
Angel Investors Prefer: Consumer Products / Services sector saw significant growth, up from 18.2% (2018) to 25.75%.
If Healthcare and Biotech were combined, they would comprise 21% (2019) of transactions versus 18% (2018). We added Biotech as a discreet sector to track in 2019, but for comparison sake, you can observe that even without Biotech, the Healthcare segment continues to be a major category for angels.
We also noted an increase in Financial Services’ Fin Tech in 2019, which was too small in 2018 to warrant its own category. In 2019 companies in this sector participated in 3.55% of all transactions. The Energy sector also rose to over 3%, with a few related Environmental companies included.
And for this year, we found enough companies to warrant adding Ag Tech (1.2%) as a separate category and clearly growing. While Info Tech and Software is still the leading category for angel investing, but by a much smaller margin than in the past, we also acknowledge that Info Tech / Software is often a necessary core component of many other sector investments.
Deal Structure Type
While we continue to see the use of SAFE notes, they are a minor percentage of all Seed transactions at 4.7%. The primary structures were 51% Convertible Notes and almost 41% Priced Preferred. SAFE’s are not reported in our data as frequently as we hear them discussed amongst early-stage entrepreneurs.
Series A transactions were (as expected) Preferred Stock 86% of the time, with 12% standard Convertible Notes associated with a Series A, typically a bridge to Series A, but distinctly beyond the Seed stage.
We did find SAFEs were most frequently used in Mid-Atlantic Region at 12%. The Mid-Atlantic use of SAFEs may be heavily influenced by US Federal DOE, NSF, NIH, and other grant money, which does not permit debt as a liability while grant funds are in use; hence early-stage companies who do not wish to price their round are opting for SAFE notes.
California was #2 in SAFE usage at 10%, influenced by California incubators and possibly by science companies vying for Federal grant funds.
There are considerable pre-money valuation and round size discrepancies when it comes to the various demographics of entrepreneurs. This highlights a disturbing flaw in the angel investment community, but that goes beyond the scope of this blog post.
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