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Roger Sørheim and Tiago Botelho

Previous studies of business angels have shown that the population is very heterogeneous, with various studies developing typologies to describe different categories of investor. This chapter provides a critical review of previous research on business angel categorisations to highlight the key contributions. The authors note that previous studies have categorised business angels using a wide range of variables, mostly grouping investors according to investors’ characteristics and often derived from data rather than theory. The main contribution of these studies has been to develop a more sophisticated and nuanced view of the definition and behaviour of business angels – which breaks free from an oversimplified stereotypical view of business angels. However, in many cases the categorisations are fragmented, lacking a theoretical anchor, supply-side driven and rather static. The authors conclude that these studies have not significantly influenced policymakers and policies to target different categories of business angel.

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Colin Mason, Richard T. Harrison and Tiago Botelho

The ultimate purpose of investing in an entrepreneurial business is to achieve a financial return. Yet there is little discussion in the entrepreneurial finance literature on the exit process and only limited evidence on returns. This chapter focuses on business angels. It argues that the main challenge for business angels is in achieving an exit. Previous research indicates that returns from those exits that do occur are skewed: around half of all investments fail and only a small minority generate significant returns. We suggest that the difficulties in achieving profitable exits reflects, in part, the fact that most angels do not adopt an exit-centric approach to their investing. This involves considering the exit at all stages in the investment process, including the initial investment decision. The main features of an exit-centric investment strategy are discussed.