Harvard/MIT Researchers Find Some Angels Outperform VC's

A new paper by Josh Lerner of the Harvard Business School and Antoinette Schoar of the MIT Sloan School of Management explores the rise of angel investing and compares it to venture capital. Using data from two large angel startup groups, the authors were able to show results that should encourage attention to this mode of financing. First, they find that during the period of study, “the angel group outperformed the venture capital industry overall.” Second, they found that “Startups funded by angel investors are 14% to 23% more likely to survive for the next 1.5 to 3 years and grow their employment by 40% relative to non-angel funded startups. Angel funding affects the subsequent likelihood of a successful exit, raising it by 10% to 17%.”

Lerner and Schoar explain the positive outcomes of angel investors by arguing that they provide “value added and hands-on improvement … rather than just access to funds.” Often angel investors include “some of the most sophisticated and active investors in a given region, which might result in superior decision-making.” The paper makes a good case for the use of angel investing as a way of improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in a region.