Mason, Colin (2011) Business angels. In: World encyclopedia of entrepreneurship. Elgar original reference . Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 1-16. ISBN 9781845424794
Business angels are conventionally defined as high net worth individuals who invest their own money, along with their time and expertise, directly in unquoted companies in which they have no family connection, in the hope of financial gain. The term angel was coined by Broadway insiders in the early 1900s to describe wealthy theatre-goers who made high risk investments in theatrical productions. Angels invested in these shows primarily for the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the theatre personalities that they admired. The term business angel was given to those individuals who perform essentially the same function in a business context (Benjamin and Margulis, 2000: 5). There is a long tradition of angel investing in businesses (Sohl, 2003). Moreover, angel investing is now an international phenomenon, found in all developed economies and now diffusing to emerging economies such as China (Lui Tingchi, and Chen Po Chang,, 2007). However, it has only attracted the attention of researchers since the 1980s.
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