Updated: UK Angel network Angels Den plans startup 'marketplace'. But do they work?

Angels DenSomething’s going on at Bill Morrow‘s investor network, Angels Den. Not only has key aid Rob Carter just quit – we don’t know why – but familar face Paul Walsh of Segala and Wubud is about to be announced Head of Digital. Paul has been singing the network’s praises for a while now. [See update below].

So does Paul Walsh’s appointment mean Angels Den is focusing on digital (whatever that means these days)?

“Yes,” says Bill. “The largest part of our success has been based on speed-funding – getting random people together with random angels – but we’ve found that digital companies struggle to condense their pitches down to three minutes.

“We’re now a Microsoft European partner and a Sun worldwide partner, but we’re not making the most of those relationships at the moment. Paul Walsh is now heading our digital strategy thanks to his connections with entrepreneurs, angels and the digital ecosystem generally. We’re looking to reach out to a whole new community.”

Walsh will be taken on as a consultant and charged with creating a digital marketplace where tech start-ups will be matched with Angels who know a little more about the industry.

In case you’re not familiar with the two-year-old Angels Den, Bill updated me this afternoon on their latest set of figures: “We have 2,800 registered Angels and just over 10,000 entrepreneurs looking for money. We’ve  completed 157 deals, with an average deal size of £170k which equates to nearly £25m of funding.”

Angels Den takes a 5% commission on deals, which – based on the figures above – means they’ve raked in £1.25m in two years. You can’t blame Walsh for wanting a slice of that pie.

But this new initiative comes at a time when other services are swarming around trying to pick up the service / consultancy side of the startup market. GrowVC is another such “marketplace” which recently launched in the UK offering services to startups including – allegedly – access to small amounts of seed funding from $10,000 to $1m, which is quite a range.

The question is, do any of these services really help entrepreneurs? What are your experiences? Leave your views below.

UPDATE: Bill Morrow has now emailed us to say that Cater was “not a founder” and that they are “not doing a marketplace” and Angels Den has “not taken a 5% fee for more than 6 months.” Make of that what you will, but this is the story we had from them at publication.

In addition to which their site continues to say: “Then, once you’ve got your funding, we ask for a 5% success fee.” and here “Once you get funding we ask for a 5% success fee”.