To overcome limitations on regeneration in the nervous system and other organs caused by insufficient blood supply, we have developed a gelatin sponge material which stimulates blood vessel formation, i.e. angiogenesis. Controlled chemical cross-linking was employed to slow down enzymatic degradation of the gelatin matrix. Four different in vitro assays using L929 fibroblasts and purified endothelial cells indicated that the sponge material did not release toxic components, but provided a permissive substratum for cell attachment, cell migration and pronounced cell proliferation, all of which are crucial for the formation of vasculature. Two in vivo models were employed to directly monitor the pro-angiogenic impact of the sponge material. Implantation of gelatin sponges onto the chorioallantoic membrane of fertilized chicken eggs induced robust attraction of endothelial cells and formation of blood vessels. Angiogenesis inside gelatin implants occurred more than 200 times faster than in a commercial collagen sponge. Similarly, after subcutaneous implantation of tube-like sponges into mice, an increasing immigration of cells and subsequent formation of functional vasculature became evident. Immunocytochemistry revealed no fibronection accumulation and no scarring. In summary, our matrix based on cross-linked gelatin promises to be a valuable component of future implants, improving neuronal and non-neuronal regeneration by concomitant pro-angiogenic stimulation.