Last friday was the third Angel Academe, this time hosted by the BBC at New Broadcasting House as something of a prologue to their Online Briefing event. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you’ll know about Angel Academe by now, but to recap, we are a network for professional women with extensive business experience who want to support entrepreneurs – as mentors, non-execs and angel investors. We launched the network last autumn at the Tech City HQ in Shoreditch and held a follow up event at UBS in March.
This third event followed broadly the same format as previously, combining presentations from “inspriational angels” and from entrepreneurs looking for investment.
The morning was introduced by Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at BBC Future Media. Jane gave a bit of context to the morning and talked about the different ways in which the Beeb is working with the independent sector, of course including Connected Studio, which we’ve discussed at some length here. Jane also namechecked the 19th century scientist Ada Lovelace, a real heroine in the history of women in technology.
I followed Jane, and talked through my thinking on the network: what I’m looking to achieve, the kind of female investors I’m looking to recruit and the kinds of businesses in which we might invest. Here’s my presentation:
We then heard from Jenny Tooth of UK Business Angels. Jenny gave us an overview of UKBA’s work and talked about the UK angel investment environment, touching on just how few women are currently involved (about 5%). She highlighted the work of the US group Golden Seeds, who have significantly increased the number of women investing over the pond. (Golden Seeds are one of the main sources of inspiration for Angel Academe, by the way.)
Jenny asked all angels to complete an online survey in order to increase UKBA’s knowledge and understanding of angel investing in the UK and invited everyone to attend their Annual Investment Summit and Awards on 2-3 July – which features a prize for Best Female Investment.
After Jenny, Sharon Vosmek from Astia took the stage to explain their work as “a not-for-profit org built on a community of men and women dedicated to the success of women-led, hi-growth ventures… ” Sharon had battled traffic hell to get to us and we were honoured – and relieved! – to have her along. Sharon mentioned the forthcoming We Own It Summit in London on 27-28 July (which is free for investors to attend) and urged all female entrepreneurs to enter the Global Pitch Competition.
Then came the pitches, and very different they all were.
Nageela Yusuf introduced us to Cerebrium, a push-button camera and video capture tool which is aimed initially at the higher education market. That market is, of course, currently facing massive disruption thanks to the rise of the Massively Open Online Course or MOOC, and Cerebrium aims to help the creation of MOOCs by streamlining the filming of lectures using some very clever tech.
Rose Adkins and her business, ScreenHits, aims to bring sanity to the world of buying and selling TV and formats through their secure online platform to aggregate rights and preview TV content. They’ve already got several TV studios signed up and a lot of investor interest.
She explained exactly what this was and why it’s essential for businesses as diverse as broadcast, finance, gambling and, yes, the adult entertainment industry. Their first product is called Veridu and provides strong off-the-shelf identity authentication based on social profiles.
My thanks again to all the speakers for their time, to Nick Reynolds for inviting us to the BBC, to his colleagues Richard Smith, Laura Harrison and Phoebe Trimmingham for logistical support, and to Simons Hopkins and Stern for their help and encouragement. And of course thanks to everyone who came along.
Next event in the Autumn, so more news soon!
PS. For a recap of the morning, take a peek at the hashtag #AAPitch on twitter.