I said it of 2015, I realise, but 2016 has been truly a breakthrough year for me and Sarah here at TH – and an incredibly busy one.
As you’ll have guessed from the amount of cross-posting from Angel Academe, that project really has been our focus this year. (For those out of the loop, AA is our network of largely – though not exclusively – female angel investors, set up as part of Sarah’s mission to encourage more female HNW’s to invest in female-founded tech start-ups.)
Here are some of the 2016 AA highlights:
- We screened over 500 businesses and had 16 of them pitch to our group.
- Our investments this year include: Raremark, Fabric, Pivigo , Headliner and a follow-on investment in Clear Returns.
- We ran the third year of Entrepreneur Academe, the mentoring programme we run on behalf of the City of London, seeing ten diverse businesses through critical points in their development. Your can read all about the graduation event here.
- We launched a new website, with the help of our good friend Lauren Hine.
- We launched Angel Academe North with two lively events in Manchester.
- We’ve run two of our ongoing Angel training workshops, Investor Academe.
- We were delighted to be involved with a new Innovate UK initiative: the Women in Innovation Awards, with several of our group acting as judges and assessors.
Our big consultancy gig of the year has been working with the fabulous Wales Millennium Centre on their digital strategy. We’ve spent an awful lot of time in Cardiff since January, really getting under the skin of the organisation, and figuring out what it really needs to achieve through digital means. It’s a crucial point for the organisation as it begins to commission its own work alongside the work it does as a presentation house. At the time of writing we’re helping to write a creative brief for the Centre’s new website.
We’ve been doing work closer to home, too. Our Future City is a project that brings together educationalists with professionals from the arts, culture & heritage sector to improve “the lives and life chances” of children and young people in the city through an engagement with creative practice. Simon’s been helping them think about the impact of digital media on young people and how they might develop a programme around “digital skillfulness”. It’s also been great to be working once again with our old friend Marc Jaffrey, OBE.
Following her success in last year’s UKBAA Awards and Tech City Awards, Sarah made the Maserati 100 list, which celebrates those helping to build the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. There’s also been a lot of public speaking for us both, with engagements for (among others): Mass Challenge/Wayra, Cass Business School, the Digital Catapult, UKBAA, Goldman Sachs, the Association for Cultural Enterprises, Brighton Aldridge Community Academy… the variety alone should give you a good impression of how diverse our work has been over the year. Oh, and of course we’ve kept up our long-standing associations with UKTI and Innovate UK.
A few cultural and media highlights amongst all the business, technology and strategy:
- Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil at the Barbican
- Philip Glass’ Akhenaten revived at the ENO
- Complicity’s mind-blowing The Encounter, again at the Barbican
- The WNO’s Marriage of Figaro
- Low at Caught by The River
- Stevie Wonder performing the entirety of Songs in the Key of Life
- John Cale opening The Festival of Voice in Cardiff
- Exhibition: Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers
- Film: Herzog’s Lo and Behold and Into The Inferno
- TV: Mozart in the Jungle Season 2 (yes, really) and Stranger Things
- Blogs and podcasts: The Equity Kicker, Stratechery, Tim Ferriss, Sam Harris, Dan Carlin (more of the podcasts that I returned to over and over in 2017 here)
- Daily and weekly intelligence: BBC World Service, The Economist, Quartz, Aeon, Edge, The Atlantic
- Books: Scott Timberg – Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class; Clay Johnson – The Information Diet, A Case for Conscious Consumption; Tim Ferriss – The Tools of Titans; Jocelyn K. Glei – Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done
Lastly, I’m still managing to keep my skin in the creative game, with my DGMFS Media project now releasing digitally-distributed music: my own, and that of friends and fellow travellers. If nothing else, it’s an education about what it means to be a creative practitioner in the digital age.