Archives for posts with tag: investment

Here’s a x-posting from our sister site Angel Academe


It barely seems believable but this week we launched the fourth year of Entrepreneur Academe – the mentoring programme we run for female founders of tech or tech-enabled start ups. This year we’ve shaken things up a little and instead of following a cohort over several months instead we’ll be inviting different companies to join us each month, in order to see as wide a range of businesses as possible. But each month will consider the same issues, focussing on investment readiness.

A fine  – and diverse – array of businesses were in attendance at this inaugural session:

  • Channeliser is an online network enabling companies to search, connect and engage with prospective IT partners anywhere in the world.
  • Doobiz is a mobile app for contact sharing (using a contact-over-audio technology) and realtime business networking.
  • PsychApps is an app which helps to diagnose, track and journal mental illness, as well as discretely connecting users to local professional therapists.
  • SoSensational is a fashion and beauty e-commerce site curated and tailored to the needs of women over 50.
  • Talking Circles is an enterprise platform for promoting connectivity and continuous learning between coworkers in medium to large organizations.
  • Trik is a drone data management software for vertical structure inspection, assisting drone pilots in data collection, visualisation and analysis.
  • Wattl is a video social network providing users with a grid of heatmapped content which is popular and trending.
  • Worktu connects schools with local teachers online at via their a job-posting website, connecting with local teaching talent at a more affordable price than traditional recruitment agencies.

Sarah kicked off the afternoon with an introduction to the Angel Academe suite of offerings, before asking the entrepreneurs to introduce themselves and pitch their businesses – which everyone did with great verve and passion.


The first half of the afternoon’s mentoring proper was a panel Q&A and general group discussion. We were honuored to have a great group of panellists kick off:

  • Francesca Tondi (Angel Investor)
  • Jessica Dick (Synergy Growth)
  • Natasha Jacobs (Craigie Capital)
  • Audrey Mandela (Tech Entrepreneur & Angel Investor)
  • Karen Thomas-Bland (Angel Investor)

We then explored lots of the issues raised in small groups under the headings: The right kind of funding for you – and the right kind of funder; Organising your campaign: prep, networking, pitching, tax & legals; and Valuation – what are you prepared to give up? We covered far too ground to go into too much detail here, but here are some of the headlines from each group:


The right kind of funder

  • Go for smart money – investors who can contribute much more than simple cash.
  • Investors love to see entrepreneurs who have put their own money into a business – the ultimate skin in the game.
  • That said – don’t wait too long to start fundraising – investors also want to see ambition.
  • Try to find investors who will most likely follow on.
  • Use the “network effect” of your investors.
  • Remember that fundraising is almost always a long process – longer than you anticipate. (A rule of thumb here is 3-6 months.) So don’t wait until you’re out of runway until you raise! And expect to be juggling fundraising and building the business a lot of the time.


  • Every round you do you need to re-justify your valuation (can you really scale it? does this valuation make it worth it to investors?)
  • You run the risk of a down round in future rounds if you aren’t able to deliver on what you said you could do.Gauge your expectations to your investors and judge what is really needed for your business.
  • Consider the exit options: not everyone has to IPO, in fact very few do – a trade sale is what happens to most companies. Also, what are your own goals?
  • You can also set a valuation as a range and work it through with your investor.

Organising your campaign

  • Terms sheets – ideally you should have the same term sheets for all investors in a round, although if there are different types of investors, eg angels and VC or an investor/director, this may not be possible.
  • Be prepared with your own term sheet to present to investors although some, particularly VCs will bring their own.
  • EMI option pools will dilute investors,  make sure your investors are aware of this.
  • Have a full pitch deck which can be adapted to different situations, eg lengthened or shortened, less text for face to face presentations, more text for a deck that is emailed.
  • Open your pitch with a “spear to the head” blow.  Make yourself stand out!
  • A good pitch creates an emotional connection to the listener, tells the story of the problem and your solution and why you and your team can address this issue.
  • Always mention competition; everyone has some! Where do you position yourself against your competitors?
  • Keep your pitch as simple and as easy to quickly understand as possible.
  • Make sure your pitch matches your social media profile, eg Linkedin!

Lots to mull over there; if you’ve got anything to add we’d love to hear from you. And in the meantime, if you’d like to enter your company in the next session, you can do so here. Finally, many thanks to Bob Mollen of Fried Frank for hosting the afternoon. More next month!

Thank you all for coming along on Tuesday night and making the event such a success.

Particular thanks to our speakers: Bob Schukai from Thomson Reuters, Hannah O’Shaunessey and Kerri Mckechnie from Angel Academe, Sarah Tierney from We Are Colony and Louise Wilson from Abundance. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from all of them in future.

Kerri talked about Entrepreneur Academe, the 12-month mentoring programme for ambitious women entrepreneurs that we’re running in partnership with the City of London. The programme kicked off last month and you can read about it and our winning entrepreneurs here.

We have an amazing ling-up of mentors and experts but are always looking to add more. If you’d like to get involved, please tell us a little about yourself here.

Finally, if you’d like to find out more about angel investing opportunities, please drop us a line and if you’d like to be considered for a pitching slot at one of our events, please send an investor summary or pitch deck for us to review.


Yes, it’s been a little quiet here of late. Turner Hopkins has been on holiday. But we’re back and at it! Here’s a cross-posting from our sister site, Angel Academe.

The thorny issue I was actually mulling over on my way home from the National Investment Summit on Wednesday was whether increasing the number of women entrepreneurs is the best way to increase the number of women angel investors, or if it’s the other way round. That is, by increasing the number of women angel investors, more women entrepreneurs get funded and you encourage more women entrepreneurs.

Of course it’s both. More women angels will encourage more women entrepreneurs and more will get funded. They then may go on to become angel investors themselves. Obviously it’s a little more complicated than this, but you get the picture. It’s a virtuous cycle thing.

I’d just been speaking on a panel session at UK Business Angels Association’s annual event to discuss all things relating to angel investing and entrepreneurship and recognise the best investments of the year. See here for the winners.

Alongside me on the panel was Jo Anne Miller from Golden Seeds in the US and Bev Hurley CEO of YTKO and angel investor. We were very capably moderated by Modwenna Rees-Mogg, founder of AngelNews. The topic we were discussing, as you may have guessed by now, is how to attract more women into angel investing.

And it’s a pretty hot topic. Angel funding is the biggest source of risk capital for startup and early stage businesses in the UK. Over £50m is invested by angels annually. According to UKBAA figures, we women only represent 5% of angel investors, although we control a very healthy proportion of the net wealth in this country, so just imagine what could be achieved if we could tap into the resources of more high net worth (HNW) women?

How best to go about it is an important subject therefore. Do we focus our scarce resource on encouraging more women to take up entrepreneurship with the expectation that, if they become successful, they reinvest some of their fortune? Yes, absolutely. Experienced entrepreneurs know what’s involved in starting and growing new businesses and have an appetite for risk. But it could take years to achieve this in sufficient numbers. In the meantime, should we use some of that scarce resource to encourage more HNW women (entrepreneurs or not) to become angel investors? Again, yes! The evidence is that when more women invest, more women get funded. I would argue that focusing on this side of the equation gives us more bangs for our buck and much faster.

So, back to my original question: do you need to be an entrepreneur to be an angel investor? I’m meeting smart and savvy angels all the time who come from advertising, the City and professional services who are adding huge amounts of value to their investments. I would argue that being entrepreneurial is much more important than being an entrepreneur. That far from bringing dumb money, HNWs with corporate backgrounds bring vital skills, experience and contacts – not least back into a valuable corporate customer base.

But maybe being an angel investor makes us entrepreneurs after all? As Prof Rob Wiltbank clearly articulated in his presentation: angel investing IS entrepreneurship, rather than a financial class.

With Angel Academe, I’m working hard to create a group with a wide mix of skills and experience. From entrepreneurs through to senior professionals, technologists, experienced angels and people just starting out. Each brings a different, but equally important, perspective and everyone is invited, although not pressured, to give an opinion and contribute. The group is designed specifically to appeal to women, although men are very welcome and do attend, and while we’re clearly focused on funding the very best deals to maximise financial return, we like to support female entrepreneurs whenever we can.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank the UK Business Angels Association for an excellent event and the opportunity to debate a subject that’s very close to my heart with such a good group of people. Hopefully by next year, we’ll have changed the ratio for the better!


Tuesday saw the second in a series of events under the banner of Angel Academe, the network I launched last September. AA is a community of professional women interested in supporting tech entrepreneurs – as mentors, non-execs or angel investors. Tuesday’s event was very generously hosted by UBS and it was a packed evening. It was a packed room too, whose make up achieved something I was aiming for – a reversal of the usual gender balance at most tech and startup events.

I briefly introduced the network and the evening, before handing over to our 2 inspirational angel investors.

Marianne Abib-Pech is the Founder of Sylar ltd, a boutique advising and fund raising firm and sits on the board of several VC funds. She gave a wonderful presentation, talking (without slides or notes) about her personal experiences and adventures, moving as she has from the corporate boardroom to the role of angel investor, writer and entrepreneur. “Start a business in what you know and understand,” was one of her choicest pieces of advice. She also noted that “there is a special place in Hell for women that don’t help other women”. (I think Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, was the source of this quote.)

Maria Dramalioti-Taylor is a Managing Partner at Geneva-based x.Million Capital Ventures, focusing on digital media, and founder of Angellab in London. She gave a detailed presentation on the “10 non-textbook rules for entrepreneurs and angels,” (see slides below) written from the point of view of a VC who’s seen it from the other side. Among her rules which resonated for me were, “Only sell shares when you need SPEED” and “know your place in the funding spectrum”. She also left us with the observation that the Internet of Things presents a fantastic investment opportunity.


Marianne and Maria went on to take questions together and were quite a double act!

double act

We then had 3 pitches from 3 very different business.

Amber Brown introduced Upfront Analytics, which gathers very detailed awareness, sentiment and behaviour data as consumers play on their highly engaging mobile games.

Gerlinde Gniewosz talked about  KO-SU, an innovative mobile learning platform for anyone who wants to teach and learn via mobile devices. Ko Su are one of 6 companies in the first BBC Worldwide Labs programme.

And Hatty Fawcett talked us through Seek & Adore, an online marketplace for designer makers, curated by a highly experienced craft and retail team.

Finally, we had a shout out from Sophie Muir of Thin Cats London Sponsors, providing debt solutions to small and medium businesses and good investment opportunities for investors also.

2013-03-19 19.56.57
Each of the speakers took a lot of genuinely engaged and insightful questions from the audience, giving the whole event an informal, conversational tone which continued pretty late over drinks!

I’d like to thank all of our speakers for their input, UBS for their support and of course everyone who turned up and made it such a successful evening. I’ll be running another event soon so keep an eye out for news on that.