Proposal Tip of the Week

Some very exciting news in this morning about one of the companies we raised money for last year. BIG news! Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose anything yet, so will have to announce when permitted in a later post…so watch this space.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all been on tenterhooks waiting for the second in my series of 52 quick proposal tips. The wait is over…

Tip #2 “What Itch do you Scratch?”

Last week’s tip recommended grabbing investors’ attention by starting your pitch/proposal with your company’s most impressive achievement or traction metric to date. But what next?

You’ve hit them first with some proof and validation, but now you need to make the explanation of your concept as concise as possible. Remember, you no doubt understand your business extremely well, but you cannot expect prospective investors to have the same level of understanding. So what’s the best way to articulate your concept clearly?

Generally, we encourage entrepreneurs submitting a proposal on Angel Investment Network to start with the problem. What real world problem do you solve? What itch do you scratch? What pain do you alleviate?

If I were the Founder of Uber when starting out, my proposal would start by setting out the problems that people who want a taxi face e.g. long waits, high fares, needing to have cash etc…

If you do this well, you will get investors nodding along as they begin to see the value of your concept as they relate it to their own lives.
That’s all for now. I’ll cover the next step next week…

Proposal Tip of the Week

For no other reason than today is the first day of a new leap year cycle, I’ve decided to add a new feature to this blog. Each week I’m going to write a short post offering easy-to-implement advice on writing a fundraising proposal to investors. There will be a slight steer to benefit those entering proposals on , but I promise that the advice will be easily applied wherever you’re submitting a proposal.

I read hundreds of proposals a day. Literally hundreds of the things in the form of: pitch decks, executive summaries, investment site templates, incubator/accelerator templates, you name it. There’s always more to learn, but by now I’ve got a pretty good idea of what investors love and what they loathe when it comes to fundraising proposals.

So here’s Tip #1 “Never leave the best till last”

Put your most impressive information FIRST.

Investors like the rest of the world read from beginning to end. Well, not quite, often they never reach the end because they get bored. If this happens and you’ve left your most impressive piece of traction till the end, they’ll never know how great your company is. If you want to end on a positive note, simply repeat the positive note with which you started your proposal!

Grab their attention from the start. If you’re using or planning on using Angel Investment Network’s proposal form to showcase your business to prospective investors, this is why they recommend including attention-grabbing details in the ‘Short Summary’ section.

Take it to heart, learn it, stick it to your fridge, apply it…

Fundraising Event Report: Last year’s successes encourage this year’s investors

Last Tuesday we held our first fundraising event of the year at the Olswang offices in Holborn. Treated to a complimentary feast of canapés and drinks on the top floor, investors enjoyed pitches from 7 of the hottest UK startups.

James Badgett, Founder of Angel Investment Network, opened the proceedings by calling to mind some of the notable successes from companies who pitched through us in 2015 as well as the general growth of our site.

Here’s an overview of what he said:

Our Website in 2015 – The Numbers
– Reached 450,000 registered entrepreneurs
– Reached 100,000 registered investors
– Averaged 1380 new proposal submitted each week by entrepreneurs
– Over 2 million proposal views
– 75,000+ connections made between investors and entrepreneurs looking for funding

Companies that Pitched in 2015 – Where are they now?

SuperAwesome, a child-safe marketing platform, completed a funding round with us at a valuation of $3million and subsequently completed a $7million raise at a valuation of $25million. They are now raising at a valuation of $70-100million. That’s a potential return for our investors of 20-30 times in a little over a year!

What3Words, an extraordinary piece of software that’s changing the world’s address system and for whom we filled the seed round, recently received $2million from Intel Capital. They also won the Innovation Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Acquisitions:
As covered in a previous blog post, Uncover were acquired by Velocity resulting in strong, quick returns for our investors.

Draper & Dash, a high-end business intelligence company with an absurdly impressive track record, and PASSNFLY, an innovative airport check-in application, are both under offers for acquisition.

After this introduction, it was fascinating to observe the investors sit forward in their seats and treat the latest cohort of entrepreneurs pitching to their undivided attention!

The future is certainly looking rosy for both investors and entrepreneurs…

How to write a pitch deck for your startup investors


This week I wanted to share a resource with you that we normally only give to our customers on Angel Investment Network

It’s a short e-book that sets out in as simple as possible terms what should be included in the pitch deck that you send or present to prospective investors. An important point to be noted here is that ‘what should be included’ is, more often than not, ALL that should be included. In your pitch deck you’re trying to engage and persuade – to blow minds not to numb them. So the details you give should be the ‘minimum effective dose’ to get investors thinking and wanting to find out more.

The purpose of our site is to connect entrepreneurs and investors, so you might say that teaching people about pitching falls beyond our remit; but you’d be wrong.

1. We like to make sure our entrepreneurs are as well prepared as possible for the result of any connections made through our site (or elsewhere), so that down the line they can write to tell us how successful they’ve become.

2. We see so many bad pitch decks and so many good’uns (literally thousands a week!) that we know what gets investors giddy…

It’s yours if you want it!

Download from here

2015 Startup Review: Founders’ Opinions collected by First Round VC

First Round Venture Capital: State of Startups 2015
Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you all sorts of success and happiness.

As we intrepidly sally forth into the New Year, I thought it would be worth glancing back at the state of startups in 2015 in the hope that a bit of retrospective nous will help us go more boldly into 2016.

San Francisco-based VC firm, First Round, which specialises in providing funding for seed stage tech companies (including Uber, Square and Warby Parker) is my resource for this one. In their concise 2015 review they collect the opinions from hundreds of startup founders with the aim of understanding what it meant to be a member of the community in 2015.

Their insightful review shows what founders think on a variety of questions including:

Will it get easier to raise funds in 2016?
Who is the most admired leader in the startup space?
What’s a startup founder’s biggest fear? And why it’s a mistake…

Here’s the link: State of Startups 2015

Enjoy!

Festive Wisdom: Why pop-up restaurant sensation Grub Club is having Christmas with Airbnb

Experiential marketing has proven to be a cost effective, authentic and powerful way of growing your brand. For the uninitiated, “experiential marketing” is a strategy that encourages engagement from your target demographic by encouraging them to play an active part in the evolution of the brand. In other words, you give them an experience that makes them feel part of your brand. It’s a great way to create loyalty and evangelism for your business.

Co-founder of London-based restaurant startup, Grub Club, Siddarth VijayaKumar, shares how experiential marketing worked for them in this article for TechCityinsider including how Grub Club has been collaborating with Airbnb for Christmas…

Angel investment Network helped Grub Club fill their seed round and we are absolutely delighted to see them making waves alongside the big boys in the startup community like Airbnb; and winning awards like TCi’s 2015 Award for London innovator of the year.

Latest Success Story: Restaurant Reservation App Uncover acquired by Velocity

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we helped Uncover, which went on to become the UK’s premier restaurant reservation app, fill their seed round. In fact it’s only been 16 months. But on the back of their extraordinary year since launch they have now been acquired by Velocity, the world’s leading international digital hospitality service, for an undisclosed figure.

9 months after launch Uncover had gained 135,000 users and was partnered with 350 of London’s high-end restaurants (incl. Alain Ducasse Restaurants, Coya, LIMA, Restaurant Story, Taberna do Mercado, and The Clove Club). In that period it was recognised by Apple as its “Best App” on over 10 different occasions for its immaculate user experience.

The deal means that the new, refined platform, due to be launched early in 2016, will have a network of 800 venues and over 60 Michelin stars and that Velocity has taken itself another step closer to being a comprehensive hospitality platform all over the world.

Read more:

– http://startups.co.uk/restaurant-reservation-app-uncover-acquired-by-start-up-competitor-velocity/

– http://www.redleafpr.com/media-centre/client-news/corporate-pr/2015/nov/velocity-acquires-uncover/

Back-to-Basics: How to Start a Startup

Even though i’ve been in the startup business for a while now, when i stumbled across this infographic by Funders and Founders, it reminded me how useful it can be to glance back at the basics once in a while. In an increasingly fraught and complex world, it is not only extremely helpful, but also motivating to step back and see the workings of the bigger picture; to catch sight of the wood for the trees. Details are important; but occasionally we can get bogged down in them.

As every successful person ever will tell you – if you get the basics right, the rest will follow.

This is true even for the most seasoned of serial entrepreneurs. Especially as a number of the processes outlined in this simple infographic will remain crucial throughout the life of your startup, not just at the beginning. So whether you’re just starting out or a startup veteran, it’s worth casting your eyes over this one…

Latest Success Story: Numecent announces $15.5M Series B Investment

Cloudpaging leader, Numecent, have just raised $15.5M in series B funding bringing their total investment accrued to approximately $38M.

We first encountered Numecent back in 2012 when they approached us looking for seed funding for their cloudpaging technology concept that enabled native Windows applications to be delivered from the cloud. We were impressed by the fact that Numecent’s clients would have no need to download or install any software on a PC at all; and, applications would be delivered 20-100x faster than a conventional download.

We raised them £900k in seed funding and are now delighted that their promising technology is continuing to receive the recognition and investment it merits. On top of the Series B funding, Numecent was named a winner of the Red Herring Top 100 North America award, was chosen among the top 20 virtualisation solutions by CIO Review magazine and was cited as one of the 12 data-centre technology companies to watch by TechTarget.

Want to know more about Numescent? Watch the video below:

The Biggest Reason Startups Fail

Ask a sample group of people why startups fail, and, assuming they have a vague understanding of the modern world,  they’ll give you a host of different reasons. Misfiring team. Poor product. No market. No business model. Delusional founder etc. And undoubtedly, they are all true depending on the circumstances in which the particular startup failed.

But there is a root problem to many of these problems. And it’s a simple one: a lack of tracked data, or perhaps simply a wilful ignorance of it. Data is the only means of empirically measuring the performance of your startup and building good practices upon proven foundations. In other words, tracked data gives you actionable insights where you would otherwise be guessing. Build upon what you already know to be true and your chances of avoiding ultimate failure will be much greater.

What this means is that failing on a low key level can be invaluable for the knowledge it provides; and as such, a failure can be considered a success if you properly understand and learn from the data you receive. Knowing what not to do can thus be as important as knowing what to do throughout the early stages of your venture.

This is the important point about success and failure. Micro-failures are useful stepping stones to ultimate success provided the data is tracked and learnt from after each attempt. As Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, puts it; “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

Here’s the article that got me thinking: Why do Startups Fail?