Who owns what?

In this guest blog, Carine Schneider, President of Astrella, providers of leading cap table management software, gives a 101 on understanding your cap table, and some of the key risks to avoid when it comes to share ownership.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRIVATE COMPANY OWNERSHIP 

So, you’ve got a game-changing idea that’s going to disrupt your industry and you are ready to raise funding and change the world. Congratulations! You’re ready to move fast and break things, to turn it up to eleven, to do what most won’t, to live like most can’t. You’re ready to build your very own rocket ship

And we love that about you. But take a breath. 

The startup landscape is a wild world. Sobering statistics are often tossed around about the single-digit percent of startups that make it, with relatively few companies receiving venture capital funding. 

But there are steps you can take from the start to significantly increase your chances of success, from negotiating the initial agreement that lays out the foundations of your partnership with your co-founders to your five-year road map. Decisions you make now will determine how sustainably you grow, the quality of investors and investment you attract, and the level of control you maintain. 

Let’s build that rocket ship on rock-solid foundations. 

WHO OWNS WHAT? 

“A lot of entrepreneurs don’t really 

understand how the pie is divided,” 

Carine Schneider, 

President of AST Private Company Solutions. 

Too many founders think it’s just slicing up the company and distributing (or selling) the pieces. They think ownership is locked in with a one-time decision that lays out clear-cut, unchanging percentages (maybe they’ve watched too much Dragon’s Den…). They may think they own half the company and will always have the final say in decisions that affect it. 

All too many learn the hard way that things change. 

Even in the simplest scenario, where you and a co-founder are splitting company ownership 50/50, you’ll need to put aside 10 to 15 percent for the employee equity compensation plan. So, the slices have gotten more complicated before you’ve even thought about accepting investments from multiple rounds of investors. 

What’s more, regardless of share types and percentages, your board will make important decisions about your company’s finances, strategy, and even ownership (more on building your board in a future post!). 

Equity is all the same… OR IS IT? 

“Shares” sounds simple enough. 

Except that the shares you and your employees hold in your company aren’t necessarily the same as the shares your investors will own. It’s important to understand the variables among different shares and share classes; the powers and responsibilities that come with them can vary significantly. 

“Say you and I each own 100 shares of a private company,” Schneider says. “We can’t really compare that value until we understand when we each bought the shares, what kind they were, and the rights and privileges that came with those shares.” 

Although this can get far more complicated, the first key distinction to understand is between common and preferred shares. Broadly, common shares – the kind you issue in your own company – come with voting rights and low or no dividends, while the preferred shares, which are what you may typically sell in priced rounds, usually do not have voting rights and pay higher dividends. In a private company, there is a lot of flexibility on the rights and privileges that can be assigned to different shares. 

Experienced investors will negotiate preference items that affect how the shares are handled in the event of different outcomes, including at exit, which could be an acquisition or stock-market flotation, or maybe a liquidation. 

Think of company ownership as a line of shareholders. You and your co-founder and your early employees were there first, so you will always be at the front of the queue, right? 

Wrong. 

The thing is, the people who set up chairs and camped out from the start (holders of commonshares) can get trampled by the investors (holders of preferred shares / share-classes) who showed up much later with more money. 

Savvy early backers will try to negotiate anti-dilution clauses to keep their percentage from shrinking, even as later investors line up preference items to ensure their full amount is returned to them. At your company’s exit, you may be surprised to find yourself at the back of the line. 

In short, ownership can be complex and not intuitive. 

You need to make sure you always understand who has what type of shares, what the terms are, and what the implications are for your ownership. 

You will be well served by lining up expert advisors who
can help you make sure you are making the best decisions for your company from the earliest steps. It’s also important to have access to a system that provides you with both exit as well as “next-round” modeling tools. Real talk: the incredible disappearing stake. There 

OK, so seriously… WHO OWNS WHAT? 

With all the complexity involved in ownership, how do you keep track of everyone’s place? Enter the capitalisation table. 

The “cap table” is a tool that tracks company ownership data. In short, it determines that line of stakeholders by tracking their equity stakes over time. A good cap table means
no surprises. 

A common mistake new founders make is waiting too long to create a cap table. Nearly as common—and just as harmful—is creating a poor (or inaccurate) one. 

While a simple spreadsheet may give a snapshot of a moment in time in ownership, it can be dangerously inadequate. Spreadsheet files can get lost, or a simple typo can change your billion to a million. It’s important to use a robust tool. to store, track, and model ownership data that tracks the changes to ownership over time. 

The cap table is one of the first things any potential investor will request when considering an investment. In addition to showing constant, real-time ownership data, it will model the changes to your ownership under different potential investment scenarios. “A smart investor is always going to want to look at the cap table, and a smart investor is not going to want to look at a cap table that comes from a spreadsheet,” Schneider says. 

Companies raising capital through Angel Investment Network benefit from complimentary access to Astrella for up to 15 stakeholders, with the following code used during registration: 

LAURENCE15


For more information about Astrella please click here.

About Carine Schneider

Carine Schneider, FGE, is the President of AST Private Company Solutions. She was honored in 2019 with the ProShare Award for Services to Employee Share Ownership, in 2017 as one of the 100 Influential Women in Silicon Valley (Silicon Valley Business Journal) and one of “17 Women to Watch”​ in 2017 by Brown Brothers Harriman.

Carine was invited to become a Fellow of Global Equity (FGE) in 2019. An experienced and well-connected leader in private market & global compensation industry. Carine was formerly the President, NASDAQ Private Market Equity Solutions

For any equity related queries or cap table assistance contact Laurence@Astrella.com.

An Introduction to Litigation Funding

Out investment series continues with an exploration of litigation funding, with a guest post from Sophie Liu at Axia Funding:

AxiaFunder is an online litigation funding platform that connects investors with pre-vetted commercial litigation opportunities that we believe have the potential to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. We are specifically targeting cases on the lower end of the legal market which, in our view, has been underserved by existing funders. 

To date, AxiaFunder raised £2,387,843 for 14 commercial cases, of which six have already reached a positive resolution, generating a 12-94% return to our case investors each over a period of 2-15 months (with an average IRR of 48%). The remaining 8 cases are currently ongoing. There are no losses to date. *

What is Litigation Funding?

Litigation funding is where a third-party agrees to finance the legal costs of a dispute in return for a share of the proceeds that would be eventually recovered by the funded party. Litigation funding is typically provided on a non-recourse basis, meaning the funded party has no obligation to repay the funder in the event the case is unsuccessful.  

What are the benefits of litigation funding as a new investment asset? 

Litigation funding can potentially generate significant returns to case investors. It is common for investors of a winning case to expect to double, triple or quadruple their initial investment.* This asset also has zero correlation with the fluctuations in the broader economy and other assets. In addition, each case is almost entirely uncorrelated with each other. Thus, this offers further diversification. 

What are the impacts of post Covid-19 economic environment on litigation investment? 

In contrast to other investment opportunities (such as equities or real estate), litigation investment has zero correlation with the fluctuations in the broader economy and other assets. This makes it a compelling investment in current economic environment plagued by volatility and ongoing uncertainty over the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, litigation itself is expected to increase during an economic recession due to a sharp increase in a number of business insolvency related claims.

What are the social benefits of litigation funding? 

Litigation funding helps to level the playing field by offering access to justice for those who need it the most. The litigation process is well known to be an expensive and often lengthy exercise with the final legal costs being uncertain. SMEs or individuals who enter contractual agreements with large companies often find themselves exposed to additional commercial risk due to the prohibitive cost of protecting their legal interests. Litigation funding offers claimants a means of pursuing a viable claim while preserving liquidity and minimising risk. 

Can you give any examples of your funded cases? 

• An unfair minority shareholder prejudice petition, where the defendant, the majority shareholder and a director of a company, allegedly diverted economic value from the claimant, a minority shareholder, who was instrumental in developing the business. This case has resolved successfully generating a 33.1% return to investors in 14 months.*

• An insurance claim by the builder, whose development was subjected to an arson attack, against both the insurance company for unreasonably seeking to avoid settling the client’s claim on its insurance policy, and the insurance broker for the non-disclosure of information on the basis of which the policy has been voided. This case has resolved successfully generating a 11.8% return to investors in 2 months.*


How do you select litigation cases? 

Cases have to satisfy the following criteria:

• Legal merit: The legal merits of the claimant’s case must be strong. Typically, independent legal counsel will have endorsed the case with a high probability of success.

• ATE insurance policy: Each case must have an ATE insurance policy in place. It protects AxiaFunder’s case investors from adverse cost risk and helps to eliminate low quality cases.

 • Case economics: The estimated damages normally have to be at least 5x the estimated costs of pursuing the case to trial. 

• Enforceability: There must be clear evidence that the defendant has the financial resources to pay the damages and that any court judgement can be enforced.

• Experienced legal team: AxiaFunder will only fund cases for which the claimant’s legal team are clearly competent and have in-depth experience in the relevant area. 

• Alignment of interest: The claimant and his legal team should share some downside risk in the event the case loses. 

Other considerations include regulation, security for costs, pricing, and funding strategy to trial.


What are the risks of investing in litigation cases and how to mitigate them?

Litigation funding is typically provided on a non-recourse basis. As a result, an investor stands to lose all or most of their original investment if the case is unsuccessful. However, the downside risk of losing the entire investment can be significantly reduced by investing in a portfolio of litigation cases. This is illustrated in the article Single case versus portfolio litigation funding.

There is also a risk of having to pay the other side’s costs in the event the losing party themselves lacks the capital to cover these costs. The adverse cost risk can be mitigated by having After-The-Event (ATE) insurance policy in place. It provides protection against the liability to pay the other side’s costs in the event the case is unsuccessful. 

How to invest with AxiaFunder?

Investors need to register on the AxiaFunder platform and complete the onboarding process which involves completing identity checks and passing the investor suitability test. Once these steps are complete, investors are ready to invest. 

Past performance is not indicative of future results & Capital at risk. Returns are not guaranteed

BehindTheRaise with Pantee

Tell us about what got you into startups:

A few years ago when myself (Katie) and my sister (Amanda) learned about the sheer amount of waste produced by the fashion industry, we knew we had to do something about it. So, we came up with the idea to launch Pantee – the world’s first underwear brand made from deadstock t-shirts. 

Raised remotely during the pandemic, we began bringing Pantee to life in late 2019 and after a year of research and product development we launched pre-orders on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, in November 2020. 

Katie and Amanda McCourt, Co-founders, Pantee

Why did you decide to raise investment?

From day one, we have been on a mission to disrupt the fashion industry and build a brand that pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved with deadstock fabrics and by upcycling. We planned to raise the investment from the beginning, first with a crowdfunding round on Kickstarter and now with an SEIS raise with Angel Investors. We wanted to do this to give us the resources to further amplify our mission and set us up to create a greater impact in the future.

What is your top tip for anyone raising investment for the first time?

I think everyone would say this, but don’t be disheartened by the rejection. As first time founders, we found the process of raising very difficult and we rode extreme highs and lows from start to finish. You’ll hear so many no’s, but it isn’t necessarily a reflection on your business or your idea – you just might not have been speaking to the right person. 

What attracted investors to your company?

We were able to prove a strong amount of early traction that Pantee had received within the first few months since launching our D2C eCommerce store. 

Within a short time of launching, we had grown an engaged community of over 10,000+ women, were racking up 5* reviews on Trustpilot and had been featured by the likes of Vogue, Stylist Magazine, Drapers, The Observer and named a ‘Top Sustainable Underwear Brand’ by The Independent.

During the raise period, Pantee also received recognition from major global tech companies having been featured on Shopify’s ECommerce Masters Podcast and awarded Klarna’s Small Business Support Package.

This really helped us to prove to investors that the brand was not only resonating with early customers that loved the product, but that it was innovative and newsworthy – building their confidence in our brand awareness capabilities. 

My biggest fundraising mistake was…

Don’t underestimate how long you need and celebrate every win, no matter how small. 

Raising investment can be a long process.  It’s never too early to start building relationships with investors to instill confidence in both you and your idea. Get them excited about your business and take them on the journey with you, the more involved you get people early on the more likely they will invest, in my opinion. 

It’s really easy to get bogged down by the no’s which you will get a lot of, in most cases more than the yes’. Don’t let it slow you down – we were given some great advice by a fellow startup founder who advised us to ‘learn to enjoy the rejection’ – once you stop taking it personally it allows you to learn from it – in a productive sense! 

Why did you choose to use the Angel Investment Network?

We signed up to the Angel Investment Network halfway through our raise to expand our search away from our own network and connect with new investors from different backgrounds. It was a great decision as it led us to connecting with one of our biggest investors that was instrumental to helping us close the round.

What has the funding enabled?

We have just closed our SEIS raise and have already begun putting in place our strategies to further amplify brand awareness, build a core team, expand upon our lean product range and certify our sustainability efforts with accreditations.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

An Investor’s Guide to Key Startup Metrics

Angel investors generally invest early in a startup’s life, meaning that if they identify successful investments, there is potential for huge returns. One of the key steps for angels to assess investment opportunities is looking at metrics and benchmarking against other similar companies. 

To be clear, every sector, and indeed every startup, will have different relevant metrics, but these should be of use as a starting point:

Churn rate 

A company’s churn rate is the percentage of customers that cancel in a given period. It’s of particular importance, in that acquiring new customers is typically considerably more expensive than acquiring new customers. 

Furthermore, if a company has a high churn rate, it can be a sign that there are issues with the product, or potentially that the service does not provide long term value for the customer. 

Liquidity on the Balance Sheet

Looking at a company’s balance sheet to determine the spending power of a company gives a number of important insights: how long the company can cover expenses and continue to operate, a company that is overextended, for example, may give cause for concern about their management style, consequently having an impact on whether you wish to invest. 

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Particularly relevant to subscription businesses that will have new customers signing up, as well as existing customers cancelling (churning). MRR gives you an effective way of evaluating the growth of a company and projecting ahead. 

MRR is calculated by multiplying the number of customers on a monthly subscription by Average Revenue Per User. 

Customer Acquisition Cost 

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cost to acquire a new customer. Typically for new companies this will be high, as they only have limited insights as to how to target their customer and have yet to fully optimise their conversion funnel. 

However as they start to scale, there will be a competing factor, as you start to bid for more traffic in auctions on platforms such as Facebook and Google Ads, it will become more expensive on a per user basis to get more users. 

EBITDA

EBITDA is defined as earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are subtracted. EBITDA is a profitability metric that strips out expenses that might obscure how a company is actually performing and therefore gives a cleaner interpretation of how a company is actually performing.

A higher EBITDA margin (EBITDA divided by total revenue) indicates a more financially stable company with lower risk.  

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

By measuring customer lifetime value (CLTV) in relation to customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can estimate the length of time it takes to recoup an investment to acquire a new customer. 

Customer lifetime value is calculated by taking the average purchase value and multiplying it by the average number of purchases that the company in question obtains. 

A predictive customer lifetime value model will take account of the fact that customers’ future behaviour might change, i.e their purchasing may become more frequent in the future due to certain factors.  

Break-even 

Getting to break-even is the point where total revenue reaches total costs. When a startup reaches break-even point, any money earnt above that is profit. As such, the startup becomes less reliant on raising future investment to keep growing. From an investment perspective, if the company is likely to achieve break even quickly, then it has the effect of de-risking the investment.  

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score is a measure of the overall customer experience. NPS is calculated by asking ‘On a scale of 0-to-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our service to a friend or colleague?’. Customer that score a 9 or 10 are classified ‘promoters’, those that score 0-6 are classified detractors. NPS is the total number percentage of promoters – the total percentage of detractors.

NPS provides an insight into how happy customers and is therefore a leading metric that can be used to understand the potential for revenue and value capture in the future.

Keen to hear more 

As your investment journey continues, you will become more familiar with the investment metrics that you should pay close attention to. If you are looking to learn more about investing, you can read our investing guides here.

Acing Due Diligence: Selecting Startups Like a Pro

Antonis Argyros is the CEO of Vesquad, in this guest post he shares advice about getting Due Diligence right – from setting up processes and using relevant tools, to getting to know the founders. Vesquad support investors by enabling them to provide hands-on support to their portfolio companies through an integrated approach.

As an angel investor, handpicking promising startups that actually do have the potential to succeed is one of the most challenging tasks you’ll have to undertake. Europe in 2021 had one of the best – if not the best- years in terms of startups’ revenue, which possibly exceeded $100 billion in total venture capital investment, according to a report created by Atomico for the investment firm Cambridge Associates. But how can you ensure that you’ll secure a piece of that revenue?

By creating a transparent and objective process of evaluating which ideas and early-stage startups are worth investing in, you’ll be able to identify the most profitable opportunities and increase your revenue through successful exits. Building and implementing such a process allows you to identify a startup’s weak points early on to evaluate which of these can be improved through operational support or which could lead to failure.

For a VC firm with multiple investors, one profitable exit for every ten investments might be an acceptable ratio. For an angel investor, however, a thorough due diligence process is essential in decreasing investment risk as much as possible. Bonus points, providing constructive feedback to the founders of startups that were not selected for funding, gives them the opportunity to improve any weak points and emerge again as a candidate startup with more potential in the future.

However, handling an entire portfolio of companies and at the same time evaluating new investments can be very time-consuming. To make things easier, we’ve gathered the most important steps that will help you during the due diligence process, and the things that you should look out for before investing.

Build a structured process

Before moving on to financials, you probably already have certain basic criteria that a candidate startup needs to meet before investing in it, such as a specific area of focus or a specific market both in terms of technology and geography. If not, make that your number one priority.

Assuming that you have, in order to better examine if those criteria are met, you’ll need to build a structured and transparent process that will ensure there will be a careful evaluation of all the desired parameters before a startup becomes part of your portfolio. The best way to do that is by dividing your process into stages and identifying what you need to examine during each stage. This will help you to quickly eliminate any startups that you don’t think would be a good addition to your portfolio and focus on the ones that seem fit.

Get to know the founding team

We’ll start with the basics, as this is something that is often overlooked, usually due to everyone’s hectic daily schedule or due to the fact that we tend to focus on business and forget about the people. Dedicating some time to grasp a founder’s vision can reveal a lot about the startup they’re trying to build. What their background is, what skills they have and what value they can bring during later stages, what inspired them, and what drives them are all questions that will help you establish a relationship with the people you’ll possibly be in contact with until that much-coveted exit.

Enrich your inventory with the right tools

To gather all the necessary information that will guide you in the right direction and help you conduct the due diligence in the most effective way, you’ll need a series of different tools for each stage of your process. You could start with simple tools, such as an extended questionnaire with targeted questions that will give you an idea about the basics, such as the vision, the value proposition, the market size, and the KPIs. Keep in mind that the entire process should be guided by a positive attitude since the goal is to find the ideal fit for both the investor and the startup so that there is a win-win situation.

At Vesquad, we’ve developed a series of tools exactly for this purpose, that can help you automate the due diligence process by going past the basics and defining in precision the maturity level of each venture.

Adopt the best negotiation tactic for your personality

When negotiating financing, it is important to aim for a result that will be fair for both sides, keeping everyone content, and that the relationship between everyone involved remains intact. The composition of a legal term sheet that will be beneficial to you and at the same time attractive to the startup’s founders, can be achieved through the right negotiation tactic that matches your personality. These tactics have analogs and can be useful or ineffective in reaching a negotiated agreement. It’s crucial to understand how different styles complement one other, how some conflict, and how some have inherent advantages.

Being prepared in advance of the meeting and having a specific plan is crucial. This will give you the opportunity to be prepared about which terms you will be willing to accept and when to abandon the deal, which if it is left to be decided during the meeting can lead to mistakes and ruin the relationship with the founding team. This is why building a relationship beforehand, as mentioned earlier, is crucial. Knowing the people who will attend the meeting could reveal their strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and insecurities, which can give you valuable insight and ensure a better deal.

Venture Building Framework

After the deal has been sealed, what’s next?

We said that selecting the right startups that will lead to a successful exit is one of the many challenges an investor will face. The next big challenge is everything that takes place during the interval right after the investment is made and during the startup’s exit. Maintaining a close relationship with the founding team is equally important even after the investment has been made. There is more and more data showing that founders expect more than money from all their funding sources. So how can you stand out and satisfy that ever-increasing need?

By offering an added value that goes beyond capital itself and focuses on the operational needs startups and their founding teams have in order to grow. This is exactly the value we offer both to investors and entrepreneurs at Vesquad. We can help you adopt an operational model and provide hands-on support to your portfolio companies in order to accelerate their growth and minimize failure rates. From sourcing new ventures to supporting your existing ones, we’ll connect the dots for you so that you can focus on the cool stuff.

How to become an Angel Investor

2021 saw a record number of investors join Angel Investment Network. We expect to see the trend continue into 2022, with both established investors and new investors joining the platform. 

If you are thinking about taking the plunge for the first time and getting involved in backing some of the great businesses of tomorrow, here’s our guide for getting started:

What is an Angel Investor?

An angel investor is an individual who backs one of a startup’s first rounds of funding, investing their own money, rather than a venture capitalist (VC) that invests pooled funds at a later stage.

The term ‘angel’ apparently originally came from Broadway theatre, where wealthy individuals gave money to help bring the theatrical productions to life. 

Why should you become an Angel Investor?

Backing startups whilst high risk, opens you up to much higher potential returns than traditional forms of investments. In some countries, governments also provide tax breaks to investors that back startups. 

Who can become an Angel Investor?

In the UK, to qualify as an angel investor, you will need to meet the criteria of either a self-certified sophisticated investor or a high net worth investor:  

Self-Certified Sophisticated Investors 

Self-certified sophisticated investors need to broadly meet at least one of the following criteria:

– Have been a member of an angel network for at least 6 months;  

– Made two investments in an unlisted company in the last two years, this could for example include on crowdfunding platforms;

– Work or have worked in the last 2 years in private equity, or providing finance for small and medium enterprises; 

– Be a director of a company, or have been in the last 2 years with annual turnover of at least £1 million.

High Net Worth Individual 

Achieving high net worth individual status broadly means that you have a salary in excess of £100,000, or net assets excluding property of over £250,000.  

US – Accredited Investors 

In the US, angel investors are normally (but not always) individuals who have accredited investor status. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines an ‘accredited investor’ as one with a new worth of $1million in assets, excluding personal residence, or having earned $200k income for the two previous years, or $300k for married couples. 

How much do you need to invest? 

Whilst startup ticket size varies hugely, a typical amount that an angel investor might invest is between £10k and £50k in the UK, and $25k to $100k in the US.

Should I diversify?  

Many investors aim to diversify their investments by building a portfolio with 10+ investments, in the hope that a few successes will counter any companies that are unsuccessful, leading to a positive Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on their portfolio. 

How do you get started? 

On the Angel Investment Network platform you can set preferences for the kind of deals that you are interested in and get relevant opportunities sent to you, or use the search facility to find deals worldwide. 

Providing you either meet the criteria of a self certified investor or a high net worth individual, you can sign up as an investor on Angel Investment Network here

Fundraising New Year’s Resolutions for Startups

Whilst we’ve seen some huge successes in terms of fundraising in the last year, it’s important to remember the companies that have been successful, not only have worked very hard and persisted to get there, they often have clever hacks and systems to help. 

As many of you are thinking about new year’s resolutions from a personal perspective, here are some recommendations for hacks, tips and processes that could improve your fundraising in 2022.  

Look after yourself to look after your startup  

Get exercising

Running a startup means there is always too much to do. Important investor meetings get diarised, exercise and eating healthily, not so much. But if you are not creating the best version of you, are you going to be presenting your start up optimally when you pitch to investors?

Make sure you are looking after your physical and mental health, it will likely pay off with you presenting yourself in the best manner possible, and in the quality of your pitch with investors.

Sleep well – keep your phone out of the bedroom 

Avoid blue light – keep your phone out of the bedroom

Now’s the time to start getting some actual quality downtime. If you check your emails in the middle of the night, it can quickly become a self enforcing habit that effects your sleep and alertness.

Lack of sleep has a number of negative effects, including impacting memory – important when recalling key metrics in investor meetings.

Keep your phone out of the bedroom and ideally have a pre-bed curfew to avoid blue light before bedtime. Leave it charging in another room over night to ensure that this doesn’t slip. 

Try the Pomodoro Technique

Raising investment whilst balancing the everyday tasks of running a business is an arduous process, it’s easy to get bogged down in the never ending cycle of replying to emails and firefighting tech bugs and customer complaints. 

Reclaim your time by planning and blocking out time using the Pomodoro Technique. 

With the Pomodoro Technique, you create a list of the key tasks that you need to do. 

Break the tasks into 25 minute segments (the optimal amount of time that people can generally concentrate effectively for).

Then fill your day with the appropriate amount of tasks. Set a timer for 25 minutes and get started on the task in hand, ignore the temptation to check your email, or anything else for that matter. When the timer ends, have a scheduled five minute break before jumping into the next segment.   

It’s a unique way to stay focused, avoid distractions and obtain a sense of flow when working. Find out more about the Pomodoro Technique here.

Pimp Your Zoom Set Up

External webcam versus internal webcam

The large majority of investor meetings are still happening virtually, and it looks like that might be a lasting legacy of the pandemic, with all but a small minority of later stage meetings likely to take place over video calls. 

With so many investor meetings, how can you make sure that you present yourself in the best possible way? Firstly using meeting scheduling software such as Calendly can be useful for sharing gaps in your availability, making it easier to coordinate meeting times with investors – it can also be integrated with Zoom or Google Meet to automatically schedule a video call.

Think about your backdrop – what kind of message do you think a cluttered backdrop sends to investors? You could use a virtual background, but sometimes using a real background will give investors some insight into what you like and help build rapport, whether it’s books you enjoy reading, pictures or some unique memorabilia. 

Whilst you can make it work with pretty much any kit for video calls, having an external mic will make your voice feel warmer, like you are there in the room; an external webcam can give you a much clearer image and more of a contrast to get you stand out from the background; and a ring light can help you ensure that you maintain the focal point. 

Find more tips here.

Use a CRM 

CRM for investor management

Do you find fundraising dispiriting? You’re not alone. Investors are typically very busy and often looking to invest in something that specifically meets their criteria, meaning that it’s not uncommon for messages to not receive a response.

On the Angel Investment Network platform, you can keep track the stage of investor conversations. You can also use software such as Pipedrive, ForceManager or Trello to categorise your investor conversations by stage.

It means that you can set yourself clear targets: i.e get X number of investor meetings this week, rather than fixating on the goals of raising investment, which can take longer, and you need to focus on getting more people through your funnel to get yourself in a position where they will convert.

CRMs have the advantage of letting you set yourself reminders to follow up with contacts, giving you analytics as to how long it is taking for contacts to get between stages, as well as adding in automation, i.e an email that it sent to investor contacts when they get to a specific point in your funnel.

In Summary

We hope you have had a chance to restore over the festive period and have come back invigorated. If you are about to embark on a fundraising journey, now is the time to think of a few habits and hacks that could go on to pay dividends for you. 

Wishing you every success in 2022.

The AIN Team

Looking Back & Looking Forwards

Looking Back

When we reflected on the year at the end of 2020, a few things sprung out: the sheer chaos inflicted by the Coronavirus, or COVID, as we now call it. It caused all kinds of new problems – with new startups emerging to solve these problems.

Redundancy and furlough led to the talent pool increasing and the quality of start up teams increased, a key predictor of startup success.  Productivity jumped as people found new ways to save time, skipping their daily commute and switching meetings to shorter Zoom calls. 

Whilst 2020 was devastating on a personal front, there was no shortage of innovation. So where does that leave us towards the end of 2021?

The Antisocial Networks

Whether it’s Brexit, anti-vax debates, or anything in any way political, it’s clear that social networks are incurring serious strain in their never-ending challenge to chase engagement. Facebook’s recent rebrand ‘Meta’ makes logical sense to deflect some of the focus away from it. 

Facebook’s commitment to the metaverse has led to considerable interest in the space, with key investors coming out as hugely bullish, even if very few people can clearly define what the metaverse is, or will become. So what is a metaverse, anyway?

According to Andy Liu from Unlock Ventures “It’s the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, where augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain-based environments enable people to develop and live in new ‘worlds’ — a fully immersive experience to express themselves, connect, interact, conduct commerce, and experience a whole new reality.”

One of key questions on investors’ lips is will the metaverse be dominated by the Metas and Microsofts, or more nimble startup? Eitherway, expect an onslaught of new metaverse startups emerging in the new year.

Good COP, bad COP?

COP26 had some clear outputs from cutting methane emissions to curbing oil and gas exploration, protecting forests and shifting from coal to clean power. Whether COP26 went far enough or not to keep the goal of a 1.5 degree temperature rise by the end of 2030 is still for discussion.

 However, in the words of AIN’s Head of Impact and CEO of SeedTribe, Liv Sibony, 

If you’re looking at predictions, one thing I would say is that big companies and governments are now committing to much higher standards of environmentalism, and that demand will stimulate growth/the market for start-ups offering environmental solutions, especially in the B2B space’. 

Whilst it’s too early to see the direct impact on start up innovation, it will certainly be interesting to see the startups that step up as a result of COP induced changes in legislation. 

Are we WFHing?

As the COVID pandemic started to recede, only to spike again with Omicron, one of the things that became clear is that no one knows where they are going to be working. 

There was the colour coding your bookshelf stage, the pimping your home office with external mic, light and webcam, and then the ‘pingdemic’, with those in shared offices in particular, waiting to be pinged. 

In short, we’ve tried a lot of different ways of working over the last year, and the one thing that we can agree on is, well, it’s hard to predict where we’re going to be working next year. 

Whatsmore with escalating inflation and a spiral in wage demands, there’s a clear war for top talent emerging. How to attract and retain top talent is going to be clearly front of mind for startups in 2022. 

Diverse Investing

According to Nadine Campbell, Ace Entrepreneurs,in the UK while just 5% of founding teams have two female founders, research has also shown that only 1% of venture-funded startups have black founders. In the USA, black startup entrepreneurs still received only a tiny fraction, 1.2%, of the $147 billion in venture capital invested in U.S. startups.

With movements such as Black Lives Matter providing a catalyst for a growing number of new funds and outfits supporting underrepresented founders, there’s a growing acceptance about how diverse team are better rounded, have less blindspots and ultimately, are better positioned to achieve a higher valuation multiple. 

We see some positive steps in the right direction and challenge our whole investor community to think about what you can do to help accelerate this.  

In Summary

At AIN, our mission is ‘to connect the world to enable investors to back the great business of tomorrow’.

For us, it has been a strong year, we’ve launched a fund, AIV capital, enabling investors to back later stage, high potential companies, we’ve had record number of investors signing up to the platform, and a 15% increase in investor connections being made with entrepreneurs. 

Ultimately, it wouldn’t have been possible without you, our investors and entrepreneurs, and the AIN team for all their hard work. 

We know how hard it can be to switch off, but hope you get a chance to recharge in the festive period. See you in 2022.  

StartUpBuzz

In the run up to the festive period, the AIN team highlights some of the companies that they are most excited about. With two companies shaking up the property market, a chocolate brand targeting the very top of the market, and a company that is revolutionising 3D printing.

Virtual View App 

During the pandemic, viewing properties has been difficult, at times impossible, but one of the lasting effects of it is more and people screening potential properties with virtual tours. 

Virtual View’s ‘Vieweet’ app helps amateur photographers create a 360 view, or virtual tour on an app. It’s useful for viewing potential property to buy or let, but other use cases span insurance, interior design and surveying. 

Key Facts

– Vieweet currently collects data on the 7% of the UK properties sold every month 

– Partnerships with some of the largest property sites including Zoopla

– Customers include some of the largest estate agents, such as Purple Bricks and Countrywide

‘The thought of them already collecting data on 7% of UK properties sold every month before turning on the revenue taps showed me just how confident the founder is. The levels of data they can gather on each home will help further stimulate several other industries’ Xavier Ballester

Find out more about Virtual View App

PropertyLoop 

Continuing the property theme, PropertyLoop is an end to end lettings platform. Making life much easier for property landlords. It’s also the world’s first commission free letting platform. 

Landlords typically spend thousands on unhelpful agents just to find a tenant. On PropertyLoop, landlords list their property only once, the listings then are posted on to hundreds of portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. PropertyLoop verifies renters identities, as well as sorting tenancy agreement, deposits and renewals.

There’s also a ‘Smart’ tools service where tenant report any issues with the property online, where it is automatically sent to relevant, qualified contractors who bid for the work. Property Loop takes care of all the access, proof of work and invoicing so that landlords don’t have to. 

Key Facts

– Multi excited founders 

– sold one of London’s biggest retail estate agency chains, taken care of $1 billion of property every year. 

– 95% of the market still being dominated by High Street Agents, the ‘Blockbusters’ of the Property Market

Total Addressable Market – £1.7 trillion rental market

‘Having spoken to a number of landlords about PropertyLoop each of them said they would be crazy not to use it. Everything to do with the running of your property under one roof and free is definitely a problem being solved!’ Xavier Ballester

Firetree

Firetree

There’s expensive chocolate, and then there’s Firetree – chocolate is priced at a price point that you wouldn’t really expect to see chocolat at, more the territory you would expect to see a fine wine.

Firetree is a new chocolate brand positioning itself at the top of the end of the market, and therefore avoiding the competitive mid-market with the likes of Cadbury and Mars. Chocolate is roasted in its shells using a slow chocolate craft production process to ‘optimise their complet taste characteristic’.

Firetree believe they are the only serious player who can capture the top of the market with an experienced team that combines both mass market and high end chocolate experience. 

Key Facts 

– Set for £1m in revenues in 2021

– Retailers include Harrods, M&S and Ocado

– Vegan, Dairy-Free, Nut Free, Halal and Kosher Certified. 

‘ I tasted them and know just how delicious they are. My wife is a big chocolate snob and says she has never tried a better chocolate. Firetree could be the brand to take over the super premium category.’ Xavier Ballester

Find out more about Firetree.

Wayland Additive

Wayland Additive

Wayland Additive have overhauled additive manufacture (3D Printing) of metals, making it faster, more reliable and allowing for the printing of larger structures than has commonly been possible. 

Wayland aims to create metal Additive Manufacturing (“AM” – 3D printing) machines to sell to  industrial organisations, including in the aerospace and medical industries. With highly advanced tech created from the worlds of scanning electron microscopy and electron beam lithography. 

As a result of these innovations the machine will offer higher productivity, unparalleled process monitoring and control, and versatility in materials.

Facts

– First client signed in N. America (£850k) and working with the MOD

– £29m pipeline of opportunities

– Raised £2.1m of a £3m round backed by Longwall Ventures

To hear more about Wayland Additive, reach out to Ed Stephens directly ed(at)angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

SixtySecondStartUp with CheckMates

In this week’s edition of #SixtySecondStartUp we catch up with Leah Zabari, founder of CheckMates, an app to connect you with anonymous support during difficult times.

  1. What does your company do?

Checkmates is a mobile app designed to help individuals connect with anonymous support during difficult times.

Checkmates uses algorithms and a dating app “swipe right” style in order to help the individual find profiles they can relate to.

Our focus on imagery and metaphors to describe each user’s story erases the need for potentially triggering language. Therefore putting the user in control of their information and how they would like to receive support.

  1. Why did you set up this company?

In 2017 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she received fantastic treatment and support from the NHS and Macmillan cancer support, I really struggled as a carer and a family member to find the support I needed. I was receiving therapy at the time but what I really wanted was to meet someone who was going through the same thing, someone I could relate to and who knew how I was feeling.

This sparked my idea of Checkmates; and the more I went through my vision and values for Checkmates, the more it became evident that this was a platform for everyone; loneliness and the need for support and help is not just an issue for children. Statistics show this to be an increasing worry for older adults. Everyone needs to be heard and listened to, and to feel supported.                                                                                                                                                     

The MyCheckmates App
  1. How did you get your first customer? 

We are currently undergoing a testing period of our first version of MyCheckmates app with our community. Until we have refined the last final details we want to make we haven’t launched our paid feature Checkmates+. We are aiming to launch MyCheckmates to the world mid 2022 after our upcoming seed round.

  1. We knew we were onto something when? 

We did a lot of market research before we began developing MyCheckmates; we shared a survey asking everyone if there was a time in their life they would have used MyCheckmates had it been available; this had a 100% positive response. The following question was asking them to share what the challenges were they were facing, the answers left me speechless. 

Everyone was going through such different experiences and yet everyone felt alone. Addiction, bereavement, mothers with daughters battling eating disorders, unemployment struggles, breakups/divorce, nurses suffering mental health issues due to their work through the COVID 19 pandemic.

No matter who you are, everyone needs support, everyone needs to be reminded they are not alone.

  1. Our business model: 

MyCheckmates is working on a freemium model meaning a basic version of the app is free for all, however a paid version with many more features is available and strongly encouraged in order for users to get the most tailored support to their needs.

We currently have a monetised weekly mental health check-in newsletter and a biweekly podcast breaking down the stigma around emotions.

MyCheckmates has huge room to expand into many different areas of mental health; including mindfulness and meditation features within the app, and in person events to find support within small communities, both of which we are working on currently.

  1. Our most effective marketing channel has been: 

Social media! When Checkmates started out as scribbles in my notebook one of the first things I vowed was that the service Checkmates was offering was to be accessible for all. This has mainly shown itself in the form of a free version of our app but has also come through in other aspects of the company’s profile; such as its community services. All our social media is free, interactive and allows everyone to feel like part of a team. We share resources, testimonies and tips and tricks to check-in on your friends mental health as well as your own.

  1. What we look for when recruiting:

Enthusiasm, honesty and flexibility. As a startup things change all the time, we are a small team currently doing a little bit of everything; filling in gaps when needed and constantly learning new skills in areas some of us haven’t studied since highschool! 

With our app having such a huge focus on mental health we want everyone in our team to be passionate about improving the services that are offered to those struggling. We are a business, but a business created to help our users. Passion and a desire for positive change has to lie at the forefront of all decisions.

  1. The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:

Assuming I needed a technical co-founder before I could get started. 

As a solo founder the first thing you read online is *ALERT ALERT* you need to find a technical co founder to be taken seriously. This is not true, being a non-technical solo founder isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong, but I was the one with the ideas and vision so why not get started straight away? If partnership is the right thing to do then I strongly believe it will happen. Working with business partners; whether that is investors, co-founders or employees you work closely with does not work unless your personal relationship is solid too. You have to have the same vision and trust each other; you can’t fake or force either of these things.

  1. We think that there’s growth in this sector because:

In total, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes, or often lonely in England. This equates to twenty five million people.

5.0% (1 in 20,) of people in the UK (2.6 million adults) reported that they felt lonely “often” or “always” between 3 April and 3 May 2020, about the same proportion as before the national lockdown due to Covid-19. Of those asked, 30.9% (7.4 million adults) reported their well-being had been affected because of their loneliness in the past seven days. 

This figure is ever growing, especially with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. As well as the heartbreak and isolation that the pandemic has brought many individuals more broadly, the social distancing measures and the limitations of household bubbles has denied many people the opportunity to meet new people and find the support they need.

  1. We worked with AIN because:

We are about to embark on a first fundraising journey that will allow MyCheckmates to be taken to the next step and start providing support to the people that need it. We have all the ideas, the passion and the projection. All we need now is just a little extra help from investors to make this happen. When Drummond got in touch it came at the perfect time with our BETA launch, it is a fantastic way for us to be able to share MyCheckmates with the people who can help make this happen.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#SixtySecondStartUp with Society

Up next for #SixtySecondStartUp we have Matthew Billington, Co-founder of Society. Matthew noticed that student usage of Facebook was falling off a cliff and set up a startup to help student societies manage their members with their own branded apps.

What does Society do?

Society is your own branded community app in an instant. With over 1,700 clubs with group chats in over 217 Universities in the UK and worldwide, Society is now the fastest growing app at University for clubs and societies.

App features include push notifications direct to all your members for instant alerts and updates for events and announcements. It has your club’s calendar of events, an instant searchable network, personal profiles, direct messaging, group chats, free e-tickets and much, much more. And, it’s completely free for students. 

The Society App

Why did you set up Society?

When I entered my 4th year as a dental student at King’s College London, I soon discovered that being elected President of the KCL Dental Society of 800 members came with its fair share of problems. Engagement was falling and falling, Facebook was becoming increasingly outdated especially with freshers. Year on year, we were seeing a progressive decline in engagement with university students.

With popular event booking platforms such as Eventbrite and Fatsoma, having high transaction fees, I wanted to create a platform with the lowest possible ticket transaction fees for students, whilst remaining free for free events. WhatsApp groups were also a terrible way to manage a society and events. 

How did you get your first customer?

After engaging with Presidents from other dental schools I soon discovered that nearly every new President of a university society is in the same boat, re-creating the wheel, each and every year.

I originally came up with the idea of the Dental Society app to have a profound and positive impact on committees and society members at all 16 dental schools. Helping committees to save time through automating event management, certificates, ticketing/e-tickets for events, whilst having the committee displayed and available for all members to directly contact through the chat. 

We knew we were onto something when?

Suddenly, the Presidents of King’s College London Medical Student Association wanted to use the Dental Society app. Then 18 months ago when the app was re-engineered and relaunched as “Society” for all student clubs, Aston’s African Caribbean Society wanted to use the app. That’s when we experienced exceptional growth from 12 clubs to 800 clubs to now over 1700 clubs in the last 18 months.

Our business model:

Society co-founders chose pre-monetisation to maximise and prioritise viral growth without friction. Over the next 12 months, we are proving multiple revenue streams to find optimal ways of aligning monetisation with viral growth.

Our most effective marketing channel has been:

Word-of-mouth with students. The new academic year saw more than two hundred Society Ambassadors attend Freshers Fairs at Universities across the UK to promote the Society app to clubs, societies and students. All ambassadors wore the Society hoodie while spreading the word about the features and benefits of the app. The awareness campaign was a huge success.

Society Brand Ambassadors

What we look for when recruiting:

Insanely great people with ideas and raw talent, passion and energy that don’t need to be managed. They have to believe in the Society app, our vision and be fun. 

The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:

Not immediately realising the full potential of the Society app as an instant community app for absolutely everyone in the world. ESN UK is set to digitise the student exchange experience with their new Society App partnership. Formally the Erasmus Student Network, ESN is the largest student-led organisation in the world in over 1,000 Higher Education Institutions in 42 countries.

Together with Society App, ESN UK are launching a new app specifically for their members to help them to develop skills to a higher proficiency. As seen in The Daily Telegraph, the ESN partnership presents a global opportunity for the Society app and is one of the pathways to having a world-wide presence in 2022 with student brand ambassadors in every country.

We think that there’s growth in this sector because:

Significant traction has been made in the new academic year post covid lock downs. In the last 90 days, clubs have doubled and grown by 100% across 1,700+ Clubs, now also with 1,700+ Group Chats. Memberships have grown by 130% and engagement has grown by 700%. Over £50,000 has been collected via Society Pay, the in-app payment gateway. This exceptional growth since launch only 18 months ago, means the Society app has already cornered 13% UK market share and is expected to double in 2022.

The app’s success reflects UK University only, excluding parallel, international and enterprise markets. There’s still time to invest in the Society app (EIS approved) this year to support the team growth of student brand ambassadors and react native developers, which will allow greater scale and global ambitions to be achieved. 

We worked with AIN because:

AIN was highly recommended and we found AIN to be one of the best ways to reach and communicate with potential investors.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

StartUpBuzz



At AIN, we celebrate connecting investors to back the great businesses of tomorrow, whatever they do. With this in mind, our latest round up includes a new form of property marketplace, a platform using AI to reinterpret education and a company making new types of soup!

Soupologie

Soupologie

Whilst you may think there isn’t much to differentiate soup, Soupologie would beg to differ. Soupologie makes award winning soups and ready meals that are driving a number of innovations including: the world’s first ‘5 a day soup’ and ‘first free from the 14 main allergens soup’. 

Capitalising on the plant based movement, the company has achieved strong growth and has even released two cookbooks. With an exit focused management team and strong revenue growth, the company is on a fantastic path.

Key Facts

– On track for £3.2m revenue in Y/E May 22

– Products sold at Waitrose, Tesco, Ocado and leading supermarkets 

– Over 21k+ followers on social media  

“Soupologie have steadily built a strong business core around an innovative product range. Alongside executing the fundamentals of the business brilliantly, they amplify the brand exceptionally well through wide reaching media campaigns and an enviable following. The combination is powerful and we knew it was something that our network would be keen to see” Sam Louis. 

Find out more about Soupologie here.

Vesta

Vesta

Vesta is a marketplace for buying and selling rental property, and has sold over £50 million of property since it’s launch in 2018. 

It’s the leading marketplace of it’s kind covering buy-to-let, student accommodation, and portfolio properties for example. The properties often come with a tenant in place – if you buy a property with a tenant in place, the tenant is happy as they don’t need to find somewhere else to live, and the buyer is happy as they have an immediate rental income. 

Key Facts

– The rental market is expected to be £1.7 billion by 2025 

– Vesta has a growing pipeline currently worth £100 million.

– Revenue currently > £20k a month

“This is a space that has been of interest to me for some time and Vesta clearly sets out what the investment options and how much I can hope to generate from the moment I buy the property” Xavier Ballester.

Find out more about Vesta here.

Habitat Learn 

Habitat Learn

Habitat Learn is an ecosystem of products designed to remove the barriers of learning. With the ethos that ‘when online learning works better for all students; all students work better.’

Habitat Learns comprises a suite of products easily integrating into existing education technology. This includes: 

– Video conferencing software, designed specifically for education, as well as providing high quality live stream content, there is AI captioning and translation, and digital watermarks to safeguard IP. 

– Advanced analytics including everything from live recording, invoicing and student attendance records

– An option to get notetakers to take notes remotely. 

Key Facts: 

– Projecting £3m revenue in 2021, (£600k: 2020)

-185 customers (universities and colleges) including Harvard, Yale and Cornell

– Experienced team founding multiple successful startups 

“With lockdown Edtech has seen a real surge but I also looked back to my uni days where I spent most lectures frantically scribbling and missing half of what was said… Oh to have had Habitat Learn!” Xavier Ballester. 

Find out more about Habitat Learn here.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#SixtySecondStartUp with Alpaca Coffee

In this week’s #SixtySecondStartUp we catch up with Alpaca Coffee who are making ‘better coffee for you and the planet’:

A ceramic coffee mug is great for sipping hot drinks like tea or coffee, go to Spice Kitchen and Bar to take a look to the 11 Best Ceramic Coffee Mugs of 2022: Reviews & Top Picks.

  1. What does Alpaca Coffee do?

Alpaca Coffee looks to bring better coffee for you and the planet. We are working towards being UK’s first fully sustainable coffee brand by promoting sustainability at every touchpoint:

Ethically-Sourced Specialty Coffee: Traceable sources to support family businesses that adhere to international standards on sustainability, better pricing, and quality

Zero Waste Roasting: Roasted via circular technology with biofuel instead of fossil fuel 

100% Plastic Free & Compostable: 100% plastic-free, from our labels and our bags, all the way to our shipping boxes and compostable tape.

Offsetting Our Carbon Footprint: For every 10 bags of coffee sold, Alpaca Coffee will plant one tree in the Amazon Rainforest.

  1. Why did you set up Alpaca Coffee?

I fell in love with specialty coffee during a trip to South America, but soon became aware of the negative environmental impact of the coffee industry. Due to this, we decided early on to become the new industry standard and to put sustainability at the core of what we do, making quality and sustainable coffee accessible for everyone. 

  1. How did you get your first customer? 

We validated our idea with a Kickstarter campaign. The featured by Kickstarter and our >200% oversubscription jump started our initial customer base and we are fortunate that a lot of the customers from then have stayed with us since then. Despite the fact that we have grown since then, I will never forget the moment my best friends tried our coffee and their amazed look. 

Alpaca Coffee

  1. We knew we were onto something when? 

Kickstarter was a start, but when we were featured by the UK Government as part of the SMB Climate Hub, among other publications such as Goodfind and Wherefrom, we knew we were onto something. 

  1. Our business model: 

B2C with a focus on e-commerce. We are rapidly expanding into the retail and B2B space so hit us up for a chat ?

  1. Our most effective marketing channel has been: 

We are currently organic-heavy with our marketing, and so far has offseted >1,300,000 grams of carbon with >3000 bags of coffee sold. Social media has brought in great ROI, from word-of-mouth through user-generated content to collaborations with brands with similar philosophies. The team is working hard to further our presence by strengthening our branding and unboxing experiences. Stay tuned for our launch in December ?.

  1. What we look for when recruiting:

We look for people who share our values in sustainability and understand our mission. Being a challenger brand, we want to recruit fearless, passionate people. Diverse backgrounds, perspectives, talents, and ideas are important to us and we are driven forward by this diversity.

Coffee?

  1. The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:

Saying yes to too many things. I’ve learnt that it’s important to approach any part of our business with a clear goal and understanding of the return on investment. We now approach anything we do together as a team with a clear understanding of how it fits with our mission and vision, and how it drives the business forward.

  1. We think that there’s growth in this sector because:

We are part of the “fourth wave of coffee”. As one of the most consumed drinks in the world, the quality of coffee as well as its impact on the environment and society, has become increasingly important to people around the world. As a specialty coffee company with sustainability at its core, we hope to become the new industry standard and push for better coffee for you and the planet. 

  1. We worked with AIN because:

AIN democratises angel investment and offers an unprecedented access to a supporting ecosystem and community of entrepreneurs and investors. This helps level the playing field and empowers entrepreneurs like us to grow. 

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#SixtySecondStartUp with IBS Coach

Liamhl Asmall shares the story of IBS Coach, a digital dietary treatment for the 800 million people affected by IBS.

  1. What does your company do?

We help the 1 in 7 people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to get instant and effective digital treatment from the phone in their pocket. It may come as a surprise, but IBS is one of the most common digestive conditions on the planet. It’s not life threatening and is still taboo (which is most likely why it’s been so overlooked for so many years), but it severely impacts relationships, work, travel, and ultimately, quality of life.

In one study patients with IBS were willing to give up 15.1 years of their remaining lives to achieve perfect health. People are desperately seeking a cure.

  1. Why did you set up this company?

Healthcare for IBS is inefficient and unaffordable. It is incredible that patients have to wait a reported 1 year to see a specialist on the NHS, or pay up to £320 for private treatment. We set out to solve this problem that our friends and family had faced. Our mission is simple: to make effective digital treatment accessible, affordable, and scalable for this 800 million person IBS healthcare market.

The IBS Coach App
  1. How did you get your first customer? 

When developing a medical product you’ve got a long road to walk before you can sell to customers. Our journey went from achieving medical compliance to setting up a closed beta testing group for people with IBS, to launching in the app stores. The overwhelming positive feedback gave us confidence that patients would buy our product. We launched commercially in October this year and had our first sale almost immediately. It’s a good feeling to know we’re helping people manage their IBS.

  1. We knew we were onto something when? 

We interviewed 30 people with IBS at the start of our journey and just listening to their stories and frustrations showed us there was a clear need for an affordable, simplified treatment for IBS. Very early on we shared a post on Facebook and had almost 200 sign ups in the first 24 hours. These were early points of validation and were supported by lots of desk research.

  1. Our business model: 

IBS is a lifelong condition that needs ongoing symptom management. Because of the ongoing nature of IBS, we aim to support patients throughout their life. The business model is a recurring revenue subscription and we are currently testing our acquisition channels and pricing. One of our goals is to establish a marketing flywheel with our next SEIS fundraise. 

  1. Our most effective marketing channel has been: 

Organic sales in the iOS app store. We’re now putting marketing spend behind Apple Search Ads and Google Ads which are ‘high intent’ channels. We’ve run multiple Facebook campaigns to test landing pages and messaging, and we’ll be exploring ways we can partner with brands.

  1. The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:

One of the early mistakes was focusing too heavily on the product (we have a great product, and as a medical product we perhaps needed to spend a lot of time here!). However, if I were to start over I’d spend slightly less time on product and more time testing sales channels. It’s a fine balance as founders have to wear many hats. The risk is that founders focus on the jobs they like, or feel most ‘comfortable doing’. It’s good to be aware of our bias towards tasks.

  1. We think that there’s growth in this sector because:

IBS is a lifelong condition and the latest reports suggest the rates of IBS have actually increased during Covid. Couple the above with the mass adoption of digital healthcare, the large unserved market, and the scalability of our effective digital program and we have the right trends for our company to grow. 

  1. We worked with AIN because:

AIN has a reputation as one of the best platforms to share our ambitious plans with engaged angel investors; We hope to make many new connections and raise our current SEIS round.

If you are interested in learning more about IBS Coach, please get in touch via the Angel Investment Network platform.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#BehindTheRaise with Euclideon Holographics

Derek Van Tonder shares the story of Euclideon Holographics and the key learnings from taking it through multiple rounds of funding, including the importance of benchmarking your company for investors and building meaningful relationships:

Tell us about what got you into start ups: 

Euclideon Holographics was founded because we tried out traditional Virtual Reality helmets and we really didn’t like them – we hated the cord, the screens in front of our eyes were awful because we couldn’t see anything, and most importantly, they gave us motion sickness. So we decided to solve that problem by removing the screens in front of your eyes and moving them onto the walls around you to solve all these problems with VR, and Euclideon Holographics was born.

Why did you decide to raise investment?

Our products have been very successful and many customers even purchased them before they were properly finished (in beta) – we are using this success to prove to investors that their funds can make a good profit when we use investment money to set up warehouses and showrooms around the world. 95% of our customers have seen our holograms in person before committing to purchase, so it makes sense to put showrooms closer to our customers, and that requires investment capital. We are also using fundraising as a way to network with new partners. Many of our investors end up working with us in the business, for example by becoming a representative for our products in a far-flung region of the world that we normally would not easily be able to access. Since they are shareholders, they are passionate about our company and it works very well.

What is your top tip for anyone raising investment for the first time?

Be careful of scammers, using a service like Angel Investment Network greatly reduces the number of shady people you will have to deal with. Make sure that you understand your market very very well – investors don’t just want to know how much you could sell if only 1% of the market bought your products – they need better and more realistic estimates than that. Ideally, you should have proved that people want to buy your product/service before raising investment. Investors may love everything about your company and technology but could be scared away by the risk factor – you have to be absolutely transparent about risk with investors. If you have debts, disclose those. If you are at all cagey about disclosing financials, many investors will see this as a big red flag. The gold standard is to have an independent, 3rd party accountant sign off on a copy of your balance sheets before you raise capital. Every serious investor will ask for this, and rightly so. Investors also like you to be very clear about what’s in it for them – you should not give “pie in the sky” and overly optimistic projections and forecasts. Instead, try to find companies similar in size and scope to your own and use them as a benchmark for comparison purposes. For example, we use the company Tritium, they are literally in the same street as our HQ, with a similar number of employees, and they are also an Aussie technology manufacturer with their own factory. Because they are very similar we can show them to investors and talk about their great success story.

What attracted investors to your company?

Shareholders of Euclideon Holographics are interested in a long-term pre-IPO Intellectual Property play, they are investing with us because we have a lot of unique IP and patents, we have proven that customers want to buy our products, and we are offering new Hologram products not seen before that solve a lot of the problems with Virtual Reality. And we also support popular 3D simulation engines like Unreal and Unity. Manufacturing our products in Australia is also seen as a big advantage to our customers, particularly with regards to our military clients, Australia is seen as a “safe” and friendly country by military buyers. Australia is viewed favourably as a hi-tech and very stable Western democracy so that also helps us.

My biggest fundraising mistake was…

At first, only emailing investors and not touching base with them in other ways. You should reach out to them on LinkedIn, send text messages, phone them, everything possible – otherwise you will never know whether your important email got stuck in their spam/junk filter. The absolute gold standard is to have a Zoom call with every investor. Investors like to invest in people. You need to meet them somehow, ideally in person if you can.

Why did you choose to use Angel Investment Network?

AIN has consistently delivered quality investors to us over the years as we have expanded our operations. We now have an excellent shareholder list and many of our shareholders are actively involved in helping us distribute our products and find new opportunities and clients all over the world.

What has the funding enabled?

We use our funding for expansion and to fund R&D on new products. For example, our first foray onto AIN netted us $700,000 (AUD) of investment, which we subsequently used to refine and commercialise our Hologram Table product, which is now our 2nd most popular bestseller.

Keen to hear more?

Listen to Derek in the extra video for #BehindTheRaise:

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

BehindTheRaise with Paperclip

Rich Wooley is the CEO and founder of Paperclip, a challenger marketplace taking on eBay. Rich shares lessons from his fundraising in #BehindTheRaise: What’s the biggest thing he thinks investors look for? What would he do differently if he did it all again? And well, does AIN really work?

Tell us about what got you into start ups:

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset – my first business was at school selling Big Red chewing gum that I imported from the US, it certainly made me more money than my paper round!

At university, my housemate, Alan, (later, co-founder) and I made good money importing clothes from the US and selling them on eBay, and we saw an opportunity there for a challenger marketplace to take on eBay’s monopoly. We shelved the idea at the time, and both went into our respective management consulting careers – but eventually I thought that if I didn’t do something entrepreneurial soon, I might never, so I took a career break and started attending startup events in London like AngelHack and London Startup Weekend. I pitched Paperclip, we came second place, and we got to work.

Why did you decide to raise investment?

Being a marketplace, we realized that we’d need to go for a few years without any discernible revenue, and so we sought investment to fund the runway. Not only this, but we wanted to get a strong network of investors onboard that could add value on the journey – introductions for commercial partnerships and to other investors, and so on.

Marketplaces are always tricky, and it can take a while until the critical mass of buyers and sellers and unit economics start to take shape. However, when they do get it right, they have the power to influence people’s everyday lives – which is something that excites me a lot. Platforms like Amazon, JustEat, Uber, Deliveroo, and Depop are a testament to that – they provide value to millions of people, and have made massive returns for their investors, but they were cash hungry at the start and required significant investment to get to that scale – we are no different in that regard.

What is your top tip for anyone raising investment for the first time?

It’s always tricky at the start.  Your personal network can help a lot at that time – my first investors were a friend from university, a family friend, and my old boss! But other than that, seek investors that add value in the right areas -speak with founders that have exited similar or complementary types of businesses.

Any government support such as grants can help a lot to get momentum going, and speaking to pre-seed funds that can match fund will help things significantly: if you have an offer on the table for match-funding (e.g if you raise £100k then the fund will match that with £100k), then it helps things along significantly.

I’d suggest not being too inflexible on your valuation, but be wary of adapting your investment terms to something you’re not comfortable with, such as giving away too much control or appointing directors that don’t share your vision, or that might become an issue later down the line. The right kind of investors can make your journey far smoother, the wrong type can make it hell.

What attracted investors to your company?

I think investors like the concept of what we’re trying to solve and the novel way that we are approaching it – it helps that the secondhand goods market is massive and also set to expand 500% over the next 5 years – and so the potential is huge. However, at the start, investors are mostly investing in the actual team – and having a strong team really helped with that.

We were fortunate enough to get some high profile investors onboard at seed stage, such as  David Buttress,  co-founder and former CEO of JustEat and Hayley Parsons, the founder and former CEO of GoCompare. Most people in the UK would have either seen or used their platforms, and so it added some credibility to our cause.

Rich Wooley, CEO, Paperclip


My biggest fundraising mistake was…

Probably the biggest fundraising mistake I made was not pushing back on some of the investment agreement terms in our first VC raise. There are a bunch of reporting, corporate governance and approval processes that I have to go through. For example, I need to gain approval for spending over £5,000 on something, or hiring someone with a salary of over £35,000. 

These terms ultimately do benefit and protect our shareholders, so they’re not all bad – but for the stage we’re at, they can be slightly onerous; they  can slow things down at times or take me valuable time to report.

Why did you choose to use Angel Investment Network?

Over the years, I had heard of Angel Investment Network, but I never wanted to pay for it!  Then one day at the Natwest Accelerator, two of the founders I was mentoring came over and told me they’d raised over £250k each on the platform, and so I signed up right away.

I’ve also tried other platforms, both UK and US focused, and have never had the same level of success on them. It’s clear to me that Angel Investment Network has the largest and most active pool of angel investors in the UK – perhaps in the world; I’ve met some incredible people and received investment from all over the world; Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa – the list goes on.

What has the funding enabled?

Investment has made a huge difference to the talent we have brought onboard, and the build phase that we’re in. Some of our investors have made valuable introductions, and so it has had a massive impact on our business. Going forwards, I can see that the investor base that we have will be able to provide us even more value as we grow.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#StartUpBuzz

Here’s our pick of companies raising investment on Angel Investment Network at the moment. 

From launching podcasts, to helping you select the most appropriate emobility solution, or a modular sofa that will actually fit through the front door, these are the startups that are solving meaningful problems with capable teams, and a clear route to market. 

Auddy 

Whilst starting a podcast may seem deceptively easy, actually launching it successfully, building a user base, maintaining growth and monetising it, are a lot easier said than done. That’s where Auddy comes into help. 

Auddy is one of the UK’s leading podcast publishers. Using cutting-edge data and analytics, they make the business of podcasts hassle-free. They work with top creators to produce and market premium shows before distributing them to all major platforms. They then provide advertising and sponsorship sales, paying properly meaningful royalties back to the creators.

Controlling the end-to-end process means they can also produce private shows for corporate’s internal employees or leading branded content for a company’s content strategy. These are high margin jobs and provide a diversified revenue stream beyond pure consumer publishing.

Key Facts

Founder has numerous IPOs and exits, including for Virgin

B2B clients including Vodafone and Open University 

Acquired leading UK branded podcast publisher – Radio Wolfgang

‘Auddy has an incredible team behind it, driving a sophisticated business model in what is a rapidly expanding market space. We were hooked from the off and we think it’s an exciting opportunity for the network!’ – Sam Louis 

Find out more about Auddy here.

Electric Rider


In big cities, suddenly electric mobility solutions are appearing everywhere. Electric Rider is an online marketplace selling emobility solutions from ebikes to escooters, even electric unicycles. 

The trend for the electric revolution appears to be getting strong momentum, buoyed in part by London and other major cities introducing low emission zones.

Electric Rider makes it easy to find the most appropriate electric mobility solution for the user – with a ‘help me choose’ solution finder, as well as flexible payment options. 

Key Facts

The emobility market is forecast to grow at 20% year on year

Electric Rider achieved £1million gross revenue with 30% margin in first 18 months

Over 55 brands in stock and growing

‘Impossible to ignore what they have achieved in such a short space of time. Along with the current move towards electric transportation in cities it was a company that I really wanted to help raise.’ – Xavier Ballester

Find out more about Electric Rider here.

Cozmo

Ever ordered a sofa with a long lead time only to find it didn’t fit through the door? Or pulled a muscle in your back trying to lug a sofa up the stairs? Cozmo is a new type of sofa company, reinventing what sofa purchasing should look like – modular and delivered in a box. It’s also a sustainable solution, allowing easy changes to both configuration and also its design with changeable top covers.  

Key Facts

The emobility market is forecast to grow at 20% year on year

Electric Rider achieved £1million gross revenue with 30% margin in first 18 months

Over 55 brands in stock and growing

Find out more about Cozmo here.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#BehindTheRaise with Wedo

Wedo is a Neo-Bank set up for the freelance community by 5 times founder Indiana Gregg (Indy); in our latest #BehindTheRaise Indy shares her top tips for fundraising success:

Tell us about Wedo and how you came up with the idea

Wedo is the place to start or grow your online business: create live video and audio alleys, share content, take payments and send and receive money completely hassle-free.

I’m a 5x tech founder and have also run a digital media company where a lot of our gigs came from freelance sites. I had an exit five years ago and focused on learning everything there is to know about the freelance communities that were shooting up and getting tons of traction; so, I became a freelancer myself. It quickly occured to me that this rapidly growing piece of the global workforce would soon be in trouble. Freelancers pay to play. It’s not very cool. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a more fair way to serve them with an ecosystem where they weren’t having as much as 20% of their earnings paid as commission fees. Wedo was the answer.

I started building a prototype at the beginning of COVID and by June, 2020, we had a team. The team bootstrapped for the first eight months and then I came onto the AIN to look for pre-seed investors at that point. We raised £515,000 on a £5M pre-money valuation early this year (2021) This allowed us to get regulatory coverage in the USA, UK and Europe to operate as a bank challenger and we built the SaaS technology MVP and began to private test users this spring. 

We are a community with tools that help create the network freelancers need to connect with clients – They can onboard new clients and connect with existing ones by creating their own Alleys (these are video and audio conference rooms where they can discuss with clients, share files, take instant payments, send and receive invoices and bank seamlessly). 

With Wedo, you can set up a payment link to your conference, consultation or subscription. The deposit goes directly into your Wedo account. You decide whether to use it to pay for something or to transfer it to another account.

Indiana Gregg, CEO, Wedo

Why did you decide to raise investment?

We raised investment in order to build the technology and acquire the partnerships and some of the tech rails we needed. We were also at a point where we needed to hire more people to fill skill sets we were short on. We are currently raising our Seed round again here on the AIN and it’s been epic! We’ve met a lot of amazing investors. We aim to close the round by the end of October. 

What is your top tip for anyone raising investment for the first time?

Don’t raise money until you have thought through your business model and can communicate what you are building/creating or selling very succinctly. If investors don’t understand what you are aiming to achieve, it means you aren’t communicating the problem you solve properly yet.

Practice with people in your surroundings to see how you can improve your pitch and ask experts their opinion of your model, you projections and your deck to refine and develop it so that when it’s time to present your plan to investors, you are confident and they are confident that you will be persistent and hit a home run for the company. Investors are on your side. They want you to succeed and if they say no, ask for feedback. Sometimes it’s just not a match; however, oftentimes their advice and feedback can be invaluable. 

What attracted investors to your company? 

Our team is brilliant, the timing is right for the market opportunity,and our technology and business model is a first. 

My biggest fundraising mistake was…

Oh boy. I  probably have a lot of these. Raising investment is a learning curve over many years. However, probably introducing an idea too early before it has been baked and refined can be a time waster. Ideas are just ideas. When you begin to execute your idea, it becomes more real and you have an entire research and discovery period to go through prior to asking other people to invest in it. You also have to be fully invested yourself. If you aren’t and it’s too early, don’t go out to raise. Make sure you can validate your idea during each step of the fundraising rounds and you have KPIs and targets that you will hit with the capital that you raise. 

Why did you choose to use Angel Investment Network?

I chose angel investment network because I’ve had great experience finding investors for my companies and other companies I’ve consulted in the past here on the AIN.

It’s a really big network and I love that you can search and really pinpoint investors who are most likely to be interested in the company you are building. There is an enormous spectrum of investors globally with varying interests and it’s a great way to connect. 

Our number 1 focus for Wedo for the year ahead is:

Our number one focus will be penetrating the market heavily, we’re going after small businesses and freelancers who open accounts and use our services. We’ll continue refining our tech into full product/market fit, and customer retention. Wash, rinse and repeat! If you’re reading this now, please join us!

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

#SixtySecondStartUp with Cancha

For this edition of #SixtySecondStartUp we have Jack Oswald, founder of Cancha, he shares how his experience as a professional tennis player led him to set up Cancha – unique tennis bags designed from the ground up:

  1. What does your company do?

Cancha is a customizable sports and travel bag brand. Our bags feature a unique modular design, which allows different accessories to be mounted and detached from each other in a matter of seconds, allowing users to tailor their bag to their favourite activities and daily routine

Cancha Bags are also made from an abrasion-resistant, high-tenacity nylon, and incorporate the latest advancements in textile manufacturing processes, such as laser-cut fabrics, heat-bonded zips and RF Welded construction. Cancha launched during the pandemic of 2020, and has since seen a strong uptake among sporting and outdoor enthusiasts looking for an innovative and durable way to travel with their gear.

Jack Oswald - Cancha
Jack Oswald, Founder of Cancha
  1. Why did you set up this company?

    As a professional tennis player traveling around the world for over a decade on the circuit, I became frustrated with the tennis and travel bags out there for sport and active-minded people. I saw the need for a better tennis bag; One that could adapt for the next trip or activity and durable enough to keep up with an active, travel-hungry lifestyle. 

However, I soon became aware of the wider demand for durable, highly customizable sports bags that could adapt to each individual’s daily routines.  So I teamed up with my friend, who is a world-class soft goods designer, to develop a modular system that would allow a backpack, tennis bag, wet-dry clothes bag and shoulder travel bag (our first range of products) to attach and detach with relative ease. 

This took much longer to develop than originally planned – our 6-month schedule starting in early 2018 ended up taking almost 3 years! We refined and refined the designs, tested them among top tennis players, travelers and anyone who would be willing to try the bags out. We went through over 50 prototypes, all painstakingly built by hand in our small workshop. Eventually, after countless hiccups along the way, we were confident that our bags were ready for the wide world. 

  1. How did you get your first customer? 

I remember very clearly; It was in November of last year. The first batch of bags had landed in the UK and we had just launched the site. A lovely lady in London was our first customer, who bought a bundle of the Backpack and the Wet-Dry Bag attachment. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the order confirmation appeared in my inbox. I think we have never packaged up an order so carefully!

However, the hunger for more sales very quickly grows, and the desire to improve the customer experience starts to becom a bit of an obsession – whether that’s improving our website and social media touchpoints, responding fast enough to customer queries and, of course, continually finding ways to innovate the products themselves!

  1. We knew we were onto something when? 

The first few sales are always a bit of a novelty, but when the consistency of sales kicks in, that’s when you start to believe you have got something. Retailers actually wanting to stock the bags was also a huge confidence booster for us. I remember sending out samples to stores and just being petrified that they would hate the design, or that they would simply say that they didn’t believe there was a market for our products. When we started to get into some stores and have their validity and backing behind our products, things really started to kick off for us. 

  1. Our business model: 

Our bags are currently manufactured in Asia and then shipped off to the UK from there, where we fulfil our orders internationally. We make a large part of our revenue through ecommerce sales on our online store, but partnering with both online and brick-and-mortar retailers has given us the stability to grow.. 

  1. Our most effective marketing channel has been: 

Media outreach. With eCommerce being a big part of our business, we have to mix a wide range of marketing channels into our strategy. However, being able to spread the word on the Story behind them brand, my background as a tennis player and the need we are filling, we have really been able to connect with our customers. I often get customers emailing after their order saying they heard me on some such podcast and the story alone swayed them to buy our products. It’s one of the most overjoying moments when you hear from people all over the world that they identify with our background, our mission and reason for being. This is why media outreach has been so successful for us, as it has allowed both Cancha and myself, as the founder, to get our message across in a sincere and personal way.

  1. The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:

Committing too early (financially and mentally) to a project. We launched our crowdfunding campaign in December of 2019, when our product wasn’t near enough to a  production-ready stage. My own desire to get Cancha’s offering out there made us rush our marketing strategy and meant that backers of our campaign had to wait substantially longer than forecast to receive their Cancha Bags. This is something I think that founders tend to struggle with in general; their passion, desire and determination to achieve their goals sometimes overtakes their company’s progress. While this characteristics is extremely useful, (crucial in fact), sometimes it can cause a company to pull the gun too soon, when it would have been more beneficial to build strength a little longer. 

  1. We think that there’s growth in this sector because:

Times are changing, and we’re changing with the times. Cancha is not just about designing innovative and sustainable soft a products for consumers. We’re also committed to creating a sustainable and highly technical manufacturing service for western athleisure brands. The reality is that shipping products 3,000+ miles from outsourced production or assembly sites in lower cost nations has been the go-to strategy for western brands for some time now. However, we are seeing a substantial shift in the business environment, both among customers and brands for closer proximity of manufacturing and more responsive business models. We want to be a leader in driving this trend, providing more responsible methods to drive innovation and customer experience in the textiles and soft goods industry. 

  1. We worked with AIN because:

We’re looking to bring some forward thinking, ambitious individuals into the project. We’re looking not just additional capital, but also for expertise in retail and production to help propel Cancha in this direction. AIN’s comprehensive network of investors across a wide range of backgrounds and industries made them the obvious choice to share our project.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.

Behind The Raise with Tooth

How often do you replace your toothbrush? Have you ever considered where it ends up or the environmental impact? Tooth is a subscription toothbrush service, looking to reduce waste. We caught up with cofounders Joshua Oates and Kiana Guyon to learn about their recent investment round.

Tell us about Tooth and how you came up with the idea

Over 7 years ago now an idea was born that still holds true today. ‘What if we made a toothbrush where you just change the head, like a razor blade and you keep the handle forever.?’ Out of this question Tooth was born.

The oral care industry is inherently very wasteful and has remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years. We’re here to change the norm and disrupt the market with simple product enhancements, design and smart materials. 

Tooth: the reusable toothbrush

Why did you decide to raise investment?

Like any startup, capital is needed to develop and grow the product and business. Physical products are capital heavy as it takes time to prototype, tool and manufacture the products. Having other minds on the project can lend some help and open up some pretty interesting doors moving forward. 

What is your top tip for anyone raising investment for the first time?

People invest in people.’ No one wants to invest in someone who is passionless, desperate and difficult. Sell yourself, sell the company, sell the product. You do it in that order you will raise funds. 

What attracted investors to your company?

Having a clear vision, product timeline and strong core team all played a part in closing deals across our round. 

The Tooth subscription box

My biggest fundraising mistake was…

Taking money from anyone. Make sure you actually get along and the collective vision is there. Be picky. This creates demand. You then supply that demand.

Why did you choose to use Angel Investment Network?

It provides a cost effective platform to get the project out into the ecosphere. The large network allows you to see if your idea is interesting or not to angel investors. 

Our number 1 focus for Eco Tooth for the year ahead is:
Proving our KPI’s (key performance indicators) is super important this year. Making sure we can hit our predicted acquisition costs, attrition rates etc will allow us to raise the next round of funding.

Keen to hear more?

If you would like to see what other companies are up to on Angel Investment Network, or are interested in raising funding yourself, you can find your local network here.