The world’s leading online Karaoke channel, Sing King, recently raised £550,000 via Angel Investment Network (AIN). Sing King offers high quality karaoke content via its YouTube channel and has over 90 million views per month. The seed-funding raise took just seven weeks on the platform, with the original £400k target notably achieved within 4 days. The money raised is being used for launching standalone apps across IOS & Android as well as a web platform. People can check Youtube Services to get the best Youtube views.
Founded in 2014 by Chris Michael, it is the only karaoke channel YouTube allows to operate due to licensing restrictions normally in place. The channel is run by a team of six full time staff from London. The business is approaching 7.5 million subscribers and has more than 2,300 songs, with dozens more added weekly.
Discussing the raise, Xavier Ballester, Director of AIN’s broking division said: “Sing King’s revenues are starting to be very impressive. They hit 7 million subscribers as we were working on the raise. The numbers speak for themselves and there was plenty of interest from our investor database, who saw the huge potential for the business.”
According to Jordan Gross, Sing King CEO: “Music has the power to transform lives and the beauty of karaoke is that it transcends age, language and culture. We have an opportunity to deliver world-class karaoke on a bigger scale. With our round complete thanks to Angel Investment Network, we will make karaoke more accessible than ever before. This includes mobile, TV and web – transforming moments of time into moments of joy, wherever and whenever.”
Our Head of Growth and entrepreneur Ching-Yun Huang was invited onto a Female Founders’ panel at the Curtain Hotel last week in advance of International Women’s Day. Here she shares some key learnings.
It was a pleasure to be invited on to a panel with other female entrepreneurs at the Curtain Hotel recently to share our experiences of starting a business. It was a lively debate and discussion as we all had different experiences that we could bring to light. There were four key questions that came up from the audience, that I wanted to address.
1. Are you taken as seriously being a woman? Does being a woman impact what you want to be able to achieve as an entrepreneur? The view that some expressed was that you are at a disadvantage because you might not be taken as seriously, with a lack of investors willing to back you. Although it is true there are less female founders, my personal view is that we could be in danger of creating a barrier that might be more psychological. I think if you have a good business case your gender shouldn’t matter and you should have the confidence to articulate your vision. However everybody’s experiences are different.
2. What sort of support networks should you create? What sort of support network should you put together to ensure you get the backing you need? One view is that in order to get a better support network, you should only have a women focused network. It is true that any entrepreneur needs to build a good support network. I would argue as a budding entrepreneur you should look to the groups and people that are going to best support you as your key priority. This shouldn’t be just down to gender, but who will take you to that next level. Be ruthless in this.
3. When do you need investment? When it comes to funding and investment, the audience was split between two groups. People who felt ready to scale their business, and a bigger group who want stability to start their business. I think any entrepreneur should think long and hard about what they need the finance for. For me personally I am looking at bootstrapping my business as far as I can without trying to get outside influence. However there is an extent to which women are perhaps more risk-averse, which is a barrier to having more women entrepreneurs. It’s hard to make the transition into a more uncertain world.
4. Do you need a background in tech to launch a tech business? Lots of people in the room expressed an interest in starting a tech business. A popular question was whether you needed to have studied tech. I studied literature and had nothing to do with tech. However I do think having a working knowledge is important, so i picked up computer languages and some other skills. For my business, I found a co-founder who is a developer. A complementary skill set is a winning combination in starting a business.
Angel Investment Network has revealed its latest ‘State of the Angel Investment Nation’ findings. It is based on the data of our UK registered businesses looking for funding and the keyword searches of investors.
Investor keyword searches ‘Technology’ was the top search term used in 2019, based on investor keyword searches. This was followed by ‘property’ with ‘mobile’ the third most popular. ‘Robotics’ climbed six places year on year to now be the fourth most requested search term. Meanwhile ‘electronics’ is up by nine places on the list to number six.
With climate change centre stage in Davos last week, there also has been a stunning rise in interest for sustainable businesses. Searches for ‘Renewables’ have rocketed by 34 places to be the 14th most searched for term. Meanwhile ‘greentech’, unheard of even a couple of years ago, is now the 19th most popular keyword, up from 47th last year. Environmental leapt 56 places up the rankings to be the 25th most searched for term.
Pitch ideas For entrepreneurs like Jimmy John Shark, property is the most popular sector for pitch ideas. Entertainment and leisure is the second, followed by technology. Overall there were 10% more pitches over the past 12 months from startups looking to attract investors.
According to AIN co-founder Mike Lebus: “Startups are the lifeblood of the UK economy and despite a turbulent year politically, there has been no slowdown in activity. Investor interest remains focused on technology and the cutting edge applications that are possible through it, including mobile and robotics. However property, one of mankind’s oldest profit generators, continues to drive the interest of investors and is now our top sector for pitches.”
He continued: “The growth in interest in impact related terms is remarkable and we are witnessing a seachange in investor attitudes as it has so quickly shot to the top of the news and business agenda. It is the reason we launched our spin off SeedTribe to help support entrepreneurs who put sustainability at the heart of their business model.”
The report also reveals some discrepancy between startup ideas and investor interest. While fashion and beauty remains the fourth most popular category for pitch ideas, it is just 17th on the list for investors. ‘Inventions’ as a search term fell by seven places from seventh to fifteenth most searched term. Meanwhile ‘Gadgets’ also fell by 15 places to number 32 as investors instead look for more tech and software based ideas.
Entrepreneurial hotspots AIN has also revealed the UK’s top entrepreneurial hot spots. London remains responsible for 37% of all pitch ideas, although its market share was slightly down. The South East is second in the list with the North West number three, up 10% year on year. There has also been impressive growth in other parts of the country. There was 25% growth in pitch ideas in the West Midlands, with East Anglia up 26%.
The Top 10 Sectors for Pitches:
Entertainment & leisure
Fashion & Beauty
Food & Beverage
Hospitality, Restaurants & Bars
Education & Training
The Top Keywords for Investors:
The entrepreneur hotspot list is as follows (based on number of pitches from each region):
HealthTech startup PinPoint Data Science has successfully raised over £1m, supported by Angel Investment Network (AIN).
The PinPoint Test uses AI/Machine Learning to rapidly ‘rule out’ cancer from a simple blood sample. It may be used for all cancer types. AIN was the only external organisation PinPoint accepted investment from in a round that lasted just six weeks.
The investment will be used for implementation trials starting mid-2020. It will also include R&D on improved versions of the product, an expanded full time team, regulatory compliance, the purchase of new equipment and the development of new products. Leeds-based PinPoint was formed in 2018 and now has a team of nine working full time.
According to the CEO Giles Tully: “These funds will help our ambition of enabling doctors to make better, smarter and more efficient decisions. In 2018, over two million patients who presented with vague symptoms were sent for testing to check for cancer. 92.6% of those patients did not have cancer and yet still had to undergo invasive diagnosis at a huge cost to the NHS and great concern for the patients. PinPoint has already achieved nearly 25% rule out. Last year this would have given over 500,000 patients peace of mind in a few days and saved the NHS over £150m. Our technology will save lives, improve patient experience and significantly reduce costs.”
According to Sam Louis, Head of Consultancy at AIN, who led the fundraise: “This is one of the most exciting businesses we have worked with in recent years. Like all the best startups they have developed a solution to a very real problem. In this case it’s a problem that’s very close to home for a great number of people. We were delighted we were the only organisation they worked with to raise the funds. It was really encouraging the investors we sourced were aligned with their vision.”
PinPoint is one of the companies featured on the new SeedTribe website. SeedTribe, powered by AIN, is an online community connecting profit-with-purpose startups with expertise and investment.
Ethical investment platform SeedTribe has relaunched as a new UK-focused impact hub. The platform connects startups with individuals, corporates and governments interested in helping profit-with-purpose businesses. SeedTribe’s new remit includes mentoring, networking and recruitment, as well as investment.
SeedTribe uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) as its impact framework with all businesses on the platform at Stage 1, raising up to £1M and driving revenue. Businesses that appear on the platform are heavily vetted so only the most inspiring are selected. Businesses are featured free of charge, but have the option to buy “add-ons”. These include helping with their fundraise, advertising a job to the network or showcasing an event.
New content includes spotlight interviews with founders, advice and guidance for startups who need support. There are also events, opportunities and a free match-up service enabling individuals to connect with businesses. Following extensive research and discussions with the network SeedTribe has identified five key areas of focus. These are:
1. Mentors/Advisors 2. Corporates giving financial or in-kind support in line with their values and fields of expertise 3. Recruitment opportunities 4. Interesting events they can attend 5. Investment or other types of funding
Businesses winning investment and support
Businesses on the SeedTribe platform winning investment and support include: Teysha Technologies, a natural polycarbonate platform creating fully biodegradable substitutes for plastics and PinPoint who use data science to detect the early signs of cancer.
The site is powered by Angel Investment Network – the world’s largest online angel investment platform, with a global network of more than 1 million entrepreneurs and 200,000 investors.
Olivia Sibony is the CEO of SeedTribe and she was recently named one of the UK’s Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs for her work on SeedTribe.
She said: “Our entire ethos is using business as a force for good, meaning profit and purpose need to be interlinked. Over the past 18 months I have been approached by so many people who believe in our mission and want to help in ways beyond simply funding.”
She continued: “Our community is dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s most intractable problems, helping impact-driven entrepreneurs meet the people and institutions who can teach, support and fund their ventures. We believe in the power of collaboration and together we can empower business to be used as a force for good and transform our world.
Olivia is urging anyone keen to help SeedTribe’s mission to reach out. Please visit seedtribe.com for more information.
From a vision of opening up the closed world of angel investment to an expanding global network of a million users
From a proposal for a
rabbit mashing factory in Russia to successfully funding What3Words, Angel
Investment Network (AIN) co-founders Mike Lebus and James Badgett have seen it
all. It has now been 15 years since our co-founders and childhood friends
formed AIN, now the world’s largest online angel network. What started in the
early days of the internet as two friends having a vision of an interconnected
network of angel investors and startups has led to a platform now spanning 90
countries and more than a million users. Meanwhile the team is now 25 strong
with team members in the UK, USA, Mexico, Spain and Nepal.
Living and breathing
the startup world since the early noughties, the team has successfully raised
funds for standout companies like What3Words, Novastone and Rosa’s Thai. In the
last few years the company has been developing at a breakneck pace with the
launch of two spin-off brands, SeedTribe, a community for impact-focused
businesses, and BrickTribe, which connects
investors and lenders with property developers with proven track records.
the last year alone, AIN has received over 100,000 pitches from entrepreneurs across the
globe, with the figure doubling over the last two years. Alongside existing
markets there has been a rapid growth of startups coming from emerging markets.
Meanwhile investors registering on the site have surged nearly 40% year on
year, now standing at more than 200,000 registered business angels.
Alongside the online platform, AIN also runs a successful broking
division, which has seen exceptional growth in the past 12 months. AIN has been
involved in several significant raises in 2019, including eco-friendly baby
product business Kit & Kin, fully customisable bio-polymer plastic company
Teysha, and Pin Point, a data science offering early cancer detection.
Speaking about the anniversary James Badgett said:
“When we first set up, no one looked for investment online. Most investment came
through personal connections, which not everyone has access to. We saw that
good ideas weren’t getting the funding they deserved, because entrepreneurs’
access to angels outside their immediate circles was severely restricted. We
imagined a platform which gave all entrepreneurs access to a national and
international network of investors; and, of course, the only way to do that was
online. It is remarkable to see how it has grown and we are proud of AIN’s
place at the epicentre of the startup scene in the UK and now spanning the
Mike Lebus said: “When we set up AIN, angel groups tended to be focused on a regional basis. Applying to them, following up, getting feedback, arranging meetings, etc was fairly laborious. We had the idea of creating a portal to streamline the whole process for entrepreneurs and investors. I feel immensely proud to have helped brilliant companies like Sweatcoin and What3words on their journey to huge success. However, of course there are no guarantees of funding and the startup idea needs to capture the imagination of any potential investors. Over time you do get a sense of what will work and what will sadly remain a pipe dream. We launched the broking division to apply our team’s expertise of selecting high quality dealflow and to help our investors identify the best prospects.
With AIN now having a footprint in every continent (except
Antarctica where unsurprisingly there doesn’t seem to be much demand), we can’t wait to see
where we’ll be 15 years from now! Happy anniversary AIN.
Angel Investment Network (AIN) has announced strong growth, with annual revenues up 9.4% year on year and a record number of deals for the broking business. AIN now has more than a million users in total on the platform.
AIN received over 100,000 pitches in the past year from entrepreneurs across the globe, with the figure doubling over the last two years. Alongside existing markets there has been a rapid growth of startups coming from emerging markets. Meanwhile investors registering on the site have surged nearly 40% year on year, now standing at more than 200,000 registered business angels.
Alongside the online platform, AIN also runs a successful broking division, which has seen exceptional growth in the past 12 months. Revenues have increased by 22% as demand for the team’s expertise increases. AIN has been involved in several significant raises in the past 12 months for a variety of business. This includes eco-friendly baby product business Kit & Kin, fully customisable bio-polymer plastic company Teysha, and Pin Point, data science offering early cancer detection.
Despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and a global slowdown, AIN’s results reveal the buoyant startup culture both in the UK and internationally and the popularity for this method of financing. The biggest demand among investors over the past year has been for software-based business, however food & beverage and property ventures are also seeing impressive growth. Fast growth worldwide markets include India, Canada and Australia.
Additionally AIN has been expanding into new areas including a property investment site, BrickTribe and an impact-driven online hub SeedTribe, catering for the increasing demand from investors for businesses with sustainability at their core.
According to AIN co-founder Mike Lebus: “AIN is the largest network connecting angel investors with startups, and we continue to see strong growth with investors keen to connect to our wide pool of early-stage businesses. We reflect a strong, growing and resilient worldwide startup culture which has now taken root in every continent of the world. We are particularly encouraged by the performance of our broking business as more and more investors are coming to us for access to high quality dealflow.”
He continues: “We continue to operate a lean and agile business model and we are able to launch new products to respond to the needs of our users. This includes our two new standalone platforms, BrickTribe and SeedTribe, which we built to fulfil demand that we were receiving from our investors.”
Olivia Sibony, CEO of SeedTribe and Angel Investment Network’s Head of Impact Investing has been named one of the UK’s top 10 Women Entrepreneurs.
The accolade came from Business Game Changer Magazine in its annual showcase of The UK’s Top game-changing Women Entrepreneurs. The UK’s Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs recognises the outstanding contribution made by individual UK business women. This contribution is either to their businesses, their local communities or by inspiring and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
Olivia was recognised for three key reasons. These were:
– Founding and exiting her business, GrubClub, selling to EatWith, feeding tens of thousands of diners through hundreds of chefs, one of whom went on to earn a Michelin Star.
– Founding and launching SeedTribe. The UK’s central hub for Impact Entrepreneurs, supporting and connecting hundreds of entrepreneurs, encouraging using profit for purpose.
– Launching the Female Founders Hub for Angel Investment Network, responding to data that showed just 1 in 10 of our investors are women and a low percentage of female founder teams. She was recognised for ‘empowering thousands of women to gain confidence in becoming active investors and using their skills and money to help shape the world’.
According to Olivia: “I am honoured to have received this accolade. My success is in huge part thanks to the incredible network of entrepreneurs, colleagues and supporters with whom I’ve worked closely all these years. I look forward to continuing this work supporting female founders, as well as entrepreneurs running inspiring businesses that are able to align profit and purpose in order to address some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”
AIN’s Sam Louis talks through why Northern Ireland’s thriving startup scene deserves more attention.
When it comes to reporting on Northern Ireland’s business climate the focus has, for better or worse, been on Brexit. With discussions about how to resolve the border conundrum continuing, there’s been little talk of much else happening in the internet now. However, one exciting aspect has definitely been under reported – the growth of the Northern Irish startup scene. It is worth examining.
I judged the Digital DNA upStart awards in Belfast earlier this year and was overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of exciting companies developing in Northern Ireland. Across all sorts of sectors, there’s really something underway in the Emerald Isle.
Breadth of opportunities
Encouragingly, our data agrees. This year we created AIN’s first ‘State of the Angel Investment Nation’ report. Built on insights from the 100,000 businesses that came through our platform in 2018, it produced a detailed picture of the angel investment landscape. Within this, the report revealed that Northern Ireland had the second fastest growth across the UK. In raw terms in new entrepreneurs it was up 67% on the year before.
This is a great sign of things to come, as confidence builds within the country that top startups can be started and scaled on home soil. N. Ireland’s highest performing sectors were software and property. ICS cyber security companies are particularly well represented within the software category. However, we are seeing a really encouraging breadth of opportunities – from health food companies and CBD ventures to dog grooming startups. Northern Irish entrepreneurs are setting up across all industries.
Increasing investment from overseas
Looking to the other side of the table, we’ve always had a strong core of investors coming out of Northern Ireland, many of them from a property background. What’s been interesting though is to watch their attention shift inwards as their home market grows. With increasing investment from overseas, this is something we hope will continue, with NI investors going in alongside international firms to fuel the local ecosystem.
As the world evolves, digital talent and capabilities will play an ever-increasing role in the international standings of the world’s nations. Key areas like Cyber Security, saas email security, AI and Machine Learning are already a valuable commodity in dictating not only economic growth, but also geopolitical opportunities. As the Northern Irish start up scene continues to develop, especially in these highly technical areas, it has the potential to make a serious contribution to the UK’s already strong representation at the highest levels of the digital world. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, Northern Ireland’s start up scene looks set to grow. Let’s hear more about it.