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!



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’.  read more

Tech leads but stunning rise in interest for sustainable businesses, finds Angel Investment Network report

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.” 
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Top 5 Startup Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Angel Investors

The term ‘podcast’ was coined to describe audio content (other than music) that you could download to your iPod – you know, that Apple product long since ingested by the iPhone. But the term lives on and its popularity is on the rise.

According to Edison Research, 64 per cent of Americans are now familiar with the term “podcast” and over 4 in 10 have listened to at least one podcast. 73 million Americans listen to podcasts every week; their average weekly listening time is an astonishing 6 hours 37 minutes.

There is a number of reasons for this including:

  • A shift in audience entertainment expectations towards on-demand content
  • A desire for long-form content where listeners can, by degrees, come to understand fully the topic under discussion
  • A recent UCL study even showed that emotional responses are stronger from auditory content than visual
  • read more

    What the UK Chancellor’s Budget 2018 means for Entrepreneurs and SMEs

    At a glance, the Autumn Budget 2018 is a win for entrepreneurs and SME’s. If your personal income is less than £100,000 and you’re a ‘genuine’ entrepreneur, taxation rules and entrepreneurs’ relief remain favourable. The more indirect budget effects could also be highly beneficial.

    Established entrepreneur and founder and MD of globally-recognised, Absolute Translations, Sergio Afonso summaries the 2018 Budget’s impact on UK entrepreneurs and SMEs.

    1. Entrepreneur Relief Timeline Extended

    Phillip Hammond decided to meet halfway regarding the contested £10m entrepreneurs’ relief allowance, choosing to revise rather than abolish. The change is an increased minimum holding period from one year to two prior to selling a business.

    This is meant to reward ‘genuine’ entrepreneurs who recognise that establishing a successful business ready to sell takes time.

    Those who build and sell a business within 24 months will no longer qualify for the tax allowance.

    2. Rates slashed for independent businesses

    Businesses of all sizes have generally gained.

    High-street based small businesses are the biggest winners. Up to £8000 in tax savings are now available for small businesses who have a rateable value under £51,000 for the next 2 years.

    The fight to protect independents from corporations like Amazon from running local enterprise out of business is additionally supported through co-funding to local councils, with Hammond committing of £675m to the transformation of streetscapes, infrastructure and transport access.

    3. VAT Raid scrapped & allowances raised

    Despite reports of a VAT raid on small business lowering the minimum required turnover amount required to pay VAT from £85,000 to £43,000, no such decision was officially made.

    In fact, the chancellor raised the personal tax allowance from £12,500 for basic rate taxpayers and £50,000 for higher rate taxpayers in 2019.

    Businesses seeking capital expenditure will also be pleased with the “Annual Investment Allowance” being substantially increased from £200,000 to £1m.

    4. Digital Services Tax a win for Start-ups

    Tech-based startups are likely to benefit indirectly from the digital services tax that will be placed on “established technology giants”.

    Public calls for companies such as Facebook and Google to contribute to local tax and “pay their fair share towards support of public services” has encouraged Hammond to show the way to the international community.

    The “UK digital services tax” introduces a 2% tax for tech companies with sales over £500m. This strategically avoids the UK startup and SME market and potentially creates an opportunity for them to gain market share.

    Critics hope it has been designed in a way that doesn’t prevent home-grown tech innovation or international business investment in the UK.

    5. Brexit’s Impact

    budget brexit
    The Budget 2018 cannot be evaluated without taking into consideration the broader implications of Brexit.

    Hammond’s Budget aims to reduce austerity but, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, he concedes that the economic situation will continue for another 5 years.

    This is a potential worry for UK-only entrepreneurs and businesses. Opportunities to take a global view is an option for relevant business owners to avoid the expected financial fallout. Others must hope that the unconfirmed but rumoured spending increase of 1.9% will come into fruition.

    You can read more detailed takeaways from the Budget 2018 here

    Who was Entrepreneur of the Year 2017?

    The Women in IT Awards, the world’s largest technology diversity event, recently revealed the winners of its 2017 programme including ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in front of 1,000 business and technology leaders.

    It came as no surprise to us that Dr Kim Nilsson, founder of Pivigo, was ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.

    Pivigo’s upward trajectory…

    18 months ago, I reported that data science marketplace, Pivigo, had closed its latest funding round (£300k through Angel Investment Network) off the back of some impressive growth.

    6 months ago, I reported that Pivigo was one of the 15 fastest growing female-founded UK tech companies selected to represent the UK government in a link building initiative with Silicon Valley and the US tech scene. (The lowest growth rate of the 15 companies selected was 118% annually!).

    pivigo data science entrepreneur

    Following a career in academia (including work on the Hubble Space Telescope), Dr Kim Nilsson has walked a gilded path since founding Pivigo in 2013. Pivigo has closed numerous funding rounds to propel its impressive growth – it is now the world’s largest community of data scientists.

    This latest accolade came at the Women in IT awards, an event aimed at celebrating diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, hosted by Maggie Philbin OBE and Martha Lane Fox.

    Dr Kim was typically magnanimous in her acceptance of the award, highlighting the great work of the whole team at Pivigo:

    To be chosen as the winner in a highly competitive category is great validation for the work we do at Pivigo, innovating and disrupting an exciting industry.

    On behalf of the team at Angel Investment Network, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Kim and the team.

    Keep up the good work!

    If you’re a business looking to leverage the power of its data or an individual looking to build your career in data science, visit Pivigo to find out more. read more

    Top 50 Universities for VC-Backed Entrepreneurs

    Research firm PitchBook reviewed its venture-capital database of more than 13,000 founders and ranked each school by the number of graduates who went on to launch venture-backed companies over five years ending August 2014. It also calculated the total number of startups founded by a college’s alumni and total capital raised from each institution.

    Check out the top 50 undergraduate colleges churning out VC-backed entrepreneurs and innovators.

    Infographic – Statistics on Capital for Entrepreneurs – VC and Angel Funding in the US by Race, Age and Gender

    A study conducted by CB insights has revealed a lot of details about VC backed companies across the country. The focus of the study was on the three largest players in tech startup; New York, California and Massachusetts.

    Key Stats

    40% of funded companies have two founding members, and they raise 19% more money on average than companies with one or three founders. A common scenario is one founder focuses on the technical and product side of the business, while the other handles more of the business and marketing. A two founder company has the advantage of a greater depth of knowledge, while still keeping decision making simple compared to larger teams.

    Founding teams based in California, raise more money than the other two states. On average 67% more than teams in Massachusetts and 59% more than Nee York based teams.

    On average, all Asian teams raise:
    • 74% more than all white teams
    • 82% more than mixed teams
    • 207% more than all black teams

    Founders According to Race and Gender

    Most founders are white males, but on average Asians receive more funding. Massachusetts has a higher percentage of women founders, compared to New York and California.

    Median Funding Received by Race:
    • Asian Pacific – $4 million
    • All White – $2.3 million
    • Mixed – $2.2 million
    • All Black – $1.3 million

    Median Funding Received By Gender:
    • All Male – $2.2 million
    • All Female $2.2 million
    • Mixed $4 million

    Age and experience factors

    Older age does not automatically translate into more funding. What is rewarded is more experienced founders.

    Median funding Received by Age Range:
    • 35-44 ($2 million)
    • 26-34 ($2.5 million)
    • 45-54 ($2.4 million)
    • 18-25 ($1.4 million)

    Former Titles and Roles

    An interesting statistic is the breakdown of the previous job title and job role of founding members.

    Former Title Breakdown:
    • Other role – 46 %
    • Sales & marketing – 13 %
    • Product development & management – 12 %
    • Engineering – 11 %
    • Business Development – 8 %
    • Software – 6 %
    • Strategy – 4 %

    Former Role Breakdown:
    • CEO/Founder – 39 %
    • Other title – 28 %
    • Director – 10 %
    • Vice President – 9 %
    • Senior Vice President – 5 %
    • Manager – 5 %
    • Consultant – 4 %

    Infographic: 35 Startup Buzzwords Every Entrepreneur Should Know

    Angel, freemium, MVP, value proposition — there are a lot of buzzwords that get thrown around in the startup world. As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to know, understand and sparingly use them.

    Entitled “The Founder’s Dictionary,” and jammed packed with a ton of buzzwords I have heard in boardrooms and coffee shops, the infographic was created to uncover “the true meanings” of these terms.

    Take this one with a grain — no, a tub — of salt, folks. This infographic isn’t what it seems to be at first sight. While it would be awesome to have a dictionary for these terms, this resource actually pokes fun at the mysterious origins and definitions of these oft-used buzzwords.

    Yes, it is important to know what these buzzwords mean — and to know whennot to use them — but don’t source your definitions from this comedic infographic. You may, instead, want to check out Quora, where a thorough thread of annoying startup buzzwords can be found.

    This production is, though, a comical glimpse into the world of entrepreneurial word play.


    Which startup buzzwords have you heard flying around the office? Share them in the comments below.