Impressing angel investors: The five Ps

In our latest fundraising top tips article Xavier Ballester, Director of Brokerage at Angel Investment Network, gives us the lowdown on the 5 Ps of impressing angel investors.

Fundraising in 2023 is tough. With a re-evaluation of so many businesses and investors being far more cautious about deploying capital, startups need to change their strategy to succeed. However, with 15 years of experience in helping startups raise investment one thing I know is how adept startups are at adjusting strategies in the face of ever-changing market dynamics.  read more

Inside the Accelerator: Hotbed

For startups navigating the investment landscape, finding the right support and connections can be a game-changer. Enter Hotbed, the virtual accelerator redefining the startup landscape by fostering inclusivity, empowering founders, and building a thriving community. 

Since its launch in May ’22, Hotbed has been a guiding light for over 400 pre-seed and seed stage startups, providing them with invaluable resources, mentorship, and connections to fuel their growth. In the next in our Inside the Accelerator series we speak to co-founders Perdie Alder and Margaret Anne Coyle, as they share the core principles  of Hotbed, its focus on breaking down barriers, driving diversity and inclusion, tailoring programmes and the power of community. Could they be your new BFF? read more

Inside The Accelerator: Unrest

Welcome to the first of our new mini-series ‘Inside the Accelerator’. The series will showcase and delve deep into some of the exciting and diverse accelerator programs leading the way in their respective fields. This is part of our commitment to using our platform as a means of supporting the startup ecosystem beyond funding alone.

We aim to educate founders on navigating the landscape and growing in a more challenging climate. On behalf of our members, we’re looking forward to exploring the benefits and challenges of joining accelerator programs, as well as the impact that accelerators have on the startup ecosystem. read more

Behind the Raise with Bower Collective

In our latest Behind The Raise interview we interview Nick Torday, co-founder of Bower Collective, a sustainable consumer technology business dedicated to combatting the global plastic waste crisis. Bower Collective aims to create a more sustainable world by eliminating plastic waste through the delivery of a wide range of award-winning natural household products in BowerPack™, their unique reusable packaging system. Nick discusses their mission-driven approach, the growth they have seen and scale of the investment opportunity, how they have coped with global supply chain challenges and his top tips for raising investment. read more

Unleashing the power of the stars: The investment opportunity in fusion technology

Fusion technology holds the key to unlocking a clean energy revolution by replicating the energy generation process of stars right here on Earth. With the world’s continuing reliance on carbon-creating fossil fuels, the urgent need for sustainable alternatives has never been greater. This is where fusion steps in, offering both an investor opportunity and the potential for game-changing startups to address critical energy transition needs. 

In our latest Sector Focus article Dr Melanie Windridge, world renowned physicist, CEO and founder of Fusion Energy Insights gives us the low down… read more

AI-driven global payments platform Arrears named Start Up of the Month

Arrears, an innovative startup specialising in AI-driven global payments and finance operations, has been named as AIN’s Startup of the Month. The pioneering debt collection platform developed by Arrears leverages advanced AI technology to streamline and enhance the debt collection process for SMEs across the USA.

It was selected from close to 150,000 startups currently raising on the platform with AIN’s expert panel of judges praising the business for ‘effectively utilising innovation to solve a real-world problem.’  read more

Navigating uncertainty: How impact-led startups can secure funding in 2023

Olivia Sibony, Head of Impact at Angel Investment Network, shares her insights on how impact-led startups can navigate the current investment landscape.

Investor interest in impact-focused startups has grown in recent years. According to research by Dealroom, impact startups are now worth a combined $2.3T. At the same time we are seeing a new tougher investment climate, with angel investors far more cautious about deploying capital. Q1 was the slowest quarter for startup investment since 2020.

For impact-led startups where profitability is balanced with making a difference, this can make fundraising a tough and challenging endeavour. Especially in a climate of higher interest rates and ongoing inflation.  read more

Five red flags investors look for in evaluating startups

In a more competitive funding landscape, angel investors are critically evaluating startups with a more ruthless lens than ever. It is crucial that founders don’t get their fundraise off to a false start by having something that is a fundamental red flag for a potential investor. Understanding and addressing these common concerns can significantly boost a startup’s chances of securing funding.

We spoke to angel investors and experts on our network to get their take. From a lack of passion and commitment to inadequate industry knowledge, we delve into the key indicators that may raise doubts in the minds of angel investors. read more

‘Perserverance is key for startups’ message delivered at launch of Scale Up Awards

“Never give up” was the message businessman and former jewellery magnate Gerald Ratner delivered at the launch of the Scale Up Awards by Business Leader magazine. AIN were in attendance to watch the launch of the awards with several prominent speakers discussing the challenges and opportunities faced by scaling businesses.

Ratner is the former chief executive officer of the British jewellery company Ratners, who famously demonstrated the power of negative PR when he notoriously made a speech jokingly denigrating two of the company’s products at an Institute of Directors conference.  read more

Five winning traits investors look for in successful founding teams

When it comes to investing in startups, investors are not only evaluating the potential of the business idea but also the qualities of the founders behind it. Startups can have an innovative product, a large market opportunity, and a sound business plan, but without the right team behind it, success can be elusive. This is even more the case in 2023 with investment more difficult to secure.

Based on several interviews with prominent angel investors, we explore the key traits that investors look for in startup founders. From passion and grit to adaptability and communication skills, we delve into the qualities that can make a startup founder stand out and increase their chances of securing investment. read more

How founders can support their mental health during challenging times

The life of a startup is exciting but also tough and this past year has seen a combination of challenges. Many tech firms’ valuations have been radically reduced and we have a more difficult funding climate with investors having more strenuous criteria in the startups they back.

Many founders are needing to change plans quickly, look at longer runways and make really difficult decisions on staffing. All the while working harder than ever to raise funds. This can create real pressure and have a negative impact on mental health. read more

Master Plant raised £500,000 in funding round with Angel Investment Network

In June 2022, MASTER Plant Holdings (“Master Plant” or the “Company”), an emerging force in the European cannabis industry, raised £500,000 in a seed funding round with Angel Investment Network (AIN), the world’s largest online angel investment platform.

Following this investment, Master Plant will aim to licence and redevelop a pharmaceutical distribution facility in Guernsey designed to develop high quality medical cannabis, unique strains and wider products for European distribution. read more

Australian payment platform for hospitality Payo is AIN’s Startup of the Month

A pioneering Australian payment platform for hospitality called Payo has been named as AIN’s Startup of the Month. The platform was singled out from close to 150,000 startups currently raising on the AIN platform for having ‘a winning formula’ as an investable proposition. The business was given the accolade after a judging process involving AIN’s expert panel, combined with a high number of connections from investors.

Payo is a payments and software solution for small and medium restaurants. It solves the problem in hospitality of venues needing to use 4-6 different payment systems with an all-in-one solution enabling venues to make payments more simply and cheaply. The Payo founders came up with the idea following more than 10,000 conversations with venue owners and operators over the past decade in various roles.  read more

How startups can find success using an ideation process

In our latest Guest Post, Justin Eames, Head of Innovation at digital product development studio fish in a bottle discusses how startups can create an ideation process to boost innovation.

Many studies show that startups who adopt an ideation process are more likely to succeed than those who don’t.

If coming up with great ideas is key to the success of your startup, then considering how you can manage and improve that can give you the competitive edge.

This is particularly true for digital startups, where the complexities of software development makes getting from ‘great idea’ to ‘great product’ especially challenging. read more

Celebrating Female Founders on IWD

At AIN we believe that promoting female entrepreneurship is central to economic growth and meaningful innovation.

This IWD we wanted to celebrate female entrepreneurs and at the same time, acknowledge the need to boost both the number of female startups and also female investors to ensure we can truly democratise angel investment.

According to research from Pitchbook female-founded companies in Europe have received just 1.3% of VC funding since 2017.

Having more diversity across the whole startup ecosystem would help. Research by Beauhurst and the UKBAA found just 14% of female angel investors are women, but having more women investors could help to shift the dynamic. read more

Five top tips for aspiring angel investors

Becoming an angel investor can be a hugely rewarding way of using your experience and capital to support innovative startups and potentially earn a return on your investment.

As this involves deploying your own personal capital this is of course, not something you want to tackle lightly. We’ve spoken to a series of experienced angel investors and investment experts to give you the low down. Here are their top tips for anyone considering the high octane game of backing early stage startups.

1) Educate yourself

Before going down this path, it is really worth taking the time and effort to learn about the startup ecosystem. Also learn about the different types of investments available, and crucially the characteristics of successful startups. This can include doing online research, reading books, attending conferences, and talking to other investors. It also means really understanding the minutiae of the various Government schemes to support investment like EIS and SEIS and their global equivalents. Particularly given there will be significant changes in April.  read more

Use a CRM to supercharge your fundraising

In January 2023, AIN hosted a webinar with Anna Gordon from HubSpot on how startups can use a CRM to manage your fundraising process and investor relationships. If you missed it, here are the top takeaways.

Top takeaways
  1. View the investor fundraising process as a sales proces
    One common mistake that startups often make is not treating the investor fundraising process as a sales process that needs to be managed.
  1. Deal pipelines aren’t just for sales
    Deal Pipelines aren’t just for sales. Indeed you can use a pipeline to track your fundraising process. You can also use a sales dialer software that can provide sales teams with valuable customer data, which can be used to generate more sales and better serve customers.
  1. Leverage a CRM to facilitate your outreach
    You can leverage a CRM to facilitate your outreach to investors by using tools such as templates and sequences.
  1. Quality investors early
    Similar to sales, you should quality investors early on with Sales Methodologies such as BANT. The questions you need to ask are: Does the investor have budget? Do they have authority to make the decision and are they willing to spend time with you?

  2. Use CRM tools to establish regular email updates with your existing investors.
    Finally, in addition to helping you communicate with your prospective investors, remember to use CRM tools to establish regular email updates with your existing investors. To check and clean up your email list, you can use an email validation by Zerobounce.

Register to watch the recording here

HubSpot is the All-in-One CRM that Scales as Your Startup Grows. If you are a member of Angel Investment Network, you can apply for a discount of 30%- 90% off HubSpot. Learn more and apply here.

Extra resources

Connect your email to HubSpot

Import your data into the HubSpot CRM (can be used to import your investor lists) read more

The Burnout UK Epidemic: Managing in the world of entrepreneurship

Burnout is a common issue that affects millions of people around the world. No more so than for entrepreneurs placing everything on the line to launch their businesses. 

This article explores burnout causes and potential solutions from exercise and breathing exercises, to innovative potential solutions like water soluble CBD.

Whether working from home, in an office, or any other work environment, the pressure to perform can quickly lead to exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of motivation. It’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to escape, but it’s not impossible. read more

Behind The Raise with The Edit LDN

For our latest Behind The Raise interview we speak to Moses Rashid, founder of online marketplace for Limited edition Sneakers & Streetwear, The Edit LDN. He reveals how he had his lightbulb moment at a sneaker festival, his huge focus on service and the impressive partnerships and celebrity backers that have helped propel the business forward.

He also reveals his top tips for anyone raising investment for the first time and why he initially thought a call from Harrods wanting to partner with The Edit LDN after just 18 month of operating was a prank read more

Five fundraising resolutions for 2023

The new year offers everyone a great opportunity to reset and renew. For startups seeking investment this could be the perfect time to evaluate your approach and see if it needs tweaking.

After all, we are in a very different climate in 2023 and investors are being far more careful with the deployment of their capital. To boost your chances of a successful raise, ensure your strategy is tailored for now, not last year.

So what key resolutions should startups focus on in 2023? 

1) Revisit your elevator pitch

The life of any startup is varied, stressful and relentless, wearing so many hats and juggling so many balls. All the while, trying not to let any drop or run out of cash. However in this maelstrom of activity it remains crucial to not lose sight of the eureka moment that led you to quit the day job and come up with the idea in the first place. The start of the new year offers a great chance to refresh your core pitch for investment as clearly and articulately as you can.  read more