How to avoid the top fundraising pitfalls

A strong quality that marks out successful startup founders is a ‘fail fast mentality’. Integral to the fail fast philosophy is cutting losses when testing reveals something isn’t working and trying something else.

However in fundraising this can be a very costly process, with raising investment being carried out in parallel with running a nascent business. Making mistakes with potential investors or going down rabbit holes with time wasters can take you further away from your other job of building a game-changing startup. That’s why we wanted to bring to bear some of the accumulated wisdom of startups who have successfully raised via AIN over the past two years. read more

Behind The Raise with Ben Hallett, CEO and co-founder Vygo

Ben Hallett is the CEO and co-founder of fast growing EdTech company Vygo, built to ensure no student is left behind. In the latest Behind The Raise interview he talks to AIN about creating equality in education, scaling fast and pivoting, the reasons for rising investor interest in EdTech and how to avoid wasting time when fundraising.

Ben Hallett, CEO and co-founder Vygo

Tell us about Vygo and how you came up with the idea?
While studying at university, myself and my co-founder witnessed too many of our peers struggling, falling through the cracks and ultimately falling short of their potential. With further research we discovered that the problem was global with 30-50% of students dropping out of higher education and most students struggling with severe or debilitating stress. We discovered that one of the core challenges is helping students connect with the support they need when they need it and we couldn’t see anyone else meaningfully solving this. This set us out on a mission to ensure that every learner has equal access to the support they need, when they need it, so that they can reach their full potential. read more

Investor Due Diligence: Threat or Opportunity?

In our latest guest post David Pattison, experienced angel investor, business leader and author, considers the thorny question of investor due diligence. Is it a threat or or an opportunity? Or a bit of both?

If you are trying to raise money, there will be a requirement for the company (and often the management) to go through a Due Diligence (DD) process. This is where the prospective investors will take a deeper look you and your business.

If the investors are individuals or angels then the DD can be quite light touch, usually involving an interrogation of the business plan, some conversations with the team and maybe some customers or current investors. If they are funds or institutions, then they will take an almost forensic look and ask you to provide a mountain of information. read more

The world is full of angels – impressive rise in startup investment activity

There has been a significant rise in the numbers of angel investors looking to back startups across the globe. Technology is the most popular sector and food and beverage seeing the fastest year on year growth. These are some of the key findings from Angel Investment Network’s annual analysis of the global state of angel investment funding based on data from their platform. 

AIN has 40 networks extending to over 90 different countries; and now with more than 1.75 million users it is the largest angel investment community in the world. The results are a real barometer of global startup investment activity in 2022. read more

Behind The Raise with Antony Yousefian, co-founder of Bx Technologies

Antony Yousefian is the co-founder of innovative agtech businesses Bx Technologies. In the latest Behind The Raise interview he talks to AIN about transforming farming, his lightbulb moment courtesy of cannabis growers, a near death epiphany, and a clever approach for refining your pitch for investors.

Antony Yousefian, co-founder Bx Technologies

Tell us about Bx Technologies and how you came up with the idea?

Bx Technologies helps farmers switch to climate friendly practices by measuring the climate-impact of produce, and putting that information on food. We do this via our software technology that quantifies farmers’ positive impact on improving their soil. We then sell that as a service. This enables farmers to differentiate their crops from others.

My co-founder Ben Bardsley is a 5th generation farmer and my background is in asset management where I was involved in the initial waves of cleantech. So we really understood the challenges in this space. Both on the ground and the economics behind it.  read more

Auto Nation: How startup founders are using AI to boost growth

In this article, founder and CEO of Addition Finance Graham Davies explains how automation can help small businesses create scalable processes and promote growth.

The average startup is working with extremely limited resources and manpower in its early days. As cash is king, it’s easy to focus all your time and effort on delivering your product. This is natural and understandable. However, it’s also why founders are hitting burnout at record levels as they try to stay afloat while under pressure from wearing multiple hats. Attempting to manage everything, alone and all at once, isn’t only dangerous – it’s also ineffective. read more

How Much Does It Cost to Start Your Own Business?

When it comes to launching a brand-new startup business many entrepreneurs miscalculate how expensive it is to launch, and what sorts of things that they will need to spend money on to make their business successful.

We explore some of the main start-up costs that efficient small businesses owners may need to consider when they set up a new business. Not all these business startup costs apply to absolutely every business, but they might apply to certain types of business.

Also, many of these costs will apply to all businesses, so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the common expenses and business costs that entrepreneurs should have planned and covered for in their business plan, and for employees forms, the use of a w9 creator can be the best choice. read more

How early stage startups can tackle product development

In our latest blog, Startup founder and AIN’s Head of Product & Growth Ching-Yun Huang looks at how early stage startups can tackle product development.

Developing and designing a product may seem like a daunting process for any startup founder. Indeed in AIN’s recent research on startup sentiment, we found concerns about building a product ranked as the second biggest concern for entrepreneurs, behind raising investment. 

First of all, although you might have aspirations and aims to create the next tech giant and become a unicorn business in 5 years, your main focus should be toward the very first stage of the funding process – the early pre-seed round. The good news is that at this stage, you will not be expected to have anything close to a finished product. It is the idea and the understanding of the market that investors will be interested in.  read more

EdTech startup Vygo raises £1.5m supported by Angel Investment Network

Funding will help accelerate global borderless education support in higher education

Fast growing EdTech startup Vygo has raised £1.5m in a pre-seed funding round supported by Angel Investment Network, the world’s largest online angel investment platform. Vygo is a Saas platform reinventing the conventionalsocial support ecosystem in higher education.

Offering personalised support services beyond the physical campus, the business already works with a third of Australian Universities and is rapidly growing in the UK. The raise will help it expand in the UK and Europe and fuel its ambition to build borderless social education for every student. read more

The perfect storm: Why investors are backing green and clean tech startups

Olivia Sibony, AIN’s Head of Impact, looks at the rise in interest in green and clean tech startups and why we have seen a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions for their growth.

Over the past few years we have seen the perfect storm of conditions that have rocketed investor interest in green and clean tech startups. Looking at the patterns of investor keyword searches on the AIN global platform we have seen impressive growth for green business terms, including ‘renewables’, ‘greentech’  and ‘environmental’.

In the last three years these business ideas have gone from niche to mainstream with investors hungry for standout solutions for our manifold environmental challenges. The COP 26 conference further committed Governments to carbon reduction targets. As was acknowledged in Glasgow, it is private enterprise and nascent businesses that will provide many of the solutions. 

Factors such as the recent surge in gas prices have made us more aware of the need to find alternative and renewable energy sources, alongside smart ways to reduce energy consumption.  read more

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 read more

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.  read more

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.  read more

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.  read more

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? read more

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. read more

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   read more

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.  read more

Tips from the Top: Transitioning from founder to leader, how to be the one in five

In the next of our Tips from the Top series, we speak to Ed Lowther who leads The Soke’s Founders Development Programme, a first-of-its-kind course designed to provide vital knowledge, understanding and skills to founders at the helms of fast growth businesses.

When Harvard Business School spoke to its 141 HBS alumni who led start-ups, they asked: “What does someone who aspires to your role need to know?” The research revealed that of all the possible areas to focus on, there are two essential areas that over 80% of the group unanimously agreed on. read more

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.  read more