Angel Academe: a newbie’s perspective

2 October 2015

There’s a good reason why Farringdon and the surrounding areas are known as Tech City.  Some of the UK’s most promising tech startups are based around Clerkenwell and Old Street, making it a community for entrepreneurial talent and access to angel investment.

I had the chance to meet some of the country’s brightest entrepreneurs and investors during a recent Angel Academe Studio event, hosted here at Kingsley Napley and during the introductions it became clear that we are one of the only firms in the country to be hosting such an event.

Angel Academe is a female-friendly, but not exclusively so, angel investment group which focuses on technology startups led by mentor and ‘deal maker’ Sarah Turner .  The investors are high net worth female and male entrepreneurs and senior professionals from a variety of backgrounds - from film producers to former bankers at JP Morgan.

The Studio event was an interactive forum during which the angel investors heard pitches by startup companies involved in digital media, retail, financial, health and education technology.  It was a win-win situation - the startups could pitch for investment from some of the most well-connected investors in London, who in turn had the opportunity to make investments in new high-growth businesses as part of an angel syndicate.

Prior to pitching at the Studio event, a paper application from each business had already been carefully reviewed by the Angel Academe advisory board. This ensured the companies were of high quality and relevant to the expertise and interests of the investors, and would be a good fit with the existing portfolio of companies.  The session was attended by over thirty prospective investors, including English TV fashion personality and businesswoman, Trinny Woodall.  One thing became clear from the outset – these investors have proven experience and credentials, and were ready to invest real money into real companies.

The session started with pitches from three innovative startups involved in health, retail and financial technology.  Each company had ten minutes to deliver a pitch setting out the nature of their business, current trading, future projections, and their strategy for growth and ultimate exit.  Each pitch was then followed by a Q&A session where investors dug deeper into the companies’ details and scrutinised the investment timelines. The whole process was reminiscent of the TV program Dragon’s Den, but with a much more civilised group of investors!

After hearing all three pitches, the session was then followed by networking where I had the chance to meet the entrepreneurs and angel investors, and it was clear they had found the evening to be a success.

In my first seat of my training contract I am working with the CoCo team, of which James Fulforth and Roberta Draper sit on the Angel Academe board.  The evening gave me a  great insight into the opportunity this network provides for CoCo who are often instructed by the Angel network and the Angels and entrepreneurs themselves.

The Angel Academe Studio events are a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet and pitch to investors from all backgrounds, and to learn from others ahead of them on their entrepreneurial journey.   For this reason, I’m keen to stay involved!

The next Angel Academe Studio event will take place at Kingsley Napley on November 24. For more information on becoming an Angel Investor please contact Roberta Draper.

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