Minerva is a Business Angel network operated by the University of Warwick Science Park since 1994
We have 100+ members and operate two syndicates who meet monthly to consider opportunities
In the last 15 months I have seen over 120 Business Plans- interviewed 54 companies and invited 36 to present of whom 15 received offers with 11completing deals attracting £1.07m from Minerva Investors whose money helped lever in another £2.6m
Sectors invested into :- Clean Tech- Silicon Carbide, Health & Beauty Equipment Technologies, Medical Devices, Telecomm/Broadband, nano DNA technologies, Forensic Science, Software & IT, Automotive –Electric Diesel Turbocharger….and more to come
£10m+ Venture Capital Regional Finance & Venture Capital Funds BANKS £250k Specialist Funds Private Investors Friends & family Enterprise Finance, Factoring, other debt Instruments Public Funding Support? Seed Funds, Grants etc £0 Low Risk High Risk The “Funding & Equity” Landscape for early Stage Ventures today
Can Private Investors fill the funding Gap ? Early Stage Ventures are considered HIGH RISK Seed Funding is in short supply & often sector limited Banks do not fund unsecured high risk ventures – Banks will fund revenue earning concerns & provide significant “ooomph” to aid growth Friends and family often carry the start up burden but are limited in funding, experience, time Angel Investment is filling the ever widening gap But with the supply of money limited it’s attract the early stage capital – a simple matter of supply & demand But the combination of Angel money plus expertise may be the difference between failure & success
What do Private Investors/Business Angels do? Consider investing in pre-revenue early stage High Risk ventures in exchange for Shares in the business But HIGH RISK doesn’t mean Gamble or Speculate They anticipate a difficult journey but will have identified characteristics that suggests they might make a profit They buy “in low” and hope to “sell high” Some are passive - most will get involved individually or collectively through a group of investors Bringing expertise, experience & Contacts hopefully Drive towards a profitable exit – usually by attracting a trade sale/acquisition and/or “cash in” when the opportunity arises
Is there any difference between what an Angel and an early stage fund look for ? A Fund makes equity investments on the basis of anticipated strong capital growth and high levels of return -Typically, expect a 5 to 10x increase on exit. Exit is fundamental most - likely through a strategic trade sale, occasionally through flotation Technology biased funds especially look for a strong focus on sector-specific, proprietary technology and innovation (i) clear evidence of significant technological innovation with respect to the company's commercial product(s); (ii) The company may be expected to operate within certain technology sectors eg: Medical & Healthcare, Advanced Materials, Clean Technologies, ICT & Digital Media (iv) protection for their proprietary technology through ownership of granted patents, pending patent applications, design rights, and other recognized forms of intellectual property rights (IPR); (v) An experienced management team in place ( ??) and/or internationally acclaimed technology founder(s); and (vi) A business plan that demonstrates a well-defined strategy capable of achieving strong capital growth and a highly profitable exit for investors within 6 years of an initial venture capital investment ..they hope! (this was taken from a fund web site ..Angels and Funds look largely for the same things)
What do Angels want ? They don’t want is to lose money Honesty – No surprises They don’t want to run your business A realistic valuation ... and trust Dilution is OK if for the right reasons ! You to have as much pain as they if it goes wrong EIS approval Profitability & Potential A shareholder agreement that underpins your relationship Clear descriptions of your roles, responsibilities and rewards They are backing your ability to deliver at least the first part of the plan so they will want to see plenty of :- Energy, Enthusiasm, Ambition, Focus and Direction
Preparing for Investment If you have decided to go for investment Get professional advice – understand what it is you are giving up and what might be expected of you Build a business plan you believe in ….not dream about! Realism in everything …A problem shared can be solved A problem hidden will surface later when you least expect it! Identify & address the strengths and weaknesses Understand the “risks” ..the “what if’s” and the “pinch” points Validate and evidence assumptions – avoid the “ I think” syndrome Be ready for Investigation (“due diligence” ) it will take a lot of time Most investments take between 3-6 months to complete – so start asking for money before you need it!
Getting Prepared – the “What” Questions What is the history of the business – how long established, What previous funding have you had? What have you invested in hard cash ? What have you done to date and what you intend to do ? What experience do you have about market What are the skills in the team and what is missing? What do you know about your competition? What exactly is your product/service & What IP do you have? What Resources do you need to launch/commercialise ? What are you going to spend the money on ? What are the time lines and what are the key risks? What do you want to achieve ? What’s the deal ?
Getting Prepared – The “Who “ Questions Who prepared the plan Who prepared the forecasts Who has the Vision Who is the leader – driving force Who has most to lose Who owns the IP Who owns the shares Who does what – roles & responsibilities Who are your advisors/partners Who works full time in the business Who else is investing
Ultimately it’s Management who deliver the results The team must be …
If there is a group of investors call on their collective experience knowledge and contacts Most investors are good at “doing” and where they are involved businesses tend to succeed quicker.
What do you want in return for their money? You don’t want any surprises either – use the “Due Diligence “ period to get to know the investor :- The chemistry must be right The investor must be a good fit A shareholder can’t be sacked Don’t be short changed in Expertise You have surrendered shares and therefore some ownership – if you have got the forecasts horribly wrong you may have to sell more and with it may go control & ownership ….
What does a typical deal look like EIS status approved & in place Angel must have Ordinary Shares with no special powers attached VC Funds may vary their stake with preference shares /debt aswell as Ordinary shares Angels are restricted on clauses in in the shareholder agreement – but a VC is not … There will be restrictions on what you can and can’t do You will have to negotiate a NEW employment contract Funding is often released in tranches against delivery of business plan milestones- so make sure milestones are realistic!! Some Investors will insist on following their money onto the board THE BIG QUESTION – how much of my equity will they want? THE ANSWER – One that reflects the risk and your potential !
Private Investment & Venture Capital is a special type of finance.
Early stage investment is usually seed or pump priming capital and therefore you will always be selling at a lower valuation than later but without the money and hopefully the added expertise would you make it to “later” ?
Always consider the range of other types of funding
Take advice, don’t rush, be prepared and start early if you want to raise money
Financing a business is rarely a single stage process - it takes time to build and grow and along the way different types of finance are needed at different stages of development.
The appropriate finance depends on the risk/reward profile of the business at each stage of financing.
Where to find Business Angels and more information on Angel Investment www.bbaa.org.uk www.bvca.co.uk www.minerva.uk.net