An Introduction to Jessica Jackson
We began our discussion with an introduction to Jessica’s background. Jessica started her professional career in healthcare technology, providing her with valuable operational management skills and experience in start-up acquisitions, preparing her for a career in fundraising. Jessica has worked as the Head of Investment at GC Angels for the past three years, where she has grown the number of investments from 10 to 34 and built an impressive portfolio of digital, tech, and creative start-up investments.
We asked Jessica what founders can do to accelerate the fundraising process.
Jessica highlighted how founders often begin the investment process thinking their pitch deck and financials are the end product but ignore the most critical aspect; building relationships. Jessica also notes how founders are quick to take NO as a definitive answer, which in her view is a huge mistake:
“Some founders expect a yes or no straight away, but no never usually means no. Investors want to know more. It is unlikely investors will completely understand your business model the first time they look at it. They want to get to know you as a founder, understand your business model, understand where you are, where your technology is, and what your team looks like.”
Jessica spoke about the fluidity of angel networks and how angel investors can be members of multiple networking groups, in syndicates, or operate independently. GC Angels is a co-fund investor network that takes on mutual risk with angel investors. They look for founders who are coachable, bright, understand their technology and market, and have the mindset to adapt.
When asked about the efficacy of investment platforms, Jessica highlighted the faceless nature of online fundraising platforms and how they sometimes conceal important information about investors from founders. She advised founders to research and pick the right investment platform that works best for them and their start-up.
Tip: Include the amount of investment your start-up needs from investors.
Female Founders and Fund Her North
Jessica spoke about Fund Her North, a volunteer collective of over 30 women in VCs, funding organisations and angel groups, supporting female founders, and championing diversity in the North of England.
A report by Allison Rose discovered that for every one pound of funding in the UK, only 1p goes to solo female-founded businesses. Fund Her North has delivered five pitch events for female founders and facilitated £4m of funding for female-founded start-ups.
We asked Jessica what men in investment can do to help female founders get the investment they need to grow their business and how to close the gender divide in investment?
“Start with networking and advocacy. Be willing to open your network. Share relevant contacts. Encourage conversations between investors and female founders. Introduce female founders to people in your network. Share your decks with them or help them with their deck. Start with support. Also, do not underestimate the importance of warm introductions.”
If you’re a female founder in the North and looking to secure the next round of funding for your business, visit the Fund Her North website where you can find a community of other female entrepreneurs and connect with like-minded people at community events. You can also become a member and apply for mentorship, access educational material, submit inquiries to the collective and receive news about upcoming events.
Investment in Greater Manchester, the North, and the Creative Industries
The third and final topic we explored with Jessica was investment opportunities in Greater Manchester, the North, and the creative industries.
Jessica highlighted the growing digitalisation of the creative industries and how this is helping grow many creative sectors such as fashion, music, animation, film, TV, gaming, and advertising. However, she noted the significant investor knowledge gap in assessing opportunities in creative industries. For example, many investors did not know what questions to ask.
Recently Jessica hosted an event for the Invest In Creative toolkit, a toolkit made by investors for investors, developed to showcase the investment opportunities in the UK creative industries. The toolkit has an extensive library of videos featuring leading investors, renowned experts, inspiring entrepreneurs, and remote peer-to-peer learning.
This resource is a brilliant resource for investors. It is also great for founders because it gives them an insight into an investor’s perspective.
We thank Jessica for this thought-provoking conversation.
Connect with Jessica Jackson: Linkedin Profile
Learn more about GC Angels: Visit Website
Learn more about Fund Her North: Visit Website
Learn more about Invest In Creative: Visit Website