An Introduction to Angel and Grand Funding
The Art of Angel & Grant Funding was an online and in-person event hosted by Salford Innovation Forum and Oxford Innovation, that focused on raising pre-seed, seed round, and grant funding for innovative start-up businesses and organisations. This event’s guests included industry experts, entrepreneurs, and investors, each giving their unique perspective and insider knowledge on securing capital.
Angela Smith, team leader at Innovate UK Edge, kicked off the event with a presentation on innovation and grant funding. She talked about the innovation journey that begins with the discovery stage and ends when the product/solution is on the market. She told founders to ask themselves several questions about their product/solution:
“Is it an invention that will grow? Is it a novel idea? Does it fit a societal need?”
Then she asked founders to ask themselves how grant funding would benefit the growth of their business:
“Will it change your business? Are you going to spend more on staff? Will you grow as a result?”.
The rest of her presentation focused on the various sources of grant funding.
Angela Smith’s top tip:
“When you apply for grant funding, you need to be able to explain your innovation and why it matters in the opening paragraph. Don’t use complex terms and jargon. Clearly explain the problem and the solution so that the person assessing your application can instantly understand the innovation behind your product or service.”
Mike Skinner, an innovation and growth specialist, discussed the things to consider when looking for an angel investor or venture capitalist. He highlighted the importance of the pitch deck, investment cost, assets in terms of equality, and the need to consider the best route for founders. In addition, he talked about the importance of explaining your business strategy to convince investors to invest in your business.
“Investors won’t be interested in your business if they think they are there to save you. What they want is to see the potential in your business, they want to know about you! Your attitude, your plans and your future potential. The most important thing to consider is that people invest in people.”
Discussion with the founder of Medi Stick
The third section included the founder of Medi Stick, Miriam Rimmer, and the COO, Susan Trish. They discussed the fundraising process from the perspective of an innovative business. When asked about how their business overcame obstacles, they said:
“We always believed in the product, even when we thought we would be laughed out of meetings. Even when we thought we were bonkers three years in for persevering with it. I think the story of our journey and Medi Stick’s journey is so authentic, and that authenticity resonated with investors”.
Each of them noted how a founder’s story and their business’s narrative are critically important because that is what investors want to hear. They also shared their experience finding the right angel investor for their business and finding an honest investor who is critical, supportive, and willing to act as a mentor.
Panel Discussion with Chris Jones
The event finished with a panel discussion with guest speaker Chris Jones, investor, and Senior Innovation and Growth Advisor at Innovate UK Edge. Chris made various interesting points about what investors look for in innovative start-ups:
“As an investor, I am not looking for reasons to say yes. I am looking for reasons to say no. Don’t give me reasons to say no. What I’m looking for is engagement. I’m not looking for people who sit at the back of the room afraid to ask questions. I need to know I can work with somebody. There needs to be that immediate connection. Don’t tell me you are going to get 0.2% of the entire global market because I won’t care. Tell me you’re going to get 25% of a much smaller discreet market and I will be interested. Even if that market is only worth a couple of million, that is real. You have to sell your business to me”
The panel also discussed other topics like investor readiness, building connections, mentoring, finding the right investors, and innovation mechanisms and resources for founders. If you didn’t have a chance to attend this live event you can stream it on YouTube. There is plenty of information and insider knowledge for founders looking to improve their investor readiness and secure angel and grant funding.