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Networking your way to investment

In Networking, Planning growth, Raising finance - 2 weeks ago - 3 min

Networking your way to investment

According to exclusive research from Prolific North, over the past five years, tech companies in the North of England have attracted investment at a faster rate than anywhere else in Europe.

Grant Thornton’s latest research, Planning for Growth, also illustrates that in the North West; “70% of businesses are said to be investing in new technology which is among the most important strategic priorities for bottom-line efficiency over the next three to five years”.

In May 2018, we gathered some of Manchester’s most ambitious businesses owners in the tech industry for the city’s first G by Grant Thornton Ready. Fund. Grow. event where attendees heard first-hand how to maximise their chances of success in securing early-stage finance.

On the evening, we heard from a panel of investors including:

Will Clark, Investment Director, Mercia Fund Managers

Rob Jones, Investment Manager, Foresight Group

Sue Barnard, Senior Relationship Manager, British Business Bank

Garry Partington, Chairman, APADMI

Matt Mawdesley, Investment Manager, Fund: TMT

The focus of the evening was the importance of networking. Is networking the best way of getting in front of the right investors? How do you best invest your time when raising finance? Our experts shared their top tips and considerations when approaching investors:

Be prepared to “wear out some shoe leather” when networking to meet investors

You will not meet the people you need to meet by shying away from networking events. Networking events are key to meeting the right people. It is so important to put yourself out there, and remember, confidence is key.

Once you have gained your confidence in meeting new people, you will find yourself attending more and more events and meeting a diverse group of people that can help your business to grow. Networking also provides the opportunity to practise your business pitch, preparing you to deliver a well-rehearsed, articulated summary to investors.

It is not a quick process, be prepared to commit time to raising finance

Make sure you are putting in the effort you need to raise finance. Investors will be looking for 100% commitment from you, so make sure you are well prepared, and able to present both the business and yourself well. Remember investors invest in you as well as the commercial opportunity.

Finding the right investor is not a quick process; avoid jumping at the first offer that comes to you. Take your time and consider all your options. Does the deal feel right?

Make sure you and your team are credible and presentable. Highlight everything about yourself and your team; your skills, what motivates you, your experience, your delivery and how you can evidence this. Having confidence in the people behind the business is vitally important to an investor.

Practise is key!

Not every first pitch will be perfect, but plenty of practise can help with those first pitch nerves. Make sure you plan enough time for full pitch rehearsals with colleagues, friends, family or, ideally, funding advisors, to get constructive feedback and use them as test runs before pitching to investors. Take on board their feedback and fine-tune your pitch after every run through so that the pitch you deliver to your targeted investors is the best it can possibly be.

The power of an introduction

Our investor panel agreed that deal flow through an introduction is their favoured route, rather than cold approaches. The key message was to seek out knowledgeable advisors with strong links into the funding community to save yourself time and put you in the best possible position to catch their interest.

If you are thinking about raising investment for your business and want to understand your options, call us on 08081 722 350  to speak to a member of our Growth Finance team or drop us an email: G.Enquiries@uk.gt.com.