Receive our weekly business hacks straight to your inbox...
How to get investment for your startup - With Laurence Grant
Laurence Grant: So you might have a chat with on this side of things, the investment side, an angel investor. An angel investor is an individual who has significant amounts of capital to deploy or to give to a company. Maybe not even significant. It could be someone who wants to get 5,000 pounds, 10,000 pounds, but they'd be considered an angel investor.
There's actually a layer below that, which is encouraged, through the journey, which is family and friends. , if you can get some money from family and friends, you should, and that always looks good to investors anyway. It shows that you are taking a level of commitment in that business, where you're willing to put your relationship with your family and friends on the line to them.
Chris O'Hare: Yeah, that's really interesting.
Laurence Grant: Yeah.
Chris O'Hare: I'm Chris, O'Hare your quick-win CEO. And in this show, we talk to entrepreneurs and industry experts on different ways to improve your business along with the three quick or in recommendations. And this week we talked to investment entrepreneur Laurence Grant. But in this episode, we get to learn what the different types of investments are and how to get your startup funded.
But before we get going, just a quick marketing message. If you need an app, built and only wants to pay an affordable monthly fee. You should definitely check out our new product App 100, which is limited to the first 100 businesses. Just go to www.App100.club.
So why should start ups, get investment, tell us some of the reasons and benefits that a startup should seek that extra pot of money. to get them going..
Laurence Grant: Yeah. , I'm going to flip the question. So why shouldn't, startup get investment. , and I used to say this to a lot of companies when I was, my job was to raise investment and I'm sure if my line managers or people who were benefiting from the fees that we got would have kicked me in the leg under the table.
, if they were there. But, there is something called the pecking order of finance and investment is pretty low down, revenue is king cash is king. If you can make a product, which makes you money, , sustainably, and it meets your goals of what you need to spend and budget in order to get to the next phase, then stick with revenue.
If you can't do that, look at loans where possible, something that's reasonable that you can pay back to get you to the next stage. And then, if none of those things, satisfy your appetite for finance and you're comfortable giving away equity, which is essentially a big slice of the pie of your company, or a small slice of anyone, how good the company is, then investment is a good route to go down, but I would never recommend investment just for someone who's looking for money. That's not a good enough reason. I think the reason that you would seek investment is if you need capital quickly to scale quickly to enter a market quickly, in order to get a share of that market quickly, that's one of the key reasons. So Uber, for example, with brand new idea, knew it was a new idea, it was pretty much a blue ocean for them. That makes perfect sense. , they've got an idea. They've got, , the processes, the operations, and they need capital to essentially scale up globally to secure the market. That's a really good reason. , another reason is, , equity and giving away equity in exchange for money can be a fantastic way to onboard experts who are. , try it. And they've, they've succeeded in your industry or they have a fantastic black book of contacts in your industry. Typically these investors are called smart, smart investors should always aim for smart investors. , I've learned a lot in the last kind of 12 months. People crowdfunding, , seed funding going out and getting private investment, taking money from VCs.
And probably one of the biggest mistakes is not aligning with your investors. , you need to be very clear about the type of characters that you want investing in your company. It needs to be very, very clear about what levels of equity mean, what, when you're taking equity, if you give away 10% to one person, they have the right to call a meeting with you whenever they want, basically.
, and, and to start up a board meeting or call together, discussion, they're also called voting rights for a reason, right? So you don't want to give away too much. I know people that have given away unbelievably 51% of the company, you now don't, you don't own that company, and the other person can make your life a misery if they wanted to.
, and there are some, there's some, some interesting people out there who make a living out of, getting X amount of equity in order to, to twist the knife and, and gain more control. So you need to be careful. Yeah. , but yeah, I mean, in terms of reasons you would get it. I think smart investors, people getting people on board, invested in your company who can take you to the next level and to have a real reason for what you're budgeting by the use of funds, which is normally the last slide on the pitch deck, break down exactly what you did, , so don't, don't always have to shoot for 500 K because you saw someone else.
, if you want to take advantage of a tax relief scheme and raise a hundred K because that a hundred K would be broken down into 30 K 40 K 20 K, a of five Ks for these things here. Then, then, by all means, be very specific about what you need the money for who you want to give that to who you want on board, where they can get you.
, and that, that would be my advice, really. So, yeah, scalable. , scaling boss, smart investors and, paying for things that you actually need the money for which you don't currently.
Chris O'Hare: So in terms of like the kudos you get from raising, a big round, would you say that that's quite advantageous?
Like people actually, sit up and take notice of you as a company and actually your you're making waves and that almost gives it its own. , to your, your company, it's almost like, , the people value it this month, so you need to be, , , take notice off. Would you say that's a valid point?
Laurence Grant: would you find it more impressive if someone built a 1 million pound company and had a hundred percent equity? Well, someone who built a 10 million pound company and had 10% equity. It's worth the same thing really, to you. I think the company is certainly a harder journey, to boot strap, but there is definitely a feeding, certainly my echo chamber on, on places like LinkedIn and other places.
There's definitely a tide of people who quite rightly, as I described, do not put investment in raising investment on. , but what a lot of people get confused at, which I think you've kind of, kind of alluded to as a, as a concept, is that raising finances, like an amazing achievement, raising finance is not an amazing achievement investing that money that you receive to grow a sustainably, financial, sustainable financially sustainable company is much more, impressive.
So it's kind of like, no one said a brain scan, a student. No, that's the same. You got to pay it back or you got, you don't actually have to pay back the investment. That's the difference between an investment and a loan, but just in effect, it's a different type of debt. , investment is a different type of debt.
, it's, it's a, it's a slightly lower risk that for the founder, but it doesn't mean it's going to make your life, any simpler or easier because you might have 20 people making demands. , and if you don't pull through on what you said you're going to do, then your reputation is at stake. ,
Chris O'Hare: yeah, I get that.
I think it's where people see the fact that someone has willing to put money in the business. It's almost a sort of validation that they, they, they also believe in their idea. , and also if you publicize that, to the rest of your competitors, The others, in terms of your peers or, or other startups, it almost, makes you a little bit more, I would say increases your reputation, but I completely agree, actually, it's not the Silicon valley view as Silicon valley really tarnished.
, the way investments are perceived and actually, sees, make, or break or boom or bust, right. Boom, more bus type businesses where you either have to be a billion dollar business or your rubbish. Right. What's the, what's the, yeah.
Laurence Grant: Yeah. I mean, , if I had told you that I've invested a million pounds into a company and that was all you found out company without context.
, great. They've got a million pounds. What if it's for rhinos? , which is the blood blood, blood sampling company that is, , infamous for having raised and. Somehow we'll leverage the power of, , us embassy contacts and ex military contacts and Stanford academics, . Great, great.
That sounds great. That sounds great. But that's a wallpaper, right? That's the wrapping on the gift until you unwrap it. If , and get to grips with the actual technology, does it work the product, does it work? Is the market the right fit? , And that means absolutely nothing. It's just wrapping paper.
, so the key thing is not to do with those exterior celebrations. , , and that's the world that we live in, I think at the moment. And, and that's a real problem. , people celebrate, , quite vacuous and superficial moment. , and actually the key as, as we know is consistency day to day to produce something which adds value and real value to people's lives.
, and that's really quite hard to quantify, , , look at, look at the amount of companies that have failed after raising investment. , look at the amount of, , people on the like, , stock exchange who. , , not focused on product and not focused on customer value, and then they've plummeted through to zero, but there's so many examples of that.
, the rhinos, it's probably the best one I can think of. , you don't want to have a balloon as a business. You don't want something that looks great and shiny from the outside, but you stick a hairpin through it and it explodes, , you want something that's gonna stand the test of time and.
In times of difficulty. , and that is a business built on good operations, good products, good finances. , good talent, good staff, good integrity, good morals, good codes of conduct. Good culture, good purpose. , and that's way more important than the celebration. There's no reason not to celebrate a company that raises investment.
As long as the context, , matches the content of the company, , is the content of the company. Good. Fine then therefore the context of the raise is good as well, I would say.
Chris O'Hare: So we're kind of talking about the various stages of investment as well. So I'm probably more alluding to the VC type stages.
, where are they? That's where they mainly focus. They want the billion dollar ideas and they don't necessarily care about the little ones. So let's kind of go through those them. So kind of like what's the different types of investment you can get and. Kind of what stages do they come in? Usually if you, if you're going to get an angel or VC, whether they normally sit on that on the rounds, because we talk about rounds, what does rounds really mean?
Laurence Grant: yeah, sure. So, so, , let's, I'll use my hands to give a bit of an example. So at the very bottom, , you've got something called pre-seed. So this is a state. Yeah. , and this is, this is a stage of the company and this is the investment stage, right? So you've got pre-seed company, , pre-seed means pre idea normally, or idea stage.
So there's not really any, even a seed being planted in any soil, so to speak. There's no existence of this company in any market. So a market is like soil, right? And the company is like actual seed, , in that soil. You might have a chat with on this side of things, the investment side, , an angel. , an angel investor is an individual who has significant amounts of capital to deploy or to give to a company.
, maybe not even significant. It could be someone who wants to get 5,000 pounds, 10,000 pounds, but that would be considered an angel investor. There's actually a layer below that, which is encouraged, , through the in journey, which is family and friends. , if you can get some money from family and friends, you should, and that always looks good to investors.
Yeah. , it shows that you are taking a level of commitment in that business where you're willing to put your relationship with your family and friends on the line to the together.
Chris O'Hare: Yeah. That's really
Laurence Grant: interesting. Yeah. , so your family in France, it's not a specific round, , and people say, have you done a family and friends round?
No. , then there's the angel level. , Above that, which is private investors. Maybe people you don't necessarily know it could be family, friends, but normally it's, , someone on LinkedIn who you feel embodies a fantastic small investor, it would be the most sensible thing to do so smart investors at any stage because they match your purpose and your vision.
But angel investor is one individual person who has money to give to your company at a pre-seed stage. Angels can also invest in slightly T up here. So that's, that's a seat. The seen stages where the seed is planted in the soil as a market is a real company. , there is something to see here. It could be a really strong business plan.
It could be an MVP, which is a minimum viable product. So the minimum that you can do to prove that your idea, let's say it's a tech product, you've built like a landing page and an app which can process. , new potential customers and users and at least engage their interests. Right? So that's like a seed stage seed stage could also be a bit more sophisticated.
It could be companies that have started to make the first bits of money. , so they have a product that works and they make their money. Again, angels can invest in. You also find that this is where a lot of companies, I would say wrongly, , get crowd funding and seed funding, , sorry, like feeders or Crowdcube and stuff like that.
So crowdfunding and crowdfunding is where you go to a website like Cedars, or CROCU you accept that? You're going to give 7% of anything that you raise through the platform to Crowdcube, , or Cedars and you give. , a pitch stack, a video pitch, you present your company in the best possible way, , to raise individual investments, which can be very low.
It can be a hundred pounds. Here can be 10 pounds. It can be a thousand pounds, could be 50,000 pounds, and then we'll go through the platform. And the reason I think is a bad thing to do at seed stage is because, , seed stage. Oh, sorry. , crowdfunding is a fantastic thing to do. If you're doing it as a marketing exercise, it's not the most efficient thing to do to raise capital.
, unless you've got a product where all the people putting in the money can also convert into customers. If you're raising 200,000 pounds on Crowdcube or Cedars, , and then you need to wait nine months to develop the product to actually. , or in engaging those customers have a long time for these people to wait and you're not relevant anymore.
Right. So I would always suggest crowdfunding at a later stage. So that's the seed round seed round typically. And this is what I mean by rounds. So the early stage round, the pre-seed round or the seed round, , should always get you to the next round. That's at least how most of the investors see it. So that's why people raise more than they think they.
Cause I need to get from seed to, to pre series a or series a, which is a more significant, , round. Okay. So series a is, is at the point where you're looking to expand, you've got a company that is ready to go, , and you're trying to grow significantly and into a new market. , not always, , it's always a little bit hazy, some companies with different IP or different technologies, different backgrounds, different sectors.
They entered pre series at a different time, , but I would say this kind of pre series a or series a round is the point where you want to be doing kind of crowdfunding because it's a great way to gain new customers and getting investment as well. If you want to do that. , so then you've got this.
So you've got the angels, the family prints that angels crowd funding and VCs VCs, , are the bench capitalists. That's what it stands for. And what they do is they pull all of the cash, , of a lot of angel investors, a lot of, , private investors into their fund. And then they make decisions on which company they're going to invest in.
So they have pulled a lot of angel investors money and they are looking to get tenants. Typically, , 10 times the return on what they invest. So if they put a million pounds into you, they want to see 10 million in about five years, basically. , lots of different VCs that all different entities, different personalities, different styles, different sectors, different alignments, different criteria's.
, but these are the ones who are going to give you kind of 1 million pound plus, , 500 significant capital that most dangerous. But don't really dream of. Right. , and that's where pre series eight comes in. I think VCs pretty much all the way through to series B. So we see you kind of get the idea.
Series B is a big around the series a it's its expansion is growth, its market domination, it's market penetration. It's trying to corner the market that you've set out to achieve. , the step above that would be kind of private equities family office. It's worth mentioning. Family offices can be at any stage as well.
, sometimes family offices invest 50 K like an angel investor. Sometimes they've got like billions of pounds to deploy, , , Qatari funds and, , , like
Chris O'Hare: Chinese bonds. Yeah. Offices that essentially is just a very rich family that, , they have like a wealth money. Th that manages that money and put some invest in.
Laurence Grant: Yeah. So, so, so Chris, Chris is the ancestor of the O'Hara investments, family office, and O'Hare investments is extremely famous for selling billions of rabbit pies all over the world. , that's a bad example, right. But, , , essentially a family that have a lot of money, , typically that's where the name comes from.
, who wants to manage their investments properly to safeguard family wealth, and maybe they're a little bit more risk taking. So they look for alternatives outside the typical pension and the mortgages and the property and real estate and stuff like that. So they're looking for things that align with them often.
This is part of legacy as well for the families. , in the same way that a VC will set up their own mission and purpose, a family office might have a mission and purpose. Maybe they all agree that climate change is a real big problem, and they want to invest in, , a portfolio of companies to, to use their wealth for positive things and make money back.
When we refer them and a lot at the final stages, like the IPO stage between any of these points, , a company can be acquired or there could be a merger and acquisition. So on the investment side, this like Mogas, mergers and acquisitions or IPO, , ledgers and legislator. And, , yeah, this has kind of final stage.
So this is technically what you call it an exit. So if you hear about a company that exits, they have had some realization of cash, , to purchase that company. So, , Company, , a decided to merge with a company that's bigger than them. They get envelopes. That's an exit, , they've been, they've been paid a hundred million pounds.
The investors get 10 times return on their investment. Fantastic. , same as an acquisition. It's not so much, , the entity is not respected quite as much as, as in a merger. So emerge, it'd be like PC world and Curry's why they kind of merged together and acquisition would be general motors, acquiring a smaller, , , manufactured call manufacturing company, and you never hear about that company again, right?
It's just general motors. And then an IPO is when you jump onto the stock exchange. So Deliveroo. These companies are now on the stock exchange and that's where people like you and I can invest on places like iTero and free trade, and we can buy stocks and shares in those different places. , but this is an exit for the investors.
, they can decide to keep their shares if they want and, , let them float on the, on the stock exchange or often they will say. To the acquirer of the IPO and they'll get their money back, , from seed or series a or pre-series, pre-series a series B however much they've invested and that's pretty much it.
Chris O'Hare: Right. Okay. And so it's really interesting because you are going through the different stages, but what kind of. Needs to happen before they get to the next stage. Like, is there certain goalposts that they need to reach before they get to the next stage? And is that well-known, is that publicized?
Laurence Grant: , no, I mean, , let's consider an academic entity.
So you've got, , an academic spin-outs, which is just an idea that comes from an academic place that says Oxford, for the sake of argument, they've developed a fantastic way to work out whether food is awful or not without an expiry date, it's like a color coded, , thing, , in the bottom of the plastic package.
But that is a real thing, by the way, I haven't just made it up. So that's like, Yeah. Yeah. And it's a public thing, so I shouldn't get sued. , but yeah, so that's an academic idea. It's come from institutional universities, , PhDs, professors, developers, interns, like built this kind of IP and. The intellectual property, that IP is extremely valuable.
Pre-revenue right. So that's considered a separate value. So you might get, , a pre series, a, or series, a level of funding from a VC or a private equity company. , or a family office who invest, let's say three, 4 million pounds in this. To just jump straight into the market. Now that would be considered, , the intellectual property and the patients would be considered quite an important aspect of that.
, how protected is it? How defensible is it in the market? , how unlikely is it for someone else to come in and do the same thing? Whereas if you're a company, let's say you're selling blue light, , , screen production technology, like the company I help. So AKI shield, , It's impossible to get the patents and the intellectual property for way, , frequencies that you can't paint in that.
So their best bet is to get as much of the market and customers as possible as quickly as possible. So a metric for them might be an increase in monthly recurring revenue. So, , acquiring more and more customers, , having a 30% month over month growth, , that type of thing that. But T , strictly speaking, you could do a seed round in January.
You could do, , if you, if you do well enough, , you can do a pre series a or a series a round in November. , and the, the real thing that depends on whether you can or can't do it is the confidence in your product in your market. If you put a pitch deck together and say that you've done X, Y, Zed, , and you're ready to do a pre series, a round or a series, a round.
, it's basically up to the investor group that you approach when the VCs or the private equity firms or the angels to decide whether or not they're going to invest. If you hit your investment target and you feel that amount of money is enough to get you to the next point, which would be series a series B, then go for it.
Chris O'Hare: it makes total sense. So in terms of, , S E I S, then we hear that a lot, , that startups need to be as CIS registered. Like, what does that mean?
Laurence Grant: So first off they don't need to be, , , some company can't be, , I believe if they deal in financial. If they doing financial regulation, so they're holding other people's money.
You can't be SEOs registered. If you're involved in anything to do with property development, et cetera, I don't believe you can be. FCIs registered. , the government UK lists all this out and it's, it's a very quick read and I know seed legals and other people do some great blogs on that as well. But SIS stands for the seed enterprise investment scheme.
There's also the big brother of SIS, which is EIS. So enterprise investment scheme and the main idea. Chris. I had 150 K in the bank, right? You now you're doing pretty well. You find this company, , they are less than two years old. , they have less than 2 million pounds in revenue. They're considered a smaller company.
They're a seed company, right. There are certain parameters in seed and. They can raise a maximum of 150,000 pounds under this seed enterprise investment scheme. And the idea is if you invest as an investor, 150,000 pounds in this company, depending on how well they do, but that's forget that because it'll confuse things.
, you will get a guaranteed 50% tax relief on your income tax. So if, if you as a business, so as an, as a businessman, you are making a million pounds, your income tax is 200 grand. You can offset that income tax in your own personal investment. Into a seed enterprise investment scheme company and get 50% back on your tax relief.
, I believe you can actually go back another year. If you wanted to do 300,000 pounds worth of investment, the reason it depends whether the company does well or not, you are guaranteed 50%. If they qualify for the SLIs. If they do well, , it gets a little bit more complicated. It involves things like capital gains tax and trying to get relief from capital gains tax, which is essentially you making money back from investments.
But if the company does well, you can make up to 78% tax relief on their CIS. So foreign investors. If they're competent in the company, a hundred thousand pounds of investment is actually 22,000 pounds of investment, potentially. And then they know they're going to get 78,000 pounds back or 50,000 pounds, if things don't go well.
So it's a fantastic scheme for investors to feel more confident, putting their money in because they know that whatever happens, they can offset that, that in a, in a different way, , EIS, similar scheme, up to 12 million, it doesn't have to be a seed company. , but if the extent to actually, , up to 12 million pounds of investment, , that one company can receive.
So that's a difference there.
Chris O'Hare: All right. Cool. And so how do I say I was a start up and I wanted to get investment? What do I need to do? Kind of, obviously we talked about pitch decks. How important are they?
Laurence Grant: Yeah, , pitch decks, , essential. Yeah. , it's the same as the same as back in the day, you'd bring a business plan to the bank, , you could, you're not going to get alone with our business plan.
You're not going to get investment. And I said his family and friends, but even then you should do the right thing and put a pitch together, put your financial forecast together, or your assumptions of, of what, how that financial forecast is going to be correct and accurate. , so. Running through it really, really simply you want your, , cover page, , might have your logo and your mission on there.
You might have a separate page after that for your mission or your vision. And I succinct line to explain how far your company is going to go and what, what you're trying to do basically. , then you identify the problem in the market that you've identified. So just the problem, , try and give an example of this.
So. , I will use. Fort fixes as an example, the company that I raised for before there a property maintenance company, it's tech, you can essentially manage all your property maintenance on your, on an app. , regardless of if you have a one or 16 or a thousand properties to maintain, and you get these highlights of all the different issues and you can delegate to two companies.
Right? So, so their vision is probably something to, to make property maintenance, as easy as making a cup of tea or something like that. Right. And then the problem is. Probably maintenance is very manual is based on emails. It's based on phone calls. It's a very tedious process. , all the ordering and the is quite tedious and manual, right?
So their solution, which is the next slide is to produce an app where the property maintenance contractor or the person responsible for maintaining the property can have alerts on every issue with the property and manage all of the things they need to do to solve that. And those five people in a very simple, easy way.
Good idea. The next slide is a market and the market is arguably the most important thing. And this will be sees, look at most a and angels and other people should is how big is the market. If the market is 1 million pounds and you're raising 500 K and you think you can get 25% of the market, don't worry about the maps, but that basically won't.
Th the market is not big enough for the investor to invest that money and get their money back. They'd lose a lot of money, even if you achieve your target. Right? So the market, that's why people look for a billion pounds, a trillion pound market, because they're looking for a lot of, , just a big growth potential, right.
, so look at your market, work out your tongue. Some, some, I'm not going to go into that and take too long, but essentially this. Different sizes of the market. You're looking at something that you can get pretty quickly, that you can assign very quickly, others that are slightly more expensive, maybe a slightly different market or another market involved in that.
And it could be the whole property market in this case. And then it might be the global market, the total available market, which is. Every single person who would ever buy your product. And that's the figure that most people look at when they're thinking about growth, I'm off to the market. You want to look at the product.
So what does the product look like? What stages are, how sophisticated it is a defensible is our IP. And you want to look at the team. The team is also probably the second or first most important slide as well, along with the market. How relevant is the team? Do you have significant skin in the game? How many times have you built a business before?
, , do you have contacts and contracts ready to go? , have you got advisors on board who can open doors for you? How committed are those advisors? All your team working full time, like all these things, but. , and that's super, super important to have well-documented and make it super clear because most VCs go to the same page first.
, and they only spend about three minutes per pitch. So it show you, show you coordinates. , and then after that you want to look at things like the financials, this isn't, this isn't all encompassing. There's a lot of different slides on different pictures. , the financials, the forecast, the assumptions that you've made, make that detailed, get it looked over by an accountant who knows what they're talking about, make sure that's strong and you can justify it.
And , your numbers, don't be one of those people on dragons then that
Chris O'Hare: I was going to say, is it, is it as important as dragons that makes up.
Laurence Grant: Yeah, totally. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yeah. You want to know your numbers? I mean, I wouldn't, I wouldn't give you five quid to style confectionary. Like Sweetshop if, if you didn't know the markup between a Snickers bar and a my husband.
Yeah. , and then the other thing is like use of funds. So you want to make sure. That you break down in a pie chart, typically, , which percentage of what company is going to be used for what so sorry, the funds are going to be used for what? , so you want to make sure you've documented that, , what's in here 5% air, 6% here, temps and here, , hiring strategic development, marketing, , bringing that all down.
, and then the one of the last slides would be, , the ask how much. , all you see, I S E I S registered, , what is the valuation of the company that's really important and 90% of people miss this. I don't know whether they're doing intentionally, but they should put it on there. , what's the valuation of the company that you're raising out.
, , and that's, that's practically the pitch. That's super important to have, , People use things like doc sends so they can track all the times that someone has logged in and seen that pitch deck and they give their email in order to see it. Pretty smart idea. , but yeah, Poohsticks essential.
You can't do it without pitch deck.
Chris O'Hare: Gotcha. Really good advice though. , something I'm sure a lot of people are going to be listening back to and going through that in detail. But I mean, I remember talking to an investor once who said that their portfolio of startups that they invest in, it's almost like the.
The plumage. Peacock's tail forever. , it's almost like they use it to demonstrate that ego or the, the kind of how exciting they are as a, as an entrepreneur. But you agree that, , some of the more exciting startups tend to get a bit more, , , favorable. , attention compared to like the competitors or the well
Laurence Grant: I'm favorable from the perspective of a non-existent.
, I don't know. I don't know. I mean, do, do people prefer rail Madrid and Manchester United because they. Play beautiful football and these, they look like they're going to win a lot. , maybe not even the best example, right? Maybe a Ford Mustang, like it doesn't drive very well. Great. , that's probably a better example.
So, , yes. Typically in all walks of life, if something is more attractive to the eye, it will demand more attention. If you have the best idea in the world and you have an absolutely pitch deck, you're not going to get invested. And I tell people this all the time and it sounds really superficial and vacuous, but you need to make it make sense.
In a super simple and attractive to the highway. , otherwise you're not gonna, , you're not going to succeed. That's a pitch deck, right. That's different to, to accompany, but in terms of technologies, , there's a lot of buzzwords at the moment, AI machine learning software as a service B2B, there's, there's some really key things that a lot of investors look for for good reason, because statistics don't lie.
, these companies tend to see. More quickly. , so there's an element of scalability in that attractiveness, but , I think some of the smartest investors are looking at industries that have not been disrupted very much. Look at education. , look at government, look at, , any sort of incumbent institution that has been around quite a long time and could do of a shake up there sometimes really boring.
But they do super well. And I know a lot of angels and a lot of VCs that look for those almost tediously boring opportunities to get behind because they're aware of the market. They're aware of the size of the market. They're aware of the application of this technology. , and yeah, I think smart investors do better to not get distracted, but of course, As we all know whether it's a LinkedIn post, whether it's a, , a beautiful man woman turning up to a club in a nice outfit, , it's a pretty evolutionary thing to be deceived by the defenses and all that.
Chris O'Hare: Yeah. It was just, it's just something I've always, , taken. Quite closely when it comes to investments, is that conversation I had with that particular investor, he was like, , we use it as our, , w we're showing off to the world by our portfolio. And I was like, I just didn't know. That was a thing until you just told me.
And apparently it's quite. Quite often. And I say, it's got a bud buzzword in there that they can then talk about at the cocktail parties. , they weren't, they
Laurence Grant: weren't interested. Yeah. Just to jump in on that. I mean, for me, it's just super vacuous. They've got too much money. , and I hope their due diligence team will probably kind of laugh at them and say, actually, there was a lot more reason for those investments, , the best, the best, , version in the world of something is something that smells good.
Tastes good. Looks good is good. , and then that's great. And some of those companies do all those things, so it's not impossible. , so, , I think that's a, that's something to think about, but, , it's not always the case.
Chris O'Hare: Well, it's just, I've heard it more than once. , and I just, I just find that gobsmacking, like, unless you were exciting enough, they, they didn't perceive you to be worth.
Almost valuing the time. But anyway, yeah, that's something that we could probably go a lot deeper in the human nature, but what are your top three quick wins? When it comes to start ups who are seeking investment, what are the quick hacks that they're going to need to get them to get investment?
Laurence Grant: Yeah, it really depends on the stage, , that the company is at.
So it's a pretty hard one to answer. , but , if we're talking about a company that is doing this for the first time, and they're probably a seed seed company, or, , may be pre series a, , do not underestimate the financials, they need to be concrete and you need to know. , it's worth spending a lot of money on two things.
When you're doing a race, one is the financials, get them that Toga and the other, other legals don't scrimp and scrape on the, on the legals, because you can use them for rounds and rounds and rounds and rounds in the future. And , you might spend 10 grand in the beginning, but it'll say. A lot of money down the line.
, you don't really want to get into negotiations with investors. If you're confident on all the numbers and you're confident on all the legals, it saves you a lot of time on negotiation and people kicking tires and trying to get different deals and stuff. You just want to get people all agreed. This makes sense.
, it's fair. I agree. Yes or no. Like, , Nick, my business partner is very clear. He says no to people all the time and they come back and then they say, yes, well then negotiating, because everything's super clear on that from, , the team is super important. , , kind of go through the pitch deck again, the market and the team and the key things to focus on.
If you can surround yourself. , if you're aware that there is deficiency and your capabilities as a founder, let's say you're fantastic at marketing communications and media, or maybe strategy and sales. Fantastic. But who's going to build the. , who's going to make sure the finances are looked after.
Who's going to keep that tidy. Who's going to do all the administrative administrative stuff and the operational stuff to make sure the business takes over once you've made those selves and attracted those clients. So you really need to build a nice solid team. Ideally with a good background in what you're doing, it's hard to do, but there's plenty of find your co-founder events.
There's plenty of, , people on LinkedIn looking for new opportunities. It's not always easy to convince someone, especially when it means like startup life, which is often pretty, , scrimped and scraping, , , but that's super important and the market as well, really, really look at your market research online.
, I'll ask as many people as possible in your market, , about the market and get as much detail as possible on how big that is and how likely your opportunity is to, to work. And I know you said three, but actually linking those two things, , is the product. Always as much as you can ask your end consumer, ask your market, do your market research, does this make sense?
Does it work? , this better than most people, right? Build your user story, build your, build your product, build your journey and ask people whether that makes sense because you don't want to spend all fuel money, your 75 K SIS on building a product the mobile months. , so really that's another part of the market research, who's your car.
Chris O'Hare: Yeah, completely agree. It's great, quick wins. And if people want to learn more about investments and how they can get investment for their startup, , how can they do that? And if they want to get in touch with you, how can they contact you?
Laurence Grant: So get some really good resources, British business bank, like angel associations, see legal.
Google's your friend trying to just type in what you want to know. , and it will give you the answer, , read two or three articles. Don't belong on the top one all the time. , and it sounds again in touch with myself. LinkedIn Laurence Grant, L A U R E N C E the, French female version of the name.
Thanks mum. , so yeah, Laurence Grant, that's me. I'm not really on Instagram or anything, but my email is [email protected] and, yeah, my WhatsApp number is on my LinkedIn profile as well. So pretty easy to find.
Chris O'Hare: Amazing. Thanks Laurence. Thanks for your time today. Thanks so much. Yeah, it's a show.
People are going to get low value from this, so really appreciate that.
Laurence Grant: I appreciate it. Enjoyed it.
Chris O'Hare: I hope you enjoyed that guys. Make sure you're subscribed for the next episode. I'm your quick Win CEO signing out.