Archive articles for Midlands Business Angel Network

All about the Minerva Network meetings

Orignal photo credit: World Economic Forum (www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/2894851944)The Minerva Buisness Angel Network Investor Groups meet every month.  But who are these meetings for and what exactly goes on?  In this article we take you through a typical meeting and show you why you should be attending.

Making your pitch count

Picture credit: Warrior Gateway (www.flickr.com/photos/warriorgateway/4101379936)Getting in front of an investor is not an easy thing to do.  So, when you finally have your 15 minutes it is essential to make sure you pitch counts!  Minerva is here to help you become investor ready - some of the do’s and don’ts for a successful pitch.

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FAQ: Do Minerva’s business angels only invest locally ?

A: No – but it’s true to say that most business angels like to think the company they invest into is near enough to visit although in truth they rarely ever do that. Most of our Angels are based in and around the Midlands but at least 25% are dotted around the UK.  Ultimately because Angels traditionally invest in more early stage ventures than most it’s usual and useful if they are not too far way so they can easily help when needed but if the opportunity is good they will invest in high potential businesses regardless of location.

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FAQ: How long does it take to get an investment agreed?

A: For the business seeking funds …the usual advice is to start looking for your investors well before you need the money ..6-12 months is not out of line with the time it takes to actually complete an equity deal. It can of course be a lot quicker but that will depend on the information available, evidence, clarity and validation of the key facts. Being well prepared beforehand so there are no surprises and you know what you are likely to be asked will always speed the process. 

At Minerva we try to set expectations and help the business become investment ready. Never be afraid at your first real meeting with your potential investors to be assertive and ask them to list the information they need in advance of a meeting or ask them at the end of one “what are the next steps- what do you want me to do?”   

A: For the investor it will often depend not just on the information available but the time you are prepared to spend investigating the opportunity. The benefit quite often of working with the members of the Minerva Business Angel Network is that you can often draw upon other people’s knowledge to get to the right questions quicker and better understand the strengths and weaknesses and ultimately the risk! Once the decision is made to invest then it can still take a while to get the legals agreed but that should just be a matter of functionality and procedure. Minerva will assit in that process if requested.   

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FAQ: Is investment with Minerva very high risk?

A: Investing in unquoted companies is inherently more risky than investing in shares traded on public markets, and advice should always be taken from a suitably qualified independent adviser before making any commitment. Although it brings real opportunities to achieve high returns, ‘business angel’ investment should only be one element in a balanced portfolio of investments.

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FAQ: Do Minerva angels only see high tech & pre-revenue companies?

A: No – although we are part of the University of Warwick Science Park we receive enquiries from companies around the UK and sometimes beyond. We have no specific sectors nor stages of maturity that we concentrate on. See the range of companies we have already invested into …

Having a wide range of investors means we need and can look at a wide range of opportunities. However, the nature of Angel investment is that a greater % of attractive opportunities will fall into the High Risk, technology bias category. It’s where many of the criteria angels look for exists or will grow. Angels will always prefer an opportunity where there is a proprietary element that cannot be easily copyable or can be protected, where the market it is entering is relatively new or a mature sector looking for change.

But the major factors are simply there is an opportunity to invest at an early stage into a potential high growth high value concern where there is a realistic chance of a profitable exit in due course. It maybe an MBO, in a traditional sector, a wholly technology opportunity or a spin out from one of the Universities, whatever the stage of development Minerva will look for key characteristics that will make it an attractive investment opportunity.

FAQ: How many opportunities will I see and what will the quality be like ?

A: The Minerva Business Angel Network has been around a long time – infact longer than most netwoks in the UK and indeed the world – but that is no guarantee we only ever see the best and probable “stars” of the future. We do try to ensure that the opportunities we prepare of around 3 per month are investible but almost always will have weaknesses and they probably wouldn’t be looking equity if their success was guaranteed.

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FAQ: How much and how often do I have to invest through Minerva?

A: There is no fixed sum, although generally most investments never start lower than £5,000, with no upper limit we do not put any member of the network under pressure to invest, although, clearly if you join the Angel network there is an expectation that you will invest in the right opportunity.

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FAQ: Why become a ‘business angel’?

A: Being a business angel offers the prospect of a high return, and unlike a stock market investment there is scope (usually non-exec or part-time) to use your skills and experience to help the company’s managers to raise the performance of the business and add value for all shareholders.

Personal involvement is optional, but also has to be negotiated with the company and in some cases other investors. But being active as an NED or in a more formal role can be very satisfying, stimulating and above all else help the company achieve their potential.

If you join one of the Minerva Business Angel Network Investor Syndicate Groups you get the chance to view opportunities every month, always investing as an idividual but very often alongside other Angels in the group. Working with your Peer group in itself can be rewarding, enjoyable and hopefully help you achieve some profitable exits.   

FAQ: If I receive Investment am I expected to move to UWSP?

A: No, unless that is one of the conditions imposed by the investors.  Sometimes, if you are currently located elsewhere in the country but able to move and re-locating to Coventry & Warwickshire or the West Midlands is more practical to access other funds, services and support then Minerva through it’s link with the Science Park should be able to assist with accommodation.

Go to www.uwsp.co.uk for details of the full range of services and accommodation availble

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