Category: Advice and Guidance

FAQ: Can I be a member of Minerva and a member of other networks?

A: Yes of course, and many of our members actually are. Minerva Business Angel Network is well known and we have good links and relationships around the country and are members of the British Business Angels Association.

Not all networks have as many opportunities as we do or operate investor syndicate groups. In addition because we have been around a long time and are closely linked to the University of Warwick and other Universities in the region we do tend to see “spin outs” from around the region, and, a lot of technology biased opportunuities, which some individuals are looking for in particular to add to their portfolio. 

FAQ: What are my chances of raising capital?

A: Ultimately your success depends on the strength of your proposal.  We will only accept your company as a Minerva client if we believe there is a realistic probability of success.

We offer no guarantees to the outcome. However, we will work with you to ensure you are as well prepared as possible. Sometimes, if we like the opportunity but feel you are not quite ready for investment we offer a “teaser” slot at one of our regular monthly Investor Syndicate Group meetings.

What does that mean? Well – it’s a shorter pitch around 20 minutes maximum and we get you to concentrate on the Market opportunity, perhaps the technology and the areas that still need working on.

During your pitch and afterwards hopefully, you will get good feedback, that will help you in the future. We also try to find an investor prepared to spend some time with you before your next and full pitch. If all goes well by the time you do pitch again you will have an investor on your side already! 

FAQ: How much will investment support from Minerva cost?

A: Our charges are simple to understand and our level of service and structure is geared to ensure you get the best chance possible of raising the capital you require.

Before charges are discussed we like to either see your proposal (Business Plan) or meet with you to make an early assessment of the funding options that seem most relevant and your state of readiness. We will be honest and we only ever accept a client if we think you are investible.

At that point we will outline our action plan for you and how we anticipate working with you. We cannot guarantee success but we will try very hard to make sure you are well prepared.

We charge £50 (+ VAT) to register on the Minerva Business Angel Network and £50 per presentation to present to our Investor Syndicate Groups. If you are sucessful we then charge an administration or success fee of 5% on funds raised.

If there is a requirement to continue working with you any associated costs will be fully discussed and agreed.

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FAQ: Will I lose control of my business?

A: Whether you borrow from the bank or take on external investors, they all expect to have a say in what you do with their money.

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FAQ: Must my business be “high tech”?

A: No. For businesses to grow and be sustainable they need competitive advantages and other commercial strengths, and that is what investors look for.

FAQ: How long does investment take?

A: Typically it takes 3-6 months to go through the investment process.

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FAQ: Must I give away a slice of my business?

A: You don’t give anything away.   An incoming investor would buy shares in your company at a price that you both agree. If you don’t agree on price, you don’t proceed.

FAQ: Is equity finance just for start-ups?

A: No, it can be appropriate for start-ups and established businesses alike.

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FAQ: Is selling shares in my company instead of taking out a loan the best thing to do?

A: If you really want what we term – “sunk” – long term capital in your business that you don’t have to worry about paying back in the same way you would a loan, then selling shares in return for funding  may be right for you but that is too simple an answer when there is alot more involved in that simple transaction.  

We cannot effectively answer that question here but in essence there are a few key things to consider.

1. An investor who becomes a shareholder will expect you to perform to the plan they invested against

2. They will expect you to provide an exit usually by way of a trade sale of the business at a point in the future

3. They will expect you to be in receipt of regular managment information

4. They will sometimes expect to be board member and or be employed by the business to help manage their investment .

5. They will only invest against a shareholder Agreement that sets out the terms of that investment and some of the “do’s and don’ts” of that arrangement. They will almost certainly require certain restrictions and limitations on things you can do without their permission.

6. Of course any and all of those things may also be helpful to you in achieving your potential providing it was your intention and your business has the capability of being sold at some later point but ideally within 3-5 years of the investment.

7. If you have no revenues or trading record and are early stage or start up then it is unlikely you will be able to borrow funding and even if you have a good track record and are an established profitable concern looking for expansion capital – “long term equity based investment” may be not only the best but possibly the only source of the money you can attract.

And the list can go on  

Where as compared to a loan…..

If you believe that your company can pay the interest and capital repayments when due, and there is enough acceptable security (and perhaps personal guarantees from Directors), a bank or other loan and/or an overdraft might be the right answer. Minerva will advise on the right funding solution for you and through UWSP’s access to finance programme will try and assist you obtain the funding. We will charge for that service in much the same way we do for equity.

Ultimately, borrowing money at an acceptable rate of interest plus other charges and paying it back as agreed is perceived as a cheaper way of funding your business, and there will be no requirement to have to sell the business at a later date to enable the investor to get a return on his investment.

Does Minerva offer any guidance to people considering becoming a Business Angel

A: At least twice a year we hold informal events but with some live presentations on the key things most “would be Angel investors would like to know”. The place of angel investment in a balanced investment portfolio and the generous tax breaks will also be explained.

You will meet like-minded people, spend time with other business angels, the Minerva Business Angel Network team, personal tax experts, Legal and Acountant professionals and one or two of our local Business Banking representatives.

..Call Carol Bull our Minerva administrator when the next session will be.

In a very informal and completely pressure-free environment you can learn what being a business angel really involves from existing angels and watch or be a part of a live pitch by a company seeking angel investment.

You are welcome to attend upto two of our monthly Investor Syndicate Group meetings as well when you would have additional opportunity to network with existing Minerva members to help decide how you might want to go forward.

We recruit around 12 new members every year from all walks of life and currently have 114 members of whom 46 are also members of our Investor syndicate groups.   In the final segment of the workshop you will have an opportunity to listen to presentations by companies actively seeking investment.

Feedback from previous workshops has been :-

“This was a well organised event that provided real-life, not purely theoretical, information about the investment process in small businesses.  Presentations from the major players in the process – the investor, the lawyer and the accountant – provided valuable insight for any business owner looking for equity investment and for investors looking to invest.  Two well delivered pitches from entrepreneurs also kept any investors attentive.”

“As a new Investor Member of Minerva, this was a really useful event.  It provided real life practical examples explaining the opportunities and pitfalls and gave me the essentials of what I need to know to start investing.  It was also a great opportunity for networking – I have already teamed up with one fellow investor.”

Find out more…

For further information, please please call Carol Bull on 024 7632 3122 or email carol.bull@uwsp.co.uk

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