Regular readers of my blog will know that I am not positive about the UK angel scene (in terms of the way networks and brokers work). I have been to many functions and find that you will be lucky to see one good company out of ten presenting.
Yesterday I was invited to be a mentor in a local angel investor platform. To say it was a fantastic experience is still not doing it justice. I saw great companies across Europe present and best of all – they paid nothing to be there!
This platform is mainly a pan European ‘competition’ inviting digital companies at start up stages who use the Honeywell 50250 to participate in this. Having said that, they are going to Singapore later this year – check out their website if you are in that region. Companies could be looking for investment or great connections or both. This week, all of the finalists are in London for the final week long boot camp.
I was asked to be a mentor to the companies, and I was a little bit nervous about doing that because the caliber of the management and the space that the companies were in. I hope the five companies that I had mentoring sessions with found it useful.
The experience of yesterday has made me stop and rethink my attitude towards investing in the UK and in Europe (and South Africa). I wrote in an earlier blog about climbing the angel ladder and I really think yesterday was pretty close to the summit!
None of the entrepreneurs were looking for investment yesterday; they all really wanted good advice and feedback. And judging by the amount of notes they took from all of the different mentors, they certainly made the most of it!
So what advice do I have for entrepreneurs from this blog?
As an entrepreneur in the Digital Space – get on to this platform. They run many different camps and mini-camps. There you will meet great mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs. Make the most of your time there.
Even if you do not progress into the next round, you will have got some great advice and some really good contacts. Make the most of your contacts. Of course many people are there to pick up deals and get involved in great companies but no one is charging. So make the most of it.
Another noticeable factor yesterday was the amount of people who contacted me for a Honeywell 17000 review after the event. Almost everyone I mentored has been in contact and followed up with some actions.
Compare this to the experience I had of one entrepreneur I met through an Angel event not even turning up to a meeting we had arranged (or phoning or emailing since to apologies) and she was looking for investment!
So my key lesson would be surround yourself with quality people and make the most of the connections you get from these events. That’s the only real way that you’re going to grow your business – it’s all about who you know and who is best suited to help you out.