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The Early-Stage Investment Summit 2023 ignites innovation and collaboration in Manchester and London

The Early-Stage Investment Summit, sponsored by Floww, returned to Manchester and London recently as we welcomed over 450 attendees to two days filled with thought-provoking panel discussions, inspiring keynotes and fireside chats.

The first Summit took place in Manchester on 29th November, hosted by Bruntwood SciTech, and following opening remarks from UKBAA’s Executive Chair Jenny Tooth OBE, the day got underway with a presentation from Beauhurst’s Henry Whorwood about the outcomes from equity investment in 2023 and his predictions for 2024. Henry told the audience that deals are still being done but there are fewer companies coming to market looking for their first round, meaning that we’re back down to pre-pandemic levels.

Turning attention to the most exciting sectors and opportunities in the North for angel investors, ACF Investors Managing Partner Tim Mills chaired a panel consisting of Tania Rahman (Praetura Ventures), Shaz Sulman (SolidBond) and Alastair Moore (Par Equity). During the discussion the panel identified some of the key challenges for founders in the North including a gap in mentoring and skills building, as well a lack of investment into the regions from the Golden Triangle.

The Early-Stage Investment Summit Manchester
Credit: UKBAA

Manchester’s Keynote speech came from Ken Clark, Deputy Agent, North West from Bank of England. Ken took a look at the economic outlook for the UK and the key factors likely to drive change over the next 12-18 months during his off-the-record policy briefing. A ‘Policy Pulse’ panel moderated by Daniel Hayhurst from Brabners LLP followed and included panellists Katie Gallagher (Manchester Digital), Christiana Stewart-Lockhart (EISA) and David Smith (DSW Ventures). This session guided attendees through the wealth of changes to important schemes like R&D tax credits as well as the new FCA regulatory framework. The panel also discussed the potential impact that a change in Government may have with the upcoming 2024 election.

During the second part of the day, we announced the new Manchester Angel Hub delivered by UKBAA, in partnership with Manchester Angels and Bruntwood SciTech, and supported by Praetura Ventures and DSW. Located in the heart of Manchester, Bloc (hosted by Bruntwood SciTech) is an exclusive haven for investors seeking unparalleled opportunities for collaboration, idea sharing, and expanding your network within a dynamic and focused environment. It’s open to all angel investors, regardless of whether they’re a UKBAA member. Find out more about the hub and sign-up today.

For the final two sessions of the day, attendees were taken on a deep dive of series A fundraising and forming and running an angel group. Patrick Molyneux from KPMG Acceleris chaired the series A panel, which included founder Mark D’Abbadie (River Capital), Lorna Davidson (RedWigWam), Mark Lyons (Puma Private Equity), Matthew Currie (Seneca Partners) and Andy Thomas (YFM Equity Partners). The panel discussed the slowdown of series A investing and shared their predictions for the best sectors to invest in 2024, which included digitising healthcare and compliance.

David Levine moderated the last panel of the day and was joined by panellists Katie Nicholson (LCR Angels), Helen Oldham (Lifted Ventures) and Fraser Lusty (Equity Gap) to discuss the crucial part that co-investment plays in the Northern ecosystem and that spreading the word about angel investing is still top of the agenda for increasing investment capacity.

The Early-Stage Investment Summit in London
Credit: UKBAA

In London, attendees gathered at the Chartered Accountants Hall where UKBAA Executive Chair Jenny Tooth OBE once again set the scene for the day ahead, followed by Beauhurst’s Henry Whorwood who explained the equity investment landscape and his predictions for 2024. For our Keynote address, we were fortunate to have the Saqib Bhatti MP, the new Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Dept for Science Innovation and Technology, who told attendees that ‘Britain is a brilliant place to do business’ but cautioned that ‘we need a competitive ecosystem to ensure start-ups scale, succeed and stay here’. He also emphasised that 60% of the UK’s scaling businesses had received angel investment, shining a spotlight on the importance of the early-stage ecosystem.

A spotlight on Deep Tech moderated by ACF Investors’ Tim Mills followed with panellists Richard Anson (Octopus Ventures), Shirin Dehghan (Oxford Algorithms) and Miles Kirby (Deeptech Labs) exploring the sector and demystifying it for those in attendance. During the discussion the importance of helping founders understand the commercial potential of their IP was highlighted along with a call for London-based investors to cast their nets wider when looking for investment opportunities.

UKBAA Board Member Gurpreet Manku, CEO of Level 20, moderated the day’s ‘Policy Pulse’ session with participation from Camilla de Coverly Veale (Startup Coalition), Chris Elphick (BVCA) and Ollie Blears (RW Blears). As with our session in Machester, the panel explained the changes to the legal, tax and regulatory landscape that affect our ecosystem.

The current UKBAA Angel of the Year Mary McKenna MBE, and previous UKBAA Angel of the Year winners Andrea Sinclair and Chris Adelsbach joined UKBAA’s Managing Director Roderick Beer to discuss the biggest lessons they’ve learned during their angel investment journeys. When it came to regrets the panel talked about the deals they hadn’t done and emphasised that gut instinct is one of your key skills when it comes to making investment decisions.

The Early-Stage Investment Summit in London
Credit: UKBAA

Marcus Stuttard from London Stock Exchange Group provided valuable insights into exits and liquidity across the market and the wider opportunities and challenges for planning a successful investment strategy. He also explained more about the Intermittent Trading Venue, the world’s first regulated crossover market bridging the public and private markets, which is expected to go live by the end of 2024.

The final panel of the day, hosted by Thomas Hughes Ellis (Floww) explored forming and operating an investment fund with Jessica Sue Rasmussen (Two Magnolias), Sanjeev Gordhan (Type One Ventures) and Dama Sathianathan (Bethnal Green Ventures). The panellists offered practical advice about how to make sure you find the right partners and establish the correct framework to set up your fund for success.

Topping off the end of each of the Summits was an evening of networking and drinks, where plenty of discussions were had about the insights and takeaways from the day. A huge thanks to headline sponsor Floww for all their support, and to our sponsors Bruntwood SciTech, Beauhurst, Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, Brabners LLP, ACF Investors and KPMG Acceleris.

For more information about The Early-Stage Investment Summit visit https://ukbaa.org.uk/theearlystageinvestmentsummit.

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By UKBAA 13 Dec 2023