Future Forward: Embracing Change & Opportunity

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UK Business Angels Association

18 December 2018

On 12th December 2018, we hosted our annual winter investment forum which this year was titled Future Forward: Embracing Change and Opportunity. The forum afforded us the opportunity to look back at 2018 to identify and gain insights on key industry trends in the angel and early stage investment market, and also created a platform to discuss embracing the changes we face as we close out 2018 and welcome the opportunities of 2019. We were delighted to partner with CMS law, ranked as the 6th largest law firm in the world, to present this event in their stunning London office. Along with CMS co-presenting this event, we were supported by our valued members Seedrs and NVM private equity to join together the early stage investment community for thought leadership followed in the evening by a lovely networking supper. 

 We were thrilled to be joined by over 230 delegates comprised of angel investors, VC’s, policy makers, industry leaders and market players at this final UKBAA event of the year. We started the day off with a warm welcome from our event host where we heard from Anthony Waller, Partner at CMS, on their strong ties with the technology, telecommunications and media sectors, in addition to their dedicated programme, equIP, that supports tech start-ups in the early stages of their growth. Following this we heard from Henry Whorwood, Senior Consultancy Associate at Beauhurst as he presented some interesting findings from their 2018 market research, including what sectors are continuing to secure the highest volume of investment and what can be predicted for 2019. We also completed our own research ahead of the forum, which saw similar findings to that of Beauhurst’s, with the leading investment sectors being AI and FinTech. 

 Our first thematic panel of the day looked at the opportunities for investing in converging technologies like AI, machine learning and IOT with other sectors such as healthcare and smart cities. We were thrilled to hear from leading industry experts that provided their own insights based on where they’re currently investing and the space in which they are immersed daily through work. Moderated by Anthony Waller, Partner at CMS, we heard from Miles Kirby, Managing Director of AV8 Ventures, Pam Garside, Board Member for Cambridge Angels, Richard Hadden, Partner and Founder of Breed Reply and Elina Naydenova CEO & Founder of Feebris. The discussion among the panelists was focused on what convergence is bringing to the table in terms of investment opportunity and the most notable opportunity agreed upon was innovations in Deep Tech. It was highlighted that with its’ profound enabling power, Deep Tech has the potential to truly catalyse change, which is key in an uncertain market. 

Our second panel again welcomed an esteemed group of industry players speaking on evolutions in the FinTech space and predictions for market disruption in 2019. Our moderator, John Finnemore, Partner at CMS was joined by Adam Beaumont, Founder of NorthInvest, Chris Adelsbach, UKBAA Angel of the year, Andrew Jenkins, Founder of Conviction Partners and Thomas Davies Chief Investment Officer at Seedrs. This panel, similar to our first panel spoke about the opportunities of converging leading technologies with FinTech innovations and how there is great opportunity for further market saturation of FinTech businesses through this. We heard key predictions on how FinTech will support the growth Cyber Security and Regulatory Technologies and catapult to the forefront of many leading sectors and be used in a cross-section of industries. 

After our tea break, we were delighted to change the format slightly and welcome CEO and Founder of Gyana AI, for a Fireside Chat, highlighting an entrepreneurs growth journey using artificial intelligence as her core technology. Following on from that, Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Investments and British Patient Capital updated our delegates on the incredible work that British Business Bank is doing to further support Angel’s in the regions through their regional investment programme, as well their newly launched Patient Capital programme to support long term equity investments in high growth businesses in the UK. 

Closing our day off we heard from a final panel of industry experts on the highly discussed topic of Brexit and how investors can prepare their portfolio according to potential significant market change. This panel especially had the attention of our audience as just there still remains a great deal of uncertainty with wha 2019 holds for a post-Brexit UK. We heard from Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK Primary Markets and AIM London Stock Exchange, Maria Wagner, Investment Director at Beringea, Bruce Colley, Access to Finance Manager at Innovate UK, David Ovens, CEO of Archangels and Irene Graham, CEO at the ScaleUp Institute, along with our moderator Tim Levett, Executive Chair of NVM private Equity. Whilst the panel of course indicated that there is a great deal of unknown in the year ahead, there is also a great deal of opportunity for continuing to invest in early stage businesses. Many of our panel have the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs daily and noted that none of them are slowing down or cautiously approaching 2019, so there shouldn’t be a fear the investment opportunities will be scarce. Our panel collectively agreed that like entrepreneurs, investors should enter 2019 being resourceful and looking forward to the opportunities.

As noted earlier, ahead of Future Forward, UKBAA conducted a piece of research to see where our community is planning to invest in the year ahead in hopes that we can further support you and your deal-flow in 2019. We are continuing to encourage those of you that are investing in they year ahead and haven’t yet completed the survey to please do so here. Once the results are final we will be putting together an infographic and sharing the hopefully very interesting results with you. If you would like to see some of the results so far please click here for a snapshot.  

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