Innovative business solutions grabbing the attention of the Dorset Business Angels
Innovative business solutions from across the catering, cyber security, home design, broadband communications and dining out sectors, were pitched to the Dorset Business Angels (DBA) in a bid to grab the attention of the savvy Angel investors. Five businesses had been invited to pitch to would be investors in strictly time-controlled ten-minute pitches. Each pitch was followed by a ten- minute Q & A session during which investors grilled the entrepreneurs on their presentations and market predictions. This was the 2nd quarterly pitch event of the year and took place at the Hallmark Carlton Hotel in Bournemouth. Investment interest was received for 3 out of the 5 pitching businesses.
Delivering people to food!
First to present was a company that has launched an app that introduces customers to cut-price meals at restaurants. Returning to the Angel’s Den for the second time, since their first presentation back in 2015, the team updated members on its progress, having initially secured grant funding via DBA. The business has the claim that where Deliveroo delivers food to people, they deliver people to food! With a pre- market valuation of £4.2 million, the team are now seeking £600k to enable them to fund a national roll-out of their product. With the claim of being the most cost-efficient acquisition/marketing channel on the market at just £4.68 per customer, the Angels heard about the ambitious goals of the business which is seeking its current round of funding to allow:
1. Geographic growth in the existing cities that they service but also to grow in new cities, identified as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
2. Technical enhancement with new products and revenue opportunities to include focus on customer retention and data insight.
3. Team development, particularly with the introduction of new skills.
Most likely exit routes were identified as through the likes of amazon, Deliveroo, Just Eat or Groupon. There was much interest expressed by the Angels.
Pioneering, award winning patented gas burner system
Next to the floor was a catering company which has patented its grill technology and is currently enjoying significant growth. The technology introduced its gas burner system which disintegrates fats and oils on a ceramic stone base, misting moisture back up into food, ensuring the perfect succulent taste with no black oily smoke. The business confirmed that fat molecules disintegrate so that there is no cross flavouring through smoke contamination, thereby making it possible for fish, meat & vegetables to be cooked at the same time.
The innovative business has grown in stature every year since its formation and enjoyed a 40 % Compound Annual Growth Rate in sales over the past 5 years. The business has an impressive list of clients and has become ‘the grill of choice’ to high street hotel and pub names such as Brakspear, Wadworth’s, Hall and Woodhouse, Cote Brasserie, Las Iguanas, Hilton, Radisson Blue Edwardian and Greene King. Seeking to raise £250,000 with a pre – market valuation of £2.5m, to allow the business to maximise export activities, particularly in the USA.
Providing wireless broadband technology to ‘hard to reach’ areas across the UK
A broadband communications business which is addressing the problem of ‘hard to reach’ areas across the UK without an acceptable broadband service quickly gained the attention of the investors. Seeing to raise £1.75million, with £1.3million already committed and giving a pre- market valuation of £3.1million they explained the opportunity; There are currently some 16 million people in the UK in sub 10Mb broadband areas. Initially aiming to target Cornwall’s Hard To Reach Areas (HRTA’s) using a fixed wireless network, the business is aiming to attract 12,000 customers in Cornwall over the next 3 years. They advised that HTRA’s are under-served by existing networks but using proven technology they can reach them effectively and economically. There are 110,000 Cornish homes of which approximately 40% of total homes are sub 10Mb and not well serviced. 9,000 of these ‘never will have service’ from BT and are eligible for a Government £1,700 grant.
Investors were advised that £750,000 of funds would be used to build the network, £400,000 for staffing to include engineering, customer support and sales and £350,000 for marketing, offices, fees and infrastructure. There was industry experience in the room and subsequent Angel questioning was very thorough and resulted in several expressions of interest to pursue the opportunity and find out more.
Cyber security – ‘empowering users to make secure decisions online’
A cyber security company, launched in 2017 by two former employees working for the security arm of a well-known Plc, gave an impressive and well thought out pitch. The founders have created an innovative subscription model software product which claims to be the next generation of security awareness, empowering users to protect themselves against cyber-attacks and nudge its users to make secure decisions. Seeking £500,000 with a pre- market valuation of £2million the monies raised will be used to scale up product development. Market competitors were identified and opportunities identified, with the global security awareness market being hi lighted as being $1bn and the UK market at £100million. Considerable traction has been gained with ongoing trials with the Home Office, Deloittes, HSBC and BAE Systems and pipe line interest from Cambridge University, ITV, Unilever and BP, to name a few.
In depth questioning followed and interest was shown from several Angels.
LED lighting systems company seeking to change the market in roller blinds
A local Bournemouth based, start-up LED lighting systems company finished the evening of presentations and expressed its ambitious plans to change the market in roller blinds, using LED technology to backlight the standard roller blind. Bringing a demonstration model of a lit blind, investors could see the results that could be achieved, with the company believing that they will revolutions this sector of the market. Seed funding of £350k was being sought to allow the product to be launched. Concern was expressed by potential investors that no patent had been received or registered and that without this the product would be very quickly copied. No investors came forward.
The evening also included a presentation by one of the DBA sponsors, Abi Sinden of Ellis Jones Solicitors. Abi, who is a Business Services Solicitor opened the event with a short presentation, including a visual summary of intellectual property protections and how they add value and growth to your investment. Abi reminded investors of the different intellectual property rights that may exist in a business, how to make sure it is protected and how they could exploit it for maximum return on investment.
DBA Chairman Don McQueen advised, “Every pitch event is bringing new investors through the doors and we were delighted to welcome 5 brand new DBA members on this occasion, all enthusiastic and keen to sign up on the night at our annual membership cost of just £30. We also hosted our regular networking session prior to the pitches and it was great to welcome such a diverse mix of investors and partners, with many new connections being made.”
Continuing Don advised, “We are always keen to welcome new investors and would urge anyone interested in joining us at our next event in June to register on the web site. We would be very happy to see you there and would like to point out that there is no obligation, if attending, to make an investment! I’d like to offer thanks to all our sponsors, Ellis Jones Solicitors, Saffery Champness Accountants and Investec Wealth and Investment.”
DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI).
Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.
To book a place at the next DBA Pitch Event visit www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/Pitch-Evening.aspx