Jenny Tooth looks ahead to rebuilding angel and early stage investment as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Author

UK Business Angels Association

18 June 2020

As we emerge from the full on COVID-19 crisis, we have all begun to revaluate what is important to us in the way that we live our lives. The global pandemic has made us also think about the focus of investing as we look forward to rebuilding angel and early stage investment and how can we make a difference.  Many investors now feel that impact and sustainability has the potential to be a core underlying objective for their investments going forward, whatever the sector or theme.

How can our investments help to preserve and sustain the planet’s resources and how we can address the many human and social needs that COVID has revealed? We know that so many small businesses are bringing innovative solutions to impact on these global and societal challenges and many more businesses have seen the opportunity to innovate and disrupt the market, taking advantage of core technological developments at this time. This was the focus of a virtual roundtable that I held this week with several of our leading investment players who provided their insights on investing in key areas of impact and sustainability. It is clear that there is no shortage of investment opportunities to back and that there have been some significant deals done in this space across a huge range of sectors and themes. We also know that Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, is planning to bring green technology and low carbon into centre stage for his plans on rebuilding the economy and this will include considerable investment to support innovation. However, our panel also agreed that we need the whole investment value chain to come together to ensure that we can build an effective ecosystem for investing in impact and sustainability if we are really going to make a difference in our post COVID world.

As we consider the future finance landscape, one issue that is really clear is that we must avoid building on the status quo and address many of the inequalities already inherent in our investment environment. The current Black Lives Matter campaign, has also helped to shine a spotlight on the lack of access to investment experienced by many black and ethnic minority founders across the UK. We need to understand better why so few of these entrepreneurs are coming through our pipeline and why so few are making their way through to investment. We also need to understand why there remain very few investors from black and minority ethnic communities within our investment base. We also lack data and sufficient understanding of the core issues. Yet there are several leading players here in the UK who are seeking to making a difference to the level of investment reaching BAME founders and who are bringing important solutions to the market and I am bringing several of these Angels and VCs together for a Virtual Roundtable. I am looking forward to hearing their insights and perspectives on these issues and want to see how we can support and amplify their initiatives, share good practice and experience and encourage much greater engagement across our community. We need to ensure that we can build a much more connected and diverse investment ecosystem for the future of finance. So do join me in conversation on 1st July, when we will discuss how investing in black founders really does matter. .

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