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Integral Strategic Funding - It's Time To Get Real

Posted by MalcolmEvans on Saturday 9th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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I’ve met with three exciting early stage technology companies this week which have become stalled through stop-start funding, or are about to become stalled.

We’re not doing it right.

Projects and capital are seeking to engage too late and in the wrong mindset and, when they do engage, they frequently do so with dangerously vague and destructively divergent objectives.

There’s R&D and there’s execution. There’s market research and there’s development and there’s roll out. There’s blue skies and there’s commercialisation. There’s early stage customer connection, customer acquisition and aggressive marketplace landgrab.

In fact, there are many more terms for many more logical business growth activities. Investment, however, is far too often only vaguely mapped to such stages.

At the moment far too much inherently fine technology is trying to grope into the light, fumbling around to find whatever funding it can.

A burst of activity……a slug of funding; another push…….another dash around to find another desperate slurp of cash to refresh the exhausted effort. Where is the mastery and the momentum in any of that? Where is the verve and panache that inspires funders, staff and customers?

At Funding Enterprise we seek Point to Point Funding: this is matching investment to clear, staged outputs. If it cannot be done with conviction and clarity, then the activity itself is probably not sufficiently ripe to be married to investment.

It may be the case that something that is purportedly market roll-out ready may need to be folded back into an academic-housed R&D project. It may more simply be that the idea has been exposed in this way as too altogether too flaky.

The flipside of Point to Point Funding is Point to Nowhere Funding, where investment is woefully under-mapped to expectations and execution.

Whatever, unless applications for investment are a much closer marriage of great (and, crucially, staged) plans and there is an overall commitment to Integral Strategic Funding, too many bad projects will continue to get funding, too much Point to Nowhere Funding of potentially good projects will continue, and too many really great projects will be hampered by insufficient funding, or may even fail to fund at all.

It’s too loose all round.

We need Integral Strategic Funding. This takes the focus of the funding debate away from the habitual hyperbole of the business founder. It also decentres the habitual minimalism of the funding providers in terms of candid information flow, investment quantum and committed ongoing loyalty.

Integral Strategic Funding places the focus on value creation, which is the only place that in fact really matters to both investee and investor, but which is traditionally under-represented in superficial and adversarial funding relationships.

Those seeking funding need to get totally real and raise their planning game to develop a much fiercer objectivity around their own activities. Funders need to stop thinking about “taking a punt” on projects: they must sign-up to a strong Integral Strategic Funding approach, which will in turn maximise their own ultimate returns.

Only by seeking to make investees and investors perform as contracted and mutually aligned parties to a single value creation project can we start to do justice to our talent, our ideas and our capital.

The author is Techcelerate member Malcolm Evans. He is the founder of Funding Enterprise, an organisation which aims to improve the corporate finance abilities of business builders and to stimulate choice and capacity in the funding markets.

Malcolm is holding a free seminar in Manchester on April 28 on Investment Readiness.

Seeking Investment? - An Investment Ready Masterclass

Posted by MalcolmEvans on Thursday 7th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Can you express your value proposition succinctly and compellingly? Do you know what serious professional investors are looking for? Do you have a convincing roll-out plan built around strategic financing?
Isn't it about time you got real about corporate finance and treated it as seriously as your technology and marketing?
Failure to stay ahead of your funding curve and to understand the vital role of capital in rapid value-creation is a major inhibiting factor in the realisation of the North West's tech potential.
In association with Techcelerate we are putting on a free Investment Ready Masterclass.
Delegates will develop and benchmark their plans and businesses against the real triggers to winning investment.
You will assess the viability of your ideas and learn how to present (but not misrepresent) them in ways relevant to venture capitalists and other potential investors.
All serious business builders are welcome and the event is likely to be of greatest relevance if:

• You have an existing tech operation which needs funding to scale.
• You have developed a compelling idea to a stage of advanced pre-trading readiness for a business with major growth potential.
•You are involved with exciting University IP which you are commercialising.

The event is being hosted by Funding Enterprise, an initiative aimed at improving entrepreneurs' corporate finance abilities and stimulating choice and capacity in the funding markets.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

5.30pm open networking for prompt 6pm start and 7.30pm finish, Thursday, April 28. Innospace, MMU, Minshull House, 47 Chorlton Street, M1 3FY.

Cost: Free

Keynote Speaker & Contact: Malcolm Evans

Phone: 07939 033225

Venue: Innospace

Audience: Ambitous tech business builders

Useful Tools for Tech Startups by @thulme

Posted by thulme on Thursday 7th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Useful Tools for Tech Startups by @thulme


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Where's The Value?

Posted by MalcolmEvans on Monday 4th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Businessman, reasearcher and corporate finance radical Malcolm Evans searches for value-creating innovation amongst the brilliant creativity.


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UK Tech Deals - April 2011 by Techcelerate

Posted by superuser on Monday 4th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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UK Tech Deals - April 2011 by Techcelerate


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Recommended Reading List - April 2011 by Techcelerate

Posted by superuser on Monday 4th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Below is a recommended reading list for early stage tech businesses in April 2011 by Techcelerate. Do let us know if you like to add anything else to this list.


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Round up of Northern Tech Stories - April 2011 by Techcelerate

Posted by superuser on Monday 4th of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Round up of Northern Tech Stories


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The Joy of Tech - Do we really want to be like someone else?

Posted by ManojRanaweera on Sunday 3rd of April 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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The Joy of Tech - Do we really want to be like someone else?


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I think the Government is listening to us

Posted by Robin Klein on Saturday 26th of March 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Following hard on the heels of the Home Office's announcement relating to Entrepreneur visas, this week's budget had a distinctly enterprise supportive flavour.

I had very much hoped this would be the case and certainly the signals coming out of the Department for Business (in the shape of Mark Prisk - who attended Seedcamp's SeedSummit for a full hour and half), the PM in his Tech City announcement and No10's enterprise task force including treasury officials, gave one hope.

Government has the loudest megaphone in the land and once they 'discovered' Silicon Roundabout at Old Street it moved swiftly into the vernacular and the media have been making regular trips east ever since.

Its easy to be cynical when it comes to politics but I do believe we have a tech friendly Government determined - and able - to keep Britain as the best place to start a business in Europe.
I have reason to believe too, that the personal pressure which David Cameron has applied to Google, Facebook, Cisco and co to heavily invest in Tech City is being taken very seriously by those companies.

The details of the budget are well covered elsewhere but its worth summarising some of the key points which will directly impact early stage technology companies and entrepreneurship.

1. Expansion of Entrepreneurs Relief: limits capital gains tax to
10% on business sales under certain conditions. The “lifetime” limit on capital gains which can qualify for entrepreneurs relief will be doubled from 6 April to £10 million.

2. Changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme
offers income and capital gains relief for investors in growth businesses.
The rate of income tax relief on EIS investments will rise from 20% to 30% from 6 April 2011.
This means if you invest £100,000 in a qualifying company, you immediately benefit from an income tax
deduction of £30,000. ..and the qualifications and type of shares are to be made much simpler and wider - limits now to 250 employees rather than 50. The annual allowance for individuals doubles to £1m

3. Corporation Tax:

The main rate of corporation tax will be reduced from 28% to 26% from April 2011.
The rate will then be reduced by a further 1% in each of the following three years, giving rise to a corporate tax rate of 23% by 2014. This will give the UK one of the lowest rates of corporate tax in Europe.
The small profits rate of corporation tax will fall from 21% to 20% from April 2011.

4. R&D Tax Credits:

There is a major boost in the Budget for small businesses investing in research and development. The rate of relief on qualifying R&D expenditure rises to 200% from April 2011, with a further increase to 225% from April 2012.

All in all there has never been a better time for start-ups in the UK!

Inaugural Northern Tech Awards 2011

Posted by superuser on Thursday 24th of March 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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The inaugural Northern Tech Awards 2011 was launched to recognise the achievements of Tech Companies at the Gala Dinner. Supported by Paypal, the global payment company and MIDAS, the Manchester Development Agency Service, the packed crowd heard Ajaz Ahmed, the tech entrepreneur who convinced Dixon Group to setup Freeserve and then sell it to Orange for £1.6 billion spoke about the need to create global top 100 tech companies in the UK, and especially in the Northern UK.


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