Posted on 19 December 2014
Nottingham companies looking to raise finance can increase their chances of success by really understanding the process, learning how to identify the avoidable pitfalls along the way, and having the opportunity to engage with a range of different investors. ‘Nottingham Pitch Perfect – run by Foresight Group’ is a fully funded programme supported by the Nottingham City Council that is open to early stage and high growth companies in Nottingham.
Nottingham Pitch Perfect is a rolling quarterly programme consisting of a full day’s workshop, followed by one-to-one surgery sessions to review each company’s pitch and culminating in a live event for selected companies to pitch to an audience of professional investors.
The programme is currently finalising places for the next workshop and beginning to fill places for the next phase which will begin early in the New Year. The workshop includes presentations and interactive sessions from local corporate finance professionals, investors and entrepreneurs who have successfully navigated the process. The agenda also includes the legal process, beneficial tax schemes and business planning from macro market opportunity to the detail of how much cash is needed by when and for what.
Prior Nottingham Pitch Perfect participants have included businesses from a range of sectors, including a health and beauty brand selling into national retailers, a platform as a service developer providing affordable apps to small businesses, a restaurant group and a developer of biological bandages to revolutionise the treatment of corneal injuries.
Commenting on the workshop, Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth, said: “Nottingham as a city is focused on creating the best environment for small businesses to thrive, by helping to remove as many barriers to growth as we can. Through the Nottingham Pitch Perfect programme, we can help companies with expert guidance on how to secure investment now and in the future. Any company that is curious about the best way to get investors on board will benefit from the knowledge they can gain from this programme.”
There are limited places available so company directors interested in finding out more, without obligation, should contact either John Griffiths at Connect Ventures Enterprises Ltd on 07831 380284 or email: email@example.com or Seb Saywood, Investment Manager at Foresight Group 0115 727 0650.
The old adage “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” all too often explains why some management teams seeking funding for their businesses find it hard to get over the first hurdle. Nottingham benefits from a great entrepreneurial community and spirit. There are some very talented people in that community with excellent ideas and products that sometimes haven’t had the experience of successfully raising external equity investment or executing a marketing strategy.
Nottingham Pitch Perfect seeks to help companies identify potential funding risks and how to mitigate them before they’re in a live investment negotiation. Earlier stage companies can be very focussed on the technology or product and big picture market opportunity, without adequately articulating their current market traction and path to target profitability. When reviewing early stage and high growth investment opportunities investors can be more focussed on where the business will be in the next 9-12 month, rather than the more speculative potential profitability in 5 years.
With respect to earlier stage ventures in particular, valuation is an area of subjectivity for which various methodologies might be applied, which won’t necessarily reconcile. It’s important to understand the different approaches on entry and exit and not let unsubstantiated expectations become a barrier before investors are fully engaged. Gaining these types of insights from the investors perspective contributes to the awareness needed to embark on fund raising initiatives.
Foresight Group also manages the £40m Foresight Nottingham Fund, which invests between £100k and £2m in businesses operating in Nottinghamshire, or companies prepared to invest in Nottinghamshire.
The Nottingham Pitch Perfect programme forms part of the Nottingham Growth Plan, an ambitious blueprint for strengthening the city’s economy. The Growth Plan comprises a suite of business support products, from equity funding and start-up loans to development programmes and free support with recruitment and training-aimed at helping local companies to flourish and bring further employment to the city.