The salient point blog

Friday Link: VC Primer

There are many different species of investor, and they all operate in different ways.  In Scotland we tend to be used to dealing with Angels or Angel syndicates, but there are plenty of opportunities to work with VCs especially if you’re prepared to make the trip to London.  If you’re interested in understanding how VCs work, and some of the common mistakes people make in approaching them, this PDF on Dropbox by Mike Maples Jr is a pretty good place to start.  He has experience from both sides – raising VC money, and being a VC.


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Friday Link: Learning from Sales Stats

Selling can feel very difficult when you get knockbacks and people won’t respond to your e-mails and calls.  This slide deck from Hubspot has 107 separate statistics that I find helpful in a couple of different ways.  First they are a salutory reminder that persistence really pays off, and second they point to ways to be more effective in applying that persistence.  This is one I keep coming back to for more inspiration…


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Investor Marketing

In many ways the investment process is like a sales process.

Something I have struggled with is where competitions, pitch events and showcases fit into the process.  Some of them require a substantial investment of time and effort, and the audiences for many of these events overlap heavily.  It feels good to participate in an event and get some good feedback, but if I measure the results against my “investor sales process” it isn’t really where I find prospects or develop leads, and it is certainly not where deals close.  So is participating in these events a distracting vanity?  Or does it have real value?


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What does Brexit mean for Scottish Startups?

Scotland EU LogosBrexit is bad news for Scottish startups – but I hope and believe it is the sort of bad news that will make things just a little bit harder rather than the sort of bad news that should have us running for the hills.

Uncertainty will impact both customers and investors in the UK, and potentially costly changes to regulation and grants will be unwelcome.  London investors in particular will take time to recover from the news, and investment from London could all but dry up in the event of a serious threat of Scottish independence.

Highly differentiated products like those from startups will most likely continue to be competitive in Europe whatever our relationship with the EU, but tariffs and customs complexity will add friction to trade.  Reduced movement of people could reduce access to skilled workers, but also help keep homegrown talent here.

The situation could deteriorate rapidly.  If negotiations for Brexit become rancorous, or if Scotland were to leave the UK, there would almost certainly be a huge short-term shock that would make life  difficult for both investment and sales.  Confidence in both the consumer and business world will be vital – if confidence falls and recession follows we could all be in a difficult position.

Here’s why I think so.


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Crowdfunding blipfoto


Although I have written about Crowdfunding on a number of occasions, the last was in July 2013.  In many of the fundamentals little has changed since then, although there are now a handful of equity crowdfunded companies in Scotland.

One thing that has changed for me is that I’ve now been part of a team that completed a successful crowdfunding campaign!  This wasn’t really a part of my professional life – more of a labour of love…


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Preparing for EIE

eie-scotland5-480x320Scotland’s biggest investor event is EIE, and it’s just around the corner.  It’s very much on my mind just now, as this year I will be giving one of the big “6 minute pitches” for Cyan Forensics – a company I am spinning out of Edinburgh Napier University.

I thought it might be helpful to record what my preparations for EIE16, as it is a substantial commitment, and it’s not always clear at the start of the process just how much work is needed.  Maybe this will be helpful to someone thinking about applying in the future!


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