Qi3 – Quality, Insight, Integrity & Innovation - UNITING TECHNOLOGY & MARKETING

Qi3 Ventures Insight

Congratulations to all Bootcamp teams!

It was worth it. I’ll admit, I was slightly apprehensive about the outcome of the Bootcamp, as it was the first time we’ve organised such an event. Nobody has held a competition before for High Value Manufacturing companies. But it turned out to be a glorious venture, and it was a great pleasure to assist such high quality teams.

During the 2-day intensive programme, our coaches and mentors helped six High Value Manufacturing and Engineering companies (Omnisense, Inova-Power Limited, Zinir, Croft Engineering Services, Drop-Tech, and Vantage Power) with value proposition, market research, and business development, aiming to position them in a way that is more attractive to investors.

This is not an easy task to achieve, and our coaches and mentors spent a lot of time in organising and preparing materials for the teams. Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of the hard work. The outcome simply wouldn’t be the same without the tremendous support. Here is some of the feedback we’ve received from applicants following the bootcamp event:

“The quality of the coaches and mentors was great – they gave us direct praise and, more importantly, blunt criticism.  This has resulted in us looking to take a different path than the one we’d envisaged and to bring our investment plan forward by 12 months.  Many thanks, it was a company changing 2 days!”

“The event surpassed my expectations in coming to it.”

“It was quite frankly the most intense but valuable investment-related event I have been to, and the quality and knowledge of the coaches and mentors was exemplary.”

Indeed, the teams were all outstanding, and I would like to say congratulations to all of them, especially for our Best Performed Company – Omnisence, and Most Improved Company – Drop-Tech. Good luck for the future!

Advice for Entrepreneurs: Part 9 – The Executive Team

Two weeks ago, I was on a panel at the Judge Institute in Cambridge. The event focused on about what early stage investors and seeds look for in companies.

Max Bautin, partner of IQ Capital Partners, presented a summary of what he looks for when performing due diligence on chief executives and management teams. Here are some of his thoughts:

  • The team must have a clear understanding of the financial side of the business and a firm grasp of the numbers
  • It is better to work with self-starters – people who can get things done – rather than ‘PowerPoint Man’
  • Executives should be experienced, with a successful track record – no ‘B-graders’
  • Executive remuneration should be aligned with the investors. The focus should be on modest remuneration at the early stages, with substantial equity upside
  • It is best to avoid family relationships in business and the complications that come with them
  • It is best to avoid the so-called ‘Technical Stranglehold’ – people who only drive their businesses through technical development, rather than market insight
  • It is never a good idea to have executives coming straight from a large company. They are too accustomed to a large infrastructure and cannot always work successfully in small, entrepreneurial environments with a greater need for self-starters

I’d like to add a further criterion to this excellent checklist – Do I like the person?

As an early stage investor, I usually plan to deal with these people for at least 6 – 8 years, so it is important to make sure that I can respect and work with the team over as long a period as I can envisage.

Early Stage Team of the Year

I am pleased to let you know that Qi3 Accelerator has won the ‘Early Stage Team of the Year’. Additionally, our most recent investment – LumeJet won the ‘Best Syndicated Deal of the Year’ award.

Yesterday I was invited to deliver a talk at the British Business Angel’s Association (now renamed UK Business Angel’s Association) annual conference. This was on my perspective on the new national Angel CoFund, from which Qi3 Accelerator obtained the first investment last December for Phase Vision.

This was followed by the annual dinner at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which Tim, Paul and I attended as guests of London Business Angels, Midven and Capital for Enterprise. We were nominated for 2 awards, of which we miraculously won both:

  • Qi3 Accelerator won the ‘Early Stage Team of the Year 2012’ against competition from major organisations such as Octopus, Midven and FSE group. This was in recognition of our novel business model, our staged evaluation process, the scale of the deals we’ve led, and the extent to which we support the companies in which we invest.
  • LumeJet (which has just closed a £1.88m round with substantial support from Qi3 Accelerator, and of which Paul Anson is now CEO) won the ‘Best Syndicated Deal of the Year 2012’ against a strong range of other syndicated deals. Rajat Mulhotra and Richard Cameron of Wren Capital in particular led a huge amount of the work on this deal and corner stone the round.

Success will ultimately come from the performance of the companies in which we invest, as Tim said in his acceptance speech on our behalf “we’d rather be known for our exits than our entrances”.

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