Two weeks ago, I was invited to the High Value Manufacturing 10th Anniversary conference. The series covered manufacturing and cleantech, attracting over 80 delegates, including some high-profile individuals such as the 2012 Nobel Prize (Medicine) winner – Sir John Gurdon, as well as the ex-Minister of Science and Innovation and current Chancellor of the University of Cambridge – Lord Sainsbury. I have known Lord Sainsbury for years, so it was nice to catch up with him and learn about his perspective on the current state of the economy.
There were a number of high tech companies from Cambridge and other locations at the conference. I personally presented a speech on ‘Investing in early-stage HVM gems’, and discussed the challenges of early stage investment. The presentation focused on opportunities that may open up for knowledgeable angels, in particular, the prospect for angel syndicates. I also highlighted some important investment factors, including: access to technical knowledge, business experiences, and required funding. Additionally, a good investor should consider the credibility of their co-investment partners. Naturally, this set a good platform to show the audience about the Qi3 Accelerator Evaluation process, and how this specific approach benefits early stage businesses. The presentation finished off with lessons learned from cohort analysis, emphasising a) the need for the team to show a credible business plan, b) realistic assessment of the technology, and c) the lead approach to business modelling.
Reflecting of the conference as a whole, it was clearly a meeting for cognoscenti. It will be interesting to see if it can influence and rebalance the UK economy and manufacturing industry.