A new business forum launched in Manchester, as Women 4 Technology welcomed commercial leaders from technology, digital health and life sciences to discuss fundraising for early-stage and high-growth ventures.
Women 4 Technology is a forum for over 1,200 international female entrepreneurs and business leaders, which has been running successfully in Cambridge and London since 2008. Women 4 Technology was set up by Bailey Fisher Executive Search, an independent executive search firm, to celebrate the successes of women in commercial leadership roles within technology, and to inspire the next generation of female business leaders. Ann Fisher, Co-founder of Bailey Fisher and founder of Women 4 Technology, is from Manchester. Ann plans to roll out Women 4 Technology across the UK, and was keen that Manchester should be the first location outside the South East. The launch event was hosted in the Manchester office of Mills & Reeve, a strong supporter of Women 4 Technology for many years in Cambridge and London. The Manchester launch was supported by Cambridge Wireless, Deloitte & Eagle Labs.
Guest speakers for the Manchester launch event were Dr Nicola Broughton, Investment Director and Head of Universities at Mercia Technologies PLC; and Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association.
Nicola Broughton is recognised as a leading light in technology transfer. She heads up a team investing in university spin-out companies across the UK at Mercia Technologies PLC, an investment firm with over £350m funds under management, specialising in the commercialisation of pioneering businesses in exciting growth sectors. Mercia has 8 regional offices around the UK, including Manchester. Nicola’s talk was Are you business ready? She shared insights into what she looks for when making the decision to invest.
Key points from Nicola’s talk:
- Hire a strong management team
- When investing, Nicola always looks at the CEO first
- Does the CEO have the necessary drive, energy, passion and commitment? Will they listen and can they take advice? Will they attract a first-class team?
- Next comes the Chair, who will give market assurances. Have they raised money and exited businesses before? Do they have a track record?
- Start at the end point and work backwards. Are you looking to sell your business, or to float?
- Consider how you will use the investment: to hire staff, product development, marketing?
- Work out why you are investable. What makes your business unique?
- The investor/investee relationship has been likened to a marriage. When choosing a partner, you must like and trust each other, you will be working together a long time
- Showcase your passion, commitment and share your vision. Be truthful and authentic
- Involve your key senior staff at your presentation. We invest in people!
Jenny Tooth arrived at the event, fresh off the train from London where she is based as CEO of UK Business Angels Association. Jenny focuses on building the angel community around the UK, connecting investors to good deal flow and assisting entrepreneurs to attract investment. She has extensive experience of facilitating SMEs’ access to investment in the UK and internationally. She co-founded Angel Capital Group which incorporates London Business Angels, one of the most active angel networks in the UK. Jenny sits on the steering group for emerging technologies and innovations for Innovate UK and the advisory board for the London Co-Investment Fund. Jenny was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to small businesses.
Key points from Jenny’s talk:
- Only 14% of known investors are women
- UKBAA’s recent research of over 200 women in the UK revealed that there is an untapped pool of capital from women who could be business angel investors
- Many women who have run successful tech businesses or as exited entrepreneurs have the spare finance and skills and could be backing other women entrepreneurs but lack the knowledge and opportunity to do so
- Although there is an increasing number of women founding their own technology businesses, only 9% of these go on to successfully access equity investment
- Women nurture their business, and as a result may feel insecure about giving up part of that business when they receive funding
- There is a strong correlation with this and the lack of women investors when they pitch their business to a room full of male investors
- Women need support to enable them to effectively pitch their business to investors and compete on a level playing field with their male counterparts
- The importance of events such as Women 4 Technology is that they give peer-to-peer confidence and encouragement to women to increase their confidence and knowledge in accessing the funding they need
- Women need to assist each other. We need to encourage and support more women to become investors here in Manchester to back more women entrepreneurs
The talks were followed by a lively Q&A session, moderated by Ann Fisher, Founder of Women 4 Technology and Co-founder of Bailey Fisher Executive Search.
Women 4 Technology Manchester was hosted by Bailey Fisher Executive Search in partnership with Mills & Reeve and was supported by Deloitte, Cambridge Wireless and Eagle Labs.
Bailey Fisher Executive Search is currently planning the Spring 2018 programme of Women 4 Technology, with events in Cambridge, London and Manchester. For more information, please see: www.baileyfisher.com/women-4-technology/