Dorset Business Angels (DBA) held their first online quarterly pitch event in 2021, attracting a record number of some 59 attendees registered and 30 DBA members present. It also saw the introduction of a new polling system.
5 entrepreneurs pitched to the savvy investors and partners. Pitches were followed by a Q & A session, whereby would- be investors could further interrogate the entrepreneurs on their business, ideas and potential opportunities and markets. Questions came from across the board.
A new polling system was then introduced in which attendees were asked to rate the presentation that they had just heard and also to register their interest to find out further information about the pitch and carry out due diligence on the investment opportunity.
DBA member Frank Guinn who chaired the event said, “The polling proved particularly impactful as it provided us with immediate levels of investor interest. Coincidently, our investor interest was at an all- time high, for the 2nd consecutive pitch event, and we felt that the anonymous system allowed attendees the privacy to express their intentions to get involved. 21 expressions of interest were shown in total at our event.
“The investor feedback on the presentations also provided invaluable data to be fed back to the entrepreneurs presenting.”
Business pitching included:
· A business in the Advanced composite materials sector, with aims to increase the capabilities of the world’s most demanding products through the application of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. In revenue and with an expanding customer base, the Company is currently focussing on the delivery of key contracts in the automotive, electrification, electric machines, defence, and aerospace sectors. Investors were particularly impressed by the list of businesses and sectors that were being supported – Airbus, Safran and Electric Motors & Generators were name dropped, to name a few. The ambition of ‘Sustainability with Enhanced Capability’ was shared and the impressive pitch resulted in an extremely positive 9 expressions of interest.
· A provider of online education seized the moment and grabbed investor attention, with 4 expressions of interest shown. This currently ‘hot topic’ business stated that it focuses on life skills that promote social and emotional wellbeing and dynamic thinking with an aim is to help young people to thrive in life, both at home and in their future work-places. By complementing the traditional academic education with live, interactive online and offline courses for 5-13 year-olds, they help develop young people’s skills in leadership, confidence, resilience and creative problem solving.
They shared their vision to be a global leader in developing life skills, with the goal of transforming the lives of at least a million young people. They backed up their vision by advising that ‘now, more than ever, the world needs people with the empathy, resilience and confidence to thrive.’
Discussing the size of the opportunity, they explained that the UK private tuition market is worth £2bn and the global private tuition market £75bn, with a forecast that the global private tuition market would be worth £139bn by 2026.
· A Customer Data Processing software business which offers its clients a platform that immediately creates a seamless customer experience easily and at scale. Formed 5 years ago with the founder’s own money, the Company is now employing AI techniques to further enhance the efficiency of their model, to the satisfaction of their growing client base.
It claims to view complete customer profiles, improve and enrich data, understand customers and develop strategies to help the business grow, activate the date across all customer touch points and to measure the success and effectiveness of strategies. Currently working with Crowdcube, they shared the impressive testimonial from Crowdcube co-founder and CMO Luke Lang who said, “Crowdcube literally wouldn’t be where it is today without Distil.” 5 expressions of investor interest were shown.
· A company with a range of healthy drinks, containing all the nutrients necessary to produce many tasty options, without the sugar and artificial ingredients usually found in traditional soft drinks. Their ‘health pod’ modules offer users the facility to use their home coffee machines to provide a quick and easy way to get these nutrients into a cold press juice or smoothy for around 70p per unit. UK distribution is now ramping up with the product available in 5 supermarket chains and the Company is distributing their range door-to-door in over 50 countries. The product launches in the US in January.
The passionate founder of the business shared the experience of his team, which includes 4 investor directors with experience ranging from entry and exit for FMCG brands, to former directors of investment banks. He also told investors that he is mentored by Stephen Hann, MD at Graze. Clients gained have included John Lewis, Morrisons, Holland & Barret, Costco and David Lloyd Clubs. 2 expressions of interest were shown.
· A pre-launch Fintech Investor Analysis SaaS company that has developed a platform that tracks the data performance of private, early-stage companies and gathers operational metrics. The platform is now capable of profiling the investment readiness and business potential of start-ups and early revenue companies extremely well. In the present pre-launch phase, the Company has 12 customers paying monthly recurring revenues and has generated 1300 worldwide data profiles that help with the investment analysis and business decision making of its current users, namely, angel investors, accelerators, funds, support organisations and consultants. 1 expression of interest was received.
Roger Wareham, Partner at DBA Sponsors Saffery Champness advised, “It was great to see such a wide range of businesses pitching and pleasing that there is still positive growth and opportunities coming through. It was also really encouraging to see the level of interest and potential appetite from the investors attending.”
DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI).
Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.