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June 20 2017 0Comment
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Some relief from remarkable times

Our Brexit negotiations are going the same way as a boiled egg – will it be hard, soft, open or closed? And our parliament is hanging by a thread. So why is market sentiment so benign? Fair enough for the FTSE 100, the impact of our pound continuing to tumble benefits the high participation of […]

June 16 2017 0Comment
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The questions a savvy angel investor is likely to ask before handing over cash: by Matthew Cushen

When launching a product or service, a canny entrepreneur will always have a good sense of how their target consumer will react. You’d have some insight into their lives, run some experiments to gauge a reaction to their proposition, and gradually ramp up their roll-out while responding to the customer’s behaviour and questions. Progressively making […]

May 12 2017 0Comment
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Financial projections an investor might ACTUALLY believe: by Matthew Cushen

When an investor hears about a business, it is usually the product and the marketing behind it that piques interest and qualifies a business in or out of further consideration. But somewhere down the line, before parting with their cash, an investor is going to need to hear how a business expects to create a […]

April 11 2017 0Comment
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The Start-Up Series: Half-term report

Last October Startups and Worth Capital launched The Start-Up Series, an unbelievably good competition that will see £1.8m invested in small businesses over the course of the year. Hundreds of new businesses that qualify for seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS) funding have since applied to win one of the monthly investments of £150,000 – so […]

April 11 2017 0Comment
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What can an entrepreneur expect from an investor?: By Matthew Cushen

‘Smart money’. It’s the cliched phrase used to describe an investor that brings – as well as cash – expertise in a sector, a bulging black book of useful contacts and boundless enthusiasm. When entrepreneurs start out on their fundraising journey they think they will be showered with funding offers and be able to pick […]

March 09 2017 0Comment
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Marketing should be easy, why does it feel so hard?: by Matthew Cushen

The Start-Up Series is our competition to find new consumer businesses – we say it’s for ‘products and services we buy and the ways that we buy them’. It’s a deliberately broad definition but all new consumer businesses need to influence consumers to change their behaviour – try something new, buy a different brand or […]

February 13 2017 0Comment
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The black art of start-up valuation: by Matthew Cushen

In last month’s column we explored the ingredients of a compelling investment proposal. One part of a deal to sell equity is the valuation of your business. In my experience this is where new entrepreneurs, and many an experienced one, are least confident. Valuing a new business seems like a black art, with its own […]

January 11 2017 0Comment
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How to knock an angel investor’s socks off with your plan: by Matthew Cushen

Over 12 years of seed investing I’ve read hundreds, probably thousands, of investment proposals. But ‘read’ could be a quick skim-and-bin or getting pulled in and absorbed by the story. So what’s the secret of creating a compelling plan and attracting investors? There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. Over recent months I and […]

December 08 2016 0Comment
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A no-nonsense SEIS guide for start-ups seeking investment: by Matthew Cushen

No serious entrepreneur would dream of launching a product or service without getting into the heads of their consumers. You’d want to understand when, where and how often your offer might be purchased and what you are competing against for a share of their purse. It’s the same with ‘selling’ your business to investors. Best […]

November 09 2016 0Comment
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Sources of finance in 2017: 9 start-up funding options for your business: by Matthew Cushen

My business partners funded their first business in 1992, with a £2,000 loan from one of their mothers. She drove a hard deal – if she wasn’t paid back within six months she’d take 50% of their business. It focused them both. After 182 days they paid the loan back, with interest. For my first […]