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GO Further Investment Index - Roundtable discussion

In case you missed it live, make sure you watch our Round Table event below

Access to capital is often cited as one of the biggest challenges facing early-stage businesses, as highlighted at our Go Further Index roundtable. ​ Finance and funding can be the difference between success and failure, whether you’re a fast-growing life sciences SME or an innovative technology start-up. And with so much information out there, figuring out how best to find money is not always easy. That’s why an expert panel of finance professionals met on 27 May to discuss the current landscape and debunk some common myths about the world of investment.

The Go Further Investment Index virtual roundtable was chaired by UMi chief executive Nicki Clark and saw the kinds of questions an entrepreneur might have put to the people whose job it is to take new ventures to the next level.

Panellists included Alfredo Ramos (CPI), James Gunnel (Global Corporate Venturing), Laura Ferguson (UMi Debt Finance), George Weir (FactorTech), George Nianias (Factortech) and Paul Devlin (Heriot-Watt University).

The event was held as part of UMi’s Go Further campaign, which aims to engage, showcase and celebrate progressive businesses who are pushing through and achieving their aspirations through access to investment.

The main purpose of the roundtable discussion was to provide investment-ready start-ups and SMEs with the best information about what their options are.

According to the panellists, the different types of investment available to entrepreneurs depends largely on what stage their businesses are at.

For example, an individual with a good idea will likely need a completely different investment solution to a profitable SME with an established customer base. The panellists said that grant funding was usually a good place to start for those at the earliest stage, while private equity or debt financing could be more suitable for those that are well past the proof-of-concept stage.

The discussion also highlighted the key characteristics of an investment-ready business as being the three Cs – collateral, cashflow and character.

Investors want to see that a start-up has a strong team behind it, and a team that is committed to taking the business forward and driving innovation.

It was noted that innovation is not just the preserve of people in white coats working in labs. ‘Hustlers, hackers and hipsters’ also have their place and make up some of the UK’s most exciting start-ups, combining their creativity to help solve global challenges.

With those challenges in mind, the roundtable signed off with an observation from the panellists that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of early-stage companies working to address issues around environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). And for investors, the trend towards putting money behind ethical and sustainable businesses is one to watch as we emerge from COVID-19.

Closing the discussion, Nicki Clark, chief executive of UMi, said: “The Go Further Investment Index roundtable has been an incredibly useful session that hopefully encourages much more open-mindedness among businesses thinking about how investment could help them go further.

“Investment is so much more than just the pounds and pence; it’s about considering how investors can bring broader resources and expertise to the table.”

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