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ARALLELS with Dragon’s Den are inevitable when you talk about business angels. Love or loathe the programme, it certainly has drawn attention to the phenomenon of wealthy individuals (often with significant business experience) who are looking to invest in new companies in the hope of


bagging a serious return. One of the most prominent firms operating in the business angel arena is


Envestors, and they’ve been around since way before the ‘Dragons’ hit our TV screens. Scott Haughton and his three business partners formed the company in 2004, having had varied, generally poor experiences with bank managers and so-called business advisers when it came to raising private funding. What they wanted to do was use their experience and “bring a no-nonsense, professional and highly regulated approach to the process of matching investors with high-growth companies”. It’s been a recipe for success. Envestors now comprises a network of 750 private investors and family offices and has bases in London, Manchester, Dubai and Jersey. Having recently raised £150,000 worth of funding for Jersey firm DotTVMedia, Envestors now has a foothold in Jersey and is looking for more companies to come forward. Scott took time out to talk to us about the present and the future for business angels and the islands.


Dragon’s Den shows a very simplified version of how business angels work – the people turn up and pitch and either get funding or don’t. But the process is more complicated than that, isn’t it? Absolutely! We have about 100 companies a month in London looking to raise finance – we meet with about 20 and then engage with four to six. We act as their corporate finance adviser, make sure they are fully investment-prepared and screened before we market them with confidence to our investors.


And it’s proved to be a successful approach?


Yes it has. On average only two per cent of companies in the general business environment are able to raise private money successfully. At Envestors, half of the companies that we engage with are successful. In the last three years, we have helped raise over £23 million for 60 high-growth companies.


You’ve just successfully gained investment in Jersey for DotTVMedia; tell us about that.


Investors don’t mind risk, but they do want the potential for explosive growth, and the whole online market and the use of video within websites is only going to increase. We’ve seen the dominance of YouTube, but that was branded and there wasn’t an own-brand label – this is the offering that DotTVMedia have come up with. It’s a classic opportunity that scales well beyond Jersey – to the UK and Europe, and potentially globally. The company gained a lot of investment interest, but they decided to proceed with a single, Jersey-based investor who not only came up with the money but also offered invaluable support and mentoring.


Do most of your investors want to be ‘hands on’? Probably half are looking for some form of hands-on role, be that providing advice or acting as a non-exec. But there are those who want to invest and simply be kept informed and hopefully reap the rewards.


How does the return work?


Many angel investors will have allocated a chunk of their wealth to invest into a portfolio of high-growth, early-stage unquoted companies. Ultimately they want to try to generate 10 times their money on an investment, but recognise


➔ December 2010 / January 2011 businesslife.co 19


PHOTOGRAPHY: LEE MARTIN


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