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05-11-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

FinTech is in fashion as we all know. News that Karadoo Finance and CrowdRating have joined Milamber Ventures and VestDeck at www.fundingforentrepreneurs.co.uk in reaching out to the AngelNews investor community only adds to the proof that the UK's entrepreneurs are solving unexploited opportunities in the sector. 

I must declare an interest - I am also a co-founder of CrowdRating.  It has some very interesting technology that rapidly analyses equity crowdfunding campaigns and analysis of the original cohort of ratings indicates that its analysis does sort the wheat from the chaff.  A sign of its relevance in that market is that the FCA has authorised it to provide retail advisory services through its Innovation Hub.  

Karadoo has spotted some areas of the P2P market which have not been found by exiting players.  2/3rds of its funding round has already been obtained so investors will be joining a group of investors who have seen the opportunity for themselves.  

On another note Absail Partners is one of the UK's interesting technology companies planning to solve a big challenge where the cleantech and energy markets overlap with is new integrated capacitor.  Placing an integrated capacitor within a spark plug allows the energy to build up to a high power discharge, which burns the fuel mixture more thoroughly, more efficiently and with fewer resulting emissions. It uses innovative plasma-assisted combustion technology - very Star Trek!

You can see a video of what it’s all about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w962iS-7ELQ.  

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01-10-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

The deals that the Secret Investor sees tell us a lot about where entrepreneurship is heading.  In particular it's noticeable that FinTech keeps on staying centre of interest. One example is VestDeck, which is one of the new breed of internet enabled services for investors.  VestDeck is seeking funding to roll out its IR service for investors and entrepreneurs.  

In complete contrast we are seeing a lot of interest from angels in alternative assets that are not simple equity in a company.  Investors are talking about the likes of Think Property Finance as a way of getting exposure to the property market without taking title to properties themselves.  It lends short-term bridging finance (10%, 6-12 month term) to landlords doing refurbs et al.  And the demand for timber at home and abroad has excited interest too.  Demand for timber is growing at an enormous rate as the world industrialises.  Two interesting companies that offer investment in trees are Scottish Woodlands, or if you fancy backing something further from home, Asia Teak offers investors access to teak trees in Sri Lanka and Thailand. 

There has been a significant move towards Venture Capital fund managers seeking to gain a quote on one of the UK stock markets.  Good examples are Mercia Technologies PLC, Draper Esprit and relative newcomer but highly focused on EdTech, Milamber Ventures.  Milamber is especially interesting because it has grown from angel investors rather than VC experienced professionals.  It is listed on the NEX Exchange which is in itself getting a lot of interest from the angel community as a way of getting an exit from their deals. 

 

Of course investors love their toys - what is there not to like in doing a bit of due diligence on Gobbler Boats, with its spill recovery vessel for oil spills.  Its vessel uses bladders to collect contamination from the sea - from oil to the new pernicious problem - plastics.  Crucially the oil it collects is of sufficient purity that it can be resold.  Other products in its portfolio include GoSorb, which is an absorbent material that can collect oil spill on land and beaches.  If you like the idea of backing businesses which are not "just another website."  Gobbler might just float your boat! 

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05-09-2017 - - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

The Secret Investor is still hidden away on holiday.  He will be back next month

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09-05-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

Exroid Technology is currently doing the rounds in the angel market to raise development capital.  The 8 million people (including new mothers) who have suffered from haemorrhoids will know what a very uncomfortable complaint it is to suffer from.  Any solution, particularly one that is painless and non-invasive is to be welcomed.

The management team at Exroid have proved its tenacity.  Despite being approved by NICE in the UK, it has faced the complication of the machine it used from a third party supplier (Ultrasonic) being recalled by the FDA in the US and has set about developing its own machine so it can still offer treatment in the US in parallel with negotiating with a potential third party which may acquire Ultrasonic's US IP so that it could use that technology if necessary.  This is taking place at a stage when most companies would be looking simply to sell more and more of what they produce.  Exroid is seeking development capital to see it through this phase and exploit the 450 enquiries it has received from private sector parties interested in using its technology once it resumes sales in the autumn and will also seek adoption by the NHS.  

If you will excuse the pun, this is not a deal to sit on!  Take a look and decide if it is one for you to consider. 

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02-04-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

Air quality is one of the biggest issues of the 1st world.  Mostly we hear about the issue in the context of particulants in the air in major cities - often exacerbated by particulates from diesel engines, but I bet most people do not realise that there can be some pretty nasty stuff circulating inside the cabin when you take a flight. 

So this month the deal to hgihlight is definitely Viridis Navitas's VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions Ltd which is looking for £600,000

The Viridis Navitas team are straight-talking, intelligent folk who say it as it is. So if they say air quality in areoplane cabins is an issue, it will be.  This is VC Aerotoxic Detection Solutions 2nd fundraise and the money wil be used for prototyping, field testing and certification.  The detection system, assuming it works has a good chance of adoption given the risk of law suits from both passengers and cabin crew becuase of "fume events" which release the organophospate  Tricresyl Phosphate, or ‘TCP’ in the aircraft cabin.  There are no real time detectors available at the moment, so this would be a game-changer if adopted. 

Patents have been granted in the UK and USA and new patent investigation is underway.  The first round of funding also enabled the company to design, build, test & proof for an ‘Air Quality’ detection device, build the software to gather raw data and produce compliance reporting and, set up the system for Integration into a portable device. An independent peer review has been completed by Emeritus Professor Derek Frey of Cambridge University

Although the company is not yet close to revenue it is currently envisaging that its system will be both in-built to the aircraft and also offered as a hand-held sensor.  

For an investor looking for a tech company which has exposure to the airline sector, this one is worth a look.

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05-03-2017 - - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

One finds interesting deals in all sorts of places, but it is nice to find one that tickled my interest close to home recently. Veteran financial media entrepreneur Gavid Oldham is raising funding for his latest venture Share Radio.  

If you don't know Gavid you will know The Share Centre which he founded many years ago and which is now won of the leadiing share platforms in the UK.  Share Radio www.shareradio.com is the UK's first national radio station dedicated to business, finance and money designed to help private investors through the money maze. Think of it as a Moneysavingexpert in audio format and for grown-ups!  

The presenters on Share Radio are an expert  and award winning lot, specialising in all areas of personal finance and include ex BBC Simon Rose and Georgie Frost, and Sarah Pennells and Ed Bowsher.   Take a look at www.shareradio.com to see what they cover. 

The popularity of radio continues as the world increasingly turns digital and Share Radio has already built partnerships who see the value of what it does, including the London Stock Exchange, Henderson Global Investors, NS&I and Edison Investment Research. If you look at the website you will see how it is extending its franchise way beyone simple news and analysis on stocks and shares.  I like the Offers page!

If you would like to know a bit more about the fundraising see HERE.

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05-02-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

Toby Lewis is a proven entrepreneur having gained enormous experience at Global Corporate Venturing.  He is now leading the charge at Novum Insights which is the corporate innovation leader in driving data insights for strategic partnerships. The company is focusing initially on gathering data about partnerships between corporates and startups in fintech and cybersecurity, with its first monetisation being achieved from the publication of specialised sector reports in these areas.

It is also developing a data subscription product for clients. The first publication will be a fintech report, due to be published in the first quarter of 2017. The second publication will be a cybersecurity report.

Lewis has hit the ground running with his team comprising:

Jeff Carlson - CIO has extensive experience managing, analyzing, and visualizing data in a wide range of forms, structure, and content
Tim York - CTO has twenty years experience helping companies implement and optimize their financial, operational, and data management systems.
Brenda Gonzalo - COO is experienced in web development, marketing and business development.
Bokyung Park - Marketing Manager is a professional experienced in business development and marketing, focused primarily on growth.
Antoine De Lombarès - CFO manages the entire financial scope of the company and its financial processes.

You can pre-order their reports on their website at https://novuminsights.com/membership-account/membership-levels/ something I recommend as customer cash is always welcome in a new business and, knowing the quality of Toby's work, I am sure you will not be disappointed in what they reveal.  

Toby will be growing this business rapidly so that it becomes an attractive trade sale opportunity I am sure.  I will be keeping a particular eye out for the other sectors Novum starts to follow and analyse as it will be an indicator of where the big investing trends are developing. 

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08-01-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The Secret Investor

Destia operates in the leisure sector, aiming to disrupt the travel sector but cutting out the tour operator.  It tis responding to the changing behaviours of consumers who want to do it for themselves, but easily.  With Destia you will research, build, cost and book a bespoke holiday abroad and it believed it can make the experience 10-15% cheaper.  The prototype site is nearly built and the company promises is it will provide expertise, efficiency, value for money and financial protection (Destia is UK bonded and under EU travel package regulations).  Destia is currently targetting the UK market but has plans to enter North America and Australasia in due course. The current fundraising round is 50% funded and is following the business model adopted by Evaneos which took four years to get to £30m turnover (in France). 

The Destia team is high quality with the former MD of Abercrombie and Kent leading the charge as MD.  It also includes 27 year experienced Nick Laing, Bashar Al Ash who knows the destination management end of the model and Wyndham Plumptre who has lots of start up experience.  The tech team which is outsourced is led by the founding CTO of Moshi Monsters as well as having been deeply involved in getting the UK government's web offer straight. 

Angels will be regular consumers of bespoke luxury holidays, but there is not one amongst you that does not appreciate getting better value for money and increasingly staying in control of their lives rather than delegating everything to others.  If Destia achieves its objectives it will probably become immensely popular with our market. 

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