Yesterday the team behind the Funding Index agreed to go live, so you can now see one reason why I have been rather quiet in recent months! (There are a few more, … but that is for another day).
You can check it out at www.funding-index.com. The idea is simple; we the UK - from the Prime Minister to the entrepreneur about to start their first business - should understand just how much capital entrepreneurs need to make their businesses a success. The Index is an entrepreneur-led data bank of companies that need equity, grant and debt funding. We have been told there could be as much as £10bn of demand for equity alone each year (and that’s prior to the Pandemic). The CBILs and BBILs volumes are testament to the level of debt demand – I believe is around £70bn. Our view is that if we have transparency on where the demand is (by sector, geography, type etc) everyone from HM Government to upstart FinTechs will be able to better set strategy and help entrepreneurs, their businesses and the people who they employ, get the right funding at the right time.
We have big ambitions. Equity demand on the Funding Index today is just over £500m and we have only just started. Soon we will start publishing some interesting analysis of our statistics. Watch this space. Do help us to grow the Funding Index, by telling entrepreneurs you know about it and asking them to tell us about their funding need. In exchange we will give them help, advice and much more.
I could not have got this far with the Funding Index, without an amazing team behind me. Check out our company page on LinkedIn to meet them, but in alphabetical order, my thanks to Alex, Alpa, Annabel, Georgia, Hatty, Jack, JJ, Jonathan, Jurie, Nic, Nick and Simon. We could not have got this far, so quickly, without you. And thanks also to the many organisations who have also helped us with the beta. Catherine at Gannons LLP, Jeremy at Jeremy Scholl, and the teams at Britbots, Green Angel Syndicate, Informatics Ventures, Micra Gateway, Nextfin, Tribe First, Stakeholderz and We are Catalyst: guys and gals you have been invaluable!
As we come out of the Pandemic, we need the UK’s entrepreneurs to help the Recovery. Their dreams, plans, execution and the considerable risks they take will be the powerhouse of FutureUK. Without the right capital at the right time, we tie their hands behind their backs. That is unfair and self-defeating. I hope that the Funding Index will show the people who can make a difference in this regard what to do.
We also have plans to help entrepreneurs in other ways, because standing them on a funded rather than an unfunded island is only one part of the puzzle. Entrepreneurs need support to innovate, solve problems, avoid traps and build teams. Next week, we will start the first of our initiatives – our webinar "Stopping the Row (with investors) before it starts". Do come along and listen to us discuss how to do this as well as listening to some war stories from the past. You can book your place HERE.
We so often interchange the word “entrepreneur” with “growth company” (or similar) but such companies/investments also have teams within them. Elsewhere in this newsletter you will see a useful article from Gannons on share option plans. It’s a 3-minute read that must not be missed - Read it here.
I was thinking about motivating employees (or volunteers, champions, consultants) earlier today and watched both some very dull and some very funny YouTube videos. I hope you like the one I chose - https://www.youtube.com/watch/HXbsVbFAczg - which should make you laugh (I did!).
My own thoughts this month (as you will have noticed above) have been about motivating your team. How do you motivate your team? Certainly, the motivation should never just be pinned to financial reward. There is satisfaction from pay, but if it’s the only motivator, then the average company bank account would soon run out of cash. Company culture (“it’s a great place to work; my colleagues are the best”), job satisfaction (“I knew what I had to do and excelled”), non- financial rewards (time-off, pub nights, humour around the coffee station), and looking beyond the obvious (interest in employees’ lives and more) matter just as much. Investors stand on the shoulders of founders and founders stand on the shoulders of giants (their team). Remember this hierarchy and you will never go too far wrong. And never forget to align interests - share options don’t just prove the benefit of commercial success, they also connect all with common objectives and shared responsibility.
And the Funding Index team have come together with a common objective of drawing interest from a far wider community than just founders and their backers. Talking of standing on the shoulders of giants; the UK stands on the shoulders of our SMEs. Let’s hope more people from every walk of life come together to share the weight and the Funding Index will help them to understand how.