Cambridge angel helps launch investment ‘super-network’
A new venture launched in Cambridge is leveraging the experiences of a ‘super-network’ of serial investors to help new generations of early-stage startups avoid common pitfalls and reach global potential.
The Invested Investor is the brainwave of Peter Cowley, chair of the Cambridge Angels group, and his younger son Alan who is managing the business from the launchpad of the new Bradfield Centre at Cambridge Science Park.
By advocating transparency and getting angel investors and other serial entrepreneurs to share their war stories, tips for success and knowledge of how to build teams and trust, The Invested Investor is confident it can help turn the tide of startup failures.
The multi-faceted project will operate online and in the flesh and has already gleaned the support of a large number of serial investors around the world.
Peter Cowley, who also runs the Martlet angel vehicle for Marshall of Cambridge and was voted the UK’s leading angel investor, says that while the venture has started with the Cambridge community it will be expanded to cover the rest of the UK, Europe and further afield.
Poland has already gone live online and interest has been expressed by the investor communities in France, Israel, Denmark, the US and China.
Experiences will be shared by serial investors with startup entrepreneurs via podcasts, articles, video content and – both a book and e-book in Q4 2018 – as well as through face-to-face lectures, presentations, focused events and heads to head. The website, investedinvestor.com has already gone live.
Cowley envisages that the upsides will represent a two-way highway – helping angels and entrepreneurs upscale their skills in educating startups and early stage investors and, through this turnkey experiential approach, radically improve the prospects of success for new businesses starting out on their corporate journeys.
Frank and informative interviews have already been recorded or booked with a number of local and UK investors including Abcam co-founder and serial life science investor Jonathan Milner and like-minded angels, investors or executive educators such as Simon Thorpe, Andy Phillips, Fiona Nielsen of Repositive, Katy Tuncer, Martin Kleppmann and Goncalo de Vasconcelos of equity crowdfunding platform, Syndicate Room.
Alan Cowley told Business Weekly: “The best angel investors and serial entrepreneurs are not purely investing their money; they are investing their time as well as a great deal of emotion, experience and friendship. The potential reach of our business model is clearly global and the buy-in from local and international investors to date demonstrates a tremendous appetite for the venture.
“That can only be good news for early-stage startups who face so many challenges to get their businesses off the ground and then scale them successfully. Besides making fewer mistakes as they start out on and progress their journeys, they will also learn how best to approach and engage with potential funders and mentors, which is a skill in itself.
“We are confident that the transparency of our approach will also lead to a greater sense of trust between investors and startup entrepreneurs.”
A Kickstarter campaign is envisaged early next summer with an official launch event in Cambridge next October.
Robert Marshall, chief executive of Cambridge’s largest industrial employer Marshall of Cambridge, is already a fan.
He told Business Weekly: “Peter is a unique angel investor in that he is absolutely tireless at passing on his hard won knowledge of starting deep tech businesses and making them successful.
“He works extremely hard with aspiring entrepreneurs and helps them to beat the odds every step of the way through a combination of great knowledge and forthright mentoring.
“When I first heard him use the expression ‘The Invested Investor’, I immediately understood the concept and have been using the expression myself and extolling its virtues.
“I am delighted that Peter is formalising this approach and turning it into a model for business angels and investors. Successful startup investment is so much more than the financial transaction and this method will help to keep angel investing rich, enjoyable and successful.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Alan Cowley and Peter Cowley