How to Get Noticed
We get sent proposals from companies all the time so if you want to get some attention the trick is to make your proposal quick and easy to read. And that means 1 piece of paper – 2 sides of A4. If you send us a presentation deck it won’t get looked at. If you send us a full business plan, well done for producing one but we’re not going to wade through at this early stage.
We’re often asked what private investors are looking for in a proposal, so here’s a simple guide on what to put in.
No more than 2 sides A4, easily readable layout.
Details: Business names, sector, stage, year started, funding sought, pre money valuation
Overview: 1 paragraph succinctly summarising what the business is proposing to do
Current Development: what stage is the business at now, how much work has been completed, is there any sales traction, how much cash has been invested to date
Market: what is the target market for the business, how large is the overall market, how much is addressable, what are the key sectors, what are the trends
Proposition: what need is the business going to fill, how is it differentiated from others, how will the competitive edge be maintained
Plan: how is the business going to develop, what are the key stages and milestones and timelines
Team: who are the key players in the business and what is their background and pedigree
Financials: one simple table, showing actuals, current and next year forecast and future years’ budget
Investor Proposition: how much is being raised, at what pre money valuation. What future funding rounds are anticipated
Exit: how is the investor going to realise a return – sale/IPO/other, who are the likely purchasers, how much does the business expect to sell for, when does the business expect to sell, how much has been paid for similar businesses
A few general points. All sales forecasts are “conservative”, every team is “great”, every product is “unique” so avoid these adjectives. Evidence is much better than opinion or hearsay. And finally, no more than 2 sides A4 [OK, got it].
Not so long ago virtual reality was heralded as the next new wave. James Carmeron’s entirely virtual epic Avatar remains the top grossing film of all time. But how real is this new wave? A recent report by respected analysts IDC called out the emperor’s clothes – virtual reality (VR) headset sales were down a massive 33% in one year. So what is going on?
Artificial intelligence is a current hot topic for investors but much of what is hyped as AI may not be all that it seems. Hype is a term often seen around disruptive innovations and Gartner penned the hype cycle a couple of decades or so ago in order to describe the different stages (“peak of inflated expectations”, trough of disillusionment”, “slope of enlightenment”, “plateau of productivity”). More recently, analyst Davey Jose at sombre bank HSBC modernised the picture, using terms like “hype mania”, “backlash” and “real application”.
A few weeks ago Google announced that it was close to achieving “quantum supremacy”. Maybe the machines are about to take over. Actually, Google has just made the next stage quantum computing chip (called Bristlecone) that has 72 bits. John Martinis, who heads Google’s effort, says it’s “pretty likely” that the new chip can achieve “quantum supremacy.” But what does this mean?