The final Dorset Business Angels (DBA) pitch event of 2019 took place in Bournemouth. Over 20 businesses had applied for the prestigious opportunity to pitch in the Dragon’s Den type forum to the Angels. The pitch proposals were whittled down and just 5 businesses had the opportunity to impress and make their mark on the Angels.
‘One of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world’
A Dorset business led the way in their mission to grab attention: a Poole based eCommerce company, whose ambitious aim is to disrupt the major players in the B2C market- place by offering a fairer and more transparent experience to both its buyers and sellers, took to the floor. The pitch was pacey and impressive and allowed the fast- growing business, which was formed in November 2016, to share their successes and ambitious goals. Their claim is that they are ‘one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world’ and have grown 7 times in just the last 12 months. The business currently has over 3,000 sellers, 17million products and 800,000 monthly visitors. They partly attribute their adaptability and strength in the market- place to their unique and successful partnership with PayPal.
The business is seeking £500,000 for a 3.5 % equity share. This will allow global expansion, with launches in to initially 22 other countries. It will enable the company to spread the word through social and SEO and bring on board 4 more team members to support growth. Many questions were asked by the investors present which the presenter had impressively predicted and answered fluently and convincingly, with facts and figures to support. Interest in investment was shown and further due diligence will be carried out.
Material evolution – ‘increasing the capability of the world’s most demanding products through the application of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques’
A Hampshire based company, specialising in the manufacture of aluminium matrix composite materials, drew significant attention and interest from investors. These materials are used in many applications in the aerospace, marine, automotive and sport industries. They exhibit the same strength as today’s familiar carbon-fibre structures, but have the advantage of lower weight, cost and durability. The technology supports environmental matters, amongst others, clean energy, climate action, CO2 emissions and recycling. The innovations are a result of 10 years of intense research and development from its very experienced and strong technical team. The business is now seeking to commercialise their products and this has been the drive since 2018.
Numerous patents have been granted in major countries across the globe and several other patents are pending. Examples of product focus across varying sectors are: landing gear, aircraft actuators, airport manhole covers, electric motors, batteries, industrial cutters, mining components and mobile devices.
The pitch gained significant interest from investors who had multiple questions around the innovation of the niche products, in a market-place where very few people are competing. Several investors showed interest and due diligence talks will follow.
Innovation in the childcare sector enabling global sales
A Salisbury based company in the Childcare sector brought their pitch to investors. They have patented a ‘jacket expander’ which allows its wearers to continue wearing their favourite jacket throughout pregnancy and afterwards when carrying their baby. The founder entrepreneur advised how the idea had been formed and inspired whilst she was pregnant. The first jacket was made in 2013 and the business has since won multiple awards and achieved significant PR interest.
Company milestones were shared and the audience learned how stockists include 91 Boots stores, 48 Go Outdoors stores and is available on Amazon in Europe, USA and Canada. First time orders have just been received from Australia and Singapore and the business has big global ambitions. The opportunity for the market was explained in that 8.5million babies are born across Europe, US & Canada every year.
Seeking to raise £100,000 to allow: accelerated growth of the brand through increased manufacturing, register further patents in order to protect the IP in new markets and continue to raise the profile of the brand through increased PR & marketing. Interest was shown from 2 investors in the room.
A Workplace Practices company that has launched an ‘adaptability’ platform, with AI, machine learning and predictability insights to produce an ‘Adaptability Quotient’ for the individuals and the organisation they work for. Describing an ‘AQ’ score as a step-ladder for job seekers, a lifeline for employees and a valuable metric for CEO’s, HR Depts, investors and recruitment companies. Despite a strong presentation no interest was shown from investors and concern was voiced about the many large companies already involved in this space in the sector, although none appear to be measuring adaptability.
In the Saas sector, a company presented a platform that measures personal productivity linked to goals, using AI and machine learning to create a product unique to the market. Investors were advised that the platform is currently being used successfully by over 100 coaches and 10K+ clients with the aim of attracting more SME’s and larger corporates. No interest was shown in this platform.
DBA Chairman Don McQueen advised, “What a great evening we had. It started with a vibrant networking session between members, partners and would be investors. Some great conversations were being held. The pitches stimulated many questions, thoughts and interest.
“We are always keen to welcome along new visitors to our events. There is no obligation to invest and we would urge you to come along, learn, listen, network and come and experience what Dorset Business Angels is all about, it’s a fun evening.”
DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI).
Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.
DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment
To book a place at the next DBA Pitch Event in January 2020 visit www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/Pitch-Evening.aspx