Our fortnightly podcast following the UK venture capital industry. Dr Brian Moretta explores small growth companies, as well as the funds and people who invest in them.
The EIS Navigator podcast is for those interested in the UK venture capital industry, particularly the areas that are supported by government schemes. These include the Enterprise Investment Scheme, EIS, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, or SEIS, and Venture Capital Trusts. This means we are looking at small, growth companies – often at the startup stage.
We interview leading people in the industry, whether fund managers, company founders or experts from other service providers. The aim is to dig deeply into topics, getting away from the promotional material that predominates elsewhere. Venture capital investing is a long-term endeavour and we will focus on topics that are relevant at any time.
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Returning to excerpts from previous guests by Tom Britton of SyndicateRoom, Sanjeev Gordhan who was then at Newable, Stephen Page of SFC Capital and Paul Tselentis of 24 Haymarket.
Head of Corporate Development at JP Jenkins comes onto the podcast to discuss the state of play and prospects for things getting better.
Richard Hoskins speaks with almost all of the new venture capital entrants and discusses the challenges and pitfalls for those who want to start a new fund or invest in one.
Andy Bloxam gives an insight into the unique relationship between Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering in the EIS and VCT space.
Doug Lawson talks about the issues around data, how patterns emerge when there is enough data and the extent to which processes can be automated with AI and when an analytical input is needed.
St. James’s Place is the biggest writer of business across the whole tax-advantaged market. Luke Barnett discusses how the company looks at individual products, how it weighs up the different strategies, and how it evaluates teams and track records.
VGC Partners’ focus on consumer and digital media is somewhat unusual in the sector and we effectively do a case study of one of VGC’s investments.
Social impact investing is an area that sounds good in principle but is often not well understood by those not involved in it.
Most angel networks start organically, with the members drawn from a geography or having a particular interest but 24Haymarket has taken a different approach, with a distinct philosophy.
Mark Brownridge, Neil Cole and Kealan Doyle join Brian to pick through the debris of 2021 and the prospects for 2022.
The recent COP26 conference has stimulated a surge of interest in how we can make a difference as investors.
Andrew Aldridge steps into the host seat to discuss Brian Moretta’s recently published White Paper on how venture capital fits into retail investor portfolios, with some surprising results.
We discuss the difference between ESG and genuine impact investments and how this is leaving advisers and investors somewhat confused.
Stephen Page discusses the rather worrying trends in the SFC Capital and Beauhurst report about the seed investing market.
Bevan Duncan returns to the podcast to discuss the deal and its rationale. We also discuss how the new company will operate, what opportunities it may bring and chat about investor demand.
Fintech has been a hot VC area for some time and for this episode we turn to James Pringle, a former entrepreneur-turned-fund manager, who specialises in fintech investing.
Lucius Cary first raised money for a small restaurant chain in the late 1970s. The difficulties of doing that inspired him to start a newsletter connecting start-ups and investors. Four decades later, he is on the seventh iteration of his fund.
A long-term perspective on how the market and the Calculus investment process has changed over time.
Scott Weavers-Wright is a serial entrepreneur. When we had him on last year, we only managed to discuss one of his first exits so we had to get him back for more.
Investors and founders all too often see legals as a necessary evil. SeedLegals is changing that, thinking about how to get better solutions for all parties.
Video gaming is a huge market, but relatively niche within EIS. Steve Iles has spent his whole career working in and helping the video games industry and his current focus is at the intersection with funding.
This is the second part of a really good discussion split over two episodes, where Stephen goes into detail about EIS and VCT product selection.
EIS and VCTs have been described by several guests as one of finance’s best kept secrets, which makes the job of advisers challenging when they recommend them.
We’ve touched on angel investing several times on the podcast, so it was time we got a business angel on.
International expansion is key to success for many startups, but also fraught with difficulties. We discuss timing, local partners, and overcoming language barriers.
Generating sales is critical for any business, so it’s good to get someone on who has a playbook that works.
While multi-stage venture capital management is common in the US, few firms have, so far, managed to develop it successfully here.
We all can see big ideas, but it’s often not clear how to translate them into investible ideas.
Do corporate financiers or former entrepreneurs make better venture capital investors?
Although consumer markets are a big part of quoted markets, they are something of a niche in EIS & VCTs. We hear from a specialist.
Product market fit is a much discussed, and much misunderstood, topic in venture capital.
We love a good entrepreneurial story and Jasper Smith has a great one.
Although investing in drug development seems ideal for EIS investment, it has been somewhat niche. We talk about how investing in the industry has evolved over the last couple of decades.
Venture capital has long been dominated by idiosyncratic decision making, so SyndicateRoom’s systematic data-driven approach is genuinely unique.
Most VCT and EIS investors have knowledge of quoted equity markets, but listed investments using these schemes differ from the mainstream.
Marketing is a make or break area for almost all startups. Having started his career in advertising, Rajeev is an expert, and we probe his knowledge to get insight for both investors and startups.
2020 has been a challenging year for many and the EIS industry is no exception. The EIS Navigator team have got together an all-star panel to discuss what happened.
Measuring sustainability is not a trivial challenge. Max and Jake talk us through the options for startups and small companies.
Ian Warwick worked in various executive roles in the US before founding Deepbridge. We focus on Aftersoft, a software company that Ian turned round and put on course for a successful exit.
Scott Weavers-Wright achieved two very successful exits before he founded Haatch, first taking Kiddicare from high street to online, then selling to Morrisons.
Brian and Sanjeev discuss how investors should decide how much money to put into venture capital and unquoted investments.
As a relative newcomer to the EIS industry, Andy Davidson of We Are Nova sees it a little differently to many of us.
Brian and Andy focus on the five reasons that startups fail, discussing what these are, why they are a problem and how Nova works to avoid them.
Hardware investing is a relatively niche area within EIS investing, but still has many attractions. Dr Ilian Iliev of EMV Capital talks about how the capital intensity has improved and why the ecosystem is attractive.
Film investing through EIS has changed radically since the patient capital review. Andeas Roald is CEO of Sovereign Media, whose background is in making films rather than simply financing them, talks about the return to more traditional structures.
While equity crowdfunding hasn’t taken off the way that many hoped, it is an important influence on startups and the EIS industry. Rob Murray Brown is one of the few crowdfunding experts outside the platforms, with strong opinions on what is and isn’t working for investors.
As investors, it is easy to focus on the process of making investments and forget that the real work happens afterwards. Dr Andy Round discusses supporting companies after an investment is made. We cover getting the right board in place and different sources of support, including various government schemes.
For the fifth episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian is joined by Pippa Gawley, Founder and Director of Zero Carbon Capital. They talk about Pippa’s belief that the climate crisis is the most important issue an investor can look to help solve, and discuss the challenges of small companies making meaningful contributions on a global scale.
For the fourth episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian is joined by Matthew O’Kane, MD of NIVL at Nexus Ventures. They discuss how to find and invest in good themes, with a couple of examples.
For this bonus episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian interviews Simon Thorn, Managing Partner of Acceleris. They discuss some of the options available to companies and what considerations they should think about when choosing an investor.
For the third episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian interviews Paul Miller, Managing Partner and CEO at Bethnal Green Ventures. They talk about running an accelerator, social impact investing and how companies can move from ideas to having a measurable impact.
For this bonus episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian interviews Mark Brownridge, Director General of the EIS Association. They talk about the Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trusts from the perspective of investors and advisors.
For the second episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian interviews Dr Reuben Wilcock, Ventures Director at Blackfinch Ventures. They talk about the challenges of creating an investment process from scratch, including creating effective decision making.
For the first episode of The EIS Navigator, Brian interviews Andrew Castell from Par Equity in Edinburgh. They talk about angel investing, running an angel syndicate and the merits of being an angel versus a passive investor.
Coming on Tuesday 16th June, The EIS Navigator Podcast focuses on the UK venture capital industry, particularly areas supported by various government schemes including the Enterprise Investment scheme (EIS), the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Venture Capital Trusts.
Your host, Brian Moretta, is Head of Tax Enhanced Services at Hardman & Co. He is an actuary turned fund manager, who then moved into equity research, and has examined many EIS funds, VCTs and companies. He also has some academic chops, being an Honorary Fellow at Heriot-Watt University where he does some occasional teaching. He has always had a strong interest in getting underneath companies and understanding how they really work, and he finds this space fascinating. Some of this is because transparency is hard, some because the industry is not well understood. The EIS Navigator podcast is an attempt to get beyond the superficial and shine a bit more light on what is going on.
Brian Moretta received Highly Commended at the EISA awards in October 2021 for the category Best Journalist or Advocate.