A couple of months ago Philip Wilkinson from CrowdStorm blogged about something he termed the equity gap.
“Speaking to everyone after the [Internet Peeps] dinner, the general feeling was that the VC networks are struggling to find good deals to invest their money and are also taking a cautionary approach to early stage business ventures. It was noted that the UK has a distinct lack of visibility with so called Angel Networks (smaller amounts of investments from £20k – £400k from successful entrepreneurs) in order to help businesses scale up and get investment ready for these VC networks. Without this, a business is often caught in what is known as the “equity gap” where they don’t have enough money to grow and at the same time they can’t get the money because they are not big enough!”
This reoccurring “chicken and egg” conversation by entrepreneurs was recently countered by John Wilson (a partner in Folio Partners) whilst on the Scoble “pissed as a newt” pub crawl. He said that “there was plenty of money available for good ideas and good management teams, it’s just investors don’t like to stand on the street corner shouting about it. Good entrepreneurs will always find the investors and the money, if they really want it.”
Well taking the bull by the horns, Mike Butcher the editor of TechCrunch started the ball rolling last month with a post called Money Mondays, in which he proposed:
“a new initiative to showcase technology startups looking for funding: Each Monday for a month, starting on Monday 20th November, we’ll showcase, and publish contact details for, a web or mobile startup which has yet to secure formal funding. They will have to have either an application of their idea up and running (e.g. a live web site) or a working demo or beta we can look at.”
The first companies profiled were CreateMyNet and SiteVista. Paul Farnell from SiteVista told Mike:
“I just wanted to follow up with you about the interest we’ve had in SiteVista since we were featured on TCUK on Monday. We’ve had three very interesting enquiries about investment. We’re now in the process of following up with all of these people, and sending them further information on the company.”
But speaking with a number of investors recently both Angel and VC’s, there is a real need for something bigger, bolder and better. So TechCrunch have decided to launch a new event called Startup! aimed at helping new entreprenurs and seasoned investors get together formally once a month.
Right now the first Startup! event in central London is in the final stages of planning with a number of interested investor partners. The aim is to hold this event sometime in early February, with further regional Startup! events planned to take place in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, NewCastle, Edinburgh, Oxford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin and elsewhere depending on the demand.
The proposed format for the day-time event
will be much like the dragons den, with each entrepreneur being given 10 mins to present their business proposition to the audience of investors. After the event, TechCrunch will additionally post a review for our wider readership along with a short video of the presentation, unless otherwise requested not to do so. i.e the startup in question wishes to remain under the radar. The final date, location and format will be posted here in the coming weeks and on the Startup! website.
Therefore if you are interested in participating either as an investor or entrepreneur can you please let us know via the Startup! website.
Alan Patrick from broadstuff recently commented about the equity gap and it sums up well why I think we need an event like Startup!
“I saw so much good stuff in the UK left sidelined last time around and it will happen again if nothing is done.”