Masterclasses: How To Make Sure You’re Investment and Exit Ready

Nov 2011: How To Make Sure You’re Investment and Exit Ready

[two_columns border=”border”][/two_columns] [two_columns_last border=”border”][tabswrap] [tabhead id=”1″] Details [/tabhead] [tabhead id=”2″] Presenters [/tabhead] [tabhead_last id=”3″] Pics [/tabhead_last] [tab id=”1″]

It’s a story which happens all too often but is not talked about enough. A startup may have succeeded in developing the right product, adopting the right marketing strategies and employing the right team. But when they get to the stage of seeking investment from a VC or looking to exit, they encounter a surprise. With the wrong business plan, the wrong spin on your story for an investor’s ears, the wrong employee contracts or a misunderstanding of how to extract profit from your startup, there are very expensive lessons to be learned.

To address these issues we’ve brought together four experts to give you the advice that they consider to be most important for startup companies, but often (to their horror) does not get implemented. This session is for anyone that’s serious about growing their startup beyond seed funding stage and through to a profitable exit. You’ll get plenty of value out of it whether you are about to start out, are currently seeking investment or looking to exit.

[/tab] [tab id=”2″] [reveal title=”Anastasia Kovaleva” ]

Anastasia is a manager at the Corporate Finance Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Currently part of TMT and Business Services team in London, she previously spent 10 years in Canada, including 5 years with PwC Vancouver. UK. Anastasia advises management teams, corporates, and financial sponsors on various aspects of merger, acquisition, business strategy and financing activity of mid-market companies. She has qualified as a chartered accountant (CA) with PwC, and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter holder.

Anastasia has advised and mentored start ups since 2009, working with organisations such as School for Social Entrepreneurs, Canadian Youth Business Foundation, and Junior Achievement.

[/reveal] [reveal title=”Sean Owen” ]

Sean joined Pentech as an Associate in August 2010. Prior to that he was a software engineer at various internet-related businesses, including Google, DoubleClick, and Scient. While at Google, Sean helped create its Mobile Web search and developed Android’s barcode scanning framework. Sean is VP of the Apache Software Foundation’s Mahout project, a scalable machine learning library.

Sean has a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University. In 2010 he also completed an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management at the London Business School.

[/reveal][reveal title=”Richard Cummings” ]

Originally from a recruitment background, Richard moved into HR Management for a UK based retail and manufacturing company before finally moving to HR consultancy. Richard also spent several years as a line manager. He is degree educated in Business with Human Resource Management and studies towards his professional qualification.

[/reveal][reveal title=”Howard Weintrob” ]

Howard is a Chartered Tax Adviser at accountancy firm Jeffreys Henry LLP. He has over 25 years of experience advising entrepreneurial owner-managed businesses on the whole spectrum of personal and corporate taxation, including tax efficient structures, profit extraction, R&D tax relief and Enterprise Investment Schemes.

[/reveal][/tab] [tab id=”3″] [/tab] [/tabswrap][/two_columns_last]

[accordion collapse=”yes”] [panel title=” Anastasia Kovaleva – Business Planning for Startups: Don’t Be a Gnome! ” ]

The key points and highlights from Anastasia Kovaleva’s presentation “Business Plans: Don’t Be A Gnome!”

For internal users, business plans develop and validate an idea. It is an essential tool to track progress of the business.

Your business plan also provides your shareholders (investors, debt providers, co-founders, and customers) an idea of how you intend to take care of their investment in your business.

The key components of your business plan are: Market Positioning (identification of an unsatisfied need), Product or Service (your solution to satisfy the need), Market Strategy (your competitive edge or unfair advantage), Operations (your business model), Team (your human capital / engine room), and Financials (your bottom line).

It is more than just writing a glossy book, the most important part is doing detailed research to convince your readers that your business is feasible.

Anastasia’s presentation was part of TechStartHub Startup Masterclass: How to make sure you’re investment and exit ready held last November 8 at University College London – Roberts Building. The next masterclass, Expert Advice on Website Content Strategy, Analytics, and Community Building, will be held on November 28 at the Innovation Warehouse.

[/panel] [/accordion][accordion collapse=”yes”] [panel title=” Sean Owen – How Your Pitch Is Received ” ]

The key points and highlights from Sean Owen’s presentation “How Your Pitch Is Received”

Great entrepreneurs make the world go round and investors need great entrepreneurs, that’s why investors “would kill” to hear great pitches from entrepreneurs.

An investor would probably receive hundreds of business plans daily but only invests in a handful; there is a need to stand out!

An Investment Memo is helpful to catch your reader’s attention given the little time they have. It’s an executive summary and not a complete business plan.

Time is of essence; minor things are major in 15 minutes so put a great deal of attention to details. Easy, quick read but comprehensive is appreciated by the busy.

Highlight strengths and identify weaknesses and how you intend to turn these into strengths.

Investors mostly believe 80% of your pitch but doubts on the 20%; the goal is to beat the 20%!

When scheduled for a meeting, send details (business plan including financials) days in advance. Target a 60-minute presentation starting with a good warm-up (summary; 15 minutes).

Your goal is to make the investor ask more questions before leaving the meeting. Listen, modulate, and ask questions!

Sean’s presentation was part of TechStartHub Startup Masterclass: How to make sure you’re investment and exit ready held last November 8 at University College London – Roberts Building. The next masterclass, Expert Advice on Website Content Strategy, Analytics, and Community Building, will be held on November 28 at the Innovation Warehouse.

[/panel] [/accordion][accordion collapse=”yes”] [panel title=” Richard Cummings – 10 Things You Must Know If You Employ People ” ]

The key points and highlights from Richard Cummings’ presentation “10 Things You Must Know When You Employ People”

Job Description – is important in creating a thought process that helps determine how critical the job is and how this particular job relates to others. It identifies the characteristics needed by a new employee filling the role.

Effective Recruitment – recruitment companies are expensive. Likewise, recruiting the wrong person is also expensive to just take a chance on someone and hope that they fit the role.

Contract – it regulates the terms and conditions of employment between the employer and the employee. It is the cornerstone upon which the relationship between employer and employee are built.

Employee Rights – employees have rights even before they get the job.

Health and Safety – every business has official responsibilities in order to guarantee the health and safety of its recruits and other people involved; protection of the work environment should be a priority.

Payroll – the primary mission of the payroll department is to ensure that all employees are paid accurately and timely with the correct withholdings and deductions, and to ensure the withholdings and deductions are remitted in a timely manner.

Appraisals – important to employees’ professional development, to meeting the company’s or firm’s goals or objectives and, ultimately, to contributing to the company’s or firm’s bottom line.

Financial & Non-Financial Rewards – employees are your most important customers. Rewards programs can improve performance as well as decrease turnover.

Manage Absences – absences affect productivity and profits and are likely to lower morale and motivation and should be dealt with seriously. Effective policies and procedures help improve absence rates and minimize its impact.

Disciplinary to Dismissal – areas to look into are: absences, performance, conduct, gross misconduct, and employee rights.

Richard’s presentation was part of TechStartHub Startup Masterclass: How to make sure you’re investment and exit ready held last November 8 at University College London – Roberts Building. The next masterclass, Expert Advice on Website Content Strategy, Analytics, and Community Building, will be held on November 28 at the Innovation Warehouse. [/panel] [/accordion][accordion collapse=”yes”] [panel title=” Howard Weintrob – Business Structure and Tax Efficiency ” ]

The key points and highlights from Howard Weintrob’s presentation “Business Structure and Tax Efficiency”

In a Sole Trader business structure, potential savings between 40% tax rate and company tax rate of 20% if excess profit is retained.

Self-employment/partners can achieve significant NI savings.

It is quite popular to pay dividends to avoid NI but companies must generate a profit to pay dividends!

Limited Liability Partnership combines the benefits of being taxed personally but with limited liability protection.

For sole trader/partner, losses in the first 4 years of trading can be carried back to the last 3 years’ income and obtain a refund.

The Research and Development project must seek to achieve an advancement in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty and not simply an advancement in own state of knowledge or technology.

The expenses allowed for tax purposes are anything incurred WHOLLY and EXCLUSIVELY for the business and are of a revenue nature.

Enterprise Investment Scheme is a tax efficient way of investing into a company as investors obtains 30% tax relief but must be for less than 30% of share capital.

Howard’s presentation was part of TechStartHub Startup Masterclass: How to make sure you’re investment and exit ready held last November 8 at University College London – Roberts Building. The next masterclass, Expert Advice on Website Content Strategy, Analytics, and Community Building, will be held on November 28 at the Innovation Warehouse.

[/panel] [/accordion]