69 episodes

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. Although we’re not going to ignore the pandemic, venture capital investing is a long-term endeavour and we will focus on topics that are relevant at any time. The first few episodes include discussions of angel investing, intellectual property and accelerators. We’re aiming for a new episode every two weeks.

Your host, Brian Moretta, is Head of Tax Enhanced Services at Hardman & Co. The latter a supplier of independent research in the industry and he has examined many EIS funds and companies. His background is an actuary turned fund manager who then moved into equity research. 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, getting beyond the superficial and understanding how they really work and finds this space fascinating. Some of this is because transparency is hard, some because the industry is not well understood. This podcast is an attempt to shine a bit more light on what is going on.

Every episode will have show notes at hardmanandco.com/podcast. If you want to contact us or give feedback, whether about the podcast or anything else you can email us at enquiries@hardmanandco.com. We want this to be helpful for listeners so any constructive feedback is welcome. We really hope you enjoy the podcast!

The EIS Navigator Brian Moretta, Hardman & Co

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

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. Although we’re not going to ignore the pandemic, venture capital investing is a long-term endeavour and we will focus on topics that are relevant at any time. The first few episodes include discussions of angel investing, intellectual property and accelerators. We’re aiming for a new episode every two weeks.

Your host, Brian Moretta, is Head of Tax Enhanced Services at Hardman & Co. The latter a supplier of independent research in the industry and he has examined many EIS funds and companies. His background is an actuary turned fund manager who then moved into equity research. 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, getting beyond the superficial and understanding how they really work and finds this space fascinating. Some of this is because transparency is hard, some because the industry is not well understood. This podcast is an attempt to shine a bit more light on what is going on.

Every episode will have show notes at hardmanandco.com/podcast. If you want to contact us or give feedback, whether about the podcast or anything else you can email us at enquiries@hardmanandco.com. We want this to be helpful for listeners so any constructive feedback is welcome. We really hope you enjoy the podcast!

    64 How the power law affects your investing with Graham Schwickkard of SyndicateRoom

    64 How the power law affects your investing with Graham Schwickkard of SyndicateRoom

    The power law is something that most venture capital investors are aware of, but usually only in the most general sense. Graham Schwikkard, CEO of SyndicateRoom, has just written a white paper on the topic using their data driven approach.
    We start on a bit of background, discussing what the power law is and what motivated the paper. Graham then explains how they approached the data, what decisions they made in their analysis and why. Fortunately it did show that returns fit a power law!
    We then go into what effect this should have on investors and, most particularly, how they should build a portfolio. We discuss how the characteristics of the power law mean that returns can improve alongside diversification. We also discuss what this says about stock selection and spray and pray approaches. Graham also talks about how different stages of investment give slightly different results and how that influences their investment strategy.
    Links
    SyndicateRoom - https://www.syndicateroom.com/
    White paper on the power law - https://www.syndicateroom.com/invest/whitepaper-power-law
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen

    Suggested book:
    The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-alt
    Brian also mentioned The Power Law by Sebastian Mallaby

    Bio
    Graham Schwikkard
    CEO, SyndicateRoom
    SyndicateRoom CEO Graham Schwikkard has over a decade of experience with data science and working with large datasets. He has a fascination with the dynamics of the startup investment network and after coming across the Companies House dataset in 2017, he spent many hours designing much of the analysis behind the Access Fund. Graham would like to see Access become a vehicle for delivering efficient capital throughout the network, and increase the odds of the system producing more Unicorns and economic growth. Prior to working at SyndicateRoom, Graham spent seven years as a management consultant, and has significant experience of helping companies develop market strategies and optimise business models. He also has in-depth technical expertise, focused on maximising efficiency.

    • 59 min
    63. A new plan to generate secondary liquidity with Rufus Pearl of PlanD

    63. A new plan to generate secondary liquidity with Rufus Pearl of PlanD

    The lack of secondary market liquidity has been a long term challenge, especially for companies that are not venture scale but still viable. Rufus Pearl is trying to improve that with a new scheme for investors to exit some of these investments and bring forward their loss relief.
    We start by talking about secondary markets for EIS and venture capital investments. We discuss the challenges, why its hard and what progress is being made. We also talk about different types of progress that companies can have, not just the successes and failures but also the spectrum in between.
    This leads us onto to talking about PlanD. We chat about the mechanics of how it will work and the likely effects on both investors and the companies they are invested in. Rufus then covers how he thinks it will develop in the near future and what will happen with the new fund.
    Links
    PlanD - https://pland.co/
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen
    Suggested book:
    The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann
    Bio
    Rufus Pearl
    Founder, PlanD
    Has 20 years of corporate finance experience, including smaller company fund raising and flotations in sectors ranging from media to mining and film to fintech. Rufus was founder & CEO of a multi-award-winning lifestyle accessories business with global sales, and the founder of Pearl Corporate Finance, providing advisory services to investment trusts that grew to c.$75m AUM via a ‘swaps methodology’ that became the foundation idea for planD.

    • 44 min
    62. How companies pivot with Reuben Wilcock of Blackfinch Ventures

    62. How companies pivot with Reuben Wilcock of Blackfinch Ventures

    While the business world is an ever-changing place, we seem to be in an exceptional time of flux. Reuben Wilcock has seen many small growth companies pivot and adapt and we tap into his knowledge.
    Our discussion starts with what drives pivots and what sort of changes we might see. Reuben gives several examples and talks about the evidence that companies should be obtaining to make these changes. We discuss some of the different circumstances that can drive the change and how these might affect what happens.
    We then move on to how companies manage these changes. We talk about the importance of boards and the role directors should play. Managing staff can also be challenging. Finally, Reuben talks about the common mistakes that he sees management making and what advice he would give to those contemplating pivots.
    Links
    Blackfinch - https://www.blackfinch.com/

    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen

    Suggested books:
    Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

    Bio
    Reuben Wilcock
    Head of Ventures, Blackfinch Ventures
    Reuben’s expertise in advising early stage companies has developed through a background spanning academia, technology start-ups and start-up acceleration. He has founded or co-founded four technology start-ups including Joulo, a smart home energy spinout which won the 2013 British Gas Connected Homes award and was acquired by Quby in 2014, and Bar Analytics, an IoT start-up that enables global brands to monitor beer quality and sales.
    With a PhD in Electronics, Reuben has extensive product design experience with deep technical knowledge of hardware, software and manufacturing. He is an inventor on five patents and named author on over 45 peer reviewed publications ranging from integrated circuit design to genetic algorithms. Before joining Blackfinch, Reuben was a leading figure in entrepreneurship at the University of Southampton where he sat on its IP Panel for five years, guiding the commercialisation of research innovations through licensing and spinouts.
    Reuben is a Royal Academy of Engineering award winning entrepreneur, and the lifetime membership that affords has offered visibility of some of the most innovative university spinouts in the UK. In 2015 Reuben founded and ran the Future Worlds accelerator, mentoring over 250 entrepreneurs and 50 companies over a four-year period. Companies included 5G silicon IP spinout Accelercomm, AI computer vision company Aura Vision, IoT transport startup Route Reports and HGV data analytics company Dynamon. Whilst at Future Worlds, Reuben also developed the business plan and was the execution partner for the Z21 Fund, run in partnership with the Solent LEP.

    • 57 min
    61. How to choose a VCT or EIS fund with Ewoud Karelse of Evelyn Partners

    61. How to choose a VCT or EIS fund with Ewoud Karelse of Evelyn Partners

    We've spoken a lot about tax advantaged investing, but how should an investor choose which VCT or EIS fund to give their money to? Ewoud Karelse is one of the long-standing analysts in the tax-advantaged market and has immense experience of looking at these products. In this episode, he discusses what to look at giving a wealth of tips. Essential listening for investors, IFAs and even providers who want to know how to improve their products!
    We start off with Ewoud emphasising the primacy of investor needs, especially where they have specific requirements. This leads onto discussing VCTs. We dig into the different dividend policies and how to look at their sustainability. We also talk about discount policies and how relevant they are.
    We follow this up by looking at factors that VCTs and EIS have in common. We talk about teams, what experience and how big they need to be. We discuss expenses, some of the different ways that they are charged and the debates around them. We also look at diversification and more.
    Links
    Evelyn Partners - https://o2hventures.com/
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen

    Suggested books:
    Malazan Book of the Fallen (10 books) by Steven Erikson
    First one - Gardens of the Moon

    Bio
    Ewoud Karelse
    Product Specialist, Evelyn Partners
    Ewoud started his career in financial services with Allenbridge in 2000 and joined Towry Law in 2008 before joining Tilney in 2016, and Evelyn Partners in 2022. Ewoud is responsible for the research and selection of Venture Capital Trusts; (Seed) Enterprise Investment Schemes; Business Relief for Inheritance Tax Planning (AIM and non-AIM), and Social Investment Tax Relief products. He is also well versed in the use of Business Investment Relief for International clients.

    • 57 min
    60. Biotech update and investing with Sunil Shah of o2h Ventures

    60. Biotech update and investing with Sunil Shah of o2h Ventures

    The biotech industry attracted huge amounts of capital during the pandemic, but how is it faring in the post-pandemic world? Sunil Shah of o2h returns to give us an update on what's been happening.
    We start off by talking about the wider market. We discuss what's happening with capital and valuations, the contrast between public and private markets and how the US differs from the UK. We also dig into the M&A environment and, in particular, what is happening with big pharma who ultimately are the key buyers.
    We don't ignore the "operational" side either. Sunil gives some great insights into trends in the market, particularly around the use of AI for drug discovery and how perspective on that are changing. We look at some particular areas that seem promising, especially those where Sunil is invested.
    Links
    o2h Ventures - https://o2hventures.com/
    o2h Chai Time webinars - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7YqoMJ566H7uau0E2WC3Qw
    UK BioIndustry Association guide to investing in the UK biotech sector - https://www.bioindustry.org/policy/invest-in-biotech.html
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen
    Bio
    Sunil Shah
    Managing Partner, o2h Ventures
    Sunil Shah is an entrepreneur having begun his career in the Life Sciences team at PA Consulting. He co-founded Oxygen Healthcare Ltd which was fully acquired by Piramal Enterprises Ltd (BSE: PEL) in 2013. Since this time, Sunil has co-founded the o2h Group, this includes o2h Ventures, an investment firm that manages the HMRC approved ‘ Human Health’ Knowledge Intensive EIS fund and the o2h human health SEIS SEIS Fund; o2h Discovery, a medicinal chemistry research services company and o2h Co-Work Labs, a 2.7Acre Science Park in South Cambridge.
    Sunil has won the UKBAA Angel Investor of the year award in 2019 as well as the OBN Special Recognition Award for his significant contribution in the Life Sciences Industry. He serves on the Board of the BIA as well as Cambridge Angels. He is either Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Board Observer or an investor in over 20 Biotech companies in the UK. Sunil has a degree in Biochemistry from Keele and an MBA from Cambridge University.

    • 54 min
    59. Impact companies and their investors: Weedingtech with Boundary Capital and Go Thrift with OnePlanetCapital

    59. Impact companies and their investors: Weedingtech with Boundary Capital and Go Thrift with OnePlanetCapital

    While we have focused on venture capital and EIS/ VCT investors on the podcast, ultimately it is all about the companies that we invest in. Here we find out about two of them, together with the EIS fund managers who invested in them.
    Weedingtech supplies machines and supplies that can kill weeds without using herbicides. Its CEO, Leo de Montaignac, discusses how it works, some of the challenges he has had and how they have internationalised the business. Dan Somers of Boundary Capital talks about why it was an attractive investment, what its attraction were to an impact investor and how he overcame the concerns that many investors have about hardware businesses.
    Go Thrift is a retailer of second-hand clothing at industrial scale. Carl Walker, its CEO, talks about building scale when resources are scarce, how he overcame the supply and single SKU issues and what the barriers to competition are. OnePlanetCapital is an investor and Matt Jellicoe talks about why they invested, how he measured its impact and why he thinks it could be the safest investment in their portfolio.
    Links
    Weedingtech website: https://www.weedingtech.com/
    Boundary Capital website: https://www.boundarycapital.com/
    Go Thrift website: https://gothrift.co.uk/
    OnePlanetCapital website: https://www.oneplanet.capital/
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen
    Bios
    Leo is the CEO and co-founder of Weedingtech. As CEO he is responsible for building Weedingtech’s world class team, and steering its growth.  Leo ensures that Weedingtech remains focused on helping organisations around the world make their local areas greener, cleaner and safer than ever before. Committed to building long-lasting relationships where its customers remain the top priority, he cares passionately about Weedingtech being the best partner to anyone it works with. Leo co-founded Weedingtech because he saw an opportunity to provide the world with a safer way to weed. Prior to Weedingtech, Leo worked in a variety of roles in sales and marketing in IT. He had always wanted to start a business himself, and he left IT to start Weedingtech when the opportunity presented itself. Outside the office Leo is a keen foodie, cook and traveller.
    Dan Somers is the managing partner of Boundary Capital. He is a serial entrepreneur; founder and CEO of several IT businesses as well as executive and non-executive position of other growing electronics, software and green tech businesses. Dan is passionate about sustainability and impact as well as technology, and leads the business development for Boundary as well as managing some of the investments. Formerly a strategy consultant with LEK Consulting. He holds an MA from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences and a Diploma in Business Studies. A keen skier and ex-rugby player, now vicarious fan. Dreaming of post-lockdown on the ski slopes and rugby terraces!

    Carl Walker is CEO & Co-Founder of Go Thrift. Carl has worked in used clothing and the circular fashion sector for over 10 years and was recently nominated as a top 40 Northern Gamechanger. Go Thrift are one of the UK's leading vintage & used clothing retailers and pride themselves on being part of the solution to fast fashion pollution. They have won multiple awards for sustainability and circularity, including the Marie Claire award...

    • 52 min

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