101 episodes

For those interested in the venture capital, particularly in the UK and investors through the Enterprise Investment Scheme, EIS, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, or SEIS, and Venture Capital Trusts.

Guests are 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. New episodes come out every two weeks (although we do take holidays!)

Your host, Brian Moretta, is Head of Tax Advantaged Services at Hardman & Co. The latter supplies independent research in the industry and he has examined many EIS funds, VCTs 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 lecturing. 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 has show notes at https://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. Any feedback from listeners is welcome as well as suggestions for future guests. We really hope you enjoy the podcast!

The EIS Navigator Brian Moretta, Hardman & Co

    • Business
    • 4.2 • 5 Ratings

For those interested in the venture capital, particularly in the UK and investors through the Enterprise Investment Scheme, EIS, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, or SEIS, and Venture Capital Trusts.

Guests are 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. New episodes come out every two weeks (although we do take holidays!)

Your host, Brian Moretta, is Head of Tax Advantaged Services at Hardman & Co. The latter supplies independent research in the industry and he has examined many EIS funds, VCTs 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 lecturing. 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 has show notes at https://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. Any feedback from listeners is welcome as well as suggestions for future guests. We really hope you enjoy the podcast!

    95 How to build successful startups in manufacturing and operations with Renan Devillieres of OSS Ventures

    95 How to build successful startups in manufacturing and operations with Renan Devillieres of OSS Ventures

    Manufacturing and operations is an area that has been much neglected by venture capital, but has plenty of issues that can be address. Renan Devillieres of venture builder OSS Ventures focuses on this space, with distinct methods and successful results. In this episode we discuss how he goes about creating successful new businesses, with very good results to date.
    In a wide ranging discussion, Renan discusses:
    what is venture buildingthe process for finding pain points in factorieshow Renan characterises different operations why there is still so much low hanging fruit in this areawhat sorts of manufacturers are open to changehow to make sure there is enough initial customers and how to work with themworking with different tech stackshow to make sure that companies don't customise for specific clientsmaking the OSS fire itself from each companythe different markets and sales processes he seesfinding the right founders and the skill sets they needthe effect of AIhow the global manufacturing model of the past 30 years is changing now
    Its a great conversation with lots of insights from Renan and a must listen for investors and founders who want to build successful businesses.
    01:30 Renan introduces himself
    02:45 introduction to OSS
    04:00 what is venture building?
    09:00 finding pain points in factories
    13:15 how the regulatory environment can affect go-to-market strategies
    17:30 why is there so much low hanging fruit
    21:00 how different manufacturers are stuck or open to change
    25:30 finding the first customers
    29:00 working with clients to build viable solutions without customising too much
    32:00 how the OSS team fires itself
    37:00 how different software has different sales and decision making processes
    41:20 the necessary founder skills
    44:15 how AI is affecting manufacturing
    49:10 trends in manufacturing and how its all changing now
    55:30 favourite questions
    Links
    OSS Ventures website - https://www.oss.ventures/
    Subscribe to the EIS Navigator podcast on most services here: https://the-eis-navigator.captivate.fm/listen

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    Bio
    Renan Devillières,
    CEO OSS Ventures
    A graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Renan began his career as a consultant at McKinsey, before becoming an economist at the OECD and then strategic project manager for the Richemont Group. After his various experiences, Renan...

    • 1 hr 5 min
    94 How governance enables startup growth and how to start it well with Dermot Campbell of SEEIO

    94 How governance enables startup growth and how to start it well with Dermot Campbell of SEEIO

    Governance is all too often seen in startup companies as a chore, or necessary evil when it can be a positive and enable success. Dermot Campbell, founder of CEEIO, is trying bring more of the latter to the venture world. In this episode, he discusses how startups can enable good governance without spending too much time on it and make it a means to the right end rather than an end in itself.
    Dermot covers a lot of areas, including:
    what is governancethe importance of maintaining stakeholder relationshipswhen startups should start introducing governance structureshow governance should lead growthwho should take the lead on board creationthe role of fund managersgood preparation for board meetingsbuilding effective board agendasthe value in identifying riskssetting up risk assessments and how these can lead to key objectiveshow to generate relevant KPIshow to translate a business plan into something usefulgenerating the right boardthe commons mistakes made by foundersthe rise of ESG and how its different in startups from quoted companies
    Whether you are a founder looking to put governance into place or an investor helping or wanting a company to do it, this is an essential discussion.
    01:00 Dermot introduces himself
    02:00 What is SEEIO
    03:10 What is governance
    04:20 the importance of maintaining stakeholder relationships
    05:40 importance of creating a governance framework
    06:15 how should new startups approach governance
    08:40 when to create the board
    09:45 who takes the lead
    11:30 role of fund managers
    12:30 the work in preparing for board meetings
    15:00 don't just sell - value in identify risks
    16:30 setting up appropriate risk assessment
    20:30 how to use a business plan and use it to generate objectives
    22:10 working on KPIs
    24:00 building effective board agendas
    27:20 generating the right board and founder relationship with them
    30:30 role of independent NEDs in startups
    32:10 what mistakes do founders make
    33:30 value of governance in improving odds for fundraising
    35:50 rise of ESG and how investors care about G - G facilitates E & S
    42:20 favourite questions
    Links
    SEEIO website - https://seeio.co.uk/
    Dermot on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dermot-campbell-3178a326/

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

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    Bio
    Dermot Campbell
    CEO, SEEIO
    Dermot Campbell is an experienced fintech leader,...

    • 49 min
    93 How to be a contrarian venture capital investor and making taboo investments with Will Gibbs of Octopus Ventures

    93 How to be a contrarian venture capital investor and making taboo investments with Will Gibbs of Octopus Ventures

    Getting big returns in venture capital can involve stepping away from the mainstream and investing in opportunities that others won't. Will Gibbs of Octopus Ventures has a reputation for investing in areas others see as taboo. We ask him about being a contrarian investor, how to do it well and what needs to change to create a successful investment.
    In a discussion filled with numerous examples, Will discusses:
    getting big enough markets when the market is somewhat hiddenbalancing new technology and new marketswhen specialist investors are neededjudging whether a company will be ripe for follow-on investmenthow taboo investments can interact with social changesequencing market expansionwhat a company needs to internationalisewhat problems that internationalising doesn't solvebuilding deal flow in taboo areashow the venture capital industry is creating some of the problemsthe value of team diversity in looking away from consensus areaswhether valuations are different in taboo areas.
    In a wide ranging conversation, Will brings a great perspective on how to bring mainstream venture capital skills to genuinely new areas. Its a great discussion for investors and companies who dare to be different. Enjoy!
    01:00 Will introduces himself
    03:40 Who Octopus Ventures are
    06:30 Contrarian and tabooo investing
    07:45 Example: Elvie - silent breast pump
    09:50 Example: Pelago - substance use disorder
    13:20 the size of taboo markets, challenges in assessing true market size
    16:00 new tech and new markets - need for specialists
    17:30 Example Overture - improving and automating IVF
    19:20 market meets social movements - will someone follow-on?
    22:05 assessing the pace of social change - risk of too early
    25:30 sequencing the right national / international markets
    25:45 Example Skin & Me - getting expansion right and not too quick
    29:30 Time and capital to internationalise
    31:00 when is the right or wrong time to internationalise
    33:30 building deal flow in taboo areas
    35:15 to what extent is the venture capital industry part of the problem - value of diversity
    38:05 is the industry going in the right direction?
    40:00 are valuations different in taboo areas?
    42:35 creating communities supporting companies
    47:45 prospects
    50:20 Favourite questions
    Links
    Octopus Investments: https://octopusinvestments.com/
    Octopus Ventures website: https://octopusventures.com/

    Companies mentioned:
    Pelago https://www.pelagohealth.com/
    Overture https://www.overture.life/
    Vira https://www.vira.health/
    Elvie https://www.elvie.com/en-gb
    Skin and me https://www.skinandme.com/

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

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    • 1 hr 1 min
    92 The state of valuations in the current market and what they mean for investors with John Glencross of Calculus

    92 The state of valuations in the current market and what they mean for investors with John Glencross of Calculus

    Valuations are always a popular topic. With much discussion about whether we are at the bottom of the current cycle, it seems a good time to revisit and we invited back someone who has experienced several market cycles: John Glencross, co-founder of Calculus Capital.
    We had a great discussion on how the current market, how this compares with recent times and how a fund manager handles them. Topics discussed include:
    how companies are accepting lower valuationsthe danger of growth at any pricewhere there are still bubbles and what the consequences of these might behow to manage investing when valuations are highthe psychology of down rounds preferential return structures and what John is seeing in the marketreal unicorns versus valuation aberrationshow valuation matters for investinghow Calculus values existing portfolioJohn's sense of valuations in the EIS & VCT market and where he thinks the discrepancies arehow close we are to the bottom of the valuation cycle
    Talking with someone who has seen several downturns gave a great perspective on all these topics and there's lots for all advisers and investors. Enjoy!
    01:00 John introduces himself
    04:30 recent exit patterns
    06:00 companies accepting lower valuations attraction of investment vs exits
    07:30 avoiding growth at any price - US vs UK
    10:15 where there is still bubbles
    13:15 investing when valuations are high - changed pace of investments in recent years
    16:45 the psychology of down rounds
    18:45 preferential return structures and the general tightening of terms in market
    26:00 when are unicorns a market aberration?
    28:30 how valuation matters for investing
    31:10 portfolio valuation - lags, being realistic and getting a good process
    35:00 how EIS managers are using unrealised performance as marketing, but its not similar to exits
    41:00 what is an acceptable band of uncertainty? How exits matter
    44:15 are we at the bottom of the valuation cycle?
    48:45 favourite questions
    Links
    Calculus Capital website: https://www.calculuscapital.com/

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

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    Bio
    John Glencross
    Chief Executive and Cofounder, Calculus Capital

    John co-founded Calculus with Susan McDonald in 1999, creating one of the UK’s most successful,...

    • 1 hr
    91 Why investing in profitable companies matters more than ever with Harry Heartfield of Edition

    91 Why investing in profitable companies matters more than ever with Harry Heartfield of Edition

    When we last spoke with Harry Heartfield of Edition, the leisure sector was all about recovering the pandemic. Fortunately, we have moved on so we thought it was time to get him back to discuss where we are now, how his investment philosophy has evolved and what the prospects for exits are now.
    We covered a lot areas in our discussion, including:
    the unevenness of the current recoverythe difference that geography and target market makesthe need to rebalance portfolio risk nowhow live entertainment and hospitality are doinghow to run live events professionally and Edition's role in supporting thatprospects for exitshow the landscape of purchasers looksthe challenges of making rollups workwhy profitability matters more than everhow and why to set up EIS deals six months in advance
    Its another great discussion - Harry is both erudite and insightful, and the lessons are not just about the leisure sector . Enjoy!

    00:50 Harry introduces himself
    03:00 Why Edition is more than a fund manager
    05:00 How does the leisure sector feel now?
    08:00 the unevenness of the recovery
    10:00 where is recovering and where isn't - geographic and demographic differences
    13:40 rebalancing risk in portfolio
    15:30 how live entertainment and events are doing
    19:30 the return after pandemic
    20:30 how to get professionalism in live events
    25:30 the prospects for exits returning
    28:10 political games amongst the big players in live entertainment and the structure of purchasers
    31:20 making rollups work - the danger of multiple arbitrage and focus on synergies
    35:45 how long to build a company?
    40:15 the importance of profitability in the current market and when there is a trade off vs growth
    44:30 messaging around doing something different
    47:30 why Edition is lining companies up for investment 6mths in advance
    50:20 the challenges of agreeing deals 6 mths in advance
    54:00 favourite questions


    Links
    Edition Capital - https://www.editioncapital.co.uk/
    Harry on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-heartfield-2275983a/
    Email harry.heartfield@editioncapital.co.uk

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

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    Bio
    Harry Heartfield
    Senior Partner, Edition Capital
    Harry has over 15 years’ experience in the leisure sector. In 2011, he joined boutique asset manager Ingenious becoming a Senior Investment Manager in their Live Entertainment Team. At Ingenious, he was responsible for working across several investment funds including several Venture Capital Trusts with a focus on leisure assets. During his time at Ingenious, he also developed and launched several investment products aimed at...

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Bonus: Venture capital indexation and how to grow the industry without increasing valuations with Richard Blakesley of Venture Cubed

    Bonus: Venture capital indexation and how to grow the industry without increasing valuations with Richard Blakesley of Venture Cubed

    Assessing companies for venture capital investment is often more of an art than a science. Richard Blakesley is trying to change that with Venture Cubed. Its rating system aims to objectively assess how investible new companies are. We asked him to talk about how they built their rating system, what it tells us about the venture industry and how it might change it going forward.
    This is the second part of our excellent discussion. In the previous episode, we spoke about his rating system and what matters when assessing companies for investment. In this one, we discuss scaling the UK venture capital industry, indexation and investing at scale. In particular, we talk about:
    the proportion of companies that should be getting investmentthe challenge of getting more investment into different companies instead of boosting valuationswhether support and investment should come from the same organisationcreating a index for venture capital and benchmarkinghow to make that index investibledata and creating systems for intermediate valuationsbuying and selling a venture capital indexdifferent investment models that might be usedwhy bigger funds would expect to outperform smaller funds
    As you can see, we covered a lot of ground. This is a really important discussion for the venture capital industry: there could be an opportunity for it to scale up dramatically in the near future, but how it does that really matters. This discussion may not produce all the answers, but at least it asks the questions. And don't forget part 1!
    00:45 How many companies get funding that deserve it and what's the shortfall in companies not being funded that should?
    05:00 inflating valuations versus broadening the range companies getting investment - need new channels for pension funds
    08:00 why the industry needs to change - case for passive management
    10:00 the challenges of indexing venture capital
    11:00 separating investment and support - how passive managers might arrange that
    14:30 the real role of a fund manager
    21:00 issue of intermediate valuation (before exit) - data collection on private countries
    26:20 data protection & confidentiality
    27:40 how to make index investible / expand coverage - without diluting quality
    33:00 buying & selling index - fund types, physical vs derivative
    35:00 creating funds where industry can write a big cheque
    35:45 bigger diversified funds outperform
    37:00 the power law and reversion to mean
    42:00 co-investment model and role of BBB - public plus private models
    45:30 favourite questions
    Links
    Venture Cubed website - https://www.venturecubed.com/
    Richard's email: richard@venturecubed.com

    British Business Bank venture capital reviews: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/uk-venture-capital-financial-returns-2023/

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

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    a...

    • 56 min

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