Investing with your Heart and Mind: Meet investor Sam Simpson

During this week’s interview, we meet Angel Investor and Decksender member Sam Simpson

This week we are delighted to speak with Sam Simpson. After 20 years working in the tech sector and setting up businesses, he applied this knowledge to Angel Investing. His business accelerator, EH3, works with aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to build and grow great businesses and today, we speak about his path to investment, what makes him notice a pitch and invest, and the UK startup landscape going forward.

The start of his investing journey and what to invest in

After building his way up from junior engineer to lead consultant and technical director, then project and programme management at one company, it closed. Sam went on to set up Roc Technologies with colleague Mike Hockey. Roc was was hugely successful and rapidly grew in 3.5 years, being named the second fastest growing company in the UK in 2017. 

After exiting Roc, Sam and Mike began investing – partly to have something to do, partly to meet new people, and partly for the tax benefits. Finding the right opportunity to invest in is a numbers game – in the past couple of years, Sam has seen around 300 pitches and only made 15 investments. He sees Decksender as a great way to see lots of decks direct to his inbox without having to have a meeting.

When Sam started out, he invested in everything from an underpants company to a custom furniture company! Since then, he has refined his approach. He is currently investing in five companies that leverage AI, such as Skin Analytics – a company committed to helping more people survive cancer. This investment has a special place in Sam’s heart after his friend and investment partner, Mike, passed away from contracting melanoma last year. Investing in startups and new technologies can ensure early detection and other societal gains, other than simply financial.

What to look for when investing

There are a number of things that need to fall into place to make an investment. It’s all too easy to leave a pitch and get infused but the potential for the market or the potential for exit are low, so Sam uses an evaluation matrix in order to be more objective:

  • Do we love the founder and can we work with them?
  • Is it unique and does it need to be?
  • How close is the founder to proof point? 
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • What does a reasonable valuation look like?
  • What tax break does it fit into – SEIS or EIS or none?
  • Flexibility within the paperwork?

Decksender allows Sam to test a number of those elements in just a few minutes and encourages every Founder to attend a Decksender event to ensure they know exactly what to include in their pitch deck – this will make or break whether he takes the conversation further.

The future of investing in the UK

SEIS and EIS tax relief have been transformative in the UK to support investors. He hopes these won’t change as it encourages innovation in the UK: ‘So many startups can get funded to create a thriving startup economy which is essential with the UK leaving Europe’.

Many businesses he invests in have an international element and it is vital to come to an agreement post-Brexit that doesn’t put UK businesses at a disadvantage.

Current investments

Over the past 3 years, Sam has embraced the Angel Investor world and has learnt a lot about it. In his next venture he is putting this to use and launching a product that will help founders with their startup administration. In time, they will further harness technology to assist with all the operational support tasks a Founder will need, such as providing a platform to support HR so they can focus on building an excellent business.

Details

You can get in touch with Sam at:
Decksender
LinkedIn

Want access to great investments?.

Decksender member interview – Meet Arthur and Parcel Tracker.

Decksender member interview Parcel Tracker

In this week’s members interview we meet Arthur Zargaryan founder of Parcel Tracker.

In this week’s interview we talk to Arthur and his company Parcel Tracker. Parcel tracker solves the key problem of internal parcel tracking and management. A simple solution, the application scans parcels automatically detecting the correct tenant in a building. From their building residents are sent a notification and the app takes a signature to secure the process.

The product, as so many good SaaS solutions are, was envisaged as a time saver for building management and it does that well. The lockdown period has also put a spotlight on solutions that minimise contact between people and Parcel Tracker fits neatly into this pot, with software updates that maximise the contactless element of the product. With ever increasing numbers of parcels being delivered to buildings with multiple occupants and pressure to ensure a more contactless experience, Parcel Tracker are well placed for the future.

How did parcel tracker start?

Arthur met his co-founder Luca whilst studying computer science at King’s College London. Joining the colleges accelerator programme they brought on Alan and the rest as they say is history. The idea for Parcel Tracker came when they noticed how much time was spent at their student accommodation managing packages. Further investigation led to the realisation that managing these parcels was somewhat of a nightmare in co-working offices, residential and commercial buildings. The accelerator gave the team access to much needed funding but more than that access to experience. Without this Arthur admits they wouldn’t be where they are today.

From the Eiffel Tower to student housing.

Like a lot of start-ups getting the first customer proved difficult. But this didn’t stop the team at Parcel Track. From branded M&M’s sent to clients to trips up the Eiffel Tower whilst in Paris to pitch Y combinator the team have been laser focussed on business growth. Once the first customer came it opened the floodgates. What I admire about their journey is how they’ve not be afraid to try things, some of it’s worked some if it hasn’t but it’s a great lesson for any start-up. Have a go. Read more about Arthurs M&M exploits here.

It’s also a lesson in messaging Parcel Track have worked super hard to get this right, describing their business simply and effectively.

Nail your messaging.

Parcel Track

The funding journey.

The team are currently raising for their next stage of growth. In all likelyhood they’ll be tapping into their existing networks via their accelerator connections and their wider networks.

This in and of itself highlights the value of being connected to a range of angels via accelerators. I have no doubt Parcel Track will hit their goals. Once secured it’s all about growth for Parcel Track with new hires earmarked in sales and marketing plus in their core development team.

The details

Reach out to the team at Parcel Track here.

Catch them on social media:

Twitter

Linkedin

Join great companies like Parcel Tracker on Decksender.

Decksender member interview – Meet Peter and endurance sports TV

Endurancesports.tv

In this week’s member interview we meet Peter Tomlinson, founder of Endurancesports.tv

It’s not every day we get to meet the founder of a fully fledged TV channel so i was excited to find out more about Peter’s journey and Endurance Sports TV. As somebody who’s watched sport disappear from all but the most expensive subscription channels the team at Endurance Sports have an exciting mission to create a home for endurance sports fans where they can engage with the content they love. I must admit to being a sports fan so I’ll leave the details of our football conversation for another blog!

How did endurancesports.tv start?

in 2004 Peter’s passion for endurance sports kicked off as he started running marathons and he’s never looked back. Triathlon, cycling you name it he’s done it. It was this passion as a user in the sector and a chance meeting that identified a gap in the market for endurance sports content. The business launched in July 2019. Early activity was based around developing the product and content and beginning to build the team. Initial focus was to launch into their 2020 season in March with a number of key contracts in place. This included live streaming from spring events and a steadily building subscriber base.

A positive tale of covid enforced restructuring

Going into covid the team was four full-time, it’s now seven working part-time. The situation has pushed the company to really focus on outcomes rather than time spent “in the office” and it’s worked well. This is a really salient tale, a forced change having a major impact on the fortunes of a business. Peter used this period to also spend time re-evaluating the business and path forward.

Covid forced us to really assess the business, we asked the question should this business really exist?

It’s made the company really focus on the relationships between team members. The whole team are pulling in the right direction within common goals and a support network that empowers them to trust in their abilities.

Everyone in the business is empowered with their job.

It’s something that Peter has advocated through his life, whether getting kids into sport or encouraging adults to take up endurance sports and through his wide ranging career. He’s seen first hand the positive impact this can have and he’s strived to develop that culture in the business.

I think this is a really important lesson for any start-up, if you’re going to surround yourself with great people give them the bandwidth and trust to do great things.

The funding journey

Undeterred by the covid crisis, Peter and the endurance team have really lived up to their name.  They have created a channel with great video content, covering all endurance sports. With racing restarting, the autumn will bring new content, live coverage and documentaries to over 84 million endurance sports participants and fans worldwide.  The company is also off to a great start with their crowd funding round which, has kicked off on Crowdcube, due to be opened up to the public on 15th September.  The investment boost will enable them to expand more rapidly and develop more great content for their subscribers.

The details

As you’d expect endurancesports.tv are very active on social media you can find them here:

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

And grab a look at their crowdfunding page, here.

Join great companies like Endurancesports.tv on Decksender.