The Liverpool City Region has been gifted with its own network of angels. The LCR Angel Network was conceived earlier this year by Alternative Finance Providers - MSIF, Commercial Law Firm - Brabners, and Business Growth Specialists - Grant Thornton.
The idea came to light when founders, Lisa Greenhalgh (CEO of MSIF), Mark Rathbone (Brabners Head of Corporate) and Gaynor Dykes (Regional Growth Manager at Grant Thornton), recognised both the lack of any coordinated Angel Group in the LCR Region, and for those active Angels, the difficulty in finding good opportunities to invest in.
The LCR Angel Network identifies promising businesses and puts them in-front of their growing number of Angel Investors. The Investors then have the opportunity to invest alone, or as a syndicate, providing not only financial support but experience and knowledge to an early stage business.
With 69% of Angel Investors choosing to invest inside of their home region (research commissioned by the UK Business Angels Association, 2017), it was important to all parties involved to create an Angel Network for the Liverpool City Region.
The LCR Angel Network is free to all Angels and has now held three successful events throughout year, with the most recent event taking place in November 6th as the ‘Winter Pitch’.
Each ‘pitch’ event sees growing businesses that have been chosen by the LCR Network founders, present to a panel of investors. The aspiring SME’s are given a quick and punchy five-minute opportunity to describe their business, growth aspirations and most importantly, the funding amount they need. Investors who like what they hear then spend the rest of the event getting to know the business and their director.
The LCR Angel Network is a member of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), which will further provide opportunities for guidance and training for new Angel Investors. The UKBAA will also facilitate more networking and syndication possibilities for existing Angel Investors in the Region; the LCR Angel Network hopes the introduction of this dedicated LCR network will bring more funding, awareness and success to the city.
2019 will see the launch of the LCR Angel Network website and an increase in event opportunities, which will ultimately bring more opportunities for growth to the Liverpool business community.
Lisa Greenhalgh, CEO of MSIF said “There was a large gap in the market for Angel Investments in the Liverpool City Region. We wanted to build a bridge that brought together quality investment opportunities with active Angel Investors. We also wanted to do this in a different format to the other North West Angel events.”
“We’ve had great feedback on the timing and format of our events, with great success of businesses receiving investment. AlgoLib Ltd has achieved funding as a result of presenting at our second LCR Angel event, and further investments deals are in talks at the moment, which we are excited to communicate in the very near future. I am confident that 2019 will only bring an increase in awareness of the Angel Network and more growth to the region.”
Mark Rathbone, Brabners Head of Corporate said “We know that this region has great entrepreneurs with some excellent disruptive business ideas and models that need funding and mentoring support. There are also many successful business people who have strong profitable businesses or who have successfully sold their businesses. We want to engage these potential business angels to direct some of their time, funds and energy to help our regions budding entrepreneurs. There is a great deal of existing wealth and some real new hidden talent in the Liverpool City Region. Our aim is to bring those new, entrepreneurial, growth businesses to the forefront and help deliver the backing they need.”
Gaynor Dykes, Regional Growth Finance Manager at Grant Thornton said “When we first looked at creating an Angel Network, we saw the data from the UKBAA about how many Angels preferred to back businesses in their home region. This confirmed our belief in creating an Angel Network for the Liverpool City Region. We want and need to continue to support and enable businesses in the City Region - the LCR Angel Network is a fantastic way of doing so.”