You need to view your company as an investor would — Talk Marketing 051 — Julie Barber
Today’s guest has finance experience going back to 2000, including 15 years at KPMG. She founded her own business Spark Consultancy in 2017. She is involved in a number of non exec, advisory and mentorship roles, including startup mentor and mentor at the Royal Academy of Engineering. She is author of the book Investor Ready and she speaks about startup investment and creating corporate governance structures that support accelerated growth.
Today’s guest is the quite wonderful Julie Barber :)
00:00 Introductions — Dressage etc.
5:10 How are you qualified to talk to us about startup investment?
16:12 At one point do people realise that they will need start up investment?
19:28 Is startup/scaleup investment a new culture?
23:26 Is startup investment more available that it had been previously?
27:29 What does a startup have to do to be investor ready?
40:12 What is it that investors are looking for when they engage in startup investment?
44:48 Who do you work with and how do you add value to their lives?
46:36 What are the different levels of startup investment?
54:04 What types of business do investors see as better for startup investment?
1:06:32 What sort of return do investors expect from startup investment?
1:17:35 What do you recommend people read?
1:21:16 Who do you recommend I speak to as part of the Talk Marketing series?
So we’ll start at the beginning, how are you qualified to talk to us about startup investment?
Sure. So I guess originally, I quote, there’s no, there’s no official qualifications for supporting companies in fundraising s such, it’s a very niche area nd it tends to come more from from your own business experience. I spent 20 years in financial services did the full run between consultancy regulators and banks. and through that did a lot of strategic and innovation work, and also pitching myself. I spent a lot of time pitching to corporate boards to get money out of them. I got over 20 million out of corporate boards for various projects and programmes that I was leading so I understand what it takes to give people the confidence to give you money. And then through the innovation work that I was doing, we would have quite a few startups coming in to pitch where I was on the other side of the fence, on the investor side of the fence, we’d have startups coming to pitch to large corporates and we’d be turning them down and sending them away because they weren’t ready, they didn’t understand what it would take to engage with an investor, they didn’t understand what the investor would care about.
So my frustration levels grew. I started Spark, four years ago, originally, we just started it as a corporate focus, because that was my background, but continuing to have startups coming in and pitching for investment in various places. It became an increasing frustration that I’ve decided to act on. So I took all of that corporate knowledge and then applied it to the startup world. We’ve now been working with startups and scale ups for the last two and a half years with about 70% of our clients going forward to raise investments successfully, and about 20% of those that haven’t raised investment learning enough from working with us to understand that they’ve got some big things to fix. So they’re not raising because they they’re not worth investing in, they’ve realised that they’ve got issues and they go off and fix those and then go back out and raise later on.
Okay, wow, I’ve got so many questions. The first thing, let me start writing things down, because the first thing is quite often, I’m not particularly interested in paper qualifications. I’m not interested in certificates I’m not interested in. I’m not really very interested or excited in that and there’s quite a tone of this going on in the world. Seth Godin the marketing guy says, don’t waste your time going to college, Gary Vaynerchuk says, don’t waste your time going to college. I don’t know if the time I spent at university was a waste of time, I studied politics and I leant towards political philosophy, which is, I think now is like motivation, like the history of motivationI’ve been motivated kind of forever. I think there’s things that they say that probably undermines everything I’m gonna say. Now, this is such an important thing, having funding for your business is such an important thing that there should be some kind of qualification or certification or something, do you know what I mean? So people know where to go at least and then when they’ve decided that they have found someone who might actually be equipped to support them or not. do you think that?