A full house of investor interest at Dorset Business Angels pitch event

Jun 18, 2021

There was a ‘full house’ of investor interest at the 3rd Dorset Business Angels (DBA) online pitch event in 2021. With some 40 attendees from across the UK & abroad and 5 pitching business, in an event first, every pitch secured investor interest from the Angels. Further due diligence will now be carried out by interested parties, with a view to invest.

Screening, diagnosing and monitoring of chronic health conditions

A business offering revolutionary Optical Medtech solutions took to the floor and explained its mission: To provide solutions to some of humanity’s greatest health challenges through the development of novel optical technologies which improve the screening and monitoring of chronic health conditions such as Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Explaining the problem in that 16% of the global adult population has diabetes or pre-diabetes, accounting for 4.2 million global deaths per year, costing $760Bn, which accounts for 10% of all adult health costs globally each year. The business’ opportunity is to provide services to the diabetes screening and monitoring market and to replace invasive blood testing. The solutions are non-invasive optical screening and monitoring devices, which work by holding in front of the eye and scanning – shining a light into the eye it is able to detect the return signal in order to screen for, diagnose and monitor some of the major chronic health conditions of our time. 

The experienced business founders have 30 years of experience in medical device development and working with a team of 25 are scheduling to launch their first product later this year. With 14 international patents in place, the business has 3 hand-held products lines planned into 3 markets:·     

  A non-contacting Pachymeter which would replace contacting ultrasound pachymeters and thereby reduce the risk of infection/injury to the eye, take measurement in seconds and offer greater efficiency    

  A Glucose monitor, to replace the existing invasive finger stick and flash monitoring. The non-invasive product offers pain free and quick and accurate monitoring   

  A Diabetes screening device which replaces invasive blood testing, provides instant results, no consumables and is non- clinical Seeking £2.5million on a pre money value of £12.5m, of which over 50% has already been raised.  6 expressions of interest were registered.

Customer loyalty tracking

Next was a big data business that sees a huge opportunity to make its ‘customer tracking’ technology available to a much wider market of retail and hospitality businesses in the UK and US, at a fraction of the cost required to support an existing national platform. It has its own platform up and running with its first clients signed up and discussions ongoing with the major credit card companies who want to move into this area of loyalty tracking. The founder advised, “Our payment data provides a rich source of real-time information such as payment network, method, status, transaction amount, date/time, merchant location and ID, card ID and currency. We leverage these capabilities to help enterprises: tracking customers online & offline at point of sale, grow new customers through strategic partnerships on a revenue attribution basis and enhance customer relationships & grow life- time value.” 

The business reported that conversations were being held with big brand names such as Hilton, RLH, ING, Snappy Shopper and Bestway Retail. The founder impressed with his entrepreneurial background and is in his second start-up journey. Seeking £150,000 for 6% of the business to enable ‘turbocharge’ growth. 3 expressions of interest were registered by investors.

Online tutoring in China and South-East Asia

An online tutoring business which is a major provider of high-quality British education – online tutoring and e-learning – to children in China and South-East Asia made a compelling pitch and showcased the high demand for UK courses in this market. At present, there is no other resource for parents in these countries to access a quality education service such as this.

Founded in 2004 as a ‘face-to-face’ tutoring business in London, they opened offices in Dubai in 2012 and Shanghai in 2018. Today, they have over 1500 vetted and trained tutors and a team of 75 in both London and Shanghai.

The team advised of the sharp increase in online learning in 2020, doubling the business’ turnover to in excess of £2.5m. Impressing the Angel investors with their business acumen, the founder advised that it costs £600 for a new customer acquisition, with a life- time customer value of £9,000. Showing the opportunity for the business in China, the Angels learnt that out of 272 million children in China, 16 million belong to families who can afford Western Education.

Seeking to raise £1.5m, the investment will be used to scale up the business and ‘accelerate its trajectory’. 4 expressions of interest were registered.

‘Organising the World’s Pitch videos’

Determined to appeal to the Angels was a company that has developed a platform to host and showcase start-up businesses to a global audience of investors, thereby improving the probability that they will secure funding without the time, expense and effort required to undertake numerous pitches to potential investors. The business has now attracted a diversified pool of start-ups to their platform from 30+ countries and 50+ market sectors and seek funding to be able to continue this rapid growth.

Seeking £150,000 to ‘anchor their Seedrs round’.  2 expressions of interest were registered. 

Vegan food products

business in the Health Food sector, with the ambition to ‘significantly improve the taste and choice of products in the vegan market-place and to be up there with mainstream brands’, took to the floor to put their case forward.Advising that whilst sales of Vegan and ‘free-from” products are booming, particularly in the plant-based drinks and imitation meat sectors, the business identifies that there is a real lack of consumer choice in other sectors of this market.

In addition, this company believes that they will be able to significantly improve the taste of some of their competitor’s products currently on sale. Their aim is to produce products that are so delicious, that you don’t have to have an allergy or be vegan to want to eat them.Launched in December 2020 they have already secured a listing for their chocolate bars with a national food chain and have two further snack products that have successfully completed trials and are set to be listed.

Seeking an investment of £250,000 for a 10% share in the business, the investment would be ‘spent immediately on strengthening the team, extending the marketing spend, thus allowing promotion to retailers.’ 2 expressions of interest were registered.

DBA zoom host, Frank Guinn said, “We are delighted at the level of investor interest shown at this most recent pitch event. In the last year we have ‘flipped’ our events and switched from face- to -face events to Zoom. This has brought about many positive changes, with much increased numbers attending and the opportunity for us to review the general format of our pitches.

“We are hugely looking forward to our next pitch event being held ‘in person’ but we will also be recording it for the first time and making it available to our Angel members to view online, if they are unable to attend.  It’s exciting times for our Angel investment network.”

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early -stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI). 

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors. 

DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment. To find out more about Dorset Business Angels visit  www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk