my first blog six years on

My first blog was just under six years ago when I got my first website and started talking a little about what we (‘I’ at the time) were trying to do. I recently re-visited it as all this content still sits behind the new site.

I was kind of pleased to see that six years on I still agree with it. The only thing is that we don’t do media these days and have hacked the old domain back from www.preparationcapital.com to www.prepcap.com – very web 2.0+ I know – 🙂 . Here it is completely unedited and for us to be challenged on:

“I’m an investor and also a marketeer – an unusual breed. In a nutshell I had four years working in marketing at Renault UK Limited (think Va Va Voom, Thierry Henry and the Renault Clio) followed by just under 8 years of private equity investing with August Equity LLP.

Preparation Capital (see www.preparationcapital.com) was born out of this unique perspective and further developed through working as an investor in, and a director within growth companies.  The business is focussed on growth media and software (particularly Software as a Service – ‘SaaS’) businesses and is built on fundamental beliefs about investing in growth businesses. I will endeavour to share my views in these pages as the years progress (and no doubt will amend them frequently as well).

As a starter for 10 here’re a few views:

–          The people behind the money are more important than the money itself.  Every £1 that an investor has is worth the same as someone else’s £1. Support, advice and understanding are the differentiators. The investment process is only just beginning when the money arrives (a point often missed by entrepreneurs who often don’t look beyond the end of the fundraising process itself) it’s the years post-investment that you work together when success will be made or lost;

–          Good investors should have a lot of good advice, a strong network and valuable experience from which you can benefit, they should become a core part of your team offering you wise counsel and a different, yet valuable, perspective on your company.  Post-investment it is after all to your mutual benefit to grow the equity value in the business;

–          Getting investment should always be a two way interview process – the investor should understand your company, the sector, the risk, any cyclicality and the pressures you will be under. You should also be able to work with them as you’ll be spending many years in each others presence! If you’re in the lucky position of having multiple offers don’t always go for the best financial terms, consider the importance of who your backers are as that has underlying value in itself;

–          However, investors don’t know everything. An investor that thinks they can run your business better than you is either a) wrong or b) shouldn’t have invested in you in the first place;

–          A common view but one that is absolutely true: the only thing you can know for certain when you invest in a business is that the business plan will not be hit (either exceeded or underachieved but never on the nose);

–          The reasons that customers buy a product/service and the reason investors invest are different (an investor doesn’t want only to see a sales pitch, amazing how often this is all you see);

–          Preparing for capital should be an important part of your monthly strategic planning. Given that most people are building businesses to drive equity value and financial gain, it amazes me how many companies don’t regularly consider their capital raising strategy and whether they are on the right path. Too many companies are last minute merchants, endeavouring to rush the fundraising process in a tight time window. Inevitably this places to value achieved and/or success in fundraising.

As I’ve been documenting it, the length of this list has surprised me (and moreover the multitude of other things I could also be saying).  I’ll leave it here for now and update and extend these views in the weeks to come. Feedback and thoughts always welcome…..”