News

What makes an entrepreneur into an investor?

Jonathan Gold

15 Sep 2015

The best investors in small businesses are people who have worn the t-shirt and done it themselves. It's a cliché in my world but what makes so much difference to investment in start-ups or growing businesses is having investors involved who bring more than the money.

However, by their very nature entrepreneurs who have grown a business of their own, sold it and made plenty of cash think they have done something special, which of course they have. The key is finding one who doesn't think the only way to build a business is the way they did it.

Believe me, successful entrepreneurs willing to invest in other people's businesses is not a large pool to draw on. It also gets smaller when you look for ones with the empathy and understanding to coach and encourage rather than control or dominate. That said, having been an investor type and fund manager for around 17 of my 32 year career I know a good collection of the right types.

The qualities you look for of course extend beyond experience, available cash and a good control over their own ego. I often think we call such private investors 'Business Angels' out of a sense of irony but in truth the best of them have the grace of an angel and patience of a saint, both are often needed.

A healthy appreciation of risk is also a pre-condition for any investor. NESTA, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts have done some good research on Angel Investing, I have quoted it before, but just remember that unless a private investor invests in at least 10 businesses, to build a portfolio, he or she is likely to make a loss. Not my statistics, that of the survey.  On the other hand a number make a good return. That's why potential new investors need to take care, good advice and also examine whether they have the commitment and knowledge to really help the businesses they invest in. That last point, according to NESTA, and me, is crucial.

This might all seem obvious but like so much in business finance and investing I see people building that 'common sense' the hard way. I have to say it's not helped by the explosion of incubator start-up boot-camp culture that is over boosting the number of start-ups with quick routes to riches that in reality don't bend the failure rate statistics.

Interestingly most entrepreneurs who have got there and succeeded know all this, they are just as keen as I am to help the start-ups.  The best investors also find the businesses that have grown up without the support and the background. These include the family businesses with new generations taking them over and growing them out beyond their previous limits.

The founder family entrepreneurs are also ones to look for if you want some good advice and investors. We are fortunate up here to have some great ones. Seek them out you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

So where am I going with this? A few things really for anyone seeking investment:

  • Look for investors that know your industry or customer base
  • Ask how much time or access you will get to a Business Angel
  • Don't be afraid to question Angels about their past success.

Lastly, if you're a successful business person do consider investing in start-ups and small business, if you have the time as well as the cash. However, be aware of the risks, you can lose a lot of money on the way to success; a bit like starting your own business really but it's not yours to run this time, ego in the box please.

We are always looking for new investors as well as good businesses so give me a call.

Here at Rivers we also organise and host regular 'Angel clubs' where you can come along to meet seasoned investors and like-minded entrepreneurs.

Find out the benefits and risks of investing, speak to the experienced experts themselves and find out what and just how much it takes.


What makes an entrepreneur into an investor?

Rivers Capital Partners has been appointed as the North East’s representative for London-based online investment platform, Angels Den. Making funding simple, the platform supports early-stage companies...

Teesside-based recruitment magnate, Jo Hand Recruitment & Consultancy, has secured a six figure investment via the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund to launch...

A high-tech company with a growing blue-chip client base is set for significant expansion after re-locating to Teesside and attracting support from two of the...

Different investors look for different things from a business. The key is identifying what people do want from you and the investment they are making. True,...

County Durham-based artisan producer of gourmet popcorn has conquered a niche sector of the health food market with bespoke flavoured popcorn. Following a £150,000 investment...

Founder of Tiger Corporate Finance Ltd, Roland Tate joins the board of Directors at regional venture capital fund managers, Rivers Capital Partners. Previously working for BP...

Rivers Capital Partners has been appointed as one of the first commercial loan intermediaries for Atom Bank, the first venture capital investor to do so....

Entrepreneurs are constantly striving for success, looking for ways to make their business work. A lot is written about success, I have decided to take...

Premium bottled water brand, LoveTideWater secured a five-figure-investment via the Finance for Business £10.5m North East Angel Fund operated by Rivers Capital Partners. Now eager...

Having read all sorts of doom and gloom and plenty of speculation since the UK referendum to “Brexit” or leave the EU. What does it...

  Fund Managers: North of England Location: Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield Salary: competitive depending on experience   Rivers Capital Partners is a fund manager operating venture capital, loan and mezzanine...

One of the UK’s leading graduate recruitment and training companies has secured a £100,000 investment via the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund. Hoult’s Yard...

New data from the managers of the North East Angel Fund has shown that companies in Middlesbrough are more successful in applying for angel investment...

New data from the managers of the North East Microloan Fund has shown that companies in the South Tyneside area are more successful in applying...

Fresh investment follows high-profile contract wins for the UK’s leading independent developer of lithium-ion energy storage technologies. Ahead of launching two new innovative modular battery systems...

Regional Fund Managers Rivers Capital Partners have re-located their Tees Valley-based operations. The move to the Victoria Building at Teesside University will better support the...

Dedicated to supporting North East businesses to start-up and grow, the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has recently entered into a collaborative partnership...

The North East Angel Fund has £1m to invest in 2016 to support the growth of innovative products and services in businesses across the North...

Former Goldman Sachs trader, Dr Chris Cathey returns to his local roots of Newcastle after enjoying a successful fifteen year career.  Chris joined Goldman Sachs...

The Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund managed by Rivers Capital Partners has had one of the most successful operating years since its inception...

As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting through the eyes of an investor. We should celebrate that 2015 sees the successful...

Rivers Capital Partners, managers of the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund has had its most successful operating year since its inception five years...

North East based technology innovators, Realsafe Technologies, continues its rapid expansion plans securing a seven-figure sum of new investment and making key appointments to its...

Dedicated to helping businesses across the country to succeed and grow, the BE Group have recently entered into a collaborative partnership with Rivers Loan (a...

Most investors like to be able to visit the business they invest in, and they like to talk to the people running it, face to...

Independent venture capital fund management company, Rivers Capital Partners, has recently entered into a collaborative partnership agreement with Ground Six to work together to more...

The best investors in small businesses are people who have worn the t-shirt and done it themselves. It's a cliché in my world but what...

I should qualify the above statement right away. You should take advice if you think your business or start-up needs investment. Why? Well a good...

A FAST-GROWING car parts maker in County Durham is set for further expansion after being snapped up by a global supply chain specialist. DPE Automotive, which...

There is a recurring theme in what makes a successful business. It's the people involved. When you hear about a terrific new start-up or amazing...

EYELEVEL Creative, a digital visualisation consultancy based in Newcastle, are set to revolutionise the architecture industry by launching a new pioneering augmented reality app, EYEVIEW,...

A FLEDGLING software company which specialises in 'retro' games is set for its first major release thanks to backing from the Finance for Business North...

I have said before 'investing is a balance of risk and reward' - so is running your own business. Most entrepreneurs do both by taking...

I came to the North East in 2003 and have been working to attract capital for businesses here ever since. Looking back, the investment community...

A COMPANY which has become one of the UK's leading sellers of refurbished computer equipment has received a six-figure funding boost. RefurbThat Ltd, which is based...

Many businesses seeking cash to start-up or grow face the question which is best for me, a loan or selling some shares to an equity...

Rivers Capital Partners, managers of the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund, are delighted to announce 2014 as the most successful operating year since...

County Durham clothes maker AMA Group is poised to supply leading supermarkets with 'ethical' outfits made in Britain, following an investment from the Finance for...

REALsafe® Technologies scooped a highly prized ‘Excellence in Digital Enterprise’ Award as part of the British Banking Association (BBA) ‘Excellence in Women’s Enterprise Mentoring Awards’...

In case you had not noticed there is a new lender in the North East. No not a new Bank. Rivers Capital Partners have taken...

(Pictured from left to right are David O'Connell, of Advantex, Richard Butts, of Ward Hadaway, Esther Wilson, of Rivers Capital Partners, Ben Williamson, of Clive...

Pictured from left to right are Andrew Richardson and Zoe Farrington Zoe Farrington, Managing Director at REALsafe Technologies, has been nominated for one of the most...

A business growth fund has reached a major milestone with the completion of its 50th investment. The Finance for Business North East Angel Fund has invested...

Sunderland-based Contract Bottling Ltd (CBL) secured the funding with Newcastle venture capital firm, Rivers Capital Partners The deals are flowing in for a North East soft...

Four Italian entrepreneurs who founded a dating app from their Teesside base have secured funding from the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund. ‘Tangle’ aims...

Firstly, congratulations are in order! I'm sure that if you have raised your seed capital, ordinarily a tantalising couple of hundred thousand pounds sterling if...

Two North East coffee entrepreneurs will be able to supply nearly 550 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide, following investment. John Evans and Mark Porteous, the men behind Durham-based...

An online networking platform aimed at UK motorbike enthusiasts has landed its second angel investment since the start of the year. REALRIDER® is a motorcycle community...

New app for motorcycling reduces risk: REALRIDER gets 10,000 users in 6 months due to its clever, life-protecting use of mobile’s GPS feature   A new mobile app,...

Regional design company, Deadgood, has recently secured second round investment from the North East Angel Fund to launch two new collections of eclectic furniture and...