Minerva angel investors come from a variety of business backgrounds, offering their extensive knowledge and expertise. Here, Samantha Tubb, investment angel, talks about her investment philosophy and experiences investing in tech start-ups through the Minerva network.
What led you to becoming an angel investor?
For many years I worked as a management consultant to the financial services industry. Initially specialising in risk-based capital calculation, as my career progressed I began to focus on risk organisation and governance — understanding the tensions between highly analytical, centralised risk functions and customer facing areas of banking and insurance organisations was fascinating.
The consulting lifestyle was, however, incompatible with having a young family and so from 2009 I began to test the angel investment waters, building on my experience of consulting to provide hands-on help as well as financial investment in start-ups’ growth journeys.
What’s been your journey so far with Minerva?
I first invested as a Minerva angel with a company called Elementaryb. They have created a financial risk management platform which, given my background, really hit a sweet spot for me.
I met the Elementaryb CEO and co-founder, Karen Rudich, at a Minerva networking event at The Shard where she gave me a snapshot of the product and the company. I recognised the potential immediately and reached out to Karen to arrange a one-to-one meeting to talk further – it’s great to find like-minded people to work with.
The company was still at a very early stage but had a great baseline product with strong growth plans, and that’s what I love. After getting the background financials, meeting the team and seeing the realities through a product demo and candid discussion, I decided to invest. I now hold a non-exec chair role with the company.
Over the years what have you got out of being an angel investor?
I’ve learnt a lot about myself and about people. In my original career, which I loved, I worked with big businesses such as global banks, but with that there was a social impact piece missing. That’s a big deal for me.
Elementaryb offer risk-based financial management capabilities to start-ups and SMEs, a segment that often gets priced out of the market by larger companies and corporations. Being an angel investor means I can choose to support and champion those smaller and newer businesses that can make a difference. There’s also significant risk involved but my approach is to make sure I go into investments with my eyes open and never invest more than I can afford to lose.
What does Minerva offer you as an angel investor?
Minerva gives me the opportunity to invest in new start-ups. I enjoy problem solving and the intellectual challenge of working with early stage tech businesses. I also like the interpersonal challenge of working with new people.
Most of all I like knowing that my investments are actually creating something that shapes a business’s culture, helping to drive its success and ensuring that end users will find real value in a product. It’s the idea that I can help create something that helps a particular segment of society that really needs to be helped, from edtech to femtech.
I looked across my portfolio recently and found that over 50 percent of the companies I have invested in have a female founder or co-founder. I was shocked by that. I hadn’t set out to invest specifically in female or minority-founded businesses. I put it down in part to my preferences as an investor being catered for by the diverse businesses that Minerva proposes for investment.
What value does Minerva offer potential investors?
I’ve worked with other angel networks and what I really like about Minerva is that it is open and inclusive. It’s not just about groupthink investing, which I found other networks have on occasion been inclined to do.
Minerva offers angel investors interesting and diverse opportunities and encourages them to offer their experience as well as finances to support business founders. This in turn adds great value to a company and, as an investor, maximises the likelihood of positive outcomes.
What advice would you give to people who might be interested in becoming an angel investor?
I’d say start to get comfortable with the type of business you want to invest in and do a lot of background research into potential investments. Be comfortable with how much you want to invest and don’t be in a hurry to invest – there are lots of great opportunities out there and I find that the fit of investor and start-up is sometimes as important as providing funds. Also, find a network or just a couple of trusted fellow investors who you can bounce ideas off – that’s been really important in my investor journey.
Finally, work out how much you want to be involved with the businesses that you invest in. Some investors might, like me, want to operate at a hands-on level; others prefer to be silent. Whatever level of involvement you want, how much or how often you want to invest, with Minerva the choice lies completely with its investors.
Want to find out more about Minerva?
Minerva Business Angels is one of the UK’s fastest-growing angel investment organisations. The network began in 1994 and is part of University of Warwick Science Park Ltd. Run in its current form since 2010, Minerva supports more than 120 companies having helped raise over £20m, leveraging more than £60m of investments.
Minerva Business Angels is the second most active angel network in the UK, the second most active investor in green economy scale-ups, and the most prolific investor in the Midlands. To find out more about Minerva Business Angels and whether you are eligible to become an investor, contact us today.