Valuable Insights from SUG Webinar Panel

by John O’Connell, Founder and Executive Chairman of ScaleUp Group

‘Series A – is it worth it?’ gave many entrepreneurs the insiders views of what it takes to beat the odds – only 15% on average get the funding they are after – and instead be an odds on favourite.

Adam Hale Chairman of the ScaleUp Institute described the macro environment of why such entities are vital to the UK economy – even more so now with the perfect storm of the CV-19 plus Brexit. Interestingly it is equity funding, not debt financing, which is one of the 3 key drivers – the other two being the availability of Talent and The hub/eco-system for supporting such businesses. ‘ Delighted that ScaleUp Group ticks all three boxes!

Edward Keelan of Octopus Investments covered the importance of an entrepreneur really understanding the key dynamics of their business when it is scaling beyond the founder-led sales phase and then encapsulating this in a financial Model which is coherent and flexible. Not ducking tough questions nor belittling some of the challenges ahead was stressed also. ‘Pleased to note that ScaleUp Group is offering financially modelling as an integral part of its service.

Trevor Hope of Mobeus talked about once the Funding is in place and the do’s and don’ts of making the new relationship with the Fund work. I commented that ScaleUp Group spends as much time assessing Funds as it does evaluating its clients – in order to make our ‘dating agency’ role productive for all parties.

Matthew Elson – CEO/Founder of SHE Software did not duck any of my questions, explaining how he beat the average by getting offers from 75% of the Funds we approached on his behalf (after we had fully qualified them) and why he has done three fund raises in total now. He explained how forming a board, for instance, caused the business to ‘grow up’ and that he regards his board as part of the management team , albeit at a higher level of detail, not simply there for governance purposes. ‘Happy to know that ScaleUp Group colleague, Martin Fincham became his chairman after our introduction.

Lisa Powis, Insurance Entrepreneur and ScaleUp Group member set out the considerations of Valuations echoed by Edward who added that any valuation needs to be robust enough to show an acceptable return in due course , standing up to the dilution of future investment rounds, which are typically required for a high growth business to fulfil its potential. We agreed that not getting overly fixated on Valuation alone is important , hence the importance of a ‘Waterfall’ to highlight the returns for all investors after applying the multiple downside protection , ratchets and so on clauses inherent in a ‘Series ‘ round.

We ran out of time even after answering most of the questions from our audience of entrepreneurs – always a good sign that we were stimulating their interest.

The webinar was recorded and we’ll make it available shortly. If interested, please contact us on

Missed the webinar? Watch it on-demand and download the slides here:

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