We have been exhibiting at the Master Investor Show in London for the last 3 years. We thought we’d share with you why we attend these kinds of events and what they mean to us. We also thought we’d give you some incentives (or 100 of them) to join us.
Understanding the target audience – the users and the clients
It’s very important to be engaging with customers both on our platform and in person. That’s the key reason we attend these kinds of trade shows and conferences. They not only give us a platform for a little promotion, but they also let us connect directly with customers and discuss their feelings. So much more information is conveyed in a five-minute conversation with someone in person than can be shown via 50 feedback forms and 10 tutorial videos.
The customers who are willing to seek us out at trade shows are also the ones that are the most adamant. They’ll tell us what’s wrong, what’s right, and what they want to see in future releases. These aren’t entirely open events (you need tickets), so the people who come through are usually somewhat vested in the product. Fortunately, these are the same people who are willing to chat for 20 minutes about various aspects of the systems, who want to know how it all works, and who are happy to discuss financial topics. Financial topics are certainly one of our passions, and we can feed off each other’s energy to make a great experience for everyone.
The Benefits of Meeting Face-to-Face with (potential) investors
Building a startup can teach a person a lot, and one of the biggest lessons is learning to pitch and sell your own company. In a sea of small companies all vying for funding, capturing and retaining capital is essential, particularly during the early stages when money always seems to be on the brink of running out.
We have raised £1.8 million till date from angel investors through the crowdfunding platform, Seedrs. Our latest round was our most successful yet, indicating investors still trust us to deliver big returns in the future. This gave us a runway of over a year, and we plan to become cash-flow positive before we need another round (and therefore not any more investment at all). However, we cannot meet with a lot of the smaller investors on Seedrs, so we like to attend these investor shows to meet some of the small but vital contributors to our funding.
The internet has irrefutably made telework easier, more productive, and more convenient, but nothing quite beats having everyone in the same room using the same air and the same light sources to transmit soundwaves and images without any latency, microphone, camera, or pixelation issues. Being there in the flesh makes communication that much easier.
Many investors want to meet in person so they can more easily communicate, too. Of course, there are also many social cues, unconscious personality traits, and face-to-face communication signals that become apparent during in-person meetings, which can bring a lot of dynamism and energy to the table. That’s critical for securing funds, as even the most steadfast tech products don’t get far without business prowess behind them, and it can be difficult to judge sales abilities from an online presence only.
In-person meetings also build trust for the same reasons: sociability, personality traits, chemistry. Gaining trust is absolutely essential for investors, because they’re risking their capital completely. Employees may not trust the abilities of management, but as long as the monthly paycheck arrives, there’s little issue. Investors are entirely at the mercy of management’s abilities, because poor management leads to poor results and possibly a complete loss of capital.
Of course, It’s always great to know the people who are using your products, who are investing in you, who believe in you, and listen to why they feel that way. If the investor is also a customer, they usually offer us tips and recommendations for the product, which makes development more fruitful, too.
100 Spaces of Opportunity and the Master Investor Show 2019
At the beginning of 2018, there were 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses. Throwing in the medium-sized ones, we have 99.9% of all private sector businesses. And they’re employing about 60% of the workforce that engages in the private sector. They also contributed a little over half of all private sector turnover at a nice, even £2.0 trillion. We aren’t kidding; those numbers are straight from the FSB.
Now, if 99.3% of businesses are small, 99.9% are SMEs, they employ three-fifths of private sector workers, and they have turnover amounting to about 50% of the private sector’s contribution, what about the complement, the rest of the businesses? Well, obviously, they’re large ones.
How do small ones become large ones? Certainly they need a good idea, product, and business acumen, but they also need investors to keep them from collapsing. We all know the stories about the small investors-become-millionaires because of early investments in companies that eventually turn out to be behemoths. We hope to do the same for our investors (and employees).
With that in mind, the Master Investor Show in London brings together at least 100 exhibiting companies. It is a true marketplace for investors and customers to really understand the products of many different players. We’ve been told there will be many interesting presentations, too, so you don’t only have the opportunity to meet lots of companies but to hear C-suite people and others discuss business, economics, and finance. We would actually like to attend some of the presentations and panels ourselves, but we’ll be tending to everyone at our booth. So, all in all, there’s 100 spaces of opportunity that present 100 reasons to attend, as each company you meet could be a potential unicorn investment. (We’re kind of hoping it’s us). Plus there’s lots of additional perks, like presentations and panels.
We realise as a globally-focused business it is impossible to meet face-to-face with every potential investor and customer, but getting the CEO to a show in a city like London is a start. As we expand, we’ll be able to meet more customers and investors in person, but for now, we’re happy with attending a few trade shows here and there.
If we happen to be in or around London on April 6th, why don’t you come down to see us? They gave us free tickets for anyone in our network, so you’re welcome to join. If you already live in London, it’ll just cost you Tube fare down to Angel on the Northern Line.
You’ll need the code CITYFALCON which you can use on this page.