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Beer & Partners launches guide to help SMEs secure funding

Business investment agency Beer & Partners has launched an online guide to help small businesses secure funding in the downturn.

The online guide offers information on funding options to help small business secure funding and capitalise on the shifting balance of investment opportunities.

Chief executive Michael Weaver says angel investment is more popular amongst male investors and says the firm is actively looking to engage with more female investors.

He says: “I don’t think it’s something they’ve known about. The high net worth proportion of women in the market is about 45 per cent and we will see a lot of women come into this sector in the future but I suspect it needs to be made a bit more female friendly which it isn’t currently.

“They tend to hide behind the male entrepreneur at the moment and ideally we would like to form some female investor syndicates to give them confidence.”

Beer & Partners was launched in 1991 as a source of venture capital and business angel investment for growing small and medium enterprise businesses in the UK. It covers all sectors apart from film finance, oil & gas and mining.

Its typical funding space ranges from £100,000 to 3m and it raises £12-15m a year for clients through around 50 deals.

Weaver says the firm has attracted a younger breed of investor in recent years and says appetite is stronger in the current market environment.

He says: “If you’ve got a reasonable pile of money what are you doing with it? Interest rates are low, investing in listed companies on the stockmarket are high risk low return. Early stage companies tend to be high risk high return and are businesses where the investor can see it feel it and influence it. They will typically hold a 20-30 per cent stake so they have influence and make sure the company is run properly.”

Weaver notes a big difference between angel investment and venture capital investment. He says: “VC deals put a lot of money in as loan capital and a little as equity. Most of the angels put in equity. The VCs will expect a high interest rate on their loan and they take quite a pressured approach to targets. Angels are much more suuportive they’re in it at the same level of the entrepreneur.

“We have an introducer database which is 6,000 strong and there are a lot of IFAs on there. Any IFA who wants to offer his client some fun as well as commercially rewarding investment follows this area.”

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