Digital Estate

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Posts Tagged ‘WDY’

Investor Early Stages: UK vs. NA

Posted by Paul on April 16, 2009

Since returning to the UK to begin arcalife’s 3rd round of funding, I’ve had a number of investor meetings through contacts and friends of friends. There is a definite difference in attitude on this side of the pond as far as VC’s, angels and also investors more generally are concerned.

Clearly the particularly bad state of the economy doesn’t help the situation, but it’s more than that. My observations, (not original I am sure) are that the UK generally seems more risk averse when it comes to tech investment, especially in the early stage. It makes sense to me now that almost none of the worlds large social networks started here. This matches with some of the early experience we have had with PR in the UK market. While we have had plenty of traction and then some since our UK launch at Who Do You Think You Are Live, it’s certainly more challenging to make your voice heard here.

It seems, in general, that more groundwork needs to be laid here, as a matter of course, in both the investment and PR spaces – there is not much shooting from the hip going on by these people. I don’t necessarily think that it’s a lack of innovative spirit that drives this. I’d put it down to greater caution; on account of the complexity/density of the market and the competition here in the UK. Still, from my perspective as a now self dubbed ‘North American Entrepreneur’ the approach seems over-cautious, perhaps even a little ‘nay saying’.

It definitely seems a bit strange to come all the way back to the UK to leverage the extensive network I have here… only to end up with many of the follow-ups being on the west coast of North America. Why does North America have a different risk reward tolerance? How has the UK ended up in a position where its’ banks will invest in unsound liabilities and yet it’s early stage investors are few and far between ?

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