What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Working with amazingly talented founders of well-designed product businesses in the UK, helping them to create businesses, which have a positive impact on people’s lives and solve real problems, to both domestic and international markets.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The British Design Fund receives a huge amount of applications, and of course the vast majority cannot be supported. Many of those businesses are rejected due to the fact that they do not offer the returns that our committee seek. However, many of these businesses have designed and produced products which really are incredibly impactful and should be in the marketplace. It is very difficult saying no to those, and due to the time limitations of the team, we simply cannot afford to assist everyone.
"...the team and our mentors have lived and breathed product and design, so genuinely roll up our sleeves and get the investees the support and coaching they need, not just sit on board meetings once a month asking questions."
What makes your firm stand out?
The British Design Fund has two core USPs. Firstly, we are the only early stage focussed Fund offering both investment and hands-on support to product (hardware) businesses based here in the UK. Secondly, the team and our mentors have lived and breathed product and design, so genuinely roll up our sleeves and get the investees the support and coaching they need, not just sit on board meetings once a month asking questions.
What are three areas of focus for your firm this year?
Supporting more UK product businesses that solve real problems and positively impact
people’s lives through launching further early stage British Design Funds.
Gearing up for a follow-on fund to allow the BDF to further support and deliver returns from its
unique pool of early stage investees that require larger amounts of funding.
Continue to grow the specialist partnerships that make the BDF so unique and allow us to so
effectively find new deals, as well as deliver support to them.
What are three things you look for when investing in a business?
Firstly, what is the problem being solved and how important is it? Secondly, how big is the market and how can we make a difference to how the business scales? Thirdly, why does the founder care about solving this problem and growing their business – how are they tied in to business in the long run?
What are three things you'd tell someone starting out in the industry?
At idea incubation stage, don’t obsess about the channels in your marketplace, instead spend more time thinking about market fit, your user’s needs, and your pricing compared to the alternatives available in the market.
Be commercial when it comes to protecting your idea, just have enough IP protection in place to allow you to go out and validate the demand for your product.
Stay lean; both in terms of operational team and stock holding.
What trait helps you succeed in your role?
I am very determined when I turn my focus to a particular challenge. I expect to face difficulties along the way, so I try to predict as many possible negative scenarios as possible and figure out best courses of action for each should they arise.
How would your colleagues describe you in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, driven, and sincere.
Who do you admire professionally?
My fellow directors. They hands down are the most impressive group of people that I have been fortunate enough to work with.
People Behind the Product is an interview series produced by CoInvestor that highlights the key people themselves behind the wide range of tax-efficient investment funds you can find on our platform. By showcasing the fund managers behind the product, we aim to provide greater insight to the expertise in the market and in doing so, help advisers and investors learn more about the tax-efficient sector.
If you are interested in participating in the series, or would like to find out more, get in touch with Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About British Design Fund
We leverage the UK’s position as the largest design industry in Europe in order to invest in innovative early-stage product design-based businesses. We seek to work with extraordinary entrepreneurs and their teams to support the best cultures, work ethics, and help create thriving stand-out companies. We have the expertise and experience to identify and help build valuable, innovative, and lasting businesses.
To view more about this manager, sign in to the CoInvestor platform here