How long have you been member of the Green Angel Syndicate and why did you decide to get involved?
I have been a member of GAS for 18 months now. I was already an experienced investor and was intrigued to see whether it was possible to combine green interests with angel investment. Since I joined, I have been impressed with the quality of the pitches and the growing membership.
Tell us more about your background as an angel investor and your interest in the green economy in general. Why does it matter to you?
My first ever investment was 28 years ago, in a successful chain of children’s nurseries. I have made 19 more investments since then.
I think climate change is the greatest challenge for this and future generations. It would be absurd not to try to tackle it now. It is also a huge investment opportunity.
How do you choose which investments to get involved in? How does being part of a group like GAS help you with your investment decisions?
My default position is to invest in all of the companies that GAS invests in. It is very helpful that so many members understand the science in a way that I don’t.
I always expect there will be a requirement for future rounds of funding and that is when I make a judgement about the actual performance of the companies, in order to decide whether to re-invest.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for early stage investors in general, and in the green sector? What have you learned through your experience to date, and what advice would you give to others interested in angel investing?
There is always a huge element of luck in early-stage investment, however good the concept is and the technology appears to be. For me, the key is the management team, their resilience, their determination, their responsiveness and their ability to read the market trends. It is about identifying exceptional entrepreneurs.
For me, the key is the management team, their resilience, their determination, their responsiveness and their ability to read the market trends.
What is the best investment you have ever made? And the worst?
The best was a 17 times return on a logistics business (even though it was resold for twice as much two years later). There have been several write-offs as well as missed opportunities. That is the nature of the challenge. I gain experience and learn more each time.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of GAS?
I have met a great group of interesting and hard-working people and I have learned a lot about the green economy too. The core team does an excellent job of the time-consuming due-diligence work on which I am then able to base my investment decisions.