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Insider stories from The Invested Investor

By Mike Scialom

Peter Cowley Invested Investor
Peter Cowley Invested Investor

Entrepreneurs and investors get opportunity to share focus

Serial investor Simon Blakey, who has contributed his time to The Invested Investor
Serial investor Simon Blakey, who has contributed his time to The Invested Investor

Cambridge-facing serial investor Peter Cowley is behind The Invested Investor, “a publishing project that aims to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs and early investors by sharing the journeys of founders and investors and learning from their experiences”.

Two podcasts have been issued so far this month. In the first, Mr Cowley interviews Quintus Liu, founder and CEO of Healthera, which focuses on ensuring patients safely take their medicines on time. The firm’s app has thousands of users and is in use in 100 pharmacies across the UK to reorder medicines or locate nearby clinical services.

On development, Mr Liu said: “Hiring and firing is the most difficult part of the journey. When you are a small company and nobody knows you, you have low credibility, and it is difficult to attract good engineers. You have to attract them with equity or the vision. Then, once you have someone who knows more than you, how do you manage them? The key thing is to give them the flexibility to be creative, but follow some guidelines.”

The second podcast features long-time serial investor Simon Blakey whose eight profitable exits to date include hangover patch firm Bytox.

When asked by Mr Cowley about lessons learned from his years of experience as an investor, Mr Blakey said: “I learn more from failures than successes. I invested in a company where I was the sole funder, and that was a mistake! There is more value investing with a syndicate of angels, I discovered only later.

“You also have maximum leverage before you put the money in. I once told a start-up with two founders that, for me to invest, one of them has to be a CEO.

“The role of an angel investor is to add value, to help the entrepreneur or founders, but when co-founders don’t get along, you sometimes feel you are a relationship therapist. Sometimes it is braver not to do a deal than to do a deal.”

The attributes of an angel investor, Mr Blakey said, are; “Networking. Networking and deal sourcing is a key attribute for an angel investor.”

The team at The Invested Investor has been boosted by the arrival of Dr Soraya Jones, who was the founder CEO of Cambridge Wireless and previous entrepreneur in residence at St John’s Innovation Centre.

Dr Jones said: “I am helping Peter Cowley and his son, Alan Cowley, with the comms and partnership aspects of the work on a part-time basis, given that I am only returning to work early this year after a period of serious illness. But I am better now!”

A first book, The Invested Investor, will be released in the autumn.


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