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Amazon Killer? Time to look at subscription models…?

Today’s ramblings are about a new rival to Amazon – Jet.com.

Jet is already being courted by Walmart as it looks to beef up its online distribution model. With 12m lines already, Jet is looking to attack Amazon’s seeming dominance of the online market by offering household goods at cost price. Customers are rewarded with further reductions for buying in bulk.

So how does Jet make its money?

Via a yearly subscription of course – $50 per year. Not a lot in of itself but potentially huge if it gains mass take up. Whatsapp showed us the power of subscription models with its $1 dollar annual fee (pre Facebook days) – not wholly exciting until it reached 200m+ users and therefore a tidy $200m per year. Also, more recently, Dollar Shave Club?

I am a huge fan of subscription models. Think monthly Saas subscription business models; membership plans, continuity programs etc. A recurring income flow. Predictable revenues with no receivables to chase. Highly attractive to prospective purchasers if you are looking to build a company to exit.

Have a think how you can add the subscription model into your business, if you haven’t already….?

 

FGB004 – Jonathan Lea on legal issues to consider in closing a funding round

Jonathan Lea of the Jonathan Lea Network joins me this week to discuss legal issues to consider when seeking to close an early stage funding round.

Legal issues to consider when closing a fundraising round

In this podcast we cover:

  • What documents most investors will typically expect startup founders to have in place – from investors’ agreement to Articles + shareholders agreement etc
  • Managing the process of investors committing and exchanging documents at different times
  • Potential pitfalls to watch out for if you are seeking to issue shares under SEIS / EIS
  • How to structure a joint SEIS / EIS funding round

You can read more that Jonathan drafted on this subject here in this post.

Resource of the Week

This weeks’ resource of the week comes courtesy of Jonathan himself – it is Cloud Employee.

Your chance to access overseas software development support sourced on your behalf by a UK company at a fraction of the normal cost – with rates as low as £8 ph.

Head over to cloudemployee.co.uk for more…

Get interactive!

Please leave any comments or feedback via Twitter – @iptaxsolutions or use the #fgbpodcast

Subscribe to the Fast Growth Business podcast

You can subscribe to the Fast Growth Business to access future and past shows at iTunes.

Please leave us a rating :)

SEIS / EIS | Crowdfunding | Funding: Modwenna Rees-Mogg

Bonus Edition: Here is a re-run of a conversation we had on a related podcast (Fast Growth Business) which we thought listeners of the Get Funded! podcast would also benefit from as it includes discussion around SEIS / EIS.

SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) and EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) are tax advantaged funding options aimed at enticing angel investors to invest in early stage and fast growth private companies. They provide a great way for you to secure funding for your company.

These tax reliefs apply where you issue shares in your company in exchange for a cash investment from angel investors. The angel investors receive some downside protection from the extra risk they are taking in investing in your company compared to say a more liquid investment such as stock market investments. The downside protection is provided by way of upfront income tax relief on their investment plus a capital gains tax free exit on ultimate sale of the shares (plus there are some other potential tax reliefs). The availability of these tax reliefs are subject to the strict SEIS / EIS tax rules being adhered to by the company for the relevant qualifying period.

You can read more on SEIS / EIS and how it might apply to your company by reading the following posts:

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

Enterprise Investment Scheme

In this wide-ranging conversation, Modwenna (Founder of Angel News) discusses her thoughts on crowdfunding, SEIS / EIS plus attracting funding from angel investors. She also gives us a sneak preview of a new online platform that might benefit entrepreneurs and founders who are seeking funding via crowdfunding platforms.

We hope you enjoy it!

It would be great if you could leave us a rating on iTunes – this helps more founders and entrepreneurs find this podcast.

FGB003: Richard Harrison, Inovaris talks SME grants | Horizon2020 | Business Growth Service demise

Fast Growth BusinesssIn this third edition of the Fast Growth Business podcast, Richard Harrison, Director of innovation consultants, Inovaris, provides founders and entrepreneurs with some tips on navigating the world of grants and also gives us his thoughts on recent cut-backs to business support services such as the Business Growth Service.

Before we dive into the interview, our resource of the week is ScheduleOnce – you know those times when you’re trying to find a mutually convenient time for a meeting or call and you find yourself making suggestions and nothing quite fits in….! Well with ScheduleOnce you can email a link that provides live access to your calendar in that it suggests slots that it knows you are free. I’ve been tinkering with this for a few weeks and early signs are good. Give it a try!

Please get interactive with us on Twitter and leave your feedback in iTunes.

Diving into the interview with Richard Harrison we discuss the following:

  • Horizon 2020 – challenges involved and which organisations it typically suits
  • Typical time-frames for grant applications
  • Alternatives to Horizon2020 – that might be preferable for many SMEs
  • Certain grants that can allow salary costs as the ‘matched funding’
  • Problems in navigating available grant funding (without expert help)
  • Closure of the Business Growth Service – impact on Growth Accelerator, Manufacturing Advisory Service etc

You can find Richard at Inovaris or on Linkedin.

Please subscribe for past and future episodes at iTunes.

We hope you enjoy it!

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FGB002: Modwenna Rees-Mogg talks raising funding |Crowdfunding | CrowdRating

Fast Growth BusinessWe are delighted to bring you this second episode of the Fast Growth Business podcastthis week we are pleased to welcome as our guest, Modwenna Rees-Mogg, founder of leading private investor news service, Angel News, amongst other entrepreneurial ventures including a new venture aimed at entrepreneurs called CrowdRating.

This podcast is brought to you by ip tax solutions | the innovation tax specialists.

Useful Resource of the Week

Our resource of the week is Rapportive – a useful Gmail extension that brings your social media connections, such as Linkedin, directly into your inbox. It is a good way of keeping in touch with existing contacts and for reaching out to potential new connections…

Guest: Modwenna Rees-Mogg: Angel News | CrowdRating

In this conversation, we cover how Modwenna made the transition from corporate financier to entrepreneur and founded Angel News which brings thought-leadership and insights into the field of private company investment – aimed at both investors and entrepreneurs.

She penned a book on crowdfunding: Crowd Funding: How to Raise Money and Make Money in the Crowd – at a time that was arguably ahead of the curve (much of her forecasts fortunately came true!) – and has she since co-launched a new venture called CrowdRating – the ratings agency for equity crowd funding. This new venture will be of particular interest to founders and entrepreneurs who might be considering raising funding via crowd funding platforms such as Crowdcube.

Modwenna shares her thoughts and views on the private company investing landscape (including SEIS & EIS) plus her view that most founders’ investors might be closer than they think….

You can listen below or access via iTunes.

Seeking your input

Please get in touch with your questions and feedback via Twitter: @iptaxsolutions and/or #fgbpodcast

If you are a UK entrepreneur and would like to share your story, please get in touch as above. Also, if you are involved in advising entrepreneurs on building scalable businesses, we would be delighted to hear from you and to get you involved if you’re the right fit.

Subscribe to receive future episodes

You can subscribe via iTunes or find us on the BusinessN2K.com network.

Listen to this week’s podcast here:

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FGB001 – Richard Mills, CEO of Sleepcogni – Kickstarter

We are pleased to welcome Richard Mills, CEO and Founder of new UK startup Sleepcogni to the first episode of the Fast Growth Business podcast.

Before we dive into this insightful interview on launching a product business via Kickstarter, we should introduce the aims and objectives of the Fast Growth Business podcast.

Fast Growth Business Podcast – Objectives

Fast Growth Business is aimed at UK entrepreneurs and founders seeking to start up a new business with the aim of scaling to exit fast – aka a fast growth business. We’ll aim to share interviews and tips from entrepreneurs plus advice and strategies from professionals such as VCs, lawyers, accountants etc with a focus on:

  1. Raising funding – including VC, business angels (SEIS / EIS), crowdfunding e.g. Crowdcube, Seedrs etc; pledge funding e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo etc
  2. Building a team
  3. Scaling your business
  4. Preparing for exit

Who are we?

Being as it’s the first episode, we should explain who we are…..

The Fast Growth Business podcast is brought to you by ip tax solutions | the innovation tax specialists with a focus on:

  1. SEIS / EIS tax efficient structuring
  2. R&D tax credits
  3. Patent Box
  4. Video Games Tax Relief
  5. Other creative sector tax breaks e.g. film tax credits, animation tax relief etc

Find us at http://www.iptaxsolutions.co.uk

Or @iptaxsolutions on Twitter

(Enough about us!)

Get interactive!

Enough about us, this podcast is all about you and we want you to be as interactive as possible with your views, questions and feedback – reach out via Twitter to @iptaxsolutions and / or use the hashtag #fgbpodcast so that we can round up your tweets and perhaps give you a shout out on the podcast if you too are a fast growth UK business!

Business info tip of the day

Today we explain how you can access all UK company information e.g. annual financial accounts, free of charge. This information has been available for a while via the Companies House website; however, it has been a ‘paid for’ service. Now under a new release, users can access all of this information for free.

This can be especially useful for accessing information on customers, suppliers and / or competitors.

You can access this information via the following beta site:

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/

Try it out – its very useful.

Interview with Richard Mills, CEO of Sleepcogni – launched on Kickstarter

In this interview, Richard outlines his approach to building his latest venture, Sleepcogni, and launching it via Kickstarter.

His approach to finding the right people and specialists to help him build his team is summarised plus Richard explains how the Kickstarter launch process helps focus the entrepreneur’s mind on the most important factors and how it helps ensure that momentum is maintained. Richard also explains the added benefits of crowdfunding in terms of testing product viability and building a following of fans.

You can find the Sleepcogni Kickstarter campaign here.

The campaign runs until 10 December 2015 so get over there quick to lend your support!

Looking for your input

Please get in touch with your questions and feedback via Twitter: @iptaxsolutions and/or #fgbpodcast

If you are a UK entrepreneur and would like to share your story, please get in touch as above. Also, if you are involved in advising entrepreneurs on building scalable businesses, we would be delighted to hear from you and to get you involved if you’re the right fit.

Subscribe to receive future episodes

You can subscribe via iTunes or find us on the BusinessN2K.com network.

GF012: SEIS / EIS advance assurance tax tips for Film Production companies

In this edition of the Get Funded! podcast we cover some additional tips for film production companies that may be seeking advance assurance from HM Revenue & Customs that they are a qualifying company for the purposes of raising funding under SEIS / EIS.

Further info to enclose for SEIS or EIS film company HMRC advance assurance applications includes:

  • a description of the film company’s role in the production
  • the name of the film
  • how the company secured the production
  • what other parties may be involved e.g. co-producers, SPVs etc.

We hope you find it useful – you can subscribe via iTunes here

GF011 – What is SEIS / EIS HMRC advance assurance and how do I get it?

In this episode of the Get Funded! podcast we cover the all important:

HMRC SEIS / EIS advance assurance procedure

This podcast includes the following points with practical advice:

  • Why the advance assurance application is important?
  • How you apply for it?
  • Typical lead times?
  • What could go wrong?
  • Critical info to include?

As discussed in the podcast, the advance assurance procedure is not mandatory although it is highly recommended. This is your opportunity to get HMRC’s approval that your company is a qualifying company for the purposes of raising funding and issuing shares under SEIS / EIS. Most sophisticated investors will insist on evidence of a successful advance assurance application. This is your chance to flush out any uncertainties – don’t miss it! Listen to the podcast via the player below to learn more.

You can find the HMRC SEIS / EIS advance assurance online form mentioned in the podcast here.

Don’t forget that the typical turnaround time is 4-6 weeks for HMRC to respond to your advance assurance application. To avoid unnecessary delays, you would be well advised to get all your shareholder documents (including Articles with any revisions in contemplation of SEIS / EIS investors) finalised prior to filing the application. This is because HMRC will normally want to see the documents in as final form as possible. Otherwise you run the risk that HMRC will issue a ‘partial’ advance assurance in that they will ask for sight of the final version of (say) the Articles if further revisions are envisaged – so you would have to go through the process again. Tune into the podcast via the player below to learn more.

Please subscribe at iTunes to ensure that you can pick up past and future episodes. Also, we’d be thrilled if you could leave a review on iTunes.

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GF010 – What trades qualify for SEIS / EIS + potential problems for software (saas) companies!

In this episode of the Get Funded! podcast we cover the types of trades that qualify for funding under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

We discuss the HMRC excluded activities list that you need to check to confirm that your proposed trade is not listed i.e. excluded. If not, then you should be okay.

There is a relaxation for these excluded activities to be included within your trade although it must not amount to a ‘substantial’ proportion of your overall trade. ‘Substantial’ for these purposes is deemed to amount to no more than 20%. The HMRC advance assurance procedure would be key in these circumstances.

We pay particular attention to the potential problem for software companies (particularly software-as-a-service (Saas) based companies) given that the receipt of royalties or licence fee income IS an excluded activity. There is a carve-out from this exclusion for companies that create the whole or greater part of the underlying asset that generates the licence or royalty fee income –  most software companies rely on this exemption to qualify for SEIS / EIS – but there are some further traps for the unwary….