Open post

UK Startup Investor Temperature Check Survey

Spark! is delighted to announce the new UK Startup Investor Temperature Check Survey and Report

Targeted at the world of startup investment and developed in response to the high speed of change in our markets and the world in general, the Investor Temperature Check Survey and Report is different to many other startup reports in three ways:

1) Biannual Survey and Report: Due to the rapidly changing nature of our markets, technology and the extraordinary chain of events in 2020 so far, we feel that Annual Reports on the startup ecosystem are no longer sufficient. The Spark! Investor Temperature Check Survey will be issued to Investors every six months, at the end of H1 and H2. The Report will be compiled from the data received and will also be issued on a biannual basis, providing startups and other stakeholders across the ecosystem with transparency investment thinking.

2) Cross-Investor Survey: Many surveys and reports focus on single types of investors – Angels or CVCs or VCs. At Spark! we feel the value is in understanding how different types of investors respond to the same questions, providing comparators that allow Startups and Scaleups to understand where best to focus their attention. To that end, the Survey has been issued to Angel Investors, Family Offices, VCs and CVCs across the UK

3) Tied directly to current world trends and events: Each time the Survey is issued, it will contain some new questions relating to key world events and trends that have happened in the previous 6 months. By gathering data on how these events have impacted investment strategies, we hope to bring further clarity and understanding to startups and scaleups across the UK.

 

To encourage participation, Spark! has committed to donate £1 for every completed survey to SafeSteps, a charity which supports women and children as they flee domestic abuse and build new lives.

The Survey can be completed here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6CJQ5TB

All information provided in the survey is secured, and information will only be used as part of grouped statistical data, unless further permission is sought from the submitter.

Download this Press Release

Open post

Spark! is delighted to announce that ‘Investor Ready’ Book is Out Now

Spark! is delighted to announce the new UK Startup Investor Temperature Check Survey and Report

London, 09 June 2020 – Spark! is delighted to announce that ‘Investor Ready’ the new book authored by our CEO, Julie Barber will be published by ReThink Press on 8th July this year.

Julie Barber is CEO at Spark! Consulting and has over 20 years’ experience in business innovation, transformation and winning funding from corporate boards.  She now brings her corporate experience to early stage companies through Spark!, working with startups and scaleups from pre-Seed to Series A to get them ‘Investor Ready’.

To be notified on launch day and get the opportunity to buy the Kindle edition for 99p, visit www.areyouinvestorready.co.uk and sign up to the pre-launch list.  You can also complete a free scorecard on the site, which will test how ‘Investor Ready’ you are and provides you with a full report of your answers at the end

Blank bookcover with clipping path

Investor Ready – The Guide for Startups on getting investors to say Yes

Getting investment is tough.  Competition is fierce.  There are new start-ups around every corner fighting for their slice of the pie.

For interviews and further press information, please email contact@spark-consulting.co.uk

Download this Press Release

Open post

Spark CEO Launches Investor Ready Book

Spark! is delighted to announce the new UK Startup Investor Temperature Check Survey and Report

Spark! is delighted to announce that ‘Investor Ready’ the new book authored by our CEO, Julie Barber will be published by ReThink Press on 8th July this year.

Julie Barber is CEO at Spark! Consulting and has over 20 years’ experience in business innovation, transformation and winning funding from corporate boards. She now brings her corporate experience to early stage companies through Spark!, working with startups and scaleups from pre-Seed to Series A to get them ‘Investor Ready’.

To be notified on launch day and get the opportunity to buy the Kindle edition for 99p, visit www.areyouinvestorready.co.uk and sign up to the pre-launch list. You can also complete a free scorecard on the site, which will test how ‘Investor Ready’ you are and provides you with a full report of your answers at the end.

Investor Ready – The Guide for Startups on getting investors to say Yes

Getting investment is tough. Competition is fierce. There are new start-ups around every corner fighting for their slice of the pie.

In this book, Julie Barber shares her proven six-step process to showcase your company at its best and wow your potential investors.
The six steps of the Investor Ready Roadmap outlined in this book will enable you to:

  • Communicate your company Vision to investors
  • Ensure the Structure and Scalability of your start-up supports your Vision
  • Prove your Market fit and impact • Provide business Numbers that give investors confidence
  • Build your ideal Investor Profile and find investors who match it
  • Create a Pitch and Business Plan that will wow potential investors

The book is also crammed full of insights from top investors, including Angels, VCs, Corporate VCs and Crowdfunding Platforms.

For interviews and further press information, please email contact@spark-consulting.co.uk

Download this press release

Open post

Black Lives Matter

When I saw the news of George Floyd’s killing, it was clear this would be a trigger for change – the groundswell of voices had already begun to rise. I’ve taken time this week to read, listen and think hard about both my own personal privilege and about what we do at Spark!. It has felt incredibly important to approach this subject with deep care and hasn’t been a response I wanted to rush into.

At Spark!, we sit at the joining point, the intersection, of Innovation and Finance, working between Startup Founders and Investors, both individual and institutional. From the Founder perspective, just 0.9% of European Tech Founders self-identify as Black/African/Caribbean (Atomico: 2019 State of European Tech Report) and those Founders make up only 0.5% of all founders who have raised external capital. On the other side of the table, the story is not much better: Diversity VC compiled a report in 2019 which showed that only 3% of the venture capital workforce identifies as Black, with 76% identifying as white. Angel investment tells a similar story – a joint report compiled by the British Business Bank and the UK Business Angels Association in 2018 revealed the typical profile of a Business Angel as male and white – with only 7% of Angels surveyed identifying as non-white.

While we definitely don’t have all the answers, and there is always more to do, I am proud of the measures we already have in place at Spark!. A year ago, I took the decision to formally align the business with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with the intention of focusing our contribution around Innovation and Inequality. What does that look like in reality?

  • I’m honoured to have recently joined the Board of Generation Success, a non-profit organisation that focuses on promoting diversity of talent in employment and enterprise, through mentoring, internships and graduate placements. I also mentor candidates directly and speak at their events to encourage young people from across the BAME community to see the opportunities in Entrepreneurship.
  • We donate 2% of all our revenue to a charity called SafeSteps, that helps women and children flee domestic abuse and build new lives. BAME and refugee women in particular experience higher rates of domestic homicide and are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than other women in the UK. 50% of BAME female victims of violence also experience abuse from multiple perpetrators (“Unequal Regard, Unequal protection” Report, Sisters for Change, 2017). Womens Aid is clear that “women from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities are likely to face additional barriers to receiving the help that they need”.
  • I’m a Startup Mentor for the Royal Academy of Engineering, supporting startup entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds across the world to achieve success in their business.
  • It’s not just about what we do in-house, but what we do with our startup clients. As part of our work with each client, we audit their staff diversity and make recommendations for change. It is clear to us, and increasingly to investors, that the best businesses have workforce demographics that reflect their customer base. This is key in avoiding bias in tech builds and in customer support and we specifically work with our clients to drive business policies and controls which will ensure that they treat all their staff and customers fairly and without prejudice and that they hire from diverse talent pools. Startups have a unique opportunity to get this right from the beginning, and we feel this is one of the areas where we can make the biggest impact in ensuring the BAME community is properly represented.
  • We hire specifically with the aim of ‘lifting people up’ and providing opportunity that may not otherwise have been available. As yet, there is only one full-time employee plus me, but our plans for future FTE expansion over the next two years include continuing to hire from diverse talent pools and within that, particularly targeting people who might not be offered opportunity elsewhere, such as women who have been unemployed for long periods through childcare responsibilities and/or domestic abuse.

 

What can we do going forward? There are two initial areas of focus for us:

  • First, I’m committing to offering an internship to a Black future Entrepreneur who would like to learn from the inside out what it takes to successfully raise money for their business. We will release the details of this over the coming weeks.
  • Second, we are just about to launch the Spark! Investor Temperature Check Survey, which will be issued across individual and institutional investors alike, to get their read on the startup investment market in 2020. We are specifically including in that survey questions about investment in BAME Founders and changes investors might make to their selection processes as a result of #Blacklivesmatter. We hope to use this information to give startups and would-be entrepreneurs high quality information on how and where they can get the best support, whilst also encouraging investors across the spectrum to think about how they can do things differently.

As I said, it’s a start. Over the coming days and months, I’m sure there will be more things we can contribute to. If you have ideas on what else we might be able to achieve, either on our own as a small organisation or in partnership with others, please get in contact on julie.barber@sparkconulting.co.uk. I really want Spark! to be a beacon for helping entrepreneurs realise their dreams, no matter what their ethnicity, gender or background.

Julie Barber CEO, Spark! Consulting

You can also read this article in this PDF

Open post

CEO appointed as Entrepreneur Coach

CEO Julie Barber has been appointed to be one of 10 Entrepreneur Coaches in the EMEA region

Spark! is delighted to announce that as part of the digital transformation of Dent Global, our CEO Julie Barber has been appointed to be one of 10 Entrepreneur Coaches in the EMEA region.

Julie joins 9 incredible people who run amazing national and international businesses, and who have all achieved great things since taking part in the Dent Key Person of Influence Accelerator.  The list of achievements in the coaching team include Olympic world records, the chairperson of Stanford University Angel Investors, best-selling books, PLC board level experience, PHDs, and award-winning technology projects.

Julie’s work as CEO and Founder of Spark! continues as usual.  This new role reflects the value she brings to Spark!, our clients and the wider business community.

Please join us in congratulating Julie and the other 9 incredible individuals who make up this elite group of Dent Coaches!

 

Spark! Consulting Ltd
Contact: Julie Barber
Phone: 07973 801682
Email: contact@spark-consulting.co.uk

Open post

CEO selected as a Startup Mentor for The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme

CEO selected as a Startup Mentor for The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme

Spark! is delighted to announce that our CEO, Julie Barber, has been selected as a Startup Mentor for The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme, an initiative of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the UK Government’s Newton Fund which aims to develop international science and innovation partnerships.

LIF6 is funding a select cohort of international technology engineers who have produced innovations that have the potential to make significant social impact in their countries of origin, back in the UK and around the world.

LIF Fellows will receive a rigorous commercialisation training programme in London in February followed by in country and remote training and mentoring over a 14-month period, through to March 2021. Mowgli Mentoring, The University of West of England, and ChangeSchool – together, the SHINE consortium – are implementing LIF6 for the cohort of LIF Fellows from Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Spark! Consulting Ltd
Contact: Julie Barber
Phone: 07973 801682
Email: contact@spark-consulting.co.uk

Open post
Transparency-Task-Force Logo

Spark! CEO Joins the Transparency Task Force

Spark! Welcomes a New Partnership

London, 5 July 2019

Spark! are pleased to announce that CEO Julie Barber has been invited to participate in the FinTech Special Interest Group within the Transparency Task Force. The Transparency Task Force is the collaborative, campaigning community, dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services, right around the world. The Task Force is unique in being made up of a truly pan-industry cross-section of individuals, trade bodies, thought leaders, academics and professional associations, united by the desire to improve the way the Financial Services industry behaves through the transformational power of transparency.

“I am thrilled to have been invited to participate, and particularly in the FinTech SIG, given my involvement with tech startups through our ‘Are You Investor Ready?’ programme for and the Founder Support Service we offer. The work of the Task Force aligns directly with our commitment as a company to the UN Global Goals, specifically around making financial services accessible to all. Trust and transparency are key to driving up adoption and increasing accessibility.” Julie Barber, CEO.

Julie brings an interesting perspective to the FinTech SIG, having worked in financial services for over 20 years across consultancy, banking and regulatory sectors and now working with startups as well as large corporates.

Download the press release now

Open post
David B Horne - picture to show what David B Horne looks like

Spark! Welcomes A New Partnership

Spark! Welcomes a New Partnership

London, 12 July 2019

Spark! are pleased to announce a new partnership with David B Horne which allows us to provide SEIS/EIS application preparation and submission services to our clients. David has a fantastic track record of generating successful applications and will be able to handle both Advance Assurance and full application activities. As well as being a highly experienced CFO with a number of portfolio roles, David is also a serial investor, entrepreneur and now a #1 bestselling author on Amazon, thanks to his new book, Add Then Multiply.

Commenting on this, David said: “I’m delighted to be partnering with Julie and the team at Spark! to support their community of start-up entrepreneurs.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome David on board, and to be able to offer this additional service to members of our ‘Are You Investor Ready?’ programme, which will help them take the next step on their investment journey.” Julie Barber, CEO.

Download the press release now

Scroll to top
Subscribe
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Join Our Newsletter Today

Stay updated with all latest updates,upcoming events & much more.
close-link