As we entered the lockdown phase and the world was moving business communications to Zoom, Angel Forum wasted no time to move its activities online too. Zoom as a platform was an easy choice as was postponing all in-person activities and events. The question was however, how do we go about it? Do we make it a long-term effort or a short one? Do we do it weekly or monthly ?
We decided on an hour per week and on April 2 our first event was live with LevellingUp and Merkle Semiconductors as presenting companies and Colin Mason as industry expert. Mason is Professor of Entrepreneurship, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow who has done extensive research into angel investing and his exposure to the European markets enabled him to give a good view of the Covid-19 impact on investing from across the pond.
We continued using the new formula and the model stuck: the number of weekly attendees kept growing, we had no problem finding keen industry experts to talk about their business and Covid-19 impacts and a steady flow of start-ups interested in pitching connected with us. But more importantly, deals were being made. As the financial markets picked up after the first four crisis weeks, so did angel investing. On April 30, Victoria-based fintech company DivDot presented and the results were such that the company was able to close its round and oversubscribed following its Angel Forum pitch. But more than that, CEO Matthew Smith confirmed that the pitch generated a large number of new customers as well. And therein lies the value of our platform: not just access to investors, but also to support, resources and clients. In short, one strong supporting network.
A quick poll of the membership tells us that we will continue with the online 1-hour format regardless of how the crisis develops as it is a nice complement to in-person meetings. It is quick and easy and it delivers the desired result as evidenced by the DivDot case. What it does not do – and we also noticed not everyone talks freely on Zoom – is establishing personal connections. For that we hope to be back with in-person events starting September/October this year, health regulations permitting. In particular take note that the Whistler Summit is back on, from October 6-9 we will be hosting a more local angel summit at the Nita Lake Lodge. There we hope to celebrate together with a smaller audience our journey away from lockdown and back to normal. Details on that of course to follow.