By Kenny Mumford
On the day that the FTSE 100 reached its highest level since May 2008, I headed down with a couple of colleagues to the London Stock Exchange, where the UK Business Angels Association Winter Conference was being hosted.
After Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange opened trading on the LSE, there was, as ever, a great deal of invaluable information being shared face-to-face and the venue worked very well for networking between the formal sessions. Two interesting themes in particular emerged from the morning and afternoon sessions, each at opposite ends of the business journey - from start-up to exit.
The first is the increasing number of accelerator programmes that are cropping up around the country (as mentioned before in the Startup Blog a number of times, such as here). These programmes may vary in detail but are based on a model of enabling very early stage businesses to attend an intensive program of training in all aspects of starting up a tech business. Often that may involve the founders relocating to a particular location for up to three months in order to tap into the various valuable networks that have been built up around the programmes. It's a trend that mirrors events in the US and the point was made that, even after startup funding has been achieved, these programmes can be very successful at doing exactly what they say they can.... accelerate things.
At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps inspired by the impressive LSE venue, there was also a good deal of discussion about the possible re-emergence of AIM as a key stage in some companies’ growth cycle. While many companies may have not found AIM to be the market they had hoped it would be, there appears to be a valuable role for AIM if the circumstances are right - a point touched upon previously byMark Fahy at the Funding Ladders conference in Edinburgh last year.
For more information on the conference and any follow up reports, connect with the UK Business Angels Association. As ever, we'll share any reports online, via our LinkedIn, G+, Facebook and Twitter accounts (@mbmcommercial). If you were at the conference yourself, I'd be interested to hear any thoughts that you have about the day in the comments below.
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