Last month Franklin Rae and Edge Investments, the creative industries’ sector investor, hosted a roundtable breakfast for creative companies interested in learning about business growth and how to be investment ready. Over coffee and pastries, David Fisher, Investment Director at Edge Investments, took everyone through the routes required for raising money from institutional venture capital companies. Here he shares a few of his tips.
Know your audience
Before you approach a company – or an individual – for investment, make sure you know who you are pitching too. Whether it’s an angel investor, a trade company or an institutional venture capital company, know what information they will be looking for and tailor your pitch accordingly.
Be pitch ready
Have a pitch deck. It’s your meeting and this will allow you to control the narrative and tell your story. The deck should highlight your key USPs, your place in the market and your vision for growth. Why are you a good investment opportunity? How are you going to build your IP and grow the business? Don’t over load the meeting but have your key management team in the room. And make sure you each take roles and practice beforehand.
Build a financial plan
A written business plan will help you stand out, but the key is the financial plan. An institutional investor will require at least 12 months in detail, broken down on a monthly basis, and three years broken down on a quarterly basis, plus a detailed P&L and cashflow. The more detail the better. It shows you are on top of the business.
Make sure your plan is sensible. We will understand many companies are not going to sell to Google for £500m, and we don’t expect a plan that projects those returns on exit, but we are looking for companies that can grow to significant scale. We would like to see a sensible exit, based on your sector’s EBITDA multiple. For example TV Production companies usually sell on a multiple of 10x EBITDA, so understand the returns that are on offer to an investor from your plan. We don’t invest for hits, we invest in good solid businesses who are going to build their IP over a sensible period of time. Of course, we hope you have a hit…
Know your numbers
Be in shape when you go to pitch for finance. Make sure you have someone who understands your numbers attend the meeting, but even better, make sure you do. Be ready to answer any questions.
Identify your key hires
There’s three things a VC looks for – management, management and management. Managers and entrepreneurs build the business. We need to know you have the ability, the vision, the drive and the energy to win work, deliver work, manage your finances, manage your team and grow a business. Hires we like to see in place include sales, financial and operations, plus the key creatives. In a content related business we do understand the mix of business and creativity, that blend of people who have a vision for the business corporately and creatively.
Have an exit plan
Building a business takes time, but make sure your vision includes a route to exit. An institutional investor definitely needs to be able to see how and when they can get their money out. At Edge we look at a 4 to 6 year horizon to build the business and generate a sufficient return to be able to exit.
David Fisher is an Investment Director at Edge Investments, the creative industries venture specialist
We speak to Jesse Whittock, Editor at TBI and TBIVision.com to get the scoop on life behind-the-scenes at the publication.
What are you writing about at the moment?
We deliver a daily TBIVision.com newsletter, so that keeps us busy, but we’re also currently getting a digital special together on what we’ve dubbed the ‘UK Screenings’. This is when smart distributors put on events for buyers in Britain for the BBC Worldwide Showcase in February.
Besides that, we’re currently researching the history of TBI and the international TV business for our year-round coverage of TBI’s 30th anniversary (happy birthday to us). It’s been fascinating speaking with previous editors and publishers, and hearing about a time when magazines existed purely on print advertising, crazy thought.
What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?
This year is going to be all about massive M&A – whether AT&T can close the Time Warner deal despite Trump’s objections and the implications of Disney buying Fox. All of our best connected sources are also predicting further massive deals: everything else will fall by the wayside if Apple buys Netflix.
The TV biz is also a very gossipy one, which is why there will be plenty more people news covered on TBIVision.com as new companies emerge and execs switch teams.
What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?
Where to start? I’d love to be out of the office chasing stories and exploring new opportunities more than I am, but the ship doesn’t steer itself.
From a PR perspective, I really, really wish more time was spent identifying if a story is right for TBI. The worst thing a PR can do is send me a passive aggressive ‘have you considered the release/pitch I sent you two days ago’ email when the original mail was completely wrong in the first place.
It’s the only thing that makes me lose my rag a bit, and the best PRs never make that mistake, because they know intrinsically what we want to cover.
What are you watching at the moment?
It’s a long list: season three of Narcos, which is fantastic; I’m Dying Up Here, which I love but for some reason haven’t finished; McMafia – haven’t made up my mind on it yet; re-runs of Scrubs, a great comedy that reminds me of the 2000’s; Netflix comedy Love; Archer season six; a planned binge of Blue Planet II as I missed it first time around; and Peaky Blinders, which is ridiculous and silly and I love that.
I’m also a big podcasts dude – I recommend Mark Maron’s WTF, Romesh Ranganathan’s Hip Hop Saved My Life, Hollywood and Crime: Young Charlie, This American Life, 30 for 30, No Such Thing As a Fish and The Football Ramble.
At the Edinburgh International TV Festival, news presenter Jon Snow delivered a stirring and emotional MacTaggart Lecture in which he argued the media has become “disconnected” from some parts of society. His impassioned speech had tears in many of the audiences eyes, mine included.
“The completely man-made Grenfell disaster has proved beyond all other domestic events, how little we know, and how dangerous the disconnect is.”
“The Grenfell story was out there, shocking in its accuracy, hidden in plain sight.. but we had stopped looking.”
The challenge for the media is; how can it better reflect the problems, interests, and sensibilities of different cultures so that it better represents modern British society?
Behind the Camera
One of the best ways to achieve this is to increase the diversity of behind the camera talent. These people decide what is interesting, what programmes are made, and what news is reported. It is an issue that needs to be tackled at the grassroots level. It’s about increasing awareness of opportunities that are on offer – and shedding light on TV as a potential career.
Edinburgh International TV Festival’s Talent Schemes
This is where PR can help. As a company operating in the media industry, there’s scope to use PR to develop awareness and events to raise the profile of the industry in communities. At Franklin Rae we work to promote the Edinburgh International TV Festival’s Talent Schemes, Ones To Watch and The Network. These work together to drive applications from all parts of the country.
To engage with people from a number of varied communities meant we had to work differently. In order to raise the profile of the talent schemes we worked closely with local journalists, placing case studies and using social media in ways that would resonate with the audience. For example, interviews with creative leaders of diverse backgrounds and sourced testimonials from TV talent who are well known in these communities.
Both schemes do incredible work getting people from all walks of life involved in TV. Jon Snow applauded the schemes in his speech for this very reason – to great cheers from this year’s members! We were with the members of the schemes throughout the festival and their enthusiasm, knowledge, and skill was incredible. Their energy will really help drive the industry forward.
By Xander Ross, Senior Account Executive at Franklin Rae
There was a true depth of innovation on display at this year’s BETT exhibition, which took place last week, demonstrating that the international edtech industry is very much alive as ever. As we spent a few days exploring the aisles of the ExCel among the industry’s elite, it was hard to ignore the pull of all the gadgets and gizmos promising the next wave of education.
It’s safe to say Virtual Reality for classrooms was the technology of the moment, with the crowds fighting it out to test run Microsoft’s game-changing Hololens. And thanks to Raspberry Pi’s legacy, coding in schools continues to be the initiative on everyone’s mind. But the one thing the edtech community agrees on is that gaming is the missing link in mainstream education – and while Minecraft and Microsoft had the biggest presence at BETT in this department, it was great to see some of the exciting new players such as Lightneer and our client Tinybop making their claim in the market.
So what does it take to stand out from the crowd at key events such as BETT? PR and marketing are essential tools to help shout about your innovation when it counts, support your business objectives and let key influencers know what you are taking to market.
Here’s a few of our top tips to stand out from the crowd:
You know the drill. Once you register to exhibit at one of these events, you’re bombarded with marketing emails that promise to help you make the most of your stand. And as tempting as it is to leave them in the inbox – make sure you don’t miss those important deadlines for submitting your copy and company profile to the official show guide. Make it as easy as possible for attendees to find you on the day. That means getting your name in the programme before it’s too late.
Looking to make a splash with news during the show? Let the media know beforehand. The beauty of modern journalism is that you can announce new developments and generate immediate impact. Markets are a great place to pick up trade magazines and print media still works very much in advance. It’s not dead just yet. Most key publications plan special preview features in their editions leading up to market. So, consider this – if a prospective customer sees your news in the media in those important days beforehand, or even while they’re reading their morning coffee on the way to market, you’ve already got a head start.
A major strength of trade shows is the ability to meet face-to-face with the right people in a short amount of time. Well, guess what — you can also build much stronger relationships by meeting your industry journalists face-to-face. Use this opportunity while you’re all under the same roof to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones with your target media. Believe us, it’ll pay off in the long run!
We’re already looking ahead to the Kidscreen Summit in a couple of weeks, the Broadcast Indie Summit in March and MIPTV in April. Who’s coming with us?
By Abi Williams, Account Manager at Franklin Rae
Franklin Rae PR and Edge Investments held their first joint event of the year today. The breakfast round-table, co-hosted by Franklin Rae MD Sophie Naylor and Edge’s Investment Manager Joanna Smith, brought together a range of premium drama indies to debate the growth opportunities and challenges facing scripted indies in 2017. Despite the early start, and possibly fuelled by coffee and breakfast, the discussions were intelligent and insightful; hot topics were the proliferation of international co-productions, the drama commissioning hiatus, the new platforms commissioning and funding process, the best time in a company’s life cycle to take investment, both the benefits and disadvantages of taking investment – the consensus seemed to be that it all depends on the investment partner, the role corporate PR plays in attracting investment, cash-flow challenges in the new super-uber-drama world, talent packaging and the need for scripted indies to consistently communicate their range of executives and expertise, both commercial and creative to an international audience.
Both Franklin Rae and Edge Investments are looking forward to the next Frankly Speaking On The Edge round-table which focuses on the challenges and opportunities facing factual indies in 2017.
By Sophie Naylor, Managing Director at Franklin Rae.
It’s coming to the end of the year, and it’s been an odd one but it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2016, and hello to a bright, shiny new 2017. The end of the year gives us a chance to reflect on our very best TV moments of 2016, and the team at FR Towers have chosen theirs:
2016 was pretty incredible in terms of British Drama*: Epic glossies like The Night Manager, Victoria, Game of Thrones – Battle of the Bastards and War & Peace were swoon-worthy for many of the FR team, some of whom were particularly impressed with the opening titles. *obligatory nod to foreign co-pro partners. Other homegrown British Dramas that were more gritty than glossy but equally compulsive viewing for Franklin Rae were; National Treasure, Happy Valley and The Missing – they all had the Holy Trinity, acting talent, writing talent and high-quality production talent. More please!
FR Towers are known for their (armchair) athleticism so it comes as no surprise that sport dominated our summer’s viewing. We loved the Rio Olympics – special mentions for the GB v Netherlands Women’s Hockey Final, and the bizarrely hypnotic cycling races where we seemed to win everything – Skill. The European Championships Wales V Belgium got a mention, and lots of love was sent England’s way for winning the Six Nations Grand Slam.
Tickling funny bones at Franklin Rae were the legendary Beatles…… of Brentford aka People Just Do Nothing, and the indomitable US production company 3 Arts shook up Franklin Rae’s Brit-content love fest with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None.
But we don’t just live in a fantasy world, Factual TV did get a look in: Planet Earth II’s flamingos were spectacular and Grierson Award Winner – Louis Theroux: Drinking to Oblivion deserves to be seen. However it was Hypernormalisation that got us to really sit-up and take notice, documenting what happens when delusion becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, and “fakeness” becomes the accepted reality.
Stranger Things was the only US drama that floated the boat but it has many admirers chez FR, and not just because it’s an apt description for the WHOLE of 2016.
Finally, at the risk of sounding (even more) like a middle aged woman, Strictly Come Dancing was watched religiously by my family this year – we’re all girls and faced the biggest TV dilemma since Sophie’s Choice – Danny or Ore!
And with that it’s Christmas TV Specials abound, so settle in and have a rocking Xmas & New Year.
See you in 2017.
By Sophie Naylor, Managing Director at Franklin Rae.