It’s an age-old conundrum; you need money to buy expertise but you need expertise to raise money. The two go together but not always like a hand in a glove!
One company, based in the UK, has made it their mission to tackle this problem and the level of interest has been “staggering” according to founder and CEO, Ian Wright.
is the UK’s largest peer-2-peer non-executive director community with almost 12,000 highly experienced non-executive directors. Wright says “Many of our members have had successful executive careers and are now enjoying helping businesses at all stages of their life-cycle. But many do not simply wish to work for a ‘day’s pay’, they want to be a part of the journey and often, this means taking a stake in their clients’ businesses in the form of equity participation”.
On the 6th October, Virtualnonexecs.com ran its inaugural investor event. The event saw three tech enabled businesses pitch to 90+ investing non-executives. The attendees had an indicated £80 million in available funds to deploy. Michael Mateer of Virtualnonexecs ran the event, alongside Oliver Burton, CEO of Forbes Solicitors. Mateer said, “The event was a resounding success with almost 100 attendees. Expressions of interest in the pitching businesses will now be passed directly to the founders.”
The event will be run on a monthly basis and they will allow even more businesses to pitch in the November event. “Some have indicated they would like to pitch for ‘human capital’ rather than cash; expertise and connections are often more valuable than funding” says Wright.
Launched in 2019, following the sale of a previous platform, the uptake has been “far beyond my initial projections” claims Wright. “Not only are we by far the most engaging community of non-executives and board advisors, we are also the place where the most ambitious businesses are coming to, to find board advisors who will steer them to their ultimate exits.” He says that in the last month his team have heard from seven companies who are completing transactions that have been led or aided by their non-executive members who were met at virtual events or within their app.
With almost 12,000 non-executives advising upwards of 19,000 businesses, he believes that Virtualnonexecs is more than just a place to find non-executive board seats. He says the community have funds to deploy (currently that figure is shown on the website
as £136.8 million). He also believes that the value of those businesses advised by their membership is now into the £billions.
“What we have created is a community where the most ambitious companies can be identified; the ones who are serious about growth and ultimately some form of transaction – from MBI to MBO and IPO.”
Wright is no stranger to the corporate finance land-scape, having built and sold multiple companies, he now sits in the boardrooms of at least four fast-growth businesses who are eyeing up future exits.
“We are not interested in selling memberships to those who want to pay for a job board. We are interested in building a valuable community of like-minded senior executives and non-executives who share the common goal of working with ambitious companies”.
With a growing base of members in the UK, UAE and USA, Virtualnonexecs has big aspirations and recently turned down external investment that valued the company into eight figures. “We are looking for the right partner who has marriage value, not just money!” says Wright.