👋🏾 Hi friends!

I thought taking a break from writing would be a bit of a relief.

How wrong I was 😂 

Instead, I’ve just had a lot of thoughts squirrelling away at the back of my mind as to what to write about, and a slightly neurodiverse tendency to keep adding to that list and setting myself ever more grandiose projects to pursue.

Of course, some of this happened whilst I was in the midst of some form of fever dream over the last couple of weeks when I got hit with a particularly nasty virus so maybe those thoughts will pass – though so far they haven’t quite made it out of my cerebellum.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in startup land – firstly I managed to coral a few of the EmergeOne CFOs out for a fun night of bowling, booze and banter – though all my beers were 0%.

The evening started with one of the team ordering an IPO instead of an IPA and you can imagine where it went from there.

Whilst I am a massive advocate for people working wherever they are most able to get their energy from, I do believe that there is a real need for human connection to elevate our thinking and explore new ideas.

So this evening was great to just exchange thoughts and think about what more we could all do. Check out our smiling faces below!

I’m knee deep in writing about all the things I’ve learned from the last couple of decades as founder, CFO and CEO, so sign up for early access to Off Balance – The Book and feel free to share with anyone else you think might enjoy it 😄.

I’m a few chapters in and exploring all 100 of the lessons I posted that got 1m views, thousands of likes and hundreds of comments and shares online – and that was just a list!

Now let’s get down to business…

In this weeks Off Balance, I’ll be chatting about:

🎙️ Duncan Clark on Nothing Ventured
👼 Financial Promotions Act – changes incoming, what it means for UK angels

In last week’s Nothing Ventured, I spoke to Duncan Clark, founder of Flourish.

Flourish is a data visualisation platform used by companies and journalists alike which he took through to exit to Canva where Duncan leads the European team.

Check out the episode and let me know what you think!

Also, if you have any feedback, or if there’s something you’re desperate to see me include, just reply to this mail or ping me online – I’m very open to conversations.

If you like what I’m putting out, do give me a follow on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

(If you are trying to connect with me on LinkedIn, maybe read this post I wrote and make sure to start your request with “Off Balance” and, more importantly, tell me why you’d like to connect 💪🏾)

Don’t forget to like, rate and subscribe to Nothing Ventured on Apple, Spotify or YouTube, it really helps more people see what we’re doing – you can find links to these (and more including my Office Hours) right here!

Now let’s get into it.

This edition of Nothing Ventured is brought to you by EmergeOne.

EmergeOne provides fractional CFO support to venture backed tech startups from Seed to Series B and beyond.

Join companies backed by Hoxton, Stride, Octopus, Founders Factory, Outlier, a16z and more, who trust us to help them get the most out of their capital, streamline financials, and manage investor relations so they can focus on scaling.

If you’re a CFO working with venture backed startups and want to join a team of incredible fractional talent, drop us your details here.

If you’re a growing startup that knows it needs that strategic financial knowhow, drop your details here to see how we can support you as you scale 🚀

Off Balance

This quote by Amit Kalantri really rang true this week as the UK government sets out to make some changes to the regulations around who can invest in high risk, private companies (aka startups) from the 31st of January.

The tl;dr is that it’s anticipated that these changes will disproportionately impact the ability of women and minorities to participate in the ecosystem.

If you feel strongly that this should not be the case, please join the other 1,700+ people who have signed this open letter to the chancellor.

Protection Should Not Lead to Exclusion

The Financial Promotions act, which is the piece of legislation we’re talking about, was last reviewed in 2005 and exists primarily to ensure that retail investors (but more generally all investors) are covered by regulations “which seek to ensure consumers are provided with clear and accurate information that enables them to make informed and appropriate decisions.”

But the changes, due to come into place on 31st January 2024, are aimed at changing the exemptions around who can invest in early stage, risky assets like startups.

Here’s the breakdown:

Certified High Net Worth Individuals Before Amendments:

Income of £100,000 in the last financial year and net assets of £250,000 throughout the last financial year.

Certified High Net Worth Individuals After Amendments:

Income of £170,000 in the last financial year and net assets of £430,000 throughout the last financial year.

Self-Certified Sophisticated Investors Before Amendments:

Worked in private equity or in the provision of finance for small or medium sized companies in the previous two years.

Served as the director of a company that has an annual turnover of at least £1m in the previous two years.

Made more than one investment in an unlisted company in the previous two years.

Self-Certified Sophisticated Investors After Amendments:

The criteria of having made more than one investment in an unlisted company in the previous two years has been removed and to satisfy the the criteria as a director, the company must have an annual turnover of at least £1.6m in the previous two years.

On top of this, there is an increased compliance requirement by way of investors having to sign a compliance statement in a prescribed format to confirm their eligibility.

So what, you may say?

After all, the rules seem to be working to protect individuals from making investments in companies where they may lose some or all of their money given the risky nature of startups – and that’s a fair point.

But the bit that isn’t fair is that this will ultimatley unduly impact women, minorities, and those living outside of London.

These tables make it clear – at least as far as the male / female divide is concerned, link to the original article here:

The impact of the new rules on qualifying as a High Net Worth Individual (HNWI). Research by Marla Shapiro (HERmesa) and Roxane Sanguinetti (Alma Angels) using data from the Survey of Personal Income 2020-2021.

The stats around investment into women and minorities are quite clear, less than 2% of capital finds its way into businesses founded by women or minorities and, overwhelmingly, the people that fund these sorts of businesses tend to come from similar backgrounds.

So, if you’re someone who this impacts or who feels this is unjust, I’d again urge you to sign the open letter and I would love to hear from you and understand your own experience as an investor and how this might impact you.

As always, my office hours are open, if you’d like to chat about this or anything else, just grab some time 😊.

I hope you found Off Balance #26 useful. As always, I’d love to get your feedback and understand the sort of topics you would love to hear about.

Just hit reply to this mail or drop me a line at hello@emergeone.co.uk and let me know 😊

🚀And that’s a wrap for this edition of Off Balance – I’d appreciate your feedback so just reply to this email if you’ve got something you’d like to say.

📨 And if you think someone else might love this, please forward it on to them,

🎧 Finally, if you’re a fan of the Nothing Ventured podcast, please don’t forget to like, rate and subscribe wherever you get your pods – it really helps us spread the word.

That’s it from me so until next time…

Stay liquid 🙂


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