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James-UH
24-02-2005, 10:21 PM
Hi all - New to this site / forum :)

Also noticed while browsing someone else has the name James Smith, if a mod sees this could my username be changed to: James - UH

What are the odds eh? :P

Anyway - I have been running my business, UH Hosting Ltd, since May 2002. The business started off as a sole trader, incorporated as a Limited Company Nov 03 and registered for VAT at the same time.

What we do:

In short we provide web services. The kind used to host web sites. Web hosting (Shared and Reseller) and domain names. We also reach into the other more specialized (Becoming less so, due to decreasing costs for doing so) services. These include co-location, dedicated servers (managed and un-managed), SSL certificates and secure SSL hosting.

We utilize a DC in London known as Telehouse Docklands, most of you have probably never heard of it, the more tech orientated of you may have ;) - It appeared in an episode of Little Britain once, series 1 I believe.

The equipment is owned by us, the racks, servers, switches etc. Like many smaller providers we resell certain things. These include domain names, SSL certificates and at present Windows Web Hosting.

The company as a whole is quite well established, considering I started the business on £50 with a reseller account I think it’s achieved a great deal, our turnover has increased year on year and I am able to pay myself a wage from the company. We have a Sizable client base, generally recognized in web hosting quarters as an honest and reliable company.

Right, that’s the blurb out of the way :)

I am considering taking things further. We have up to this point not needed to commit to serious advertising. Word of mouth has served, and continues to serve as well. But I understand there is only so much growth to be had relying on word of mouth. We need more public awareness of what we do. Like every entrepreneur, I think what we provide rocks and everyone should have it :P

To take things further we would need considerable investment. I am reluctant to go for a bank loan, simply because the risk to the company would be great. If it goes pear shaped the company would be put into solvency and closed down if the loan is not re-paid. But other options are available. VCs, Business Angels, certain Government trusts, local trusts, Princes Trust and so on. From my research over the last few days on the subject, trying to gain backing from a business angel sounds to me like one of the best options, primarily because the risk to myself and the company are minimal. That is of course if the trust of the investor is won over and he / she / they invest.

Being a currently trading and profitable business with existing clients I hope gaining any kind of funding would be considerably easier than a start-up with no records or current clients. Be it from a bank, investor or elsewhere.

I have sought advice from my local business link, two meetings with a very experienced man in business. I am seeking a business mentor through a contact my Mum works with, this I am viewing as a very positive step forward. I’ll make sure my questions are answered Re: best method to gain investment, business plan advice and so on.

I suppose your wondering what my question is by now – Basically, is there anyone here who has attempted and succeeded in gaining investment either from a VC or business angel?

cranleys.co.uk
03-03-2005, 10:29 PM
I would imagine a good business report, model, financial wizard and a committed team along with 3 months and 30 meetings will ensure you are a success. Pick your team from those you can trust who are around you and experts in their field.

Babylon
27-03-2005, 02:57 PM
To take things further we would need considerable investment. I am reluctant to go for a bank loan, simply because the risk to the company would be great. If it goes pear shaped the company would be put into solvency and closed down if the loan is not re-paid. But other options are available. VCs, Business Angels, certain Government trusts, local trusts, Princes Trust and so on. From my research over the last few days on the subject, trying to gain backing from a business angel sounds to me like one of the best options, primarily because the risk to myself and the company are minimal. That is of course if the trust of the investor is won over and he / she / they invest.

I suppose your wondering what my question is by now – Basically, is there anyone here who has attempted and succeeded in gaining investment either from a VC or business angel? [/B]

James,

It seems from your post that you don't believe in your business enough and; you are primarily seeking business angel investment as a 'risk-reduction' strategy for yourself. I can tell you from personal experience that it would be a big red-flag for an angel investor. The industry you operate in went out of favour with investors a few years back with the 'dot-com' bubble and; therefore you have to re-think your financing strategy for your business. There are still a few investors around who would invest in a technology business but the price would be high.

Regards,

Joel
http://www.babylonbusinessfinance.com

cranleys.co.uk
28-03-2005, 09:36 AM
As a BlackStar member of Ecademy, I have leant it is vital to get 8 people on board as part of your business. It is critical you have a good mix of people's personalities. Angels also like this and you must be prepared to give equity and investment away yourself to ensure a successful and incentivised team.

If you need a "Mechanic", ie a person who gets things done, plans processes and takes care of the finance function feel free to meet me and I would be happy to quickly build the rest of the team.

Colin

James-UH
28-03-2005, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by Babylon
James,

It seems from your post that you don't believe in your business enough and; you are primarily seeking business angel investment as a 'risk-reduction' strategy for yourself. I can tell you from personal experience that it would be a big red-flag for an angel investor. The industry you operate in went out of favour with investors a few years back with the 'dot-com' bubble and; therefore you have to re-think your financing strategy for your business. There are still a few investors around who would invest in a technology business but the price would be high.

Regards,

Joel
http://www.babylonbusinessfinance.com

I believe in the business, I wouldn’t of spent the last 3 years heavily involved and dedicated to the cause if I did not believe :)

cranleys.co.uk
28-03-2005, 01:39 PM
Do you have some customers? I have developed a hosting company from a Bed room office of a Uni student to now a 6 person team earning £500k per annum. It can be done but takes focus and sacrifice.

James-UH
28-03-2005, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by cranleys.co.uk
Do you have some customers? I have developed a hosting company from a Bed room office of a Uni student to now a 6 person team earning £500k per annum. It can be done but takes focus and sacrifice.

Did you read the orginal post, Sir? :)

cranleys.co.uk
28-03-2005, 02:13 PM
Not sure why you believed I have not. I agree you need to go to the next stage but without seeing your business and you I am not sure whether anyone could commit to supporting other than a few words of support.

There are many options available - your business may well be worth someone investing in - right now we know very little.

James-UH
28-03-2005, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by cranleys.co.uk
Not sure why you believed I have not. I agree you need to go to the next stage but without seeing your business and you I am not sure whether anyone could commit to supporting other than a few words of support.

There are many options available - your business may well be worth someone investing in - right now we know very little.

You said: Do you have some customers?

It should be obvious from my post we have customers.

To indulge in any more information on a public forum is not the way to go. If you're serious about wanting to know more drop me an e-mail james at uh-hosting.co.uk and we're take it from there :)

Babylon
29-03-2005, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by James-UH
I believe in the business, I wouldn’t of spent the last 3 years heavily involved and dedicated to the cause if I did not believe :)

Hi James,

Looks like there seems to be some confusion with my reply to your original post. My question to you was "do you believe in your business enough?" I'm sure you believe in your business and I don't doubt your commitment either but my question is whether it is sufficient.

What you got to understand is that VCs/Angels look for 110% commitment which includes demonstration of the fact that you have pledged everything you got - including your business & personal assets before seeking investment from them. (After all, why a business angel risk his/her money if you are not prepared to risk yours?) There are many ways of financing a business other than business angel capital and I'm not convinced that you have explored all your possible options. I agree business angels have an important role to play in providing capital to small businesses but because of the 'price' you have to pay is high, it is important that you explore your other options first.

Anyway, my offer to you through another forum for an informal chat regarding your future funding options including business angel capital still stands.

Best regards,