The last decade has seen an explosion of funding and growth across the UK scaleup ecosystem. However, expertise and understanding of how to effectively scale has remained fragmented and network-driven, making it difficult for many founders to access appropriate support and limiting their business growth. This has also made it more challenging for experienced startup operators to effectively share their expertise and build their own advisory careers.
We partnered with Tech Nation to help them tackle this challenge with their incredible alumni network, which contains 30% of the UK’s unicorn businesses, alongside countless other successful scaleup operators.
Together we created the Alumni Advisor Programme, to connect these operators with promising scaleups from Tech Nation’s cohorts, and provide them with the structure and training to make a real impact.
To meet this challenge, we agreed upon a few key goals: to share best-in-class structure and governance for advisory engagements and ensure businesses and advisors had the tools to get the most from their advisory relationships; to help top operators assess and productise their experiences into expertise; and to support advisor-business fit with a tailored service matching businesses from Tech Nation’s programmes with experts from their Alumni community.
Establishing best-in-class structure and governance for advisory engagements
A lack of established governance for advisory relationships has typically formed a key stumbling block in the ecosystem. It is a major culprit in failed advisory relationships and relationship breakdowns between businesses and advisors, and on a less dramatic level, can lead to wasted time and resources even in successful engagements. Without adequate governance, it can also be difficult for businesses to assess the value and credibility of the advisors they hire, because they may not have the right structures in place to measure impact.
As a part of the partnership, Invigorate provided businesses and advisors with best practice and resources to help them establish appropriate governance around their engagements. This equipped Tech Nation’s new alumni advisors to expertly navigate every part of the advising process, from establishing goals and identifying key metrics, to collecting business feedback. It also provided businesses with the tools to confidently and efficiently manage their external support requirements and relationships – reducing risk on both sides of the relationship and helping advisors deliver maximum value in their engagements.
Helping top operators turn experience into expertise
Tech Nation’s alumni community already contained an incredible amount of scaling experience – boasting over 30% of the UK’s unicorn herd as alumni – but for individual operators entrenched in the day-to-day running of their businesses identifying and articulating this expertise could be an overwhelming and complicated process.
Invigorate worked carefully with members of Tech Nation’s alumni community to provide them with the structure to break down their experiences and identify their most valuable areas of expertise. We then helped them package this expertise up into easily understandable advisory propositions, to help businesses easily identify the potential value they could bring to their business.
Supporting advisor-business fit
While a great value proposition and effective governance are both vital parts of establishing a successful advisory relationship, Invigorate also worked with Tech Nation to kickstart this process in their community. This was accomplished by matching businesses who reached out for support with suitable alumni advisors, providing businesses with access to trained and credible advisors, and hopefully kickstarting the beginning of many valuable working relationships.
The partnership has already delivered significant progress – allowing us to train and equip an incredible group of operators with all the tools they need to confidently support the next generation of businesses, and to start connecting innovative businesses with real scaling expertise.
Here’s what some of the participants have said:
Neil Andrew, CEO of Lunio – “Having worked with several advisors on our scaling journey, I know how valuable they can be to unlocking that next stage of growth. The Tech Nation Advisory Programme allowed me to get connected with a pre-vetted advisor that I knew I could trust, and who could help guide me through the challenges I face as a first time founder & CEO. Connecting with Steve was quick & easy, and a great fit with regards to the hands-on expertise and experience I was looking for.”
Freddie Blackett, CEO of Patch Plants – “I’ve come away with so much more clarity and confidence on how I can add value to the ecosystem.”
Mathew Prior, CEO of Trusted Housesitters – “This workshop feels like a terrific springboard into advisory life. It is very thorough, thought-provoking and clearly built on a platform of real expertise. Some areas, such as defining your value proposition, seemed daunting beforehand but the step-by-step approach that Lauren has developed simplifies this enormously. A half day very well spent”
Douglas Lloyd, CEO of Macademia – “An interactive, concise and highly informative workshop. In half a day, you receive the critical guidance to market your lifelong work experience as an advisor to companies that match your skills and expertise.”
Segev Hochberg, COO of Lunio – “If you are looking for a comprehensive & concise course that will give you a framework to start your advisory career, this is the one.”
For more information on our partnership with Tech Nation, please see our partnership announcement.