Highlights: UKTIN's Inaugural Investor Breakfast

Investor Breakfast

A new event series, showcasing UK telecoms talent.

In London on the 31st of October, as a part of a new series, UKTIN held an Investor Breakfast to showcase exceptional UK telecoms talent from across the sector and highlight the benefits of investing in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure and the  broad range of companies and technologies operating within it. 

The UK’s £32bn industry underpins almost every aspect of modern life and UKTIN believes investors should have every opportunity to meet successful, growing UK companies in this sector. The event provided the opportunity to network and meet candidate companies, as well as partake in demos, over refreshments.

The Future of Telecoms:

Professor Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Business and Trade emphasised that telecommunications plays a pivotal role in the UK economy. She highlighted that impactful initiatives in the UK, such as digital inclusion, competition and R&D, support innovation and growth in the sector, reinforcing the UK’s position as a global leader. 

In terms of focus, Sutcliffe, who is a member of the Innovate UK Council, said that cybersecurity, the Telecoms Security Act, international collaboration and crucially, investment, will ensure the telecoms sector is fit for the future, and delivers economic prosperity. 

The Investor Spotlight: 

David Leftley, CTO and Co-founder, Bloc Ventures started by asking, what’s driving the opportunity? He explained: “Internet usage continues to grow, data usage is doubling every three years and IT spending is high.” 

As for innovation, it’s much more than connectivity and the technology spectrum is broad – from atoms to bits. The investment opportunity is in ICT in general. The most attractive technologies, he says, are the technologies in the networks and platforms that can deliver the network economics of the lowest marginal cost.

He concluded: “The market is global albeit with supply chains that can be political and complex. However, ICT is misunderstood and often perceived by many UK generalist investors as high risk. In fact, ICT is a bigger sector than pharma, which makes it curious why investors are so averse to ICT in comparison.”

Securing investment in the telecoms sector: 

Chaired by Mike Dimelow, Chief Commercial Officer, Bloc Ventures, attendees heard from potential investors, offering tips and tricks, including the importance of a business model that can scale up; the ability to integrate with the investor’s wider portfolio; and knowing your end customer and what they really care about.

The investors were then asked, if there is one thing they could do or change in telecoms to further investment, what would it be?

Sutcliffe said: “More international collaboration.”

Simon Clement, Director of Technology Due Diligence, Liberty Global, said: “There’s a scale-up gap and that’s where our focus should lie.”

Andrew Roughan, CEO, Plexal, said: “Definitely driving adoption.”

Vanessa Viana, Global Managing Partner, Capital Lab Ventures, said: “We have one of the best telco sectors in the world but still, I would increase international investment.”

Closing remarks:

Nick Johnson, Head of UKTIN closed the session by describing the morning as “fantastic”, pointing to the importance of gaining insight from the uncensored voice of the investor. 

He continued: “Coherence between policy and investors is needed but how we achieve this is another question. Designing the evolution of your cap table over the next five years is something pretty alien to most start-ups who’s biggest worry is usually how to make next month’s payroll.  But I can see that having that evolution of value in mind is key to getting the long-term follow-on investments that start-ups need to scale. How can the government, regulators and academia work together to bridge the scale-up chasm? International collaboration and co-investment are crucial. Some great conversations getting going here, let’s keep going…”

To learn more, or perhaps attend the next Investor Breakfast please get in touch at events.team@uktin.net.

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