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Pete - 03 / 01 / 2024

Investor Ecosystems: How A Shared Vision Can Unlock Tech Innovation

By Guy Remond, with special guest Gordon Bateman

Are you an investor looking for exciting tech opportunities to back?

An investor ecosystem might be just what you need. 

On the latest episode of Fast Growth Funding, I spoke to Gordon Bateman, Founder of Investor Ladder, one of the UK’s largest investor ecosystems. He’s also the brains behind Climb, a festival celebrating innovation, industry, and investment. 

Like EHE, Investor Ladder is on a mission to help entrepreneurs and investors find each other and drive growth.

In this blog, we’ll explore what investor ecosystems are all about and why being a part of one can help you unlock tech innovation.

You can hear my full conversation with Gordon on the Fast Growth Funding podcast.

What is an investor ecosystem?

Gordon: “An investor ecosystem brings together genuine investors – who have a shared vision – to work together. It’s a group of active individuals or organisations who are within the high-growth sector collaborating towards a shared goal. 

By bringing all of that together, everyone can benefit from the shared knowledge and get the support they need.”

I actually met Gordon at my first Investor Ladder event. It’s amazing how this large yet close-knit network has evolved over the years.

How does an investor ecosystem benefit you?

An investor ecosystem brings together people with specific interests so that they can have meaningful discussions and establish if there is a basis for ongoing business relationships. Early last year, EHE raised 1.8 million pounds for an insurtech company. 

While we were delighted to help Peppercorn, it’s important to note that we didn’t do it alone. A group of individual investors that we pulled together from our network all contributed money and resources to make it happen. 

That’s the value of an investor ecosystem. You work together with other forward-thinking investors instead of working against each other.

Gordon brilliantly explains why this collaboration is so important, especially when it comes to AI investments.

Gordon: “Collaboration is becoming increasingly necessary. At the pre-seed and seed investment stages, there has always been a bit of collaboration because very few individual investors will have all the money required to back a deal on their own.

 However, collaboration is becoming even more important across all stages because AI is becoming increasingly popular. 

Investors who were previously focused on sectors like healthcare are now transitioning into the digital and tech sectors. So, non-tech investors have to collaborate with digital/tech investors and AI specialists. At all levels, we’re seeing that need to share knowledge because everything’s moving very quickly, and it’s all becoming increasingly complex.” 

How a shared vision can unlock tech innovation

Gordon’s point about investors collaborating with “techies” is crucial, given the current landscape. Today, many investors are becoming less focused on specific sectors. Instead, they’re more concerned about technology and how a company adopts and uses it to its advantage. 

Being part of a strong investor ecosystem stops the frustration of backing the wrong ventures. You can benefit from other investors’ shared knowledge to pivot and align your portfolio with the market’s movement.

My business partner, Gary Fletcher, and I have made it a habit to attend the Abundance 360 summit every year. It’s a conference that looks at the future of tech and features insights from high-fliers in the tech sector. 

Attending this summit (and others like it) gives us a real feel for where tech is going. This is incredibly beneficial for any investor because when you’re filtering the hundreds of pitch decks on your table, you need to know whether the company is headed in the right direction. 

No one wants to back a venture that will probably not be relevant in the next few years!

If you do invest in a company and perhaps you’re acting as a non-executive director, you can equally use that knowledge to advise the founder and educate them on any potholes they haven’t picked up on yet.

The building blocks of an investor ecosystem

It’s worth noting that an investor ecosystem has no agenda, product or service to sell. It just sits in the middle to build connections, facilitate collaboration and help investors unlock new, exciting opportunities.

Gordon: “Our role at Investor Ladder is to make sure the ecosystem is balanced. There’s no point in having a network of 50 or 1,000 investors without doing anything else. 

You have to bring in the other components. So, we’re constantly tracking what’s required to balance the economies of scale. We bring in people from different backgrounds and sectors to provide value and then give the network a chance to grow and evolve into a life of its own. 

No one owns the ecosystem. There are people who help to stimulate and protect it. But actually, we’re all in it together. And the key piece is that common vision we all have.” 

Since I joined Investor Ladder, I’ve met many people with a similar mindset of collaboration. With the investment landscape steadily expanding and becoming even more complex, I’ve found this mindset to be valuable. 

Collaboration is the difference between achieving 10x turnover growth and achieving 100x growth over the next five to ten years. The only way you can grow at such a speedy rate is by pitching your tent with people whose goals and vision align with yours.

If you’d like to share resources, real conversations and ideas with growth-minded investors, click here to learn more about joining Investor Ladder.

P.S. We’re launching a new EIS-qualified fund for UK-based early-stage and growth AI investments. To find out more, register your interest here

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