A Network of Radical Entrepreneurs
We are on the cusp of ‘machine age’, where new technologies will alter almost every facet of our lives. These are the people making it happen. London Innovators is an elite community of 600+ founders & investors; a connecting force for radical entrepreneurs. We’re religious about innovation, and highly selective about membership. Members come from all kinds of backgrounds; from teenage prodigies, to high-flying ex-corporates, to scientists, medics, and engineers, to serial IPO entrepreneurs.
London Innovators began in 2013 as a network of entrepreneurs doing extraordinary things; many with exponential growth potential. Members are all pursuing highly ambitious, highly innovative ventures; from quantum security, to IOT, to material science, medical technologies, challenger banks, robotics, social enterprise, clean tech, gaming, to virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. It remains both sector and stage agnostic. The key principle is to help one another to succeed.
Business Club 2.0
We seek to dramatically advance members’ interests through high value connections. Members are able to meet extraordinary people, of a similar mindset, who can help in all kinds of ways. London’s 17th Century coffee houses gave birth to breakthrough innovations including The London Stock Exchange, Lloyd’s of London, and the great auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s. London Innovators is much the same thing; a forum for digital-era businesses with global potential. We create opportunities for highly innovative people to cross-pollinate with one another, as a peer group for pioneers.
The key driver for creating London Innovators was London’s lack of forum for highly ambitious entrepreneurs… a clubhouse, where founders can connect, share and collaborate. While there are many meatmarket startup events (Silicon Drinkabout, Minibar, Startup Grind), and various organisations aiming to boost startup activity (Tech City, Google Campus, NESTA), there was no go-to organisation for entrepreneurs to come together as a community. There was no ‘coffee shop’ for radicals to congregate in. And very little quality control. So most networking activity in London is a waste of time.
Curation is Critical
It is hugely important for founders to have an informed peer network to go to for advice and support. Curation is critical – otherwise it doesn’t work. We needed to create an invitation-only model that wasn’t pretentious, or easily corruptible. Private Members Clubs like Soho House, Groucho, or Maddox don’t have this kind of remit, culture, or client focus, so they are not much use to startup entrepreneurs. They are also expensive.
Equity Market Failure
Getting finance for an innovation is very hard. It is still done through clandestine networks, and Chinese whispers, under the pretence that quality opportunities somehow ‘float to the top’. It takes months – or years – for some innovators to connect with suitable patrons. Investors are not easy to identify, or to approach. The market is opaque. Most investors are window shopping – it is hard to know who is serious in this market, and who is wasting your time. A lot of talent is handicapped because the ‘marketplace’ for innovation is so dependent on who you know. Is it any wonder that the median result (60%) for a VC backed-business is failure?
The best way to learn about business is through contact with people who have done it before; entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur.
As founders, we need a better model, and a network to counter the systemic bias in favour of capital.
London Innovators make strategic introductions to high value people. We can demystify the fundraising process for emerging talent too – insulating first time entrepreneurs from naievity, bad investors, and bad deals. In many respects, London Innovators is the inversion of a traditional Angel Network; investors come to us looking for opportunities.
Our purpose is to build and sustain an elite network. It is in our interests to accelerate the success of our members, as a virtuous cycle. This gives us access to tremendous opportunities. Anything that might compromise the quality of the network is eliminated.
The Penrose Awards identify 50 extraordinary companies a year – championing pioneer entrepreneurs on the way up. This opens up international PR opportunities, among other sponsor benefits.
It’s All About The Future
Old establishment business clubs (IOD, CBI, Chamber of Commerce) are world’s apart both culturally, and economically.
Our purpose and design are completely different. We are a peer network of radical entrepreneurs, welcoming newcomers with extraordinary potential. It’s prospective. It’s free. It’s gender neutral. People are invited to join. We recognise that breakthrough innovations come from all kinds of unpredictable places.
New Members Welcome
London Innovators is vibrant community made up of 600 pioneer entrepreneurs and investors. Membership grows at a steady rate. We seek out innovations that can scale rapidly and deliver a 10x return on investment. ‘Me too’ businesses won’t cut it – there needs to be a major differentiating factor between the business and it’s competitors… a scalable unfair advantage.
The vast majority of founders in the network have been introduced in by other members – through peer recommendations. A good number have got in touch via the contact form. Members are constantly contributing one another’s success: sharing know-how, making valuable introductions, sense-checking ideas, recommending new technologies & tools, sharing talent & sales leads, and connecting into investor networks. We take a principled approach, and hope that our commitment to transparency undoes any cynicism you might have. It’s our intention to be genuinely friendly and un-intimidating.
Criteria for membership is simple. We apply 3 tests, and make a judgement call on each. We’re interested in:
Highly Innovative Ventures - from concept to IPO
Attitude + Aptitude
What’s the business model?
How innovative is your business?
The membership model excludes almost all businesses. It’s an essential part of the design.
Outlier members (non-founders/investors), are typically senior corporate innovators (IBM, Deloitte Digital, Reuters, Bloomberg, Accenture as a few examples), technology experts, or innovation specialists at companies like IDEO.