Posts in Peter Cowley
Space Tech, wine club, and an array of investing

Jelena Aleksic came to Cambridge to do a PhD in genetics but soon realised she had an entrepreneurial spirit. She started two businesses on the side during her study, but it wasn’t until she obtained funding for Gene Adviser did she work full time on a startup. Jelena was successfully funded 350K from investors, including Peter Cowley. Unfortunately, the business failed, but Jelena learnt some vital lessons which she shares in this podcast. 

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Learning from failure and coming back stronger

Jelena Aleksic came to Cambridge to do a PhD in genetics but soon realised she had an entrepreneurial spirit. She started two businesses on the side during her study, but it wasn’t until she obtained funding for Gene Adviser did she work full time on a startup. Jelena was successfully funded 350K from investors, including Peter Cowley. Unfortunately, the business failed, but Jelena learnt some vital lessons which she shares in this podcast. 

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Disappearing, angel investing, Frog Capital, and what Shirin has learnt along the way

Shirin Dehghan is a hugely successful entrepreneur, having built Arieso and sold it to JDSU. In part 2 of her podcast, we hear how she decided to take a year out before getting bored and subsequently gravitating back to the start-up ecosystem. She has made a number of angel investments, including a lesson in letting her guard down as she invested in a team she knew well. Shirin is now a senior partner at Frog Capital, where she sits on four start-up boards. A tip to entrepreneurs, “Don’t turn up to a board meeting with a laundry list of problems without thinking of possible solutions. Your board will lose faith quickly”.

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A serial entrepreneur's journey, from contactless to crowdfunding

Neil Garner's background in technology led him from consulting to building contactless products. On his rocky eight-year journey he zig-zagged between running a company solo to NFC deals with Guinness and Nokia. In this episode, Neil revisits the decisions that took him on this odyssey. When the sector was disrupted by Apple he stepped down, and is now a serial entrepreneur. While he prefers face-to-face investment, he is currently crowdfunding his most recent venture; here he explains why and the crucial lessons to remember when taking this route.

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Integrity in founders, not taking everything on faith and the dog life of a start-up

Ramona Liberoff is an experienced invested investor with decades of business experience. During her time running teams around the world for tech startups, such as Aqueduct and Movirtu, she built the vast organisational experience that she later used in her role in Innogy Innovation Hub's quest for a free energy network. In this podcast, Ramona discusses the real value of integrity in entrepreneurial teams. She has learnt lessons from both failures and successes, and here describes the qualities required for a good team. She also campaigns for women in investment and has experienced firsthand the struggle to be taken seriously in non-lifestyle businesses.

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Indeed founder on successful monetisation and making a business strategy

Paul Forster is best known as one of the founders of Indeed, the largest job site in the world. He also has a substantial background as an Angel Investor, with successful involvement in a couple dozen projects across multiple technology sectors. In this episode, Paul takes us through the process of founding and funding Indeed. He defines his key features required to be a good investor, and how entrepreneurs should best create a strategy for their businesses before seeking investors.

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Changing the world, through a premium food brand and an AI platform for education

Priya Lakhani is an entrepreneurial adrenaline junkie. She has founded two successful companies, won numerous business awards, and acted as an advisor to the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills. Oh, and is an OBE. Her life's aim is to change the world for the better, and to that end she has funded meals in India, vaccinations in Africa, and her current project improves education for thousands of UK children. Remarkably, she has achieved all this despite a constant barrage of people telling her to "quit and go home". In this podcast Priya takes us through her astonishing career, from unloading boxes of sauce outside Victoria Street Station, to writing a book for preschoolers. She ends by summarising the entrepreneurial tips that have helped her come this far.

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Being tenacious and walking through walls

Jonathan Milner's second Invested Investor podcast details his experience as a Cambridge Angel. Since he began in 2002 he has invested in forty different companies, very often leading deals as well. In this episode he shares his most important tips learned from an extensive entrepreneurial and investing history: from shouldering the burden of turning around a company in dire straits, to simplifying the decision of who to invest in. 

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From a bucket of ice, to a world leading life sciences innovator

Jonathan Milner was working as a postdoc in a Cambridge oncology lab when he was struck by an 'entrepreneurial seizure'. Inspired by his father, an engineer who ran a small company, he set up a venture to manufacture antibodies for biology research. Having come close to bankruptcy, Abcam is now worth £2.3 billion and renowned for its positive company culture. In this podcast, the first of two podcasts featuring Jonathan Milner, he takes us through this journey, and explains how lessons learned - as well as a single bucket of ice - turned a failing company into a world leader.

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