James Blackwell, a key investor in the Oxford-based Internet Bookshop Web site, has founded a business angel network called Cubic Egg for investing in Internet-related businesses. Blackwell and Jasper Judd, co-founder of the successful e-commerce site, have set up Cubic Egg to represent networks of professional individual investors looking for opportunities to invest between #20,000 and #300,000 - filling the gap between bank loans and full-blown venture capital.
London-based Cubic Egg intends to provide more than just cash and is offering new ventures help with business and marketing plans, business contacts and alliances, ongoing support and non-executive directors. "Entrepreneurs seeking funds are asked to send a synopsis of their plans to the Cubic Egg team," explained Blackwell. "If the opportunity is considered appropriate, a meeting will be held at which time the business plan will be reviewed for circulation to potential investors. Those investors that express an interest in the venture will be introduced to the entrepreneurs and will receive the full plan."
According to Blackwell, Cubic Egg will concentrate on software and content ventures in the initial phase, adding that networks were also an area of interest. Content, he said, was meant to include both online transaction sites such as the Internet Bookshop and online communities such as the well-documented BioMedNet medical community in the US.
Blackwell said: "I believe in this part of the new economy. Since it's a fast moving and relatively new industry, it's very difficult to find funding through traditional sources. It's an ideal opportunity for individuals to invest time and money."
When asked how he saw the market growing in years ahead, Blackwell said he was excited by the possibilities opened up by the new Internet economy and said he believed the UK would play an important part, using its traditional skills of entrepreneurship. He commented that despite lagging behind, the UK market was second only to the US in terms of Internet investment.
James Blackwell can be contacted at ([email protected]) and summaries can be faxed on 0171 225 1136.
The Internet Bookshop (bookshop.co.uk PLC) launched on OFEX in March 1997, raising #1 million in ordinary share capital. Share price at close of business on 23 May 1997 was 195p after opening at 20p. (www.cubicegg.com).
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