Giovanni Finocchio is an Investment Director on the MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund at Midven. Known to his colleagues as Gio, he is also the Fund Principal for the Early Advantage Fund, where he shares his extensive experience of working in partnership with Business Angels. Gio’s expertise in bridging businesses with the appropriate investors is only the tip of an iceberg as the team grills him about what his regular working day looks like.
What does your regular morning look like?
Each day is different! Some days are more challenging than others, particularly when we are trying to complete an investment.
Typically, I am in the office between 8:00 to 8:30am (trains permitting). This may vary if I am at a networking event, or meeting with a portfolio company. I start my day with a porridge (my favourite is from Pret – minus the plastic spoon!).
How does your role fit within the team?
Midven receives numerous enquiries and business plans each week. Our team of analysts log the enquiries and allocate the business plans/pitch decks to an Investment Director – that’s just the start of the process!
I spend my week looking at new investment opportunities and reviewing their potential. I always stress that a well considered business plan is paramount as it is often the first glance I get of a company. It provides me with clues on whether a company is ready for investment. Through this, I can make a decision on whether to meet a company, hosting initial and follow up meetings with their founders.
The team of analysts and I spend a lot of time performing due diligence on the businesses that demonstrate their readiness for investments. We spend time looking at the marketing, trying to understand the revenue model and growth potential of the business.
Investments help businesses take flight and achieve the next part of their growth. We are always interested to see if they have good exit opportunities. If the business case stacks up, we will work with the business to agree on initial investment terms.
That sounds quite intensive. How do you break up your day?
If it is not raining, I like to get some fresh air at lunchtime. A walk around Birmingham city centre can, at times, be entertaining!
Apart from reviewing the potential of emerging businesses for investment, what else do you do during your day?
I was not kidding when I mentioned that reviewing is just the start of the process. I also look after a growing number of portfolio companies. These are at various stages in their evolution, some are recent investments and just starting their growth stage.
These businesses will need some extra attention whilst they get accustomed to having an external investor. They need help in putting operational systems and processes into place – this is where our know-how gives them the guidance and formats they need. Others have had investment for a few years and it’s a case of helping them accelerate their growth, making sure they recruit good people ahead of the curve.
All-in-all, there’s never a dull day in Midven. Birmingham however, can get cloudy and its fair share of rain!
What is one misconception that people have about venture capitalist firms and people who work there?
The culture at Midven isn’t all about work, we do socialise and we’ll often head out for a bite to eat or a drink. When I’m not at work, I spend time with my family whether they like it or not.
Each week I’ll try and fit in a game of golf at the weekend (I’m working on my handicap) and a game of walking football midweek – yes, the guys at the office laugh at the latter.
Ultimately, when we invest in businesses, we don’t just think about the pounds and pence. We invest in the people as well. The strength of a business is not just how much money it has, it is the strength of the team and the expertise within it. We work hard in collaboration with our portfolio companies to help them along their aspirations.
What would your advice be to budding businesses who want to demonstrate their potential for investors?
Business owners should ensure that they are marketing themselves well to investors. A strong business plan is such an important communication tool and it should be written to be impactful to analysts.
We run investment readiness workshops to give businesses guidance on where they need to be in order to successfully appeal to investors. We encourage business owners to come to these events to pick up a few points in order to improve their potential towards investors.
Is your business plan hitting the mark? Read our previous blog about how to gain a competitive edge with your business plan.