Few people are better qualified to shed a little light on this complex area than Daniel Rodwell of GrowthInvest. He was kind enough to take the time to talk to us about his background and what he is hoping to achieve in the future.
GBI : Daniel, tell us a little about yourself and about GrowthInvest
I’m the Chief Executive of GrowthInvest. My own career journey started in finance, where I spent 20 years managing institutional and private funds focusing on equities and derivatives. During this time I was also an active angel investor involved with mentoring and supporting earlystage growth businesses.
This drove me to found GrowthInvest: a technology platform allowing financial advisers and investors to access investment opportunities across the whole alternatives market. We make it simple for advisers and their clients to invest in tax-efficient SEIS, EIS, VCT and IHT products – we take care of all the administration, monitoring and reporting too.
GBI : Tell us the story behind GrowthInvest: what opportunities did you see in the market?
GrowthInvest came from a mix of personal experiences and market drivers. As an active angel investor, I was investing in high-risk, early stage businesses – and with this, I experienced first-hand the burden of paper-driven applications, ongoing administration and a real lack of consolidated reporting on portfolio performance. GrowthInvest was built to solve these problems.
As a team we are passionate about growing the alternatives market more broadly, and we believe the GrowthInvest technology is a vehicle to do this. We are digitising the application and administration processes, and offer granular online reporting – so advisers can access tax reliefs and monitor real-time performance across multiple investment portfolios.
Another feature is that the GrowthInvest platform can consolidate new and historical investments; so no more spreadsheets or paper folders – just our simple and secure portal that does all the hard work for you.
GBI : Why do you believe digitalisation is crucial in the tax-efficient and alternatives market?
Starting out in this industry we saw a disconnect in the process: investors were putting capital into exciting new technologies, but they were having to do it in a very manual way. The processes relied heavily on cheques, wet signatures and a lot of paper administration – and we are on a mission to change that. GrowthInvest makes it easy to invest, monitor and report on portfolios of investments in a simple, digital way.
We are embracing technology and digitalisation as a way to connect to a wider audience of wealth managers, financial advisers and clients: reducing barriers to entry and increasing accessibility for more qualified investors. We have seen this as especially important for advisers and clients considering how to diversify their investment strategies in the light of Brexit and political uncertainties, and we are delighted that GrowthInvest is being used as a holistic planning tool in addition to offering core platform functionality.
Ultimately, I believe digitalisation drives transparency, which is what the market really needs to attract increasing numbers of high quality investors and keep capital flowing into exciting early-stage investment opportunities.
GBI : Why is diversification so important?
It’s always important to have a wide range of investments, whether you are measuring in terms of sector, stage, investment philosophy or fund manager. This spreads risk and allows clients to have a well-structured portfolio.
Other things that are important to look at include risk profiles for each investment, deployment timescales (these can vary hugely), and the track record and quality of fund managers. We also believe that it is important to look at the amount of monitoring and reporting.
As a platform, we get a whole-of-market view and allow advisers and their clients to research a diverse range of products and providers. This means that you are able to research newer entrants alongside the more established fund managers, as well as researching a full range of sectors and investment approaches.
As ever, with all investments it’s key to understand the needs of the underlying investor and client, and to make sure you do sufficient due diligence on every potential case. This is another reason we work closely with independent research houses across the market.
GBI : What are your thoughts on the future of the market?
At GrowthInvest we are very excited about the future of the alternatives market. I believe this part of the market delivers a huge amount of value to the UK economy and it is enormously exciting to be part of it.
We are also confident that there is a strong pipeline of investment opportunities amongst early-stage, highgrowth businesses and expect to see an increase in assets and flows.
High-potential growth companies pave the way for future ideas and innovation, and it has never been more important to power the UK’s start-ups with the capital they need to scale and succeed.
GBI : Daniel, thanks for your time.