Last night saw the fifth of our networking events, and a return to the City offices of our sponsors Thomson Reuters – and what a packed evening (and for that matter packed room) it turned out to be.

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As ever, I kicked off the evening with a general introduction to the Angel Academe mission, and a round up of what we’ve achieved so far. The real step change for us came with the establishment of an investment group of around 40 angels that’s met four times since September; we’ve screened 50 businesses and 10 have pitched to us. At the time of writing we have two in the investment pipeline.

But we had big news to announce as well: we have just closed our first investment in Buddybounce, the online tool to engage the “superfan”. Later in the evening Buddybounce founders Emma Obanye and Giulia Piu chatted about their experience of working with us and we were really gratified that to hear them talk about the value we bring as a network – beyond the money (though that’s nice too, of course!)

Our other bit of news – which we announced here last week – is that we’re working with the City of London to deliver a year-long mentoring programme for female entrepreneurs working in the City’s neighbouring boroughs. If you’d like to enter the programme, you can apply here, and if you feel you can offer your skills as a mentor, then please get in touch here and tell us how you think you can help.

I was followed by Arthi Thana, from Thomson Reuters’ Global HR IT Services team. Arthi talked about the mentoring at TH and succinctly summed up the crucial two-way nature of mentoring: “What is key to success is the level of commitment to the relationship that each party puts into it. Just showing up and shooting the breeze isn’t useful”. Quite.

We then had our usual “inspirational angel” slot – this time ably filled by Angel Academe associate Kerri Mckechnie, who used a mindmap to show us how her life comprises juggling some very different spheres: being a finance director, angel investor, entrepreneur (she’s the co-founder of My Wild) and a mother.

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And then, of course, we had two pitches, from two very different businesses.

Vicky Brock is CEO of Clear Returns. She talked us through the enormous impact that returns have on e-commerce; something like £20 billion a year internationally! Clear Returns helps reduce this burden through the use of big data and predictive algorithms.

Debbi Evans is founder of Libertine, a smart magazine “for interested women” that dares to believe women might be interested in reading about anything other than fashion and beauty. Debbi is currently looking at taking the publication online and establishing it as a multimedia brand.

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Naturally, we finished the evening off with wine and plenty of chat. I was delighted with what a great turn out we had – and a real mix of new and familiar faces. Many thanks, as ever, to Thomson Reuters for hosting the event. We’re already looking forward to our next one on May 13th.

Sarah

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