Back in action

As ever, I love/hate writing. It clarifies what I’m really thinking and it helps with decision making. It helps with the practice of clearly articulating ideas and it sparks wonderful conversations with people who take the time to reply. But then I lose focus — I think of great posts while out on a run, write a rough draft once I get back but then wonder if it’s really good enough to hit publish.

Two things have changed since the last post. The first is that I’ve made my second Angel Investment of 2021, which I wanted to share. And the second is that I’ve put myself on a 90 self-discipline programme of my own making. More of both below…

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I’ve just made an investment into an early stage company that does not have SEIS or EIS available1. HMRC said no to S/EIS but it was still an instant decision for me to go ahead with the investment.

I remember once discussing an investment opportunity with someone and the other person was very excited because the company had had some overseas money first so there was still some SEIS available. I said the business looked a poor opportunity and I couldn’t see much growth potential but the other person was just so pleased it had SEIS they didn’t look beyond that.

When I look at a business I try to peel each part away and see what I’m left with that I’m most excited about. If that’s the fact a business has SEIS available when a typical business at that stage wouldn’t then that’s not a good sign.

The tax breaks, if they happen, are just happy incidentals. If you are angel investing then you need a robust framework, you need to put your money where your mouth is and not just where the tax breaks are. The main thing of course is that great investors get great returns by investing in great companies. Simple but not simplistic.

Pay and they’ll lock it away

The company that I invested in is Unplugged and the founders are Hector and Ben. Now lockdowns are over you can book a 3 day digital detox in one of their cabins. When we weren’t locked down, cabin #1 was booked 90% of the time in 2020 and it’s now fully booked until beyond the middle of September 2021. Cabins #2 and #3 started getting guests from April and have a couple of slots in July and August if you’re quick. Cabins 4-10 are on their way. And yes, they really do lock away your phone.

I don’t doubt that the non-S/EIS thing posed a challenge to Hector and Ben when it came to UK investors but I knew they’d overcome it. As I said to Hector, “You’ll just have to work twice as hard!”. And that’s not a bad mindset to have anyway.

If you want to hear more about this investment opportunity and why I like it so much please get in touch.

Matthew’s 90-day Self-Discipline Programme

I used to pride myself on my self-discipline. When I had to wear a suit and tie for work my top button was alway done up. Whilst my self-discipline has remained pretty good over the years (best described by my mantra, “There’s no such thing as being on time, you’re either early or you are late”) it has, like writing these posts, occasionally lapsed.

I added in ‘no coffee’ to the standard ‘no alcohol’ for Dry January this year and I felt amazing. I’ve been sporadic with both since then. So at the beginning of June I wanted to get back some self-discipline and test myself further — one month just wasn’t enough.

For some reason giving up coffee and alcohol together makes me feel incredible, like I have an extra battery. That’s what I started with — no alcohol and no coffee for 90 days. I added in a few others things so my programme looks like this:

  1. No alcohol.

  2. No coffee.

  3. Lift weights every day.

  4. Read for at least one hour every day.

  5. Write at least one Substack post every week.

  6. Run four times every week (typically 3 x 10 km and 1 x 15+ km).

  7. Eat less and don’t eat crap food — lots of fruit & veg.

I’m now over two weeks into this and feel just superb — the extra battery is back!

Want to talk? Paid subscribers get access to my Calendly and can book in 30 minute calls with me. For these calls you can set the agenda, ask anything you want and talk about angel investing, startups or life in general.

Important: None of these posts are investment advice. If you are thinking about investing you should seek the advice of a suitably qualified independent advisor.



SEIS and EIS are tax breaks for UK income tax payers.