5 Minute Funding Diaries – Louise Towler

5 Minute Funding Diaries

with Louise Towler, founder of Kanoppi

5 Minute Funding Diaries

with Louise Towler, founder of Kanoppi

Louise Towler shares her experiences and insights on securing investment funding for her software startup Kanoppi. She emphasises the importance of having a clear plan, understanding the investor's perspective, and being authentic and transparent throughout the process.

You can read the interview or watch it below.


Tell us a bit about your idea or organisation

My name is Louise Towler. I run two businesses. I started a digital marketing agency over a decade ago, and about three years ago, I had a really good idea for a piece of software called Kanoppi. It will measure the carbon footprint of your WordPress website. So we bootstrapped it through the [Indigo Tree] agency, and now that has turned into a second business, which we're currently finalising our prototype MVP; we had some funding from Innovate UK, and I was fortunate enough to be one of their Women In Innovation Award winners a couple of years ago. That gave us the funding to build out the initial sort of very, very rough prototype, we'd had various sources of funding from third-party organisations, the local university helped us out, the local growth hub, we also funded it through my existing successful business.


But we didn't have funding for business stuff relating to what we were doing. All the funding that we had was very clearly demarked out for very particular things. When you get grants from people at Innovate UK, they're strict on what you can spend the money on. But I'd been talking to my Innovate UK advisor about how we would fund the thing once the grants had run out.


What led you to Considered Capital?

I think it must have been a LinkedIn post that I saw that just connected me. I subscribed initially to the newsletter and thought, "Well, it's interesting to hear another perspective from people who aren't part of a government organisation, maybe people a bit more at the sharper end of it". It seemed like a good fit; it was online, and I could fit it around my diary.

There were one or two sessions during The Alt Funding School that had me almost mind-blown. There were things I could go and immediately implement when I was talking to our investor and also knew what questions to ask.

After I graduated from the Alternative Funding School, I had a lot more confidence in how to speak to an investor. It worked out that the investment that we got, we did the pitch before The Alternative Funding School started. But whilst it was happening from week to week, we were talking to our investors and negotiating terms and how much equity they would get.


There were one or two sessions during The Alt Funding School that had me almost mind-blown by the fact that there were things in there that I could go and immediately implement so that when I was talking to our investor, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, but also knew what questions to ask. So, the investor realised I knew what I was doing.


I also spoke to our solicitors about one or two things, who were drawing up all the legal documents based on information I learned from The Alternative Funding School that I wouldn't have known otherwise.


So it's not just about the pitch, it was actually how to vet what to do after the pitch, just because someone says "Yes", doesn't mean in two or three months, they're going to sign those documents, you've got to get the process right. And make sure it's fair on all sides.


You may not know how you'll get there in five or seven years, but having that plan helps you make the decisions along the way. It made me feel empowered and gave me confidence.


What's the biggest funding challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Knowing what to do to make sure it was all done completely right. When we set it all up and I was paying the accountants and lawyers and everything, we were setting it up in a way so that it was an investable company from a UK investor, we wanted the tax breaks for their investment as well. So there were all sorts of other bits and pieces we were doing. You can't cut corners when you've got an investor because what you don't want is any legal jeopardy.


You don't want your investment being spent on legal issues you want it to be spent on building out the product and the marketing and engineering and all the other exciting things.


Do you have any advice for someone feeling lost on their fundraising journey?

I would advise them to sign up for something like The Alternative Funding School and get the background to what makes you investable. I would make sure they've got a good lawyer and a good accountant who understands startups, the lawyer I used she would have been quite happy for me to pay in instalments if cashflow was a problem. A small-town accountant and lawyer won't necessarily understand a startup. In terms of the pitch.

You might have this amazing idea, but actually what they're investing in is you and your ability to get it over the line. The final 10% is always the hardest.

I would go in and be authentic about it. Don't be smoke and mirrors because they'll see through it instantly, and probably what they're investing in is you more than what you've done so far. You might have this amazing idea, but what they're investing in is you and your ability to get it over the line. The final 10% is always the hardest.


I get up every morning, and I love going to work. If you don't enjoy it, that will also come across to the investor. It's not just about the money; it's about the opportunities you're giving to do whatever you're doing and make the world better.

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