Tuesday, May 20, 2014

To the IoM

DSC05969 (1300x945)It’s Pitch Week, traveling up and down the UK to describe the business and solicit investment from angel investment groups.  I’m not quite to the “Fundraising is Fun” opinion yet, but I am coming to enjoy the events, telling our story, answering the questions, conveying our enthusiasm. Angels can be as aspirational as entrepreneurs, their interest in seeing a good idea reach market is just as strong, their pride in business success just as deep.

Monday means the Isle of Man (IoM), an hour flight across the Irish Sea (a good test question),IoM 3D and down into Castletown.  Actually, twice: a shifting crosswind led to an aborted landing and much speculation that we were going to spend a couple of hours on the ground in Liverpool (Wind is to IoM what Fog is to Guernsey: DSC05967 (1300x1204)endless cause of flight delays)

I took the bus to the venue in Douglas, a large-ish city midway up the east coast.  At first glance, it’s a lot like the Channel Islands: lots of green fields, cows, and stately farms.  IoM is a self-governing Crown Dependency, not really a part of Britain or the DSC05921 (1300x960)EU, more retreat than country.  The local symbols are the Triskelion (a lot like Sicily’s Trinacria) and the Manx (a cat with no tail); they are everywhere (along with vaguely Welch signage and thick accents).  The hotel was along the Loch Promenade, a gently sweeping DSC05938 (1300x942)curve of vaguely Llandudno-style hotels surrounding the harbour.  Largely, today, obscured by pelting rain.

Then thunderstorms. 

Then the sun came out.

DSC05941 (1300x975)I found a little hole-in-the-wall café to try a typical Manx dish: ham, egg, chips, leek soup with heavy chunks of bread and butter.  Good energy food for the afternoon.  The people remind me of life back in the Village: very familiar and set, a quick smile and greeting for friends and a dedicated place in the diner.  (This was reinforced when I got a text message from one participant telling me he’d just seen me drive past in a car with another: a very small world.)

The evening was productive, DSC05950 (1300x974)the pitch was well received.  There was even a bonus: a specialty coating company around the island with the plasma chamber of my dreams.

With a quality hospital, a credible biomed cluster, and a few good partnerships, it might work out for some future manufacture ahead of an exit.

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