How to find SEIS and EIS investors

So, you've identified the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) as fantastic ways to get funding for your business.

And you've applied for advance assurance to get the ball rolling. 

Or to learn more about the benefits of SEIS and EIS, download our free SEIS/EIS guide; it'll tell you everything you need to know.

In this blog, we're going to focus on how to find SEIS and EIS investors.

Who invests under SEIS and EIS?

Providing they follow the rules, almost anyone can invest under the SEIS and EIS schemes. Emphasis on 'almost anyone'. The following categorically cannot:

  • An employee at your company
  • Or associates of one (i.e. business partners, certain relatives and spouses/civil partners)

Investors who frequently invest under SEIS and EIS are often angel investors, but there are also VC firms with SEIS/EIS-specific funds, including:

Unlike VCs, angels can be hard to find. They’re not all advertising themselves on LinkedIn! However, rest assured, there are thousands out there.

Tips to find SEIS/EIS investors

1. First, apply for Advance Assurance

Acceptance here can take a few weeks but its confirmation (or at least confirmation your application is being processed) makes your pitch much more likely to be heard.

As it’s their way of ensuring they will receive the tax benefits, SEIS/EIS investors will ask for advance assurance more often than not.

2. Explore social media

Use the power of social media and other startup communities to announce your product and its progress, and attempt to entice potential investors there.

3. Utilise your network

Before you get to the more direct cold outreach, do you have anyone in your own network or extended network who a) has the money to invest, and b) might be interested? This isn’t the time to be shy. You’ll get used to hearing "Thanks, But No Thanks", so you may as well start now!

4. Check out databases

Like the Angel Investment Network, Crunchbase and EU-Startups Database (the UK section), for example.

Reverse-engineering successful SEIS/EIS investments from companies in your sphere can throw up some great pointers you can follow. Then reach out to these investors on LinkedIn, Twitter etc.

Tips for approaching investors

Angels, in particular.

  • Bear in mind that angel investors get bombarded with pitch decks every week, you need to open with something that separates you from the crowd.

    Do you have a previous success or pedigree that deserves their attention? A commercial agreement with a brand name? Anything that draws attention and establishes your credibility right from the off.

  • If you’re using LinkedIn to reach out, make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date, with any other credibility proofs for if/when they decide to look at who is asking for their investment.

    Remember, they invest in the founders as much as the idea!

  • And this is Rule 101: make sure you send the actual pitch, not just an invite to talk about it! Give them something to mull over in their own time, before they need to commit to a conversation.

10 of the UK’s top SEIS/EIS angel investors

Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a great place to start…

1. Andy Ayim

Andy is a product coach who helps companies set up their product management practices from scratch and also runs The Angel Investing School.

He prefers long-term investments in family-owned businesses where he can add value, optimising for dividend income over exits.

2. Gloria Monfrini

Gloria was one of the first employees at Uber, where her focus was on growth, product launch and strategy.

She is passionate about early-stage entrepreneurs, supporting them through Redbus, seeking to add the value of her experience and operational expertise.

3. Chris Mairs

Chris co-founded Metaswitch Networks in 1981 - eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2020 - and is now a prolific early-stage investor.
Chris looks for personal exceptionalism in founders, with the ability to explain the user experience elegantly and compellingly.

4. Sarah Turner

Sarah is a non-executive director (NED), as well as co-founder and CEO of Angel Acadame - an award-winning angel network that invests in female-founded tech startups.

5. Andy Davis

Andy founded 10x10, a group of black founders and investors in the UK. He also recently launched the 10x10 Fund, a pre-seed fund for exceptional black founders in the UK.

6. Rosemary Forsyth

Rosemary is MD of The Forsyth Group, a leading retained executive search firm, helping build senior management teams and boards, from startups to listed companies. She has also invested in a number of their clients either as an angel or a Limited Partner.

7. Michael Pennington

Michael co-founded Gumtree in 2000 (later acquired by eBay) and is one of the most active angel investors in London-based tech companies.

8. Deepali Nangia

Deepali set up Alma Angels to empower and enable investment in other female founders. She will invest in any sector but has a keen interest in femtech, digital health and sustainability.

9. Ian Hogarth

Ian’s background is in machine learning and he co-founded Songkick, the concert service that scaled to 12M unique monthly visitors and $100M in sales. He is drawn to visionary founders, ideally in markets relatively unaffected by the internet.

10. Chanelle Ansah

Chanelle heads Cornerstone Partners, an angel syndicate discovering and investing in founders from black and minority backgrounds. She is passionate about disrupting finance, helping launch two fintech banks in the UK. 

Hopefully, this blog serves as a springboard to help you find SEIS and EIS investors for your startup. Best of luck!