Nova recently became a Partner of Techcelerate, and I had the pleasure to catch up with Andrew Dean, who is responsible for all Nova partnerships, and also heads up the team responsible for finding, coaching and selecting good founders to cofound with. He also specialises in problem-based innovation and lean startup methodologies.
Who is Nova?
We can often be confused with startup incubators and accelerators, investors and mentors, but we’re much more than that. We refer to ourselves as a ’Cofoundery’ which operated in the pre-accelerator space. This is because we combine our vast technical and consultancy expertise in the startup process with the domain expertise of talented entrepreneurs, who have identified a need or problem, to build great software and hardware solutions.
We boast a large portfolio of startups we have cofounded, spanning a wide range of industries including; digital health, educational tech, property tech, fintech, music and entertainment and much more.
What is Nova’s Business Model?
Our business model is centred around tackling the major risks when starting a startup. The most common risks associated with starting your own business are financial. We identified that there are potential startup founders out there with great ideas, who aren’t willing to take the risk of quitting their jobs, or loan life-changing sums of cash to chase their dream. We’ve developed a model, alongside our partner investors, that helps founders to work on their startup for one / two days a week – without having to invest any of their own cash.
Our tried and tested process has seen a startup success rate of over 50% (the industry average is less than 10%) and begins at the idea stage with our coaching team. The coaching teamwork with founders to ensure they have User-Problem Fit and they’re ready to pitch for equity-based funding to our investment panel. If successful, investment in the startup idea is not released to the founder but instead finances the resources of a multi-skilled, experienced, startup team.
The continuity of capital, coordinated by multiple investment rounds, ensures that businesses are given the finances needed to grow and scale fast. By investing our own team and funding, we are not just a team for hire, but a team with a vested interest in every startup we cofound.
NOVA looks for Founders with “problems worth solving” and problem domain experience. The founder then works with a NOVA co-funding team for up to 12 months. They are able to do this while committing only 1 to 2 days a week and keep their current job and without putting any of there own cash in. In exchange at the end of the 12 months, NOVA becomes cofounders meaning they are 50/50 with the founder. NOVA only have its equity to show for its efforts, and therefore is completely aligned with the founder as any cofounder would be.
Why did you become a Techcelerate Partner?
Techcelerate helps the Tech community in Manchester, which also a goal of NOVA. We know that partnerships and collaborations mean you are more likely to succeed, so who better to do this with than Techelerate.
How can you add value to Techcelerate Members?
We help at the very early stages, described as Vaporware, pre-accelerator and idea stage, it is at this point where most people are on their own, and ironically it is also at this stage when they need the most help. We are an open and friendly bunch of people and want to help others to get their ideas off the ground, we share our knowledge and offer our free startup coaching to anyone with a “problem worth solving”.
Nova recently collaborated with Techcelerate to secure Ash Maurya for a days workshop and networking in Liverpool.
If you work for a large corporate and unsure about how to turn your idea into a fledgeling startup without losing your shirt and your house, Nova provides a compelling proposition every wantrapreneur should consider. As Nova continues to turn ideas into reality by working with co-founders, the process of creating viable technology propositions increase. Grab a coffee with Andrew to explore whether Nova is a good fit for you. If you need a personal introduction, please reach out to Manoj.