Our latest Startup for 10 is Bristol-based Angel Investors Club (AIC). Founded in 2019 the 10-strong team of execs and advisory board members at The AIC have built an investment platform for high-growth ethical & Sharia-compliant companies.

Here to answer our 10 questions is AIC Founder, Ali Kazmi.

1 – In your own words – what do you do?

The Angel Investors Club (AIC) is an investment platform for high-growth ethical and Sharia-compliant companies. Our dedicated platform is designed to seamlessly match investors to the right companies to maximise business opportunities and returns. We champion good corporate governance and facilitate investments that are compatible with our Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria and our Sharia Compliance Framework.

We are also actively helping to grow the ecosystem for compliant start-up businesses and creating awareness of SEIS and EIS investments within the BAME investor community.

2 – What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?

No-one has done this before, and this area is sorely neglected by investors, meaning that entrepreneurs, especially BAME founders suffer disproportionately higher business failure levels for a lack of appropriate funding.  We aim to open up the possibility of start-up equity financing as another option available to entrepreneurs and investors alike.  Islamic and ethical investors are often unaware of this gap and our role is to fill that gap and develop awareness.

Furthermore, investors are increasingly looking to build portfolios that reflect their values, so it’s more important than ever for investment managers and advisers to understand the potential of these types of investment.

3 – What are you most proud of so far?

Drawing together an amazing Advisory Board with the drive, determination, talent and flair to get the business up and on the way.  That and getting onto the SETsquared programme to help accelerate the idea from the drawing board to fully-fledged business.

4 – What have you found most difficult about being a startup?

Getting the finance required to take the idea from conception to inception.

5 – What would you do differently if you started now?

Compress the early thought processes which took about 24 months into three.

6 – Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?

Funded with the ability to put into place the scale-up plans.  Teams of AIC expertise serving the common geographic areas for BAME founders matching businesses that need funding to Islamic seed and series A investors.  A truly innovative company driving the change needed in the market, coupled with a fully functional on-line, tech-driven investment platform allowing seamless transactions between willing investors and founders.

7 – What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?

Our initial investors and the Advisory Board have been fundamental in helping us get off the ground. They have shaped and streamlined our ideas and business strategy so that we can scale-up globally, when the time is right. Also, now that we are members of SETsqaured Bristol (and the winners of the Breakthrough Bursary) we expect our start-up journey to be supercharged.

8 – What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?

Simply put, the dynamic community. Pretty much everyone is willing to help and provide support where they can. If they can’t they won’t hesitate to look into their contact book!

9 – Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?

Illahm Said of E2E for the amazing work she has done in developing her EdTech platform.

10 – Where can we find out more about you?

Our website www.angelinvestorsclub.co.uk or search LinkedIn for The Angel Investors Club or at SET Squared.