Entrepreneur, Angel and Seed Investor
New Books Network 2021
In this podcast Michael Blakey describes how as a strongly dyslexic child his relationship with schooling and formal education was very challenging. He credits his parents with putting him in environments where he developed a lot of resilience - going to boarding schools from the age of seven, and only later in life realising that this was unusual. His early experiences retailing sweets and vodka at school, led to large scale warehouse parties in the US, flipping real estate in London and making enough money to start a seed fund with his brother. We learn about his habit of acting first, and then figuring things out, how he wants both financial success and impact, the questions he asks when trying to decide who to invest in, and how not to approach him.
About Michael Blakey
Michael’s entrepreneurial journey started when he was young. He supported his way through college, in the US, by running a number of events in the city. Michael loves buildingthings – including companies. Michael attributes his atypical journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur-turned-investor to having struggled for years in school, owing to his dyslexia. As a result, he was always on the lookout for ways to succeed outside of school. In turn, it is exactly this kind of differentiation and drive that he looks for in Founders as an investor today.
In 2000 he founded Avonmore Developments, with his brother Simon, to invest in early-stage companies across UK. Since then, they have invested in over 40 companies and have achieved 11 successful exits to date.
In 2013 he moved to SE Asia and set-up Cub Capital that has invested in 12 early-stage companies across the region including Anchanto, Quincus and MyDoc. He has already achieved 1 exit with Crème Simon. Most recently, Michael co-founded Cocoon Capital, an early-stage VC fund, which is looking to invest in enterprise and deep tech companies throughout SE Asia. To date Cocoon has invested in 20 companies including Sensorflow, See-Mode and Buymed. As is his want the structure of Cocoon is very different than your typical fund, as his entrepreneurial spirit always wants him to challenge the status quo.
During Michael’s career he’s been named ‘UK Angel Investor of the Year 2015’ by the UK Business Angel Association, selected as one of the ‘Maserati 100’ and voted by AngelsNews into the list of ‘Business Angels You Should Know’. These accolades were not attributed to
Michael only in recognition of his successful investments, but for the relentless support he gives to the founding and management teams of the companies he invests in as well as his generous contributions over the years towards building the start-up and investor ecosystems in the UK and now SE Asia.
The NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast aims to educate and inform, sharing insights based on the personal story of our carefully selected guests aiming for the atmosphere of an informal conversation in a bar or over a cup of coffee.
About the NBN
The New Books Network was founded in 2007 as a podcast interviewing the authors of academic books, and has grown to the largest author interview podcast in the world publishing 12 podcasts a day in more than 90 specialist areas, with over a million downloads a month. Read about the founder Marshall Poe and the NBN here. In recent years it has expanded beyond its “author interview origins”. Historically NBN only did audio recordings. E&L is the first NBN podcast distributed on Youtube.
Kimon is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. Both companies were founded in the mid 90s with zero capital and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. Listen to his story here,
Richard is a business and social entrepreneur who founded or invested in more than 30 businesses, including investments in Argos Multilingual, PMR and, in 2020, the New Books Network. Richard has been a TEDx event organiser, supports the pro-entrepreneurship ecosystem, and leads entrepreneurship workshops at all levels: from pre- to business schools. Richard was born in Oxford and moved to Poland in 1991. Read more here. Listen to his story in an autobiographical TEDx talk here.