Beckon exists to get capital and capability to underserved markets – SMEs ready to scale and NFPs with underutilised assets. We call this the Missing Middle.
In the past two years we have seen over 200 SMEs seeking capital and there is something super interesting about them:
Unlike start-ups who have been in the flow and groove of fundraising and pitching to investors, having their financials, data room and contracts in order, SMEs have built a business, often without external funding, the old-fashioned way of building something with customers.
About a decade ago I ran a session for the NSW small business commissioner where I brought together start-ups and SMES and there is some magic about bringing them together. Neither really understand each other but the sweet spot was in seeing start-ups want to grow up to be SMEs and SMEs envied the start-ups ability to innovate!
A decade later this still rings true, start-ups are savvy at raising capital, but most are likely to fail and never get to be a 5-year-old or 10-year-old business.
SMEs have no idea how to raise capital for themselves, they have relied on their own funds or bank debt secured against their mortgage, they rely on customers and relationships to build their business. They reach a limit at scale – because what we know about scale is that it requires more than capital, it requires a whole lot of capability that even a successful established business doesn't have to face private investors. Unlike start-ups, SMEs have little knowledge of the opportunities in private equity and venture capital or how to pitch to sophisticated investors.
At Beckon, our Enterprise team have been working with SMEs and have made some observations like:
At Beckon we guide the SMEs through a process to identify who they are, and what they want to achieve, we work hard to identify potential investors, and we work on their financial models, contracts and data room. Most importantly we help them tell the story about their business which talks about the big picture, why it deserves capital, why people should invest, and what return on investment is expected.
Anne-Marie Elias, CEO
Isaac Meincke, Analyst
Andy Gu, Intern