Equity Investment Client
Experts in early-stage equity investment and empowering entrepreneurs, this 7-strong team was built from scratch by their Managing Partner. Founded in 2017, the firm was created to bring a much-needed specialism and expertise to the notoriously hard-to-crack investment landscape. The London and Glasgow-based firm helps companies access early-stage equity investment working with clients on everything from financial models and pitch decks to investment strategy and executing deals. The team has supported over 155 businesses on their journey to raise capital alongside running their own angel syndicate to invest in other businesses.
Bringing more formality and process to a growing business was the principal challenge. After years as a consultant and alongside a co-founder the managing partner’s team began to grow in line with business demand in 2019, before doubling in size in 2021. In working with AAB People they sought guidance, direction and structure in several areas of HR: growth planning, employee relations, performance management, learning and development and leadership training.
“AAB People give us exactly what we need as small business, and it’s measurable. The speed of onboarding people and ensuring their smooth training and integration is worlds apart from what we had before. Retention is good too. I realise that people like process and structure – not everyone is an entrepreneur comfortable with instability! They want a career path, not a business and I’m learning about developing other people’s careers. That’s what I want to build on, and I simply couldn’t have got this far without the team.”
In the first four months alone, significant changes were suggested and implemented by AAB People. A full recruitment, onboarding and probation process was introduced, accompanied by an annual and mid-year performance review process. Learning and development plans were created for all staff, and bi-weekly 1-to-1s and monthly company-wide meetings became regular practice. An employee handbook was also completed and distributed.
AAB People also guided the firm through a culture and values process, designed to ensure that the whole team is ‘on the same page’ and so that every colleague – existing and new – understands where the business is heading and what the business stands for. This learning can then be applied to performance management and evaluation, staff meetings and personal 1-to-1s for professional development.
A key theme running through the introduction of all the new processes and ways of working has been the shift to a more structured, less casual management style. They sought clarity on how to manage employee relations more formally as staff numbers began to increase. Coaching and mentoring for the managing partner was a pivotal part of this.
The firm reports much greater confidence in growing and fostering an enthusiastic team and developing the softer skills alongside managing robust new HR structures and processes.
“The business runs in a completely different way now. It’s so much more structured and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I didn’t always know what I needed and didn’t realise how much of my headspace was taken up by worrying about HR and whether I was doing what was required. Working with AAB People has made a huge impact and actually has changed my life! In 10 years of running businesses, I’d never managed any formal HR before.
The recruitment and people management processes needed in a bigger team are very different to running a two or three-person SME. It was very much time for us to start implementing proper processes. I knew I wanted to grow the team in a structured way but I worried that I was doing everything wrong. I’ve realised from working with the team at AAB People that I had some good content in place, but it could be vastly improved, and that there was a way to take a significant workload off my plate. It’s great to have someone else to organise things and give me headspace to free myself up and develop the business.”
“As an entrepreneur who’s mostly worked for myself, I was very unfamiliar with the necessities of HR planning and supportive people management. Obviously when you grow a team of people from scratch, you need to pay attention not only to the functional side, but to the motivation, performance and professional development side too.”