Funding Lab: Meet David Kaye, Co-Founder of Abaton.
Introducing David, co-founder of Abaton. Abaton is building a digital platform to automate the identification and measurement of intangible assets, helping organisations to uncover hidden value from the $3 trillion invested into intangibles every year.
We got to know David at this year’s Funding Lab. He participated in a course designed to help early-stage founders tune their pitch and prepare for a raise with straight-talking, actionable learnings direct from our VC investors and industry specialists from our Studio team.
We wanted to learn more about Abaton, so we sat down with David to discuss the story so far, what the future holds and advice he’d give to other early-stage founders looking to launch their company.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Abaton helps businesses to maximise the value of their intangible assets and protect their market position. We automate and standardise the traditional (and expensive) audit process with a free, internally crowdsourced web tool based on an AI 'Expert System'. We then connect you to the best experts to finance, trade and commercially exploit your assets, generating value for your organisation.
How did the idea come about?
In some ways the spark was a Forward Partners blog post! My co-founder Dylan and I have spent our careers in entrepreneurial finance and innovation management and were exploring opportunities to help innovative businesses fund their R&D at scale. When I mentioned a Forward Partners blog post I’d read about the huge potential for intangible asset financing, Dylan drew upon his finance background and MBA to explain the wider context. After reading Professor Jonathan Haskel’s excellent “Capitalism without Capital”, we realised our previous ideas were a small piece of the bigger picture. Market interviews and competitor analysis showed that asset identification and tracking is the key problem to solve.
What's the story so far?
We have secured £120k from Innovate UK's hyper-competitive Smart Grant programme. It only has a 6% success rate, so we were delighted to get on that! That will help to fund the development of our MVP which we will trial in early 2023 with 20 SMEs, universities and corporates to demonstrate proof of concept. We are also working with the University of Strathclyde to build our Expert System.
What are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 months?
Close our first funding round, successfully deliver our Innovate UK project, demonstrate our MVP with 20 users, and find product-market fit!
What advice would you give to other early-stage founders looking to launch a company?
Prototyping, even if just with visual mock-ups, makes such a difference in communicating your vision to people. Low code is great too, but simple images can really do a job. Also, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!
What did you learn during Forward's Funding Lab?
How a VC handles and processes inbound investment pitches, more information on the state of the current venture funding space, and lots more. We were a lot earlier than the other companies on our cohort, so it made us realise we are targeting an interesting space. Now we just have to execute!
Funding Lab was an excellent experience that added a lot of value to Abaton. The presentations during the training day were packed with behind-the-scenes insights, the fireside chat with two portfolio founders was full of wisdom, and we got exceptionally helpful feedback after our pitch. As my co-founder put it afterwards: "You couldn't pay to get that".
We're excited about the future of Abaton and wish David all the best. You can find out more here.
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