Braver Together: Andy Ayim

BY Hannah LeddenApril 8, 2020

People. Product. Pivot?

Right now, almost every founder has been thrown into a position where they’ve needed to completely rethink their offering. The health and wellbeing of their people, how their product performs, and stands up, in a COVID world – and where they can or should pivot to support the new needs of their customers. If you’re at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy to feel alone in the face of it all: to have a team on side, and in some cases still working towards that MVP, or in the middle of those initial funding conversations. 

For the next in our Braver Together series, we caught up (virtually) with Huckletree Ambassador, founder and investor Andy Ayim, after his AMA session with our community. Andy delved into the anxiety around having to slow down on your startup, before it’s started, due to current uncertainty, and how to use this time to get ready to hit the ground running for the new normal.

For a long time, founder and investors were seen as being on very different sides of the table… but that just doesn’t work anymore. Andy has used his experience on both sides of the dial, however, to bridge that void. Whether that’s through his part of the creation of Backstage Capital’s UK accelerator programme, or investing $2.5m into underrepresented founders in the UK, US and Kenya; or through his brainchild The Angel Investing School; he’s passionate about democratising access to the knowledge and opportunity that would previously be out of reach for many budding investors, who don’t hail from the traditional ‘investor’ backgrounds.

Whether founder or investor, it’s clear that both are in need of the same tenacity and will to react at the moment, and a wider feeling of support across the ecosystem. To be Braver Together and come out the other side wiser, more innovative and forward thinking than ever.

In our first ever AMA session with our community, Andy shared his advice on the main issues facing founders and their teams right now:

  • Struggling with launch setbacks in these unprecedented times?

“Use it to your advantage. Be present and productive, and use the extra time to build relationships with eager customers and learn and adapt your product even further.”

  • All set to start reaching out to Angel investors and now suddenly unsure of your next steps?

“Sit tight if you can, this is not a great environment to raise in. However, your growth story (if your product is relevant right now) could mean it’s a great time to have those conversations and form relationships with investors, corporates, partners. Get them on your monthly updates and nurture them for the other side of the crisis.”

  • Homeschooling eating into your working from home? It’s the age-old founders’ conundrum – balancing work life and home life. Right now, as the two worlds are living under one roof, literally, boundaries are becoming increasingly difficult to uphold. 

Andy believes we should see this as a time to connect, and set aside separate time for work, and family, more than ever. That means ditching FaceTime for well, actual face time with your immediate companions: “I think everyone should have permission to switch off, have a break from it and have quiet time in the chaotic period.”

  • What will be the ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19? 

“Many lessons will be learned from this time and I believe we will see a return to business fundamentals. I think more founders will also be thinking about how to start and grow a company without going down the VC route.”

Check out more about Andy, and the Angel Investing School here. 

Plus, keep an eye out for the BTS from our next interactive Ask Me Anything session, as we’re joined by Aron Gelbart, Co-Founder and CEO of Bloom & Wild. 


Hannah Ledden

Campaigns Associate