Apart from the engagement ring I gave to my now wife Lucy I’d say the initial money I put into Sypro.
Are wise investors born or made?
I think both exist. You can have the natural, gut feel investor or the number-focused, academic.
Do you believe it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to make prudent investments since the crash of 2008?
I don’t think so. I think it’s a lot harder to secure any form of external financing, but if you have investment capital, markets are full of good opportunities.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to make a major investment?
Understand what the opportunity is. Understand the market. Understand who you are investing in and why.
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
I bought a painting by a Cornish artist while on holiday. I’m not sure if it was the lazy lunch that influenced me to buy, but it doesn’t look right in any room in the house.
Which sectors are most likely to offer handsome returns for business investors?
Technology is a huge growth sector. I am involved with the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) in Hull and the volume of investment ideas and creativity coming out of there is astonishing.
Are there any sectors you feel should be avoided?
Hospitality. Everyone knows someone who can cook. If you like them, don’t tell them to open a restaurant...!
What lessons did you learn from your worst investment?
Never buy artwork after a lazy lunch while on holiday.
What was the best piece of investment advice you’ve received?
Just because you think it’s a good idea, it doesn’t make it a good business.