Max Inglis is an experienced entrepreneur with extensive operational, financial and legal expertise. He has co-founded, built and continues to operate several innovative companies, in particular, Tekcapital which is listed on the AIM London Stock Exchange and another which raised venture capital financing in under a year to value it at ≈$7.5m. In addition, he acts as an advisor to technology companies such as Show My Homework, the leading online homework solution for teachers, students and parents. Prior to this he was a lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP where he specialised in Finance and M&A. Max has an Executive MBA (Distinction) from Said Business School.
Tekcapital plc is a global technology and intellectual property services company that specialises in working with businesses to acquire new innovative IP from research institutions and universities. Through its proprietary search engine it is able to identify relevant transformative technologies for its clients that either (i) complements their existing R&D, (ii) improves their current products or (iii) is able to disrupt their industry. In addition, Tekcapital acquires IP for its own portfolio.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I am a qualified commercial lawyer and was driven to be an entrepreneur as I wanted to apply the problem-solving skills I gained in the legal profession in a more practical environment.
At its core entrepreneurship is the process of building a new business. From my experience it (i) provides a solution to a problem, improves an existing product or service and / or identifies an unmet need, (ii) which is wanted by a sufficient number of consumers to be viable and (ii) requires absolute focus, time and resources.
I’m not sure you are ever certain that you should pursue an idea but for Tekcapital I felt compelled to try as it has the potential to have a positive impact on society. Its basic premise to source research institution IP for companies creates a virtuous circle as all the participants benefit and this translates to potential improvements for the ultimate consumer.
So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Self-Assurance: To be an entrepreneur requires self-motivation, an acceptance of your own limitations and determination as, unfortunately, things do not always work out. Communication: This is essential as it is fundamental that people understand your proposition or vision. Adaptable: The ability to pivot, to balance conflicting opinions and to be flexible to external forces is essential to achieving successful outcomes particularly in pressurised situations.
That I am able to be creative and there are less constraints.
Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Elon Musk are all inspirational people but I would pick John D. Rockefeller. Not only are his business accomplishments and subsequent philanthropy impressive but it is also the fact that he instilled a sense of responsibility in his family as they have continued his legacy of contributing to society.
For me the ethos of a company is important so I am pleased to be involved with supportive and inclusive companies that have a positive impact on the world.
There have been a lot of lessons learned and it is important to realise that mistakes happen. I would advise people to understand the reasons behind each failure and to be able to pivot in the event that a plan or strategy is not working.
How have you funded your ideas? Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
For Tekcapital we dedicated two years to building the business infrastructure without external investment. Once the platform was at a suitable level we raised funds via an IPO.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
A key benefit is the calibre of the academics and people. The opportunity to be able to learn from individuals that operate in a broad spectrum of disciplines and to adapt their insight or advice to a particular circumstance has been invaluable.
Be honest and genuine.