From Entrepreneur to Investor

Jamie Waller talks about the first seven months of the Firestarters, where it all began and where he will take it.

How it started

Seven months into my new entrepreneurial project and I am loving it. In January, this year I sold my business Hito to a large Japanese outsourcing organisation. On the same day, my second daughter was born, and the time felt right to become an investor.

With £13m to spend, I launched Firestarters.

Investing my first £5m

Within a month I had made my first investment and just this week made my ninth in a business called Arum. This was an unusual investment for me as I acquired the majority stake of 75%.

In my portfolio, I have a multitude of businesses including health food, data security, software, property and financial services consultancy. Working with so many different organisations is thrilling and every day presents a new challenge.

My model

I look for businesses that can scale. Businesses with a good market, good people and a problem. That problem is normally cash but on some occasions, it’s ability.

With my network of contacts and my personal wealth I can normally fix these problems within a few weeks.

A good example of this is another investment that I am yet to complete on where the management team were lacking financial expertise. Within 2 days of agreeing the investment I hired the ex-head of finance of their largest competitor.

In some cases, I invest as a non-active investor and provide no expertise, just cash.

The future

I want to complete one more active investment before the end of 2017. In 2018 I have the capacity to complete up to another 10 and I can’t wait.