Do Dyslexic Entrepreneurs have an Advantage?

What are the prerequisites for entrepreneurial success. A good product, a good team, business acumen and a bit of luck, Right? But what about learning difficulties? Do dyslexic entrepreneurs have an advantage?

Rarely do people associate learning difficulties with entrepreneurial success, however recent academic research has shown that there is a positive correlation between the two. Approximately 20% of successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic, despite representing only 10% of the general public.

Successful dyslexics include Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, Carlos Slim, Steven Spielberg, James Dyson- the list goes on.

So why is there such a strong correlation between dyslexia and entrepreneurial success?

dyslexic entrepreneurs - Horatio Investments - Angel Investor

Do Dyslexic Entrepreneurs have an Advantage?


Dyslexic Entrepreneurs in Education

There’s a theory that centres upon the formative years of dyslexics. Since many dyslexics struggle whilst navigating through school they are often forced to develop a specific skill set, which may include – the ability to delegate, long-term vision and strong communication skills. This compensatory skill set is precisely the kind of skills that are essential in running a successful business.

It is for this reason that dyslexics often enter their adult life equipped with a different skill set to that of the average non-dyslexic. Successful dyslexic entrepreneurs may have put less weighting on things such as textbooks and exams in school in favour of developing their communication skills and their ability to conceive long-term strategy. Early school-leavers such as Richard Branson (dyslexic entrepreneur) and Lord Sugar (dyslexic entrepreneur) are oft-cited examples of this. Whilst in academia or at the bottom of a large corporation these skills may be undervalued, to a start-up, these skills are indispensable.

If you are a dyslexic entrepreneur yourself looking for funding for a financial services business then please get in touch.

Interview with iBusinessAngel

iBusinessAngel recently interviewed our founder, Adam Norris in a piece called ‘New Super Business Angel looks to invest £100m.’

The interview covered many things including our investment approach and Adam’s personal feelings towards angel investing and the challenge it provides.  The interview also discusses the importance of the entrepreneur’s role models in their early life and the effect this has on them later in life.

The full ibusinessangel interview can be found here –

Telegraph Article, 9th July 2013

Our founder, Adam Norris, recently talked to the Daily Telegraph about his plans and ideas for Horatio in the future.

Business - Telegraph- Horatio Investments - Angel Investor


He said Horatio intends to invest at least £20m this year,

“If we find the right company, we’ll write the cheque and help them grow,”

The former Hargreaves Lansdown director, now on a mission to become the UK most prolific investor said

“It is risky but start-ups is all I know. And it’s much more risky if you don’t do your research, We spend 150 hours looking at a deal, not 20 as most angels do.”

He had orginally “retired” after leaving HL at just 36,

“It was a great apprenticeship but being part of a big listed business and worrying about health and safety wasn’t me.”

Adam stated in the article a bold financial target of investment capital. Putting up all his own money, he is targeting to invest a total of £100m throughout the process. That might mean taking its time over investing all of the £100m, he added

“I want to be the best, not the biggest – we won’t do volume if we don’t see the deals.”

“We want people with a work ethic, who are ambitious, tenacious, cheeky and have a good background or know-ledge in their domain.” Norris quotes, when asked what he looks for in an entrepreneur.

At Horatio Investments, the belief is that the entrepreneur is the driving force behind a business, and thus when investing in a business, they’re investing equally in the entrepreneur that comes with it.

The full article can be found here –

The Pitch UK business competition

We’ve been announced as the lead investor for The Pitch UK business competition this year.

The Pitch UK has been running since 2008 and is now known as one of the biggest small business competitions in the UK.  The winner will be chosen on the 25th of September and everyone on the final shortlist will be introduced to the panel of investors who have at least £275,000 to invest.

We recently recorded a video alongside the other investors to explain our involvement in the competition and why we believe the competition is so good for us as investors as well as the small businesses.

For more info on the Pitch UK business competition follow this link –


Live Q&A – How to pitch to investors

Our managing director, Martin Bowles recently participated in a Q&A on

The live Q&A gave the opportunity for entrepreneurs from all over the UK to ask anything and everything to numerous early stage investors involved with the session.  We’ve quoted a few of Martin’s answers from the session below.  You can view the entire session by following this link –

Q: “I’d be interested in knowing how business owners can work out who the perfect investor to pitch to is?”

A: “We make this point to all entrepreneurs we meet. The journey of building a new business is a challenging one and its vital that the investor shares your aspirations and dreams. Treat this as something of an interview of the prospective investor. How do they support the companies they invest in (get references from CEOs of those businesses), what do they know about your sector and what is it that attracts them to your business. As with interviews you may need to meet a few before you find the right match for your business.”

Q: “How much of a role do you think personality and the individual plays in a successful pitch?”

A: “The key for me is that the individual has passion for their business and fantastic domain knowledge. More often than not, for the best pitches, that will come across as fantastic positive energy in any pitch.

Honesty though is so important, don’t try to be someone you are not at the pitch – it will eventually show.”

Q: “I am interested to know from the investors how much of the desire to invest comes from the numbers and how much is down to the idea/business?”

A:”As an investor we have to understand the business idea, in other words what problem are you solving and is it something people will genuinely pay for. Once that bridge is crossed its almost always about the entrepreneur and team.

Honestly, the numbers are nice and fill out the plan but in reality I have yet to see a set of numbers in an early stage business plan actually be achieved in the first 3 years.”

Q: “From an investors point of view, what classes as the minimum amount of traction?”

A: “This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions. What’s important is being able to demonstrate that you have made as much progress as you could with the resources available to you. How resourceful have you been. E.g. Could you have got a website up and running – even if its not the perfect polished version.”

Q: “Competitions like The Pitch require you to send your pitch in for them to read. What’s the best way to stand out on paper?”

A: “Not a lot different from pitching in person in terms of content. Keep it concise and jargon free. What is your product or service and why is it compelling for your customers and what’s your unfair advantage over competitors; how big is your market; how does your business work (something like the business model canvas is great for getting your thoughts clear); what progress have you made; what is your own story (what has brought you to this point, why are you the right person/team to make this a success and what personal achievements can you point to, in or out of business).”


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