Guardian angels of business

Fourth year International Relations Student & Co-Founder of the University of St Andrews Alumni Angel Network (UStAAAN), Matthew Leonard, gives an overview of UStAAAN and its upcoming launch event in New York City. Matthew has recently been named among the 40 Under 40 by ‘Scottish Business Network News’.

Based in New York City, UStAAAN, the New York Chapter, is a group of St Andrews alumni, faculty, students, and the US community at large. We are working to create a sustainable network that will serve as a foundation to connect angel investing, entrepreneurship, and St Andrews. To this end we connect angel investors and advisors with innovative start-ups seeking capital and other support.

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The St Andrews community has exampled a diverse range of entrepreneurial activity across the globe. Edinburgh based husband and wife duo, Lesley and Nigel Eccles Co-Founded Fantasy Sports giant, Fanduel. London based, Damian Kimmelman, Co-Founded Due Dil and was named International Entrepreneur of Year at the inaugural Tech City News Hall of Fame awards in June 2014. Whereas, San Francisco based, Japser Platz is a founder with fintech start up Tally, which closed a $15mn series A round in May 2016, led by Sasha Ventures.

St Andrews also offers a rich collection of innovative spin out companies. One such example, Xelect Ltd, provides specialist genetics support to the aquaculture industry and is led by world renowned Professor Ian Johnston. In March of this year Xelect closed a £170k seed round, led by EOS Technology Investment Syndicate. EOS itself was founded by serial entrepreneur and St Andrews alumnus Kevin Grainger which compounds the enterprising caliber of the University and its wider community.

UStAAAN endeavors to foster this entrepreneurial culture by connecting such like-minded individuals and providing the necessary infrastructure to allow alumni, students and faculty to grow their early stage ventures through access to capital investment and mentorship.

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At events, alumni will have the opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and investors whilst also engaging with exciting early stage ventures from the St Andrews community.

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New York Angels founder David Rose

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 will see UStAAAN launch in New York City. For the event, UStAAAN has partnered with Tiger 21, the world’s premier peer-to-peer learning network for high net worth investors, whose 440 members’ collectively manage in excess of $40 billion in personal assets.

The launch will be hosted in Tiger 21’s Manhattan Townhouse on the Upper East Side and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a key note speech delivered by David Rose. David is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the New York Angels, Founder and CEO of Gust, and the New York Times bestselling author of both Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money & Having Fun Investing in Startups and The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business. Attendees will also be able to enjoy single malt scotch, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.

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For more information on UStAAAN in NYC, please visit: us.ustaan.org

To join UStAAAN’s LinkedIn group please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8458277

To keep up with UStAAAN on Facebook please visit: https://www.facebook.com/StAAngelNetwork/

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The ‘other’ hook of St Andrews

For many prospective students, the opportunity to come and study at St Andrews has an additional allure. The world-famous Old Course, six other public courses, and an almost never-ending array of other first-class golfing venues within an hour’s travel all provide an unparalleled experience for the golf fan.

With The Ryder Cup having just finished, and the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship just begun in St Andrews, there is no better time to catch up with one such prospective student, Ed Hodge (MA 2000), who arrived at St Andrews twenty years ago with a love of the game that has developed into him forging a career in the game. 

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St Andrews.

The Home of Golf.

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The Old Course, St Andrews

For a self-confessed golf fanatic, it was the perfect fit for my university studies, having secured the grades to study Modern History. I look back on it as the best four years of my life. I met my wife, made life-long friends, learned skills that I continue to use to this day and formed a bond with the town that will never leave me. It’s a wonderful place for a student.

Yes, I played golf, ok a lot of golf (the discounted prices for local residents are terrific), but from my two years of life in University Hall, to being Sports Editor of the The Saint student newspaper in 1997/98, to studying subjects in depth such as Civil Rights and Martin Luther King, The Swinging Sixties and World War I & II, it was an all-round superb experience, full of highlights.

Yes, I played golf, ok a lot of golf, but from my two years of life in University Hall… it was an all-round superb experience, full of highlights.

I remember graduating in May 2000, with a 2.1 MA Honours, and feeling as prepared as I could be for the working world. I’ve since worked in differing roles in the sports media industry in Scotland for the last 16 years and, appropriately, have found myself back in St Andrews in recent times in my role for Scottish Golf, whose headquarters are based just outside the town.

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Ed (left) with co-author Peter Burns (right) at Gleneagles, Perthshire Photo: Kenny Smith Photography

The golf connection has continued with my move into writing books. Jewel in the Glen: Gleneagles, Golf and The Ryder Cup was first printed in 2013, and subsequently updated for a second edition in 2014 after Europe’s triumph. Our Day in May, the story of St Johnstone FC’s first major trophy win in 130 years, was then published in 2015.

Again working with Arena Sport, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd, I’ve now co-authored (with Peter Burns) a unique new history of The Ryder Cup, published earlier this summer.  Fittingly, Pete is also a St Andrews graduate.

It’s been a busy time in recent years, especially with two young children, but throughout my daily work, and the book writing, the lessons learned at St Andrews never leave me.

Sadly, my golf game does require some lessons though … oh to be a student again!

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