Ali Kazmi

Law LLB (Hons)

Ali was the first in his family to go to university, with the goal of becoming a lawyer. Now, Ali is a celebrated in Insider’s 42 entrepreneurs under 42 list with his two start-ups.

“I was always set on going to university to become a lawyer or a tax advisor. But now, I’m the Founder and CEO of two companies.

What originally attracted me to BCU was the LLB program that offered a placement in the USA. My course enabled me to network with the right type of individuals, and networking is very important in this industry. Of course, not knowing at the time, but those connections now support me, actively, on my journey.

During my course, I did many internships in London and undertook mini pupillages too, and I even marshalled various judges including at the Old Bailey.

I was the first in my family to go to university, and my journey has not been an easy one. All the statistics were against me. However, I continue to prove those statistics wrong as I thrive towards success.

Now, I’m the founder of two tech-driven start-ups where I’m the CEO. The first, which I founded in August 2019, is Ethical Equity, a pioneering Digital Platform Business Ecosystem committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in investment. Ethical Equity leads the transformation of investment practices, ensuring underrepresented founders gain the resources they deserve, shaping a more equitable and impactful future.

The second, called AI Simulator, which I founded in March 2022, is the world’s first private market simulator designed to support first time founders and angel investors, to help them make better investment decisions.

Before setting up my own start-up companies, I spent the last 10 years specialising in UK venture capital tax schemes, remuneration and advising start-ups on their funding options. I also advised angel investors looking to invest in early-stage start-ups.

My days are extremely varied. I am always interacting with investors, founders and key stakeholders, as ultimately, my role is to get aspiring founders in front of the right type of investors.

I often travel between Birmingham, London and Bristol, and often deliver workshops at various universities. In the future, I am looking to unlock the ethnic minority investor community so that they can play a much bigger role in supporting early-stage founders with investment.

I have now won several awards, bursaries, scholarships and investments, which have enabled me to drive my businesses forward and support other entrepreneurs throughout the UK. I was also named in Insider’s Southwest 2023 ‘42 under 42’ list.

The hardest part of setting up your own technology business or start-up is access to early-stage capital and networks that can help you to take the business to that next level. Not coming from a privileged background meant that I needed to work that extra bit harder to get what I wanted or to access certain services.

I threw myself in the deep end and, as expected, got many rejections from investors and institutions. However, when one does say yes and supports me, it makes all that hard work really worth it.”