Watch this space...we will be making further announcements about our speakers for the 2019 Forum over the coming months.
Nick read Russian at University before moving to Moscow in 1990 to work as a commodity trader for Glencore. Having witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of Wild West capitalism he returned home in 1998 to start his own business. Without any clear business idea in mind he studied for an MBA while developing several business plans, one of which became Moonpig.com, the online greeting card retailer. After several rounds of fundraising and a couple of flirtations with insolvency, the business finally made a profit in 2006. From that point the business grew rapidly to at point in 2011 when it had 5 million customers worldwide and was making £12m pre-tax profit on a turnover of £45m. It seemed the ideal time to sell. Since then Nick has invested in 28 early stage businesses through direct EIS investments, eight of which came through his appearance on Dragon’s Den in 2015/16. Nick now splits his time between managing the portfolio and his charitable activities. Nick is the Patron of Shivia, an organisation that aims to train the poorest families in West Bengal to make additional income through very small sale poultry farming. Nick is also a trustee of Operation Fistula, an African surgical charity and a Trustee of a Multi Academy Trust in South London.
Stalwart of cricket commentary Henry Blofeld was educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he became the lowest achieving cricket Blue since the Boer War.
After three and a half years into a struggling career in merchant banking, the young Blofeld
fled to Fleet Street to report on cricket for The Times. He started broadcasting on Test Match Special in 1972 and has remained a regular ever since - apart from a short-lived defection to Sky. His return brought a storm of approval from listeners who had missed his descriptions of passing buses, planes and pigeons. Finally retiring after more than 45 years of coverage, his final broadcast at Lords brought a standing ovation from the crowd.
Aside from his many tales of events on and off the pitch, Henry takes a self-deprecating look at a life well-lived. Adventures, mishaps and misunderstandings from around the world as he gets into scrapes with England cricketers, gets locked out of hotel rooms at midnight, and deals with on-air confusion.
Sometimes indiscreet, occasionally outrageous, always hilarious and brilliantly old-school, Blowers entertains any audience, regardless of their interest in cricket.
With over 13 years' experience, Eloise's main focus is to provide a service that goes beyond the ‘traditional insurance broking' offering. By working with a number of firms in the SEIS/EIS and VCT space, Eloise is uniquely positioned to offer advice and guidance on a variety of topics, including insurance solutions and risk management to both Fund Managers and the companies that they invest in.
Peter has audited and advised businesses in the financial services sector for over 10 years, working with a range of businesses in the capital markets and asset management sectors.
He is responsible for the audits of FCA regulated firms including broker/dealers, clearing firms, spread betting firms and commodity traders. Peter is well versed in the regulatory requirements affecting FCA regulated firms and conducts client money and assets audits on behalf of the firm. Peter is currently responsible for the audits of large international groups with a significant technology component to the audit and works closely with our IT audit team. Peter has strong technical and commercial experience of the sector and the issues it faces.
Peter also specialises in the audit of listed investment funds and is currently responsible for the audits of listed funds across a range of investment managers and administrators. All of these clients invest in unquoted and quoted investments covering a wide range of industries, sectors and business life cycles. He is a member of the AIC’s VCT Technical Committee.
As Technical Partner, Kieran leads the Deepbridge Capital investment management team. With a wealth of experience in financial services, including institutional fund management within the Lloyd’s of London insurance community, and HNW private client stockbroking at Popes Stockbrokers (now Brewin Dolphin), Kieran has an in-depth knowledge of the private capital markets, involving capital raising, investor relations and communication, and is responsible for the fund-raising activities at Deepbridge. Kieran has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments since 2001.
Jake Wombwell-Povey, CEO, is responsible for Goji's overall strategy and performance. Jake has been working in the alternative finance, lending and wealth management sectors since 2012, giving him valuable insight as to how the sectors intersect and how investors can benefit from investing in lending. Prior to joining Goji, Jake worked at Grant Thornton in the Financial Services Corporate Finance team where he qualified as an accountant (ACA). Jake also chairs TISA's forum on Peer to Peer and Alternative Lending.
Jo Oliver is a fund manager for Octopus Titan VCT. Titan is managed by Octopus Ventures which manages £1bn of Venture Capital assets and whose purpose is to help pioneering entrepreneurs. Titan VCT is the largest VCT, with AUM of over £600m and a portfolio of nearly 70 early stage companies. Titan investments include Zoopla (floated); Secret Escapes; SwiftKey (acquired by Microsoft); graze.com; Eve (acquired by Amazon); and Magic Pony (acquired by Twitter).
Jo is a partner at Octopus Ventures having joined the team in 2005. He is heavily involved in the team’s investment process, portfolio management and fundraising activities, as well as sitting on the board of a number of portfolio companies, including SwiftKey Microsoft and VisionDirect.
Tom is the partner at Shoosmiths LLP who heads up the firm’s enterprise investment scheme and venture capital trusts (VCT) tax practice.
He is one of the UK’s leading experts in this field, with extensive experience advising investors and investee companies on structuring and implementing tax efficient investments, reorganisations and exits in compliance with the EIS and VCT regimes, ensuring that returns from investment are optimised.
Tom’s in-depth experience also includes advising clients on share option schemes including EMI options, employee shareholder shares and company share option plans, as well as negotiating with HMRC on both contentious and non-contentious matters.
Seonaid Mackenzie has a career, spanning 35 years in the financial services with positions including being stockbroker for multiple American firms, fund manager, an operator of UK funds; fund raising for private companies and funds; and multiple advisory positions of financial service firms and SMEs.
In 1998, she founded Sturgeon Ventures, an Authorised and Regulated by the FCA and a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC. Sturgeon Ventures is an established regulatory incubator for start-ups, coining the phrase Regulatory Incubator in 2001. Since 2000 Sturgeon has incubated many startup companies including corporate finance boutiques, capital introduction companies and family office advisors.
Seonaid is a Trustee for a registered Charity Crosslight Advice and a frequent fund raiser for multi-charitable events, as well as a regular speaker in schools. Sturgeon is a member of the Women’s Charter in Finance, and Seonaid is a Champion of back to work mothers.
Kealan has worked with venture capital companies for 15 years, both in a corporate finance advisory capacity as well as a fund manager. He prefers to invest in a wide range of technology companies, but is also very interested in finding synergies within the Symvan portfolio of companies. Company interests include big data analytics, fintech, SaaS, 3D printing and network security. Before his involvement in venture capital investing, Kealan previously lead a structured equity products team at HSBC, and has worked at Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and UBS. Together with Nicholas, he has since founded his own entrepreneurial businesses to focus on VC investing. Kealan holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto.