What I'm currently doing
As well as my position with AltViz (CFO), I currently have a variety of roles with an entrepreneurial or startup flavour whilst looking to add one or two additional advisor positions.
I really enjoy helping people understand their businesses (and themselves) better and I have a huge appreciation of how psychology and mental health impacts everything we do. I use my experience across startups, M&A, management, finance and operational execution to help people find what works best for them and their team. There are no one size fits all answers, no short cuts and no silver bullets - we're all different with different goals and motivations, and understanding that is the first step to building something truly meaningful.
Away from business, in 2020 I also started to experiment with spray paints, it's hard to not be thinking about work all the time, so I thought it was a good idea to have a creative release. I continue to experiment with different methods and colours as I explore my creativity. Also helping with winding down, I like to get out and cycle when I can, living in Kent there's plenty of country lanes to enjoy! I have previously ridden Paris - London (2018), Calais - Ostend (2019) and London - Southend (2021).
Previous Startup Positions:
Mentor for the Royal Academy of Engineering LIF programme
COO The Bot Platform
Co-Founder/Director at 3beards/Unicorn Hunt (acquired 2017)
Financial Controller at Touch Clarity (acquired 2007)
A bit more background...
I excelled at school (academically at least), then dropped out of college. I started work in the finance department of an oil company (Tramp Group Ltd) where I trained to be an accountant. I qualified in 2002 and moved on when the company was acquired. After that I had a couple of jobs as Financial Controller, for a motor racing group and then at Touch Clarity, which was my first experience of a tech startup. This was where my startup life began. I'd always been the entrepreneurial, self starting type, but working with a great bunch of innovative tech types really inspired me. We were acquired in 2007 by Omniture (now owned by Adobe) and I left to go to another startup. However, this one was so badly run/structured, I quit after only 4 weeks and went back into oil as a CFO.
The CFO role was great, we rapidly expanded the company (up to $2.5bn turnover) but after a few years the politics of being part of a listed company started to get to me and that entrepreneurial itch really needed to be scratched. I left in 2012 and struck out into the wilds of East London to see how the tech scene had changed since my first foray in 2006/7.
I went to a huge variety of meetups, including London Business Angels, London New Finance and of course, Silicon Drinkabout. I got to know Ben, Bryce and Mike (the organisers of Silicon Drinkabout) over the coming months and the rest is history!
I spent nearly 3 years working day to day at 3beards, before handing the reins over to the team we had put together. They did a great job of continuing to help the startup ecosystem knit together across the world but ultimately 3beards was community first endeavour and wasn't hugely sustainable, find out about the end of 3beards here. The one part of what we created that was a lot more business shaped was Unicorn Hunt, our job board. We sold this in 2017 to Tiny, the owners of Dribbble, MetaLab and Crew amongst others.
Over the summer of 2015 I spent a short time as Head of Entrepreneur Relations at Tech City UK, but ultimately decided a portfolio of roles and projects best suits the way I work. I continue to support the London startup community, contributing my thoughts and actions wherever I can help and add value. I have previously judged for Mass Challenge, Innotribe and judged at Unilever's ReHack event.
In June 2017 I launched Touchpaper.org - a not for profit on a mission to make it much easier for startups and corporates to work together. I spent 18 months researching and working with the Touchpaper Founding Members (Google, Capgemini, Grant Thornton, Bristows, Nesta, Tech City UK, Multiple and Digital Catapult) and we released a free toolkit on how to make these collaboration run a little smoother than they usually do.
At this time, I also started working at The Bot Platform, who specialise in Facebook Messenger and Workplace by Facebook bots. The technology is great, and the concept of bots and how humans interact with them is a fascinating topic - the future is certainly going to be very interesting! The team did a great job of pivoting the company away from marketing/promo bots and created a super-useful internal comms tool for companies, but ultimately, I wanted to return to a portfolio of roles.
At the end of 2019 I left The Bot Platform to start 2020 with a fresh outlook and to apply my experience across a variety of opportunities. I have joined Alt Viz as their part time CFO and have begun advising startups on an ad hoc basis whilst continuing my work on the Tech Nation Visa Programme.
In September 2020 I joined Tenterden Counselling Service (TCS) as the Chair of the board. TCS is a local counselling charity, providing professional counselling services to support the mental well-being of those who live in Tenterden and the surrounding area. We've made great progress doubling in size over 2020/21 and with some recent grant funding, will continue to help address the very serious need of mental health in the UK.
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