Panel Presenters 2016

Panel 1: Start-up success beyond the M25

Amman Ahmed, Founder/CEO, Rormix and RoundWaves
amman-ahmedManchester-based serial entrepreneur Amman Ahmed started his first business based on a “crazy” idea that music can help sleep quality. Using £1,000 from his student loan, he built a YouTube multi-channel network, which then grew to a niche music platform for concentration and relaxation for adults, pets and babies. That was the start of, which now gets two and a half million views a month. From there, Amman founded Rormix, a platform curating music by unsigned and emerging artists to get discovered.
Paul Haydock, Co-founder/CEO, DueCourse
paul-haydockPaul Haydock is a serial tech entrepreneur at the helm of DueCourse, a Manchester-based fintech start-up working to help SMEs gain more control over their cash flow during periods of rapid growth. The company recently secured the largest amount of funding for a fintech firm outside of London. Before DueCourse, Paul founded two other tech businesses, being one of them for which he was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2010 Digital Entrepreneur awards.
Aaron McGrath, Sales Director, Microsoft Bing Ads UK
aaron-mcgrathBing currently has a 17% share of the global search engine market, second only to Google, but is expecting a period of sustained growth following the success of Windows 10. In May this year, Bing opened an office in Manchester, recognising the city’s potential as a tech hub.
Mark Varley, Managing Partner, Havas Media Manchester

mark-varleyMark joined Havas Media in 2015 to launch the new Manchester office, where he is tasked with building a team that brings together the best of Havas Media and Havas Media Group. He leads the agency, working with the team to deliver exceptional business results for our clients, as well as driving growth through new business and new product development.
Mark arrived from MEC Manchester, where he was Managing Partner leading their digital and performance teams as well as their largest account, Jet2. Prior to this he worked for 10 years in London in digital leadership roles at Initiative, Universal McCann and Beyond Interactive. To date he has worked on a wide variety of clients including Lloyds Banking Group, BBC, Marriott Hotels, General Motors, Sky and Microsoft.

Jeremy Ambrose, Excellence Engineer for the North of England, Entrepreneurial Spark
Jeremy AmbroseIn his role as Excellence Engineer for the North of England, Jeremy Ambrose works with start-ups at various stages of growth across the region. Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures, and is rapidly expanding as an enabler for entrepreneurialism.

PANEL 2: Tech Invest North Investor panel

Oliver Woolley, Co-founder & CEO, Envestors

Oliver Woolley took the road less travelled. After university and travelling, he decided not to become an accountant, but instead raised private equity and bank debt to start his own venture in the food industry. In 1997 he sold the business and moved into the world of early-stage investing and fundraising.
From 2008 to 2014, Oliver sat on the board of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA). He has an MBA from Imperial College Management School. In 2004, Oliver co-founded Envestors, a unique online investor platform for sophisticated investors and high-growth businesses to meet, interact and finance growth in a secure and regulated environment.

James Bedford, Head of Investment Strategy, Tech North

James is Head of Investment Strategy at Tech North, an organisation whose mission is to accelerate the growth of Northern England’s digital economy. James is responsible for improving access to finance for tech companies and is focussed on creating a co-investment fund for the North and he also led on the Digital Powerhouse report which highlighted assets and opportunities in the North for tech companies.
Prior to his role at Tech North, James was the Senior Programme Manager at Creative England, responsible for the successful delivery of two access-to-finance programmes, investing almost £10m in over 200 companies. James had previously held various positions in the fields of economic development and business support.
James went to university at Manchester and Staffordshire attaining an MA in Regeneration and Development and a BA in Politics.
James is Board Advisor to Manchester based start-up, Preceptiv, and organises dinners for founders of tech companies in Manchester. Born and bred in Wiltshire, James has lived in Manchester for 9 years.

Alex Rothwell, Head of Investments, Maven Capital Partners

Alex is an investment manager based in Manchester, transacting new mezzanine investments for the Greater Manchester Loan Fund. He joined Maven in March 2015 from the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he worked in corporate banking for eight years, initially transacting leveraged and financial sponsor-backed deals in the Structured Finance team. He subsequently worked in a number of portfolio management roles within RBS, managing the bank’s risk for mid and large corporate connections.

Ben Partridge, Director, Ashby House
Ben has spent over 30 years in the IT and telecoms industry. During the 1990s he developed a small UK based mainframe software distribution company with offices in Watford into an international business with offices in the UK, USA, Canada, Holland and Australia. Ben spent a number of years as Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Surrey and the Satellite Applications Catapult as well as providing support to some of the UK’s leading business accelerators and is closely involved with angel investor networks and is an advisor to the Greater Manchester Authority’s Business Finance Service.
Doug Stellman, Fund Manager, Enterprise Ventures

Doug is a fund manager with Enterprise Ventures, part of Mercia Technologies, and is responsible for the North West Fund for Venture Capital. Doug has been in the venture capital industry since 1993, investing across the UK and North West, with a focus throughout on start-up and early-stage technology investments, including university and industrial spin-outs across a wide range of sectors. Past and current investments include Nanoco (nano-tech), Amacis (software), DxS (molecular diagnostics), Spiratech (EDA software), Metronet (communications), RedX Pharma (pharmaceuticals), RedAg (agri-chem), Premaitha (medical diagnostics) and Relative Insight (software).


David Smith, Director, Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance

david-smithDavid Smith is the director of award-winning corporate finance and investment firm Dow Schofield Watts, which provides fresh-thinking expertise to businesses at each stage from early-stage growth through to £500 million revenue groups.
Prior to his current role, David was Investment Director at AXM Venture Capital, managing the North West Fund for Digital & Creative. The fund was one of the most active VC investors in the UK technology and media sector, investing in over 40 early-stage high-growth businesses.