Coming from a public service family, I am always challenging myself as to whether what I am doing is worthwhile. This has largely manifested itself as a desire to support real value creation.
After serving my apprenticeship in accounting and investment banking, I worked at a FTSE 250 company, Wassall, where we turned around underperforming businesses. When Wassall was acquired by KKR I was excited to join an ex-colleague in a start-up venture capital and advisory firm. I enjoyed building the business but I also felt the pressure of needing to complete a deal so that we have funds to pay staff, whilst also maintaining integrity to give my client the best advice.
When I moved into private equity it was in a portfolio, value creation, role with Livingbridge. It was a great experience but over time I felt too far removed from the real value creation work and I joined a portfolio company as the CFO, also covering COO functions. After four years the business was successfully sold to a strategic buyer. I then undertook another similar VC backed CFO/COO role with a similar outcome. Dealing with everyone from call centre, customer services and field staff to sales and IT gave me a great insight into what it actually takes to implement high level strategy at ground level.
At Frog Capital
Partnering with two fantastic CEO entrepreneurs was a great education and very rewarding but also opened my eyes to how much support they needed to be successful. I could see how easy it was for them to be deviated if the team around them doesn’t share the burden and give them room to breathe. When I met Mike and he presented the Frog vision, it was clear that it was a perfect fit.
What we have developed into the positive growth scale-up methodology is a great match for the skills I bring to bear, complimentary to those of Mike and Jens, and so clearly doing something worthwhile; supporting CEOs and giving young dynamic businesses with a positive purpose the best chance of achieving their potential without compromising on their principles.
As head of portfolio, I try to keep close to all portfolio companies, particularly with regular catch-ups with the CFOs.