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Our leadership team are experts in technology, finance, and venture. They bring many, many years of experience, plus the energy and strategic insight to help us grow.
Karen is non-executive Chair of Draper Esprit plc. She is also a non-executive director of AIM-quoted Accesso Technology Group plc and Softcat plc, a FTSE 250 IT infrastructure provider, and senior independent non-executive director of LSE and NYSE listed Micro Focus International plc. Karen began her career at ICL before spending 20 years at Hewlett-Packard Company, where in 2000 she became Vice President and General Manager Worldwide Sales & Marketing for the Business Customer Organisation, responsible for sales of all HewlettPackard products, services and software to business customers globally. Karen holds a BA Honours degree in European Studies from Bath University and a Diploma in Marketing.
Richard is a non-executive director and advisor in the area of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Up until April 2014, Richard was the chief executive of the European Investment Fund (‘‘EIF’’), Europe’s largest investor in venture capital funds. Before joining EIF in April 2008, Richard was managing director of structured asset finance at Lloyds TSB Bank in London from 2005 to 2007. From 1998 to 2005, he worked for GE Capital, first as chairman and CEO of Budapest Bank in Hungary and then as CEO of UK Business Finance within GE Commercial Finance. Prior to his career at GE, Richard worked for Barclays Bank in various functions in the UK and in France from 1977 to 1997. Richard holds an honours degree in Psychology from Durham University and an MBA with distinction from INSEAD Fontainebleau. In 2003, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for Services to the Community in Hungary.
Grahame Cook is an experienced public company non-executive director, with over 20 years’ experience as an audit and risk committee chairman. Grahame’s background is in investment banking, with 20 years’ experience of M&A, equity capital markets and corporate advisory. Grahame started his career at Arthur Andersen, where he qualified as a chartered accountant. He became a Director of Corporate Finance at Barclays de Zoete Wedd in 1993, and then joined UBS as a Managing Director, member of its global investment banking management committee and global head of equity advisory. At UBS he was responsible for creating its industry sector teams, including tech and healthcare. In 2003 he became joint chief executive officer at WestLB Panmure where he built a pan-European business focussed on growth companies and ran a €100m technology fund. He advised the London Stock Exchange in 2003 on the creation of its TechMark growth segment.
Gervaise Slowey is a non-executive director with a background in senior management, international business, marketing and media. She serves as a non-executive director on the boards of Wells Fargo Bank International (WFBI), Ulster Bank Ireland DAC, Eason PLC (Ireland’s largest book retailer) and the Institute of Directors in Ireland. She also chairs the Performance and Remuneration Committee for Ulster Bank Ireland, and the Nomination Committee for WFBI. Gervaise was CEO of Communicorp Group (now Bauer), Ireland’s largest independent radio group for four years to the end of 2016. Prior to that Gervaise held senior roles in Ogilvy Worldwide for 16 years, most recently Global Client Director. Gervaise has also served on the boards of the International Rice Research Institute, a global organisation dedicated to abolishing poverty and hunger among those dependent on rice, and the Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA).
Martin Davis is the CEO of Draper Esprit. He has more than 20 years of experience in financial services and joined Draper Esprit from Aegon Asset Management, where he was the Head of Europe, Aegon Asset Management & CEO Kames Capital. Prior to Aegon Asset Management, Martin served as CEO at Cofunds, spent eight years at Zurich Insurance Group, and was also CEO of Zurich’s joint venture, Openwork, the largest network of financial advice firms in the UK. Prior to this, Martin held senior management roles at Misys, Corillian, and Reuters. Martin also served for 11 years in the British Army. Martin has an MBA from London City Business School (CASS) and Diplomas from the Institute of Marketing and the Market Research Society.
Stuart was a Director of 3i Ventures in London before he co-founded Draper Esprit. He has over 25 years of venture capital experience in Europe and the US – including founding 3i US in Menlo Park, CA. Stuart was responsible for Draper Esprit’s investments in Lagan Technology (sold to Verint), Redkite (sold to Nice) and Kiadis (sold to Sanofi). Stuart serves as a director with Netronome, Aircall, Resolver, Realeyes, Riverlane and Conversocial; and as observer with Graphcore and Crate. Before 3i, Stuart was involved in software and systems implementations for Midland Bank. He is a graduate of Loughborough University and currently serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for the Loughborough School of Business.
Ben has been CFO of Draper Esprit since 2016. Prior to Draper Esprit, Ben served for five years as CFO of AIM-listed President Energy Plc, where he was responsible for all financial aspects of the Group. During his time at President, Ben was a key part of the Board that undertook investments into Argentina and Paraguay and raised $175 million across several equity issuances with shareholders such as IFC/World Bank and significant UK institutional investors. Ben is a Chartered Accountant, FCA, with a background in M&A investment banking from ABN Amro/RBS where he was involved with multiple cross-border transactions and corporate financings, both debt and equity. Ben is a graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London with a BSc in Economics.
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