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Speaker Boutique: Funding Strategies to Scale

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Understanding the funding options available, and how to use them scale, is the first step in making the right choice for you and your business.

With so much money looking for so few scaleup businesses, founders have never been in a stronger position to find the funding they need to scale. But the unprecedented choice of options has made the funding landscape much harder to navigate. VCs and PE houses have a lot of growth capital to deploy and they’re finding new ways to add value beyond capital. Record low-interest rates has encouraged more family offices and institutional investors to consider private company investment. And venture debt from tech enabled challenger banks means quicker decisions and cheaper money.  

But, with debt seen as cheap but unforgiving and equity as expensive but supportive, it’s hard to find a solution without some form of compromise; but there are alternatives to consider.

This Speaker Boutique event will bring together three members of The Supper Club who have raised money in different ways to share their tactical insights and hard-learned lessons. The panel will also include technical advice on how to present the strongest case to investors, and wealth advice for those considering equity. 

This event will look to explore, but will not be limited to:

·      How to scale organically, with external funding

·      How debt and equity can be used to accelerate scale

·      Understanding the funding landscape and who is investing in SMEs

·      Tips and tactics for finding smart money and securing it more quickly


Michael Kraftman, CEO, Vision Direct

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Michael is an entrepreneur with 35 years’ experience who has founded and run several businesses across the computer, consumer electronics and optical sectors. He is currently CEO of Vision Direct, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in Europe. In February 2016 the business was acquired by Essilor International SA, the world leader in ophthalmic optics quoted on the Euronext Paris stock exchange. Vision Direct has websites in seven European markets with sales running at a rate of over £80m, approaching 200 employees and facilities in London, York, Amsterdam and Girona. Plans under Essilor’s ownership include further geographic expansion and extension of the range into other vision categories. Michael was previously Deputy Chairman of Tempo Electrical and Computer Superstores, with 50 stores and sales of £140m which was sold in Dec 1999 to an MBO team backed by 3i. Previously as founder MD he grew Bonsai, one of the UK’s first PC dealer/distributors, from zero sales to £72m from 1981-1992, acquiring four other companies in the process. 

Michael will share his experience of raising VC to make acquisitions and how this led to the eventual trade sale of Vision Direct.

Chris Donnelly, Founder & MD, Verb Brands

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Chris Donnelly is the founder of Verb Brands, a luxury digital agency based in London and Los Angeles. Verb specialises in creating digital strategies for brands by building websites, eCommerce platforms and conducting SEO, PPC and social campaigns for luxury brands. Operating across fashion, hospitality and lifestyle, Chris has led large scale digital projects for international brands such Jimmy Choo, Clive Christian, The Wolseley, Claridges, The Connaught and The Berkeley, ALEXCACHUNG, Fiorucci, Mih Jeans, Creed Fragrances and many more. As an industry expert, Chris regularly writes, speaks and consults on website optimisation, digital marketing and the evolution of the luxury digital market. Chris launched Verb at university when he was 21 and since then has grown the company organically into one of the most recognised luxury digital agencies in the world. While working in the strategy and creative part of the agency, Chris has helped drive growth to a team of 55 who are serving both national and international luxury brands.

Chris will share his experience of growing organically and through acquisition.

Sam Smith, Founder & CEO, finnCap

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Sam Smith remains the only female Chief Executive of a City broking firm. She established her business, finnCap, in 2007 having orchestrated the buy-out of a small broking subsidiary of a private client stockbroking firm, and today finnCap is ranked No1 Nominated Adviser and Broker to AIM companies. Sam qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG and is a University of Bristol alumnus. Sam is passionate about ensuring that girls and women see only opportunities rather than barriers to success in whatever industry they want to be in. Outside her duties as the CEO, Sam is actively involved in various mentoring projects and organizations such as Pinky Lilani’s “Women of the Future” awards, of which Sam is a former winner. Sam is also a patron for the Modern Muse project, aimed at millions of young girls throughout the UK to encourage and inspire them to look at business careers and entrepreneurship as a way to achieve their dreams.

Sam will share her experience of raising capital to fund her own buy out and offer expert advice on how to navigate the funding landscape to find the right investment to scale.

Tim Hewens, Partner, Osborne Clarke LLP

Tim Hewens

Tim is a corporate partner in the Osborne Clarke London office and has specialized in mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions for 17 years (acting for private equity funds, management teams and sellers, selling to private equity). He joined Osborne Clarke in autumn 2017 from another international law firm, where he had been head of private equity. Tim has been regularly named in The Legal 500 and Chambers legal directories as a leading individual for both M&A and private equity where he has been described as an “exceptionally experienced” lawyer with a “measured and sensible negotiating style and a lot of integrity.”
Tim will share his expert insight on how founders should structure deals with investors and pitfalls to avoid.

Rob Douglas, MBA, Director, Relationship Management, RBC Wealth Management

Rob Douglas

Rob is a Relationship Manager in the Business Owners & Entrepreneurs team at RBC Wealth Management in London, and works with high net worth individuals to develop and deliver a long term wealth management plan tailored to their financial personality, risk profile and objectives. Rob provides access to multi-asset class investment portfolio strategies, structuring, trust & fiduciary services, FX and credit solutions. He is also active in a number of networks including chairing the Dukes’ London Group.

Rob will offer expert advice on wealth planning for founders preparing for an exit.

Supported by

       RBCFinnCapOsborne Clarke      

£55 Non-members
£0 Members (included in membership)
Booking is now closed for this event

Thursday 13 September, 2018 2.30pm

Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW