Team

Our experienced Praetura Ventures team are dedicated to providing money than money, including expertise and advice whenever you need it.

Here’s an introduction to the people that help to set us apart.

Steve Caunce

Non-executive Chairman

Steve spent 13 years as CEO of FTSE 250 group AO World, the owner of AO.com, and was previously CFO of Phones4U. Steve has significant expertise in scaling businesses, having overseen the rapid growth at both AO World and Phones4U.

As Praetura Ventures’ non-executive chairman, Steve continues to contribute to our success and wider vision to be the VC of choice for early-stage businesses.

David Foreman

Managing Director (Ventures)

David is a co-founder of the Praetura Group and boasts well over a decade of corporate finance and venture capital experience, having previously qualified as an ACA at KPMG.

David’s eye for financial services, recurring revenue companies and using data, IT and technology to create efficiencies within businesses continues to contribute to Praetura Ventures’ reputation for more than money.

Peadar O’Reilly

Managing Director (Debt)

Peadar is a co-founder of the Praetura Group and has over 20 years secured lending experience, having held senior roles at ABN Amro and Bank of Ireland. Here he helped to establish a successful UK ABL business.

As Managing Director for Praetura’s Group’s Lending Division, Peadar oversees Praetura Asset Finance, Praetura Commercial Finance, Kingsway Finance and Praetura Invoice Finance which, together with Praetura Ventures, makes up the Praetura Group.

Danny Summer

CFO

Danny joined Praetura in 2014 and has been instrumental to the establishment and expansion of the Praetura Lending Division and Praetura Ventures. He has extensive board experience within the financial services and speciality finance space and technology sector, with a track record for raising external finance.

As CFO for Praetura Group, Danny oversees our lending and venture capital activity.

Colin Greene

Operational Partner

Colin has worked for the world’s biggest tech companies, including Apple, Intel and NCR. At Apple’s Cupertino HQ, he led the company’s Consumer Retail business with direct responsibility for a >$10B P&L. He has also held COO and Country CEO for Apple in Tokyo and Seoul.

Now based in Lancashire, Colin advises many of our portfolio companies in his role as an Operational Partner, taking what he’s learnt in his expansive career to inspire new founders.

Catherine Barber Brown

Operational Partner

Catherine has more than 25 years’ experience across multiple sectors, including banking and health. Now a non-executive director for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, her background includes investment banking roles for Credit Suisse and Barclays and senior strategy and change roles at The Co-operative Bank.

Catherine’s experience and network is invaluable to our portfolio companies, which she supports through her role as an Operational Partner.

Mark Slade

Operational Partner

Mark is the vice chairman of OSTC, a global derivatives trading and education company he co-founded, which has 450 employees in five countries. As vice chairman for the company, Mark champions robust governance, long-term goals and collective excellence at OSTC.

These qualities and Mark’s wealth of experience remain invaluable to his work as an Operational Partner for our portfolio.

Dominic McGregor

Operational Partner

Dominic is the co-founder and ex-COO of Social Chain, a leading marketing company he helped grow to a $200m turnover business with clients ranging Amazon to the BBC and Coca-Cola. During his tenure, Dominic oversaw the company’s IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Since leaving Social Chain, Dominic has been an avid supporter of Northern businesses and entrepreneurs and continues to mentor our portfolio companies as an Operational Partner.

Steve Caunce

Non-executive Chairman

Steve spent 13 years as CEO of FTSE 250 group AO World, the owner of AO.com, and was previously CFO of Phones4U. Steve has significant expertise in scaling businesses, having overseen the rapid growth at both AO World and Phones4U.

As Praetura Ventures’ non-executive chairman, Steve continues to contribute to our success and wider vision to be the VC of choice for early-stage businesses.

Mark Lyons

Director of Investments

Mark’s extensive CV includes investing funds, working with management teams to implement growth strategies, and evaluating and managing business opportunities. Mark has overseen significant Praetura Ventures deals, including our investment in XR Games.

Before joining Praetura, he held a director position at a family office with over £1.5bn of assets under management and administration, having previously trained as a Chartered Accountant at PwC.

Guy Weaver

Director

Guy is well versed in the technology sector and has overseen deals between Praetura Ventures and a host of innovative companies. Prior to Praetura, Guy was a director at KPMG and co-founded the company Introstream, which helps businesses connect with technology solutions providers.

He is also a member of the Pro Manchester Science Technology Committee and a mentor for various tech organisations.

Andy Round

Director

Andy is an experienced investor, company director and an accomplished scientist with a PhD in Biochemistry from Leeds University. A life sciences expert, he has been responsible for many key Praetura Ventures deals within this field and continues to provide more than money to existing and prospective portfolio companies.

Prior to joining Praetura Ventures, Andy led on equity investments for MSIF and Maven.

Louise Chapman

Investment Director

Louise has been with Praetura Ventures since 2017, having spent nine years in KPMG’s advisory business, including a secondment to a clearing bank. Louise is a chartered accountant with significant experience advising SMEs and has undertaken work as a finance director for a high growth business.

Her impressive track record aligns with our drive to be the VC of choice for EIS companies.

Pete Carway

Investment Director

Pete is an experienced investor and qualified accountant with over 15 years’ experience. Among other accolades, Pete’s in-depth understanding of the SaaS landscape is just one of the reasons we continue to back exceptional founders in this space.

In addition to Praetura, Pete has held financial controller and finance director roles, including for a fast-growing AI business, where he oversaw £5m of investment and a five-fold increase in the company’s value over two years.

Sim Singh Landa

Investment Manager

Sim has worked in the financial services industry for over 17 years, including for leading firms such as AIG. With a CV spanning banking, real estate, finance, investments, pensions and funds, Sim knows the value more than money can have for founders and companies and delivers on this promise every day.

Her responsibilities include financial and qualitative appraisals, marketing, due diligence, project management and client relationship management.

Myrto Lalacos

Investment Executive

Myrto joined Praetura Ventures with several years’ experience in the acceleration space. In her role as director for Accelerate ME, Myrto grew student-founded start-ups and held the role of Partnerships & Network Manager at L Marks – Europe’s largest corporate accelerator operator. Here, she supported the growth of 250 alumni start-ups.

Myrto also founded her own business while completing her MSc in Organisational Psychology from the University of Manchester.

Fisayo Williamson-Taylor

Investment Executive

Fisayo’s background has given him a strong understanding of economics, markets and business, which is key to his work within the investment and portfolio teams. He is close to many key projects and takes responsibility for our early-stage introductions alongside contributing to the full investment process to IC.

Before joining Praetura, Fisayo held various research and analytics roles and previously worked for a fast-growing, Dragons’ Den-backed Ecommerce business in Manchester.

Andy Sumner

MD, Portfolio

Andy is responsible for ensuring every company we back is supported with more than money and the right funding for their growth. Now MD of our portfolio, Andy first qualified as an ACA with KPMG, working on larger transactions in the UK and overseas before leading an advisory business largely focused on private equity and supporting buy and build strategies.

More recently, Andy has acted as CCO in two fintech businesses, helping to scale each to profitability.

Tom Hardman

Portfolio Financial Controller

Tom is Praetura Ventures’ portfolio financial controller, providing in-depth analysis on the financial and commercial performance of our portfolio companies. Tom’s insights feature in our investor updates and contribute to our track record for enhanced investor communication.

Prior to joining Praetura, Tom held similar financial and analysis roles at leading companies in the North West, including Push Doctor, AO.com and Matalan.

Ruta Makunaite

Head of Technology

Ruta Mukunaite heads up technology for the Praetura Group, including Praetura Ventures. Highly experienced in developing and deploying digital strategies, Ruta ensures we’re consistently setting the standard in our approach to tech.

Prior to joining Praetura Ventures, Ruta was a Chief Strategy Officer and has also held senior product innovation and development roles, with well over a decade of experience in her field.

Jon Prescott

Director

Jon heads up the business development team at Praetura Ventures and has well over 20 years’ worth of financial services experience. 15 of those were spent at AJ Bell as business development manager, where he was responsible for forging links with advisers across the country.

Before joining Praetura Ventures, Jon was the area sales director at Octopus Investments for the North, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He has a thorough understanding of VCT, EIS and BPR.

Steve Green

Business Development Manager

Steve has been in the financial services sector for close to three decades and draws on a wealth of experience as Praetura Ventures’ business development manager. Steve previously held development manager and strategic account manager roles for Standard Life Aberdeen, where he supported adviser relationships in the North of England.

Steve has a thorough knowledge of tax wrapper planning, personal taxation and the use of appropriate investment solutions.

Mike Mannion

Business Development Consultant

Mike is Praetura Ventures’ business development consultant and boasts over 15 years of financial services experience. Mike is a specialist in pensions, ISAs, GIAs and other investment products and works closely with advisers to understand the challenges they face. He is also responsible for guiding investors through the Praetura journey.

Prior to joining Praetura Ventures, Mike worked at AJ Bell in various consultant roles.

Ben Davies

Marketing Director

Ben is the group marketing director for Praetura and oversees all aspects of our marketing output and strategy, including press and online. Boasting over 10 years’ industry experience, Ben also works closely with our portfolio companies, providing marketing expertise and more than money support.

Before Praetura, he headed up the marketing for Social Chain’s media division around the time of its IPO. Ben also co-founded the alternative coffee shop and co-working space. Ziferblat UK.

Emma Ashdown

Head of Brand

Emma oversees Praetura Ventures’ brand identity and works with our marketing team to deliver engaging communications and campaigns, including our half yearly investor communications.

Before joining the financial sector as our head of brand, Emma worked as a senior designer for various Manchester-based agencies. As well as branding and design, Emma’s background also extends to advertising.

Theo Watt

Copywriter

Theo is a copywriter for Praetura Ventures and the wider Praetura Group and is responsible for crafting clear and informative communications, including our investor updates and newsletters.

Before joining Praetura, Theo spent five years as a copywriter and lead creative for the agency Social Chain, where he worked for major B2C brands such as Beats By Dre and Amazon Prime.

Scott Mellor

Video Editor

Scott is a highly experienced videographer, producer and documentary filmmaker who is responsible for creating engaging video content for Praetura Ventures and the wider Praetura group. As part of the marketing team, Scott also works with our portfolio companies to share their founding stories through engaging video content.

As well as founders, Scott has worked with musicians, artists and a host of brands.

Kate Norton

HR Director

Kate is the HR director for the Praetura Group, including Praetura Ventures. A recognised and highly experienced HR professional, Kate has worked across numerous industries and sectors and continues to offer HR support to our portfolio companies as well as internally, as part of our commitment to more than money.

Prior to joining Praetura Group, Kate held senior HR roles at a host of leading companies, including B&Q and Auto Trader.

Georgia Bright

HR Coordinator

Georgia is Praetura’s group HR coordinator and works closely with our group HR director to drive our people agenda and provide HR support to the team. She is also experienced in delivering L&D and scoping out new policies and processes.

Before joining us, Georgia worked at AO in resource planning then in the HR department for Medicines Discovery Catapult – a COVID testing lab. Here she helped scale the business from 0 to 700 people during the pandemic and implemented a new HRIS system.

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