Team

Our experienced Praetura Ventures team are dedicated to providing more 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

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 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.

Helen Verwoert

Operational Partner

Helen was previously Chief Human Resources Officer for Dr. Martens. As part of the leadership team, she was instrumental in the development of Dr. Martens, taking the brand from family ownership to a sale to the private equity firm Permira, which later culminated in a £3.7bn IPO in 2021.

Helen was also instrumental in restructuring the executive team including recruiting the CEO, CFO and three Regional Presidents, in addition to being the company’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Paul Johnson

Operational Partner

Paul is the co-founder of MPP Global and was CEO for 20 years until its acquisition by AIM-listed Aptitude Software in October 2021. MPP Global is the award-winning international provider of the cloud-based subscription management and billing SaaS platform eSuite. MPP’s clients include Sky, NBC Universal and L’Equipe. 

At exit, MPP Global had grown to over 100 employees plus offshore development teams and £9m ARR. 

Siobhan Almond

Operational Partner

Siobhan was General Counsel and Company Secretary at JD Sports, holding the most senior legal role at the FTSE 100 company. A qualified lawyer, she spent 10 years at JD, helping to steer the brand to global success across 32 countries, with profits approaching £1bn.

During her time at JD, which followed a spell at Manchester City, Siobhan oversaw many pivotal mergers and acquisitions, including global takeovers and minority stakes in smaller brands. Her extensive knowledge covers M&A, governance, and corporate, commercial and regulatory law.

Mark Horncastle

Operational Partner

Mark was previously a partner and the UK head of healthcare at the multi-sector management consultancy PA Consulting, where he spent 12 years driving innovation and transformation within the health sector. He specialises in system design, digital transformation and utilising data to enable patient and service outcomes.

As well as leading on PA’s global health & life sciences strategy, Mark led the business’ Manchester office and was heavily involved in Greater Manchester’s healthcare transformation through its devolution plans, including the design of urgent and emergency services, integration of health and social care, and the scaling of primary care services.

Penny Attridge

Operational Partner

Penny has worked in healthcare for over 50 years, first as a research scientist and later as the founder director of Id-Tech Ltd, a company specialising in the prevention of sharps injuries in medical settings.

In more recent times, Penny has worked as a healthcare consultant and, while at Spark Impact, led a successful bid for £15m of European funding for the North West Fund for Biomedical (NWF4B). This coincided with securing an additional £15m and leading an investment team from Spark Impact’s Liverpool HQ.

Mark Roberts

Operational Partner

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor.

He has won several awards as the Co-Founder of Beer Hawk, which he set up in 2012, scaled to a profitable business with over £80m revenue and successfully exited to a strategic buyer (AB InBev). Between 2019 and 2022, he was also Global CEO of the PerfectDraft business, which has become a leading direct-to-consumer player for AB InBev. Mark has also held senior marketing and leadership positions at a long list of household names. These include Laithwaites Wine, Lloyds Banking Group’s Insurance Division, HBOS Plc and Procter & Gamble.

He Chaired the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, responsible for local economic development for a UK city region with over 2.3m people and economy of over £60Bn.

David Foreman

Managing Partner

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.

Andy Barrow

Partner (Tech)

Andy was the CTO of leading Manchester software business ANS Group Plc, where he led the technology team until the company’s sale to Inflexion Private Equity. As CTO, Andy was responsible for technical strategy across cloud computing, data analytics, application development and managed services. Today Andy oversees our tech investments and wider tech strategy, ensuring Praetura consistently uncovers early-stage opportunities at the forefront of innovation.

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 Director

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.

Jess Jackson

Investment Manager

Jess has extensive experience supporting businesses, including at Praetura Ventures where she is responsible for identifying and managing investment opportunities for our EIS Growth Fund and the GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura.

As well as having a passion for social impact companies, Jess is a founding member of Fund Her North, a collective which champions investment opportunities for women. Prior to joining Praetura, Jess worked at GC Angels, overseeing fund deployment into a wide range of businesses.

Michael Rees

Investment Manager

Michael joined Praetura Ventures from the Development Bank of Wales, where he was part of the technology venture investments team. He brings with him plenty of seed investment experience, having worked on circa 20 transactions, ranging from life sciences to hardware. Prior to this, Michael worked at Legal and General in Cardiff and within the asset & liability management team at Vauxhall Finance PLC around the time of its acquisition by BNP Paribas.

 

Laurence Tan

Investment Associate

Laurence is an investment associate at and is responsible for identifying investment opportunities for the GMC Life Science Fund By Praetura. Laurence has an extensive background in life sciences and pharmacy, having completed a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences, where he researched novel biomaterials as local drug delivery vehicles in gynaecological cancers.

Prior to joining us at Praetura, Laurence worked as a clinical pharmacist and completed his Masters of Pharmacy at the University of Manchester.

Stefano Smith

Investment Associate

Stefano has gained experience across many areas of the finance industry, from asset management to corporate and personal banking. In his role as a graduate investment associate at Praetura Ventures, he is responsible for helping to spot and progress opportunities.

Prior to Praetura, Stefano worked as a trainee financial planner for a year and a half at the international advice firm Forth Capital, having graduated from the University of Dundee with a degree in Financial Economics.

Colin Greene

Partner (Portfolio)

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. 

Colin now heads up our portfolio growth platform, working closely with our Operational Partners and supporting the portfolio with more than money.

 

Guy Weaver

Portfolio 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.

Tom Hardman

Portfolio Director

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.

Joe Ball

Portfolio Analyst

Joe joined Praetura Ventures with 3 years experience in management consulting and investment analysis. Core activities have included leading on large scale strategy and finance change initiatives, financial analysis, due diligence, and streamlining business operations. Currently responsible for supporting the financial analysis and on-going support provided to portfolio companies.

Jon Prescott

Partner

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.

Sam McArthur

Partner

Sam McArthur is an experienced investment professional having previously held the role of Chief Operating Officer for Puma Investments from 2015, with responsibilities for the Puma VCTs, forming part of the board and senior management team responsible for growing AUM from £100 million to £950 million over 8 years. Prior to that, Sam’s previously held positions include CEO of a multi-site wholesale and distribution business as well as Associate Director at KBC Financial Products.

James Rochfort

Internal Sales Director

James is head of the Internal Business Development Team at Praetura. Prior to Praetura James served in various roles at Octopus including Area Sales Manager and Head of Internal Sales at Octopus Investments for 9 years.

James previously worked in Sales for Distribution Technology and is a graduate of the University of Exeter.

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.

Mo Hussain

Business Development Manager

Mo is a highly knowledgeable BDM with over two decades of experience in the financial sector. Throughout his career Mo has worked closely with IFAs while building successful relationships across multiple parts of financial services, including investment funds, pensions, life insurance and mortgages.

Before joining Praetura, Mo held roles at leading companies such as L&G, ING Direct, Zurich and Tavistock Investments, where he spent four years as the company’s senior business development manager. Mo mainly focuses on the southern region in his role as a BDM for Praetura Ventures.

 

Caroline Flagg

Business Development Manager

Caroline is responsible for maintaining relationships with Praetura’s Venture Partners, direct investors and family offices. Prior to Praetura, Caroline served in various senior roles at Octopus Investments for over a decade, including Private Markets Distribution, Area Sales Manager and Head of Octopus Cash.

Caroline previously worked for Huntress Group and Goodman Masson and is a graduate of the University of Bath.

Peter Marsland

Business Development Manager

Peter is responsible for managing relationships with financial advisers in London and the South-East. Prior to Praetura, Peter held various roles at Octopus Investments for close to 10 years including Wholesale Private Market Specialist and as Business Development Manager for London. Prior to Octopus, Peter worked for Schroders.

Peter began his career an international athlete in the British Rowing Team and is a graduate of the University Nottingham, with a post graduate degree from the University of Cambridge.

Mike Mannion

Business Development Manager

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.

Alastair Lewis

Business Development Manager

Alastair is a highly knowledgeable business development manager with over 25 years’ experience in financial services, where he has supported adviser relationships across Scotland, Northern Ireland and North East England.

Before joining Praetura Ventures, Alastair was part of the teams at Octopus Investments and Blackfinch Investments respectively for approximately a decade. Alastair has a thorough understanding of BR, VCT and EIS.

Martin Kelly

Client Services Manager

Martin is Praetura Ventures’ client services manager and is responsible for all client servicing functions across the Praetura team. Before joining us, Martin spent over 16 years at AJ Bell, where he was responsible for scaling and developing client services across the company. As well as many other skills, Martin has significant experience communicating and working with financial advisers and their clients.

Ben Hemingway

Product Executive

Ben is a graduate research analyst at Praetura, who joined us after graduating from the University of Liverpool. In his role at Praetura, Ben is responsible for completing due diligence requests for our adviser firms and working closely with our third party reviewers, as well working closely with our various VC and investment teams  as we continue to expand our product offerings.

Josh Kumwenda

Internal Business Development Manager

Josh is an internal business development manager, working as part of the Praetura Investments team and providing More Than Money to investors. A keen footballer, Josh graduated from Liverpool John Moores University, where he studied for an accounting and finance degree and later completed a master’s in investment and finance, equipping him with a comprehensive understanding of the industry and financial planning.

Louie Bodle

Internal Business Development Manager

Louie is an internal business development manager, working as part of the Praetura Investments team and providing More Than Money to investors. Prior to his current role, Louie was part of the Praetura Asset Finance team, helping the credit team to manage risk in his work as a graduate underwriter. Louie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a first in accounting and finance, including a one-year placement at Kroll in the restructuring team.

Ben Collister

Internal Business Development Manager

Ben is an internal business development manager, working as part of the Praetura Investments team and providing More Than Money to investors. Before joining Praetura, Ben completed internships and courses at UBS and Saltus Asset Management, alongside his level 3 CISI wealth management qualification. He previously graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class honours in Accounting & Finance and lived in Spain for ten years.

Kieran O’Shaughnessy

Internal Business Development Manager

Kieran is an internal business development manager, working as part of the Praetura Investments team and providing More Than Money to investors. Prior to joining Praetura, Kieran worked as a marketing analyst for a family-run recruitment business based in Sydney, having also graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a 2:1 degree in Business & Marketing. Outside of the finance sector, Kieran has experience in retail and sales, having actively managed market stalls across the North West.

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 Honess

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

Communications Manager

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.

Amy Lowrey

Design Lead

Amy is Praetura Ventures’ design lead, responsible for our marketing and investment materials as well as our visual identity online and in print.
Before joining Praetura, Amy worked as a designer for various Manchester-based companies in sectors such as fitness, homeware and social media.

Jono Taylor

Senior Marketing Manager

Jono Taylor is a seasoned marketing professional with a rich background in brand and digital marketing. He began his career in Cape Town, South Africa, working at Mullen Lowe in marketing strategy before moving into the B2B agriculture sector. Relocating to London, Jono joined Shore Capital Group, focusing on tax-efficient investments with Puma Investments, where he worked for six years. In 2023, he joined Praetura as the Senior Marketing Manager at Praetura Investments, leading marketing efforts for fundraising in the IFA market.

Kate Norton

People and Talent 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

People and Talent Partner

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.

Laura Hough

Executive Assistant to David Foreman

Laura graduated from the University of Surrey with a BA in Dance & Culture. She first started working for Praetura in 2015 as an assistant to the partners, taking a full-time role at the firm before it became Praetura Ventures. As EA to MD David Foreman, Laura’s duties include scheduling meeting, correspondence and projects between teams, as well as coordinating the schedules of many of the members of the executive board and investment committee.

Spencer Jacobs

Compliance Manager

With over 15 years spent setting up and supporting the regulatory framework of various financial services firms Spencer brings with him a wealth of experience in the Investment, Consumer Credit and Life and Pensions markets. His role at Praetura is to ensure that Praetura’s Governance, Risk and Compliance controls are robust, efficient and adhered to.

Rebecca Hargreaves

Financial Controller

Rebecca is the financial controller for Praetura Ventures, responsible for all accounting matters within the business and working closely with our Group CFO.

Having graduated with a first in economics, Rebecca became a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2015 with first time passes.

Eloise Wilson

People Advisor

Eloise is Praetura Ventures’ People Advisor, focusing on enhancing workplace culture and supporting employee development with a Level 3 CIPD qualification and working towards her Level 5. Her role involves advising on best practices, resolving workplace issues, and implementing strategies that promote a positive and productive work environment. Prior to this role, she gained valuable experience as a People & Culture Assistant, where she honed her skills in employee engagement and HR administration.

Pamela Jackson-Carver

Payroll Manager

Pamela is the payroll manager for Praetura and is responsible for all aspects within this area of finance. After qualifying in AAT Payroll in 2004, Pamela spent 10 years at an accounting practice, followed by 24 years in the construction sector before joining Praetura.

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