21st November 2019

Leonardo Royal Hotel Tower Bridge (formerly Grange Hotel)
45 Prescot Street, London E1 8GP


The VCT & EIS Investor Forum is the leading event for VCT & EIS, and other tax efficient investments including peer-to-peer lending, BPR and IHT.

The Forum brings together top fund managers and providers from across the industry, with private investors and financial advisers / wealth managers, for a day of debate on the big challenges and opportunities facing our industry. 

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Nick Jenkins, Keynote Speaker

Nick read Russian at University before moving to Moscow in 1990 to work as a commodity trader for Glencore. Having witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of Wild West capitalism he returned home in 1998 to start his own business. Without any clear business idea in mind he studied for an MBA while developing several business plans, one of which became Moonpig.com, the online greeting card retailer. After several rounds of fundraising and a couple of flirtations with insolvency, the business finally made a profit in 2006. From that point the business grew rapidly to at point in 2011 when it had 5 million customers worldwide and was making £12m pre-tax profit on a turnover of £45m. It seemed the ideal time to sell. Since then Nick has invested in 28 early stage businesses through direct EIS investments, eight of which came through his appearance on Dragon’s Den in 2015/16. Nick now splits his time between managing the portfolio and his charitable activities. Nick is the Patron of Shivia, an organisation that aims to train the poorest families in West Bengal to make additional income through very small sale poultry farming. Nick is also a trustee of Operation Fistula, an African surgical charity and a Trustee of a Multi Academy  Trust in South London.

Rory Stewart, Keynote Speaker


Rory is an independent candidate for Mayor of London. This follows almost ten years as an MP, during which time he served as Secretary of State for International Development, Prisons Minister, Minister for Africa, and Minister for the Environment. Rory resigned from the cabinet in July following the election of Boris Johnson, and subsequently resigned from the Conservative party.

He has been a public servant for twenty nine years. After a brief period as an infantry officer he joined the UK Diplomatic Service, serving overseas in Jakarta, as British representative to Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo crisis, and ‎as the coalition Deputy-Governor of two provinces of Southern Iraq following the intervention of 2003. On leave from the Foreign Service he walked for 21 months crossing Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, staying in 500 village houses on the journey.

From 2005 to 2008 he was the Chair and Chief Executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation based in Kabul, which he built from one to three hundred employees, working to restore a section of the old city, establish a clinic, primary school, and Arts Institute, and bring Afghan crafts to international markets.

He has written four books, presented three BBC television documentaries, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his work in Iraq. 


Henry Blofeld, Keynote Speaker

Stalwart of cricket commentary Henry Blofeld was educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he became the lowest achieving cricket Blue since the Boer War.

After three and a half years into a struggling career in merchant banking, the young Blofeld

fled to Fleet Street to report on cricket for The Times. He started broadcasting on Test Match Special in 1972 and has remained a regular ever since - apart from a short-lived defection to Sky. His return brought a storm of approval from listeners who had missed his descriptions of passing buses, planes and pigeons. Finally retiring after more than 45 years of coverage, his final broadcast at Lords brought a standing ovation from the crowd.

Aside from his many tales of events on and off the pitch, Henry takes a self-deprecating look at a life well-lived. Adventures, mishaps and misunderstandings from around the world as he gets into scrapes with England cricketers, gets locked out of hotel rooms at midnight, and deals with on-air confusion.

Sometimes indiscreet, occasionally outrageous, always hilarious and brilliantly old-school, Blowers entertains any audience, regardless of their interest in cricket.

William Sachiti, Academy of Robotics

A serial entrepreneur with 13 years of experience in building and selling tech start- ups. William has exited his last three companies: the latest, MyCityVenue, was acquired by Secret Escapes in 2015 after which he went to study artificial intelligence and robotics. While at university, William was credited with creating the World’s first Artificially intelligent robot librarian.


As an inventor-entrepreneur he devised several patents on driverless vehicle technology, including drone delivery systems such as SkyHighway. After nearly two years at Aberystwyth University and then finishing off his training with NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute, William built a team of engineers and scientists to found the Academy of Robotics. William is already considered one of the leaders of the UK autonomous car space with regular appearances on TV, press and government panels as an industry expert. 


Eloise Ellis, Aston Lark

With over 13 years' experience, Eloise's main focus is to provide a service that goes beyond the ‘traditional insurance broking' offering. By working with a number of firms in the SEIS/EIS and VCT space, Eloise is uniquely positioned to offer advice and guidance on a variety of topics, including insurance solutions and risk management to both Fund Managers and the companies that they invest in.

Henry Whorwood, Beauhurst

Paul Miller, Bethnal Green Ventures


Paul Miller is Managing Partner and CEO of Bethnal Green Ventures, Europe’s leading early-stage VC for tech for good businesses. He co-founded the organisation and has led its growth, investing in over a hundred ventures to date.
Previously he was co-founder and CEO of the education technology startup School of Everything and before that was a senior researcher at think tanks Demos and Forum for the Future where he explored the social and environmental implications and opportunities of technology. Paul has advised governments and leading companies on policy, strategy and tech for good.


Adam Barron, BDO

Adam has been advising growth stage companies prepare for and secure funding for a number of years, with a strong focus on client relationships and satisfaction. Having originally trained as a barrister, His legal background gives the team an added dimension.

Ben Cater, Deepbridge Capital


Ben is Investment Manager within the Life Sciences team at Deepbridge. Prior to this role, Ben had been the managing director of Touchpoint Service and commercial director of Telmenow the healthcare equipment focussed e-commerce platform. Ben has also been chief commercial officer at Now Healthcare Group, a leading telemedicine provider with its Dr Now app.

With a BA (Hons) in Management from the University of Manchester, Ben’s other corporate experience includes being commercial director at Possum, market leaders in the provision, installation and support of many types of electronic assistive technology.


Jake Wombwell-Povey, Goji Investments

Jake Wombwell-Povey, CEO, is responsible for Goji's overall strategy and performance. Jake has been working in the alternative finance, lending and wealth management sectors since 2012, giving him valuable insight as to how the sectors intersect and how investors can benefit from investing in lending. Prior to joining Goji, Jake worked at Grant Thornton in the Financial Services Corporate Finance team where he qualified as an accountant (ACA). Jake also chairs TISA's forum on Peer to Peer and Alternative Lending.

Daniel Rodwell, GrowthInvest

Daniel was a founding investor in GrowthInvest and Chairman of the Investment Committee since 2012. He became Managing Director in late 2014. Prior to this he worked in finance for nearly 20 years, managing institutional and private funds focusing on equities and derivatives. Daniel managed the UK division of Van der Moolen Equities AG and more recently founded the equity derivatives boutique Ten Derivatives LLP.

Daniel has been an Angel Investor for over 10 years, mentors high growth businesses and sits on numerous panels across the UK assessing such businesses. He is passionate about increasing efficiency in the alternative investment sector, having witnessed first-hand the automation of OTC and Open Outcry traded products in the late 1990’s.

Martin Cosgrove, GrowthInvest

Martin recently joined the leadership team at GrowthInvest in the position of Investment Director. Prior to this, Martin's career spanned 20 years in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs, where, as a Managing Director, he was responsible for overseeing a number of trading and sales businesses within the equities division. Martin also represented Goldman Sachs on the Board of Equilend, which is a global market participant sponsored platform, facilitating Securities Finance Trading, Post-Trade and Clearing Services to the Securities Lending Industry.

Martin has been an active angel investor for 10 years and holds and mentors a large portfolio of growth companies across multiple sectors. He is a firm believer that the alternative investment sector offers investors an effective means of diversifying their portfolio coupled with the attractive returns and tax advantages available. He is passionate about increasing efficiency in the alternative investment sector, having overseen the automation of large parts of the Securities Lending Industry at Equilend.

Aanishah Begg, Midven

Aanisah is Investment Manager for both the Greater Birmingham EIS Fund and MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund. Her role involves deal origination and portfolio management; managing B2B and B2C portfolio companies.

Aanisah maintains links with the investor community across the West Midlands, particularly high-net worth individuals, family offices and LEPs.

Previously, Aanisah was an M&A Analyst at Catalyst Corporate Finance (now Alantra). Aanisah has achieved the CFA Society’s Investment Management Certificate and holds a BSc in Mathematics with Economics from Aston University.

Luke Barnett, MJ Hudson Allenbridge

Luke Barnett is an Associate in MJ Hudson Allenbridge’s Tax-Advantaged Investment Research team. His role includes undertaking due diligence and research across the tax-advantaged market, including SEIS, EIS, BR, AIM IHT and VCT offerings. Prior to Joining MJ Hudson Allenbridge, Luke was a Senior Investment Analyst at MICAP, and has held a number of investment analyst roles across various asset classes. Originally from South Africa, Luke has a Masters degree in economics from the University of Cape Town, is a CAIA Charterholder and has a Diploma in Financial Advice (DipFA).


Dr Josep Montanyà i Silvestre, Nanusens

Dr Josep Montanyà i Silvestr is the visionary who conceived the idea of building nanoscale MEMS sensors inside CMOS. He founded a company to develop this – Baolab Microsystems. This start-up won the Elektra Awards in the R&D category and it was listed twice in the EETimes Silicon 60 of the most promising electronic start-ups worldwide.

Josep later founded its successor, Nanusens, to productise and commercialise this unique, patent-pending technology, developed over more than 15 years, that will be at the heart of next generation sensors.

As CEO of Nanusens, he has been instrumental in several, very successful funding rounds thanks to his passion and deep understanding of this breakthrough technology.

Andy Davidson, Nova

Andy is a serial tech entrepreneur, During his last 5 years as CEO of Nova he has co-founded, invested in and raised investment for over 80 digital technology startups.In 2019  he launched Nova's Cofoundery SEIS and EIS fund which allows Nova to further scale its fund management and investment operations while providing excellent returns to our Fund investors.

Richard Barnes, Octopus Investments

Richard joined Octopus in 2014 as a Business Development Manager, before moving to the Tax Efficient Investment team as a Product Manager. Richard’s responsibilities include the development and management of the Venture Capital Trust business line, setting strategy, steering product development as well as day to day oversight. Richard has a Masters Degree in Chemistry from the University of York.

Grace England, Resonance

Grace is an Investment Manager at Resonance, where she currently leads the development of Resonance’s Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Funds across the UK, as well as the Resonance Angel Investor Network (RAIN). This has included Grace taking a lead role in arranging the UK’s very first SITR deal back in 2015 and, subsequently, in developing the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund - the first SITR fund to be launched in the country. Grace is now based in Resonance’s Birmingham office where she is working towards the imminent launch of Resonance’s second SITR Fund, dedicated to tackling poverty in the West Midlands through investment in Social Enterprise. 

Tom Wilde, Shoosmiths

Tom is the partner at Shoosmiths LLP who heads up the firm’s enterprise investment scheme and venture capital trusts (VCT) tax practice.

He is one of the UK’s leading experts in this field, with extensive experience advising investors and investee companies on structuring and implementing tax efficient investments, reorganisations and exits in compliance with the EIS and VCT regimes, ensuring that returns from investment are optimised. 

Tom’s in-depth experience also includes advising clients on share option schemes including EMI options, employee shareholder shares and company share option plans, as well as negotiating with HMRC on both contentious and non-contentious matters.


Seonaid Mackenzie, Sturgeon Ventures

Seonaid Mackenzie has a career, spanning 35 years in the financial services with positions including being stockbroker for multiple American firms, fund manager, an operator of UK funds; fund raising for private companies and funds; and multiple advisory positions of financial service firms and SMEs.

In 1998, she founded Sturgeon Ventures, an Authorised and Regulated by the FCA and a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC.  Sturgeon Ventures is an established regulatory incubator for start-ups, coining the phrase Regulatory Incubator in 2001. Since 2000 Sturgeon has incubated many startup companies including corporate finance boutiques, capital introduction companies and family office advisors.

Seonaid is a Trustee for a registered Charity Crosslight Advice and a frequent fund raiser for multi-charitable events, as well as a regular speaker in schools.  Sturgeon is a member of the Women’s Charter in Finance, and Seonaid is a Champion of back to work mothers.

Kealan Doyle, Symvan Capital

Kealan has worked with venture capital companies for 15 years, both in a corporate finance advisory capacity as well as a fund manager.  He prefers to invest in a wide range of technology companies, but is also very interested in finding synergies within the Symvan portfolio of companies.  Company interests include big data analytics, fintech, SaaS, 3D printing and network security. Before his involvement in venture capital investing, Kealan previously lead a structured equity products team at HSBC, and has worked at Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and UBS. Together with Nicholas, he has since founded his own entrepreneurial businesses to focus on VC investing. Kealan holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto.

Graham Schwikkard, SyndicateRoom


Graham joined SR as Head of Operations in 2017, after seven years as a management consultant. He has significant experience of helping companies develop market strategies and optimise business models. He also has in-depth technical expertise, focused on maximising efficiency, and was responsible for creating and implementing new, automated systems throughout the company. The combination of Graham's strategic approach, drive to further enhance delivery and knowledge of best practice is invaluable for scaling our platform.

Graham came to the UK from South Africa, to study at the University of Cambridge's business school (the Cambridge Judge Business School), where he completed his MBA, with distinction. He also gained awards for his MBA studies, including a prize for the best mark in management practice. In addition, Graham holds a degree in Genetics.  


John Auckland, TribeFirst

John Auckland is a venture marketer, public speaker, author and founder of TribeFirst, a global equity crowdfunding communications agency. TribeFirst has helped over 70 start-ups and scale-ups raise in excess of £30m, with a greater than 98% survival rate. John is also Virgin StartUp's crowdfunding trainer and consultant, helping them to run branded workshops, webinars and programmes on crowdfunding. John is passionate about working with world changing businesses and helping them both raise funds and build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers and supporters at the same time.

Matthew Cushen, Worth Capital

A seed capital investor for over 15 years. Co-founder of Worth Capital, who find and fund the brightest entrepreneurs with the smartest ideas through the Start-Up Series – the largest seed funding competition in the UK. Worth Capital has 22 portfolio companies, each of whom benefit from Matthew’s, and his co-founder Paul’s, deep marketing, brand, retail and innovation experience. Worth Capital hunts for businesses with a truly innovative product, service or sales channel, in an underserved and/or growth market, capable of creating habitual consumption (B2B or B2B) and a loved brand.