Meet the Team
Chairman and Chief Executive - Ariadne Capital; Managing Partner – Ariadne Fund; Founder – Entrepreneur Country; MBE
Julie Meyer founded Ariadne Capital in August 2000 to create a new model for the financing of entrepreneurship in Europe and the UK - "Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs". She created the founding Investor Partnership of 60 leading entrepreneurs and business builders who are Ariadne's core shareholders.
She has led or co-led the investments and/or advisory mandates with BeatThatQuote, Espotting, Monitise, SpinVox, and Zopa. She manages the Ariadne fund, sitting on the Boards of Clickslide, Taggstar and itrigga.
Julie was part of the early team at Tom Teichman's NewMedia Investors in 1998, which became early stage investment firm Spark Ventures in October 1999. At NewMedia Investors, she co-managed deals in key technology companies including ArcCores, lastminute.com and WGSN. Also, in 1998, she founded First Tuesday, the network of entrepreneurs, which many credit for igniting the Internet generation in Europe. It was sold in July 2000 for $50 million in cash and shares.
She has been named one of INSEAD's Top 50 Alumni, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow, TIME Magazine Digital 50, one of WIRED's 100, one of London's 1000 Most Influential People (Evening Standard) and one of the Top 30 Most Influential Women in Europe.
Julie is also one of the BBC's Online Dragons in the award-winning Dragon's Den Online, and is also currently setting up a "Dads and Daughters" foundation to support and extend her thesis that women's identities are shaped - for good or bad - by the messages they receive from their father's as children and young adults.
She is on the Board of Directors of Medikidz, Vestergaard Frandsen, a for profit humanitarian development firm, and INSEAD, her business school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and English Literature from Valparaiso University, near Chicago, US in 1988, having spent her junior year in Cambridge, UK in 1986.
In 2011, she was asked to be on the Secretary of State's Entrepreneurs Panel and the Secretary of Health's Innovation Panel. In 2012, Julie was honoured to receive an honorary MBE, for her ‘services to entrepreneurship’. Julie’s first book ‘Welcome to Entrepreneur Country’ was published in June 2012.
To schedule a call or an appointment, contact Jessica Gardner on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For speaking opportunities please contact Jan McGinley - email@example.com.
Julie Meyer, MBE
Ariadne Capital – CEO – in our 13th year
Managing Partner – Ariadne Fund
Entrepreneur Country – Founder
+44 203 021 1641
Director - Corporate Finance and Entrepreneur Country
Amit is deeply passionate about helping companies exploit disruption (business models and technology) to transform their business. His 20+ years experience in the TMT industry has given a robust platform to launch numerous market leading solutions in areas such as enterprise mobility, mobile entertainment, managed data services, digital marketing and electronic commerce. Whether it is in a corporate leadership role or an entrepreneurial environment Amit consistently drives innovative ‘go to’ market strategies in order to deliver quantum growth.
In his previous high profile corporate positions at Vodafone, as Group MD for International Accounts and Business Markets, Amit was instrumental in creating strategic OEM partnerships with Dell, IBM and HP. Additionally, he led the Divisional Units of AT&T and GTS where he launched their e-commerce products and delivered significant scale.
Amit has transformed multiple entrepreneurial companies; whether it be as an investor driving the IPO’s or NED working with the Executive team in refining their business models, mentoring them with scaling their operations in order for successful exits. This vastly enriching experience has enhanced his experience in commercialising innovation with a combination of business models and disruptive technologies.
Over the years Amit has served on a number of listed and private boards such as Vodafone Spain, Radamec Plc, IOS Plc and Goldnet, to name a few.
Senior Advisor – Fund Administration
Lorna Collings has worked in the Private Equity industry for 15 years starting her career with BancBoston Capital where she held positions in both the Finance Department and the Investment Team. After five years she moved to CDC Group plc to work on the spin out of Actis Capital LLP. Subsequently spent six years with Gartmore Private Equity and was an integral part of the project team responsible for the complex joint venture with Hermes Private Equity to create Hermes GPE LLP, where she was Finance Director. More recently she works as a consultant, advising Finance Teams in the Private Equity & Venture Capital industry.
Lorna has a BA (Hons) degree in Applied Psychology from Sussex University and became a Chartered Management Accountant, qualifing in 2000.
Senior Advisor - Finance
Paul has 25 years experience in corporate strategy, visioning and driving strategic change, innovation and performance improvement throughout an organisation be that organically or through transactions. Extensive experience building businesses in retail financial services and online media sectors. At Interactive Investor as Head of Corporate Strategy and Development, Paul led the development of the online brokerage proposition, growing it from start-up to one of the leading online brokers in UK, managed the finances leading the business into profit, and led capital raisings and acquisitions.
Prior to Interactive Investor, Paul worked for 5 years at AMP, setting up an online fund supermarket business from concept to implementation, and developing and executing their European entry strategy.
Paul started his career with 10 years in management consultancy at OASiS and Ernst & Young delivering large scale business transformation programmes across people, process and systems.
Executive Assistant to CEO
Jessica joined Ariadne Capital in April 2013 as the Executive Assistant to CEO, Julie Meyer.
Prior to Joining Ariadne Capital, Jessica was an Executive Assistant at GE Capital EMEA Services Ltd where she provided support to two Senior Leaders.
Jessica has 8 years PA/EA experience in Financial Services and previous experience in Marketing and Event Management within the leisure industry.
Peter graduated in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Business Management and Accounting & Finance degree from Nottingham Business School, and whilst at University was actively involved in the 1stXV Rugby team and Business and Finance Society.
He is currently undertaking his Professional Accountancy qualifications (ACCA) and before working at Ariadne gained experience working at a Chartered Accountancy Firm.
A keen sportsman and traveller, Peter enjoys playing everything from Rugby through to Croquet and has spent time in places such as Southern Africa, Australia & New Zealand, South East Asia and Europe.
Claire joined Ariadne Capital in October 2010, and is the Executive Assistant to CEO, Julie Meyer.
Prior to joining Ariadne Capital Claire was Team Secretary at Prudential Property Investment Managers, the property investment arm of M&G Investments, where she provided support to two Fund Managers & six Investment Managers.
Claire also previously worked with the event management industry, and has several years experience as part of an events team working on many promotional marketing campaigns for large companies such as Lexus, Toyota, O2, & T-Mobile. She also has many years experience within the entertainment industry as a dancer and singer. Claire has peformed in several theatre shows and spent 7 years touring theatres around the UK as, she has also appeared as a Background Artiste in TV & films.
Assistant Director, Ariadne Capital & Investment Manager ACE Fund
Before joining Ariadne Capital James was a consultant in the Strategy practice at Deloitte London. During this period James worked with both large corporates and entrepreneurial businesses on pure strategy projects and transaction based projects.
James has a BA (Hons) in Business Economics and MSc Management with Distinction. Whilst at university and since leaving university, as a personal pursuit, James has started and assisted in the creation of a number of small businesses.
Director of M&A and Corporate Advisory
Ian Findlay has 20+ years experience working in strategy formulation and transaction initiation, structuring and execution.
At Ariadne, Ian has been engaged by a variety of start-ups to advise on their business development and funding, and also by corporates looking to embrace digital business models. Ian has also assisted numerous start-ups exit successfully, including being the sole financial adviser on the sale of comparison site BeatThatQuote to Google at 122xEBITDA, and the sale of social media agency Simply Zesty to UTV Media plc. Ian has also advised on the buy side and assisted ITV in their acquisition review of Channel 5, and advised of the purchase from Reed Elsevier of Travel Weekly and Caterer & Hotelkeeper.
Some of the mandates completed by Ian at Ariadne are shown in the tombstones below.
Ian is continuing to build Ariadne’s corporate finance presence, covering M&A (Sell-side and Buy-side), valuation and raising capital, together with strategy development and corporate advisory.
Ian spent 16 years with Emap, during the last six of which he was Director of Corporate Development and latterly a member of the Executive Board. Ian has an extensive track record of completing transactions including partnerships, joint ventures, acquisitions and divestments, and is a seasoned negotiator. At Emap Ian was responsible for 47 completed M&A transactions with a total value of £4.5 billion - 32 acquisitions and 15 disposals.
Prior to joining Emap in 1992, Ian was Business Development Director of RBPG, a division of Reed Elsevier, where he completed numerous transactions.
Ian is MBA and degree qualified, and has worked in the USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and the Middle East.
Nicolas Perard joined Ariadne Capital in July 2012 and focuses on supporting the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneur (ACE) fund. Before joining Ariadne, Nicolas had previous experiences in Venture Capital at DN Capital and Management Consulting at Fiserv.
Passionate about early and growth stage tech investments and entrepreneurship Nicolas completed a Master Degree in Technology and Management from École Centrale Paris after graduating from Paris Dauphine University with a Master Degree in Finance.
Senior Adviser, Ariadne Capital
Jonathan Simnett has nearly 30 years' experience, winning in excess of three dozen awards, building businesses and helping public and private sector organisations and their investors in fast-growth B2B and B2C segments to: grow; manage change: reposition; enter new markets; acquire; float and report through the delivery of more effective management and marketing communications strategies.
Leader of the team named Global Communications Department of the Year at the 2009 International Business Awards, New York, he was formerly vice chairman in the UK of Brodeur Worldwide, a global public relations consultancy. He was part of the team that founded and built a company of 650 people and $95 million turnover worldwide over a period of 15 years, before selling to Omnicom. He also sat on the board of Brodeur in Europe and became one of the UK’s first Investor in People.
He has worked with established companies in periods of rapid change such as: AT&T; Avaya; BT; C&W; Cisco; HP; Huawei; Infosys; Intel; Myriad; Novell; Informix; IBM; Nortel Networks; OpenReach; TCS; Time Out Group and Sybase. In addition, he has also worked with fast growth or venture-backed companies taking many to sale or public offering including: Blast Radius; Calyx; Civica; Concateno; Centiq; Clear; e2v technologies; Gear4; Getjar; Global Graphics; Holition; Intuwave; Interoute; KeyPoint Technologies; Technis; marketingQED; SpinVox; WEEE Systems, Westhouse Medical and Zomm.
He has also delivered campaigns for CEOs and financiers and advisory firms such as Ariadne Capital and Battery Ventures and their portfolios and for government organisations such as: European Commission DG XIII; Innovation Norway; Locate in Scotland; Royal Norwegian Embassy; Salford Regeneration and Thames Valley Enterprise. In addition, he's worked with the management teams of agencies including: Chameleon; CognitoMedia; Komodo; Fleishman-Hillard; Midnight Communications; Positive Marketing and Rochester PR Group.
Senior Advisor, Ariadne Capital - Luxury Retail, Fashion
Linda has a diverse background with experience in entrepreneurial ventures, corporate venturing with major global companies, and business model innovation that spans over 25 years, including over 12 years in the Luxury & Lifestyle industry sector. Her unique background combines luxury e-commerce expertise, along with experience in more traditional retail platforms for developing brands and luxury businesses. Linda has held leadership and operating roles in the industry as CEO, MD, and VP Global Strategy, Business Development and Strategic Marketing. Her experience includes: overall leadership and management of early and growth stage businesses with full P&L responsibility, strategy development, strategic marketing and operations management.
She has particular experience in developing and growing luxury fashion & beauty and lifestyle businesses. At Sephora.com (owned by LVMH), one of the top leaders in online luxury beauty retailing, she was responsible for global strategy, business development, and strategic marketing where she built strategic partnerships and led marketing initiatives that resulted in significant growth of the customer base and revenue. Recently, she was Interim MD for Cocosa.com, a UK flash-sales fashion business owned by Bauer Media, where under her leadership Cocosa achieved high growth and a platform for sustainable growth. She developed and was executing on a new lifestyle strategy including Travel and Beauty and International expansion. She was instrumental in the successful sale of Cocosa to Al Fayed Family Trusts completed in July 2011.
Upon moving to London from San Francisco in 2002, in collaboration with the University of Arts London, she co-founded the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a successful and innovative venture programme for British Fashion start-up businesses. In 2006, she joined a UK/US based private equity advisory firm where she was the industry CEO for the Luxury Fashion & Beauty sector.
Prior to working in the luxury industry, she held senior/partner-level positions in prestigious US consulting firms including CSC Index based in Cambridge MA, and Strategos (under Gary Hamel’s leadership) based in Silicon Valley, California. She consulted to corporations on strategy innovation, corporate venturing, and design of new operating models.
She has board-level experience as a Non-executive Director and Company Secretary. Educated in the US, Linda holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computing Science with honours from the University of Evansville. Linda is a dual British and American citizen and resides in London.
Senior Advisor for Health Technology, Ariadne Capital
Melinda Nicci MSc, is a Sport Psychologist and a successful international entrepreneur and consultant in the health and wellbeing industry. As well as being an expert advisor and speaker, Melinda held the position of Senior Director in Global Group Innovation, at Philips Head Office in Amsterdam. She is currently Senior Advisor for Health Technology for Ariadne Capital. Based in London, Melinda also acts as a mentor and advisor on accelerator programmes in the technology sector, as an innovation mentor for executives, and consults to companies from blue chip to start up, including the NHS, in developing technology based health propositions; strategy; go- to- market; partnerships and business models. Melinda has also co-written a book, produced a very successful wellbeing DVD, has written for many publications, and has had numerous television appearances as a health expert. Melinda developed a new health and wellbeing educational initiative for teenagers, which is piloting in schools in London.
CTO in Residence
Kit is a board experienced CTO and CIO with a skill-set across software development, IT systems and company operations.
The majority of his career has been spent growing start-ups or turning around SMEs that may otherwise have been regarded as 'end-of-life'.
Having mostly worked for private-equity or VC backed organisations, Kit's skills have been regularly used by investors to evaluate companies they may have an interest in, perform due-diligence activities, or assist with growth or turnaround strategies.
With an exceptional ability to rapidly understand a new product or service, the business model around it and whether the technology and operations are helping or hindering the company vision, Kit is as comfortable operating within experienced boards as he is probing lines of source-code with the developers and engineers.
Extremely innovative, Kit rapidly finds solutions to any technical or operational challenge; and as well as having patents to his own name is also excellent at identifying the unique product features or methods in others' intellectual property and then making the most of them from a business perspective.
Kit's network and access to skills is very broad, having worked with experts across virtually every technological discipline, using development and BPO organisations across most continents, peering with 'deep' contacts (i.e. true technology owners, not evangelists) inside organisations like Microsoft, and negotiating products, services and partnerships from the largest name-brand companies down to the smallest specialist suppliers.
Kit is a Chartered IT Professional and has voluntarily assisted the British Computer Society, the National Computer Centre, the DTI, the Learning and Skills Council and the government e-Skills programme on a range of topics from Professionalism in IT initiatives to defining skills frameworks for CIOs through to IT end-users.
Head of Editorial - Entrepreneur Country
Kelly Dolan joined Entrepreneur Country in January 2012 as Head of Content.
Her current responsibilities include managing Entrepreneur Country’s host of media platforms, including creating a weekly newsletter for investors and entrepreneurs, designing and editing a monthly digital magazine as well as managing an inventory of 200 leading entrepreneurial contributors, who share their business insights with Entrepreneur Country readers through it’s various communication channels.
Kelly has also worked on account management, business development and sales, as well as strengthened engagement and increased the population of the Entrepreneur Country community.
Prior to joining Entrepreneur Country Kelly worked as a freelance journalist for Bauer Media on a range of men’s and women’s titles during crucial periods of digital transformation. Kelly also speaks at young entrepreneurial programmes, workshops and business schools, as well as sits on panels for industry events.
Senior Advisor Talent
Paul has over 16 years experience in the Executive Search and Talent Advisory market. His core areas of expertise include Talent Acquisition, Management and Development, with a particular focus on the people dynamics that effect start-ups and high growth businesses experiencing change.
The majority of Paul’s experience is within the Technology, Telecommunications and Media Sectors and includes extensive work with early stage start-ups as well as FTSE 100’s and leading Professional Services firms.
He is currently advisor to a number of CEO’s in the TMT market and works closely with them to create dynamic and effective leadership teams.
Jan joined Ariadne in December 2012 to manage Julie Meyer’s global speaking engagements, bringing a wealth of experience in PR, project management and business development. Having started her first business at the age of 16, Jan has continued to build small companies over a number of years, with her experience as an entrepreneur giving her a measured and intuitive approach to her speaking agent role, supported by a huge network of contacts built through her 20 years in business.
Prior to joining Ariadne, Jan spent 5 years in PR, during which time she set up an Entrepreneur Ambassador Panel for a Government project, media trained business experts and worked with a number of corporates and well known high street brands.
Jan has a BA Honours from UEL. She has travelled extensively in South America, India and Australia.
Previously employed by Sea Containers Ltd for 29 years reaching the position of Group Chief Accountant responsible for producing and filing the consolidated accounts of both Sea Containers and Orient Express Hotels Ltd . A hard working individual with experience within the leisure activities (hotels & train), publishing, travel industry, container leasing, manufacturing, shipping and property development.
Steve O’Donnell has over 30 years global experience working at C-level in large multinational organisations. He was CEO at MEEZA, a Qatar Foundation Joint Venture, Managing Director at ESG, Global Head of Data Centre Operations at BT and has held senior positions at Cable & Wireless, Lehman Brothers, and Deutsche Bank.
He is globally recognised as an expert in green IT and sustainability having won six industry awards including the British Computer Society best use of green technology award in 2007. He is an active angel investor and Non Executive, working in Smart Grid, Sustainability, Data Centre cooling technology, IT Security and the IT Services sector. He is an inventor and holds a number of patents in the data center cooling area. In 1999 one of the companies he led as CEO won a Fast 50 special award from Deloitte & Touche for rapid company growth achieving over 3000% in three years.
Steve is a entrepreneur, and a global businessman, with a deep understanding of how to drive performance and efficiency in the organisations he manages. He has successful experience in six trade sales, two MBOs and an IPO. He is an active participant in social media with a loyal following on his blog http://www.thehotaisle.com and a growing audience on Twitter @stephenodonnell. He likes to add value in analysing and understanding the problem, identifying the customer segments and honing the message and product offering to help drive sales execution.
Tobias Straessle is an internationally experienced senior business executive with over 30 years in the financial services industry as line manager and management consultant. He has a track record of shaping & implementing new technology-based business operating models & services, scaling businesses for growth, managing complex business & organizational change programs, optimizing value chains for higher productivity and better cost efficiency, building & leading large multi-cultural, high-performance IT and Operations teams.
His expertise includes business and technology innovations in capital markets trading & settlement, wealth management and asset management, service outsourcing/insourcing, technology due diligence, people development and coaching, management and strategic leadership of operations & information technology departments.
Tobias Straessle is today engaged on various fronts: He owns Grey Cells Associates Ltd, a Management & Technology Consulting firm; he is a Senior Advisor of Eleven Canterbury Ltd., a firm that coaches small to mid-sized technology-based companies for Financial Services market entry; he is Chairman of Saxo Bank (Switzerland), the subsidiary of a global investment bank offering online capital markets trading and investing for retail, professionals including White Label partners. Previously Tobias spent over three years with Saxo Bank Group, as COO and CIO, based in Copenhagen, 15 years with UBS/SBC Investment bank in London & Zurich, one year with CBI in Geneva, seven years with Andersen Consulting and a few years with Credit Suisse. Tobias holds a Master Degree in Mathematics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and an MBA from J.L.Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. He speaks English, German and French
Head of Events - Entrepreneur Country
Rhea Sethi joined the Entrepreneur Country team in 2012 to manage its extensive events portfolio, as well as support business development.
As Head of Events, Rhea organises Entrepreneur Country's bi-annual Forums, facilitating a full day of networking for 400 entrepreneurs and investors, as well as numerous workshops for the Entrepreneur Country community, incorporating partners and sponsors. More recently, Rhea organised Ariadne Capital's Follow the Entrepreneur Summit, a two day residential for 200 high net-worth individuals.
Rhea's expertise lies in both events management and recruitment and has worked for the likes of KPMG and Morgan Stanley. She also has a BA Degree in Business and Management from Hertfordshire University.
Marketing Manager - Entrepreneur Country
Tom joined Entrepreneur Country in 2010 as Marketing Manager having previously worked in online for Incisive Media. His responsibilities have included growing the Entrepreneur Country community through social media & marketing campaigns while developing new digital offerings for the Entrepreneur Country brand.
Tom became involved in online marketing after completing his BA Marketing and Advertising degree from Hull University. A keen traveller,
Tom has lived across Eastern Europe, Southern Africa and briefly in America.
Travis Baxter has thirty years experience of consumer media with specific expertise in content development, consumer change and business strategy. He spent the first 5 years of his career at the BBC and since then his experience includes working at divisional MD level for RTL group and the FTSE 100 company EMAP and working as an operating partner with Advent International. Travis is currently media advisor to the Turkish private equity firm Actera, a non-executive director of South West Screen and of Slicethepie, and is Content and External Affairs Director of Bauer Media in the UK. He also sits on the board of a number of UK radio trade bodies.