The board

Graham Schwikkard

CEO

CEO Graham Schwikkard has over a decade of experience with data science and working with large datasets. He has a fascination with the dynamics of the startup investment network and after coming across the Companies House dataset in 2017, he spent many hours designing much of the analysis behind the Access Fund. Graham would like to see Access become a vehicle for delivering efficient capital throughout the network, and increase the odds of the system producing more Unicorns and economic growth. Prior to working at SyndicateRoom, Graham spent seven years as a management consultant, and has significant experience of helping companies develop market strategies and optimise business models. He also has in-depth technical expertise, focused on maximising efficiency.

Tom Britton

Co-founder

After completing his MBA in Cambridge, Tom co-founded SyndicateRoom to give a wider audience access to venture capital investment. As co-founder, Tom works across all aspects of the business, with an emphasis on product development and marketing strategy, and as much direct contact with our super angels and investors as possible. He enjoys being plugged into the wider industry and sits on the board of the UK Business Angel Association. He also hosts SyndicateRoom’s Angel Insights podcast, interviewing key industry figures. Prior to founding SyndicateRoom, Tom was Product Manager at TheTrainline, where he headed up the launch of its mobile applications.

Tim Bellis

Chairman of the Board

Tim is Chairman of the Board at SR and has been involved as an advisor since the company was just an idea. Tim brings a wealth of experience to the board, having been a Partner at Herbert Smith LLP specialising in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings on international stock exchanges, and investment and joint venture work.

With more than 24 years' experience in the field, Tim now spends much of his time in academia as a Fellow of Management Practice and a Senior Adviser for Professional Service Firms at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Tim has been featured in and contributed to a number of publications.

Deborah Sayagh

Non-Exec Director

Deborah has a background in sales and business strategy, running and mobilising teams in bringing on new clients and mining opportunities with existing clients. She has over 13 years’ experience in banking, with a particular focus in the Private Client / HNW space, having worked at RBS, Citi and currently Investec.

She uses deep analytics combined with a strong commercial focus to effectively target and market to prospective clients. She currently works at Investec as Head of Strategic Client Partnerships, having been with the bank for over 8 years. In this role she connects clients with new business opportunities or investors via Investec’s networks. She strongly believes that deep data insights drive high quality decision making and effective sales strategies.

Deborah has a strong passion around diversity, championing minority groups both within and outside of the organisations she works with. She previously set up the Investec Female Entrepreneurs network and ran the Gender Balance network at Investec.

Simone Koo Ishikawa

Non-Exec Director

Simone Koo Ishikawa is an angel investor and an advisor to a number of impact and fintech start-ups globally. She has a broad network across angels, VCs, investment banks, asset management, family offices, private banks, institutional investors and corporates through years of experience in financial services.

She advises start-ups on a number of areas including fundraising, investor management, go-to-market, partnership, scale up and marketing strategy as well as team build and culture.

She is a frequent speaker in fintech, banking, and women’s circles in London. She also lectures at Oxford Saïd Business School Entrepreneurial project, Cambridge Judge Business School and is an Honorary Practice Fellow at Imperial College Business School.

Prior to this, she was an operator at a Softbank-backed unicorn scale up; Director of Customer Success at OakNorth – NextGen credit platform for SME lenders globally. OakNorth was the only profitable fintech unicorn in Europe in 2019. Before this, she spent 16 years in asset management and investment banking trading floors at JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. She worked as an ETF Sales Strategist, Chief Operating Officer in charge of divisions with over 2000+ people and +$10bn of revenues, Head of Strategy, Structurer and Trader.

Simon Coomes

Non-Exec Director

Simon Coomes is a strategic commercial leader with experience in numerous sectors and businesses, ranging from a FTSE 50 corporate to a successful startup.

He leads Marketing and Commercial Performance for FTSE 50 Investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown. His team covers a broad range of specialisms from digital marketing, client and asset acquisition, strategy and planning to brand development, positioning, management and performance monitoring.

He has an extensive network of senior leaders across financial services, fintech and media companies.

He is a Chartered Manager with excellent team and project leadership, problem-solving and analytical skills. With a history of building high calibre teams and driving them to successful outcomes. He also holds an Exec MBA from Cranfield University.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos

Co-founder & Non-Exec Director

A serial entrepreneur himself, Gonçalo is only too aware of the long path leading to a successful funding round.

In September 2011 Gonçalo graduated with an MBA from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge where he was awarded the 'Best Dissertation' prize and the Benavitch Scholarship for academic and professional achievements.

His past experience has shown him that often entrepreneurs have to spend too much time chasing investors instead of focusing on the most important part of their business: their customers.

He has a vision of how to help great entrepreneurs to fulfil their dreams and that vision is called "SyndicateRoom". He is passionate about giving the crowd access to the top deals into which experienced business angels are investing their own money.

Gonçalo is also a lecturer at the University of Cambridge and a contributor for Forbes, writing regularly about equity crowdfunding, business angel investment and venture capital investment and speaks regularly at public events about the same themes.

The team

Graham Schwikkard

CEO

CEO Graham Schwikkard has over a decade of experience with data science and working with large datasets. He has a fascination with the dynamics of the startup investment network and after coming across the Companies House dataset in 2017, he spent many hours designing much of the analysis behind the Access Fund. Graham would like to see Access become a vehicle for delivering efficient capital throughout the network, and increase the odds of the system producing more Unicorns and economic growth. Prior to working at SyndicateRoom, Graham spent seven years as a management consultant, and has significant experience of helping companies develop market strategies and optimise business models. He also has in-depth technical expertise, focused on maximising efficiency.

Tom Britton

Co-founder

After completing his MBA in Cambridge, Tom co-founded SyndicateRoom to give a wider audience access to venture capital investment. As co-founder, Tom works across all aspects of the business, with an emphasis on product development and marketing strategy, and as much direct contact with our super angels and investors as possible. He enjoys being plugged into the wider industry and sits on the board of the UK Business Angel Association. He also hosts SyndicateRoom’s Angel Insights podcast, interviewing key industry figures. Prior to founding SyndicateRoom, Tom was Product Manager at TheTrainline, where he headed up the launch of its mobile applications.

Francesca O'Brien

Partner (Risk)

Fran has six years’ investment experience and in-depth knowledge of a wide range of sectors, including life sciences, e-commerce and film. She has significant experience negotiating fair investment terms, managing due-diligence processes and EIS documentation, as well as client relations. Since she joined SyndicateRoom as its first employee in 2013, Fran has overseen more than 200 early-stage funding-round transactions, leading sales, legal and deal-analysis teams. She has also been instrumental in building the business and co-creating a strong, supportive culture. She is a regular panel speaker and presenter, and her investment commentary has attracted media coverage in The Telegraph, The Times and CityAM. Fran read Psychology at the University of Cambridge and has a post-graduate diploma in Law.

Miruna Girtu

Venture Partner

Miruna works alongside top angel investors to find, co-invest into, and further support the next generation of bold entrepreneurs. At SR, she aims to invest in 50+ startups a year through data-driven superangel fund, Access EIS. She has previously worked with hundreds of startups, grown and managed an extensive community of partners, and launched a product to increase access to capital and connect entrepreneurs with the most relevant strategic investors for them – from angels and family offices to VCs and corporates.

Chris Ward

Head of Tech

As Head of Technology Chris is roadmap architect, head of product, project manager, development manager, web developer and web/UX/graphic designer. He has over 15 years of experience working with the web, primarily in retail and associated marketing and he is passionate about delivering technology that improves the lives of customers through building, developing, and supporting the engineering/development teams that do this. He spent the majority of his career as a web developer, designer and consultant.

Fatema Okabhai

Software Engineer

Fatema is one of our software engineers, her responsibilities include implementing new functionality to support the business needs, code review and generally supporting the wider team on technical issues.

Jon Shepherd

Head of Investor Services

Jon is responsible for liaising with portfolio companies, managing all EIS activities and assisting with investor queries.

Sonia Caetano

Senior Graphic Designer

Sonia is responsible for designing visual indentities and creative concepts for print, web, and mobile. She works closely with SR's development team to produce user-friendly experiences for our website.

With over 10 years experience in the design industry, Sonia's talent has been recognised with a Hermes Creative Award for her work on SR's Syndicate Magazine and 'The Art of Fundraising' guide. Sonia's contribution to SR's annual 'Top 100: Britain's Fastest-Growing Businesses' report has resulted in press coverage from The Sunday Times, Evening Standard, and Forbes.

Anthony Pitters

Investment Analyst

Anthony is responsible for taking companies through our investment process and works on the data analysis that drives the Access EIS fund.

Prior to SR, Anthony worked for several banks including Goldman Sachs, Barclays and NatWest. He has both an MSc in Chemical Engineering and a BEng in Materials Science from Imperial College London and an MBA from London Business School.

Martin Dean

Head of Content

Martin studied English at the University of Cambridge and has been working as a copywriter and content strategist for more than 14 years. In that time he's created content for print and digital publications, websites and social media spanning arts, culture, travel, legal and financial, including work for Sotheby's and VisitBritain.

Omar Rauf

Associate

Omar is responsible for liaising with investee companies and investors, carrying out the EIS process, undertaking reconciliations, dealing with investor queries, updating internal systems, setting up pre-emption rounds, and maintaining documentation.

Previously, Omar worked as a Project Developer and holds an BSc (Hons) of Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Project Management.

Flavie

Junior Associate

Flavie carries out investor requests and provides portfolio management administrative tasks

Samuel Izzard

Investment Analyst

Having graduated with a Degree in Economics, Samuel spent the first 3 years of his career based in Switzerland working within Wealth Management before relocating back to the UK to work in Software M&A as an analyst. Since moving over to SR he spends the majority of his time originating and reviewing investment opportunities before arranging SR's investment into those that are a fit for the portfolio.

The super angels

The table below shows a selection of our super angels' investment track records and their noteworthy investments. Names are redacted for privacy reasons.

Read more about our super angels, their backgrounds, investments and our selection criteria.

Super angel IRR* Number of
investments**
Notable investments
Angel 1 196% 12 Highview Power, what3words
Angel 2 64% 31 Cambridge Nutraceuticals, Neul
Angel 3 162% 15 Gelmetix, what3words
Angel 4 116% 14 Magic Pony Technology, RotaGeek
Angel 5 61% 50 Audio Analytic, Neul
Angel 6 67% 33 Abundance, Swiftkey
Angel 7 126% 27 Adzuna, Tandem, VouchedFor
Angel 8 60% 27 Atom, Homeppl, Monese
Angel 9 90% 10 Ethical Introductions, Tandem, Urban Jungle
Angel 10 587% 9 Glider Yachts, Fairsail

Listen to an interview with one of our super angels, Chris Mairs. His investments include what3words, Zzish and Magic Pony Technology. Magic Pony Technology was acquired by Twitter for £150 million in 2016.