Since forming Acceleris 20 years ago I have met some inspirational people, made some wonderful friends; experienced some spectacular highs and worrying lows; and played a small part in creating some new businesses from the abundance of talent in the UK.
I had never started a business before Acceleris but since then we have helped form, capitalise and commercialise more than 50.
On that journey we have met people, both investors and entrepreneurs who, today, I class as good friends. Many of them continue to work with Acceleris in varying roles. Going through the ups and downs off growing a new business is very demanding and tests relationship to the full.
As well as starting Acceleris in 2000 I embarked on a Masters Degree at the same time, as a part-time mature student - quite a daunting prospect! Apart from switching my brain to academic thought this experience did provide incredibly useful input into the development of the Acceleris business model and to this day we still use many of the learning’s in how we approach investing in early stage tech businesses.
The most satisfying highs have been taking raw entrepreneurial talent from start-up to exit via an IPO or sale - only the ones that can manage the ups and downs of corporate and commercial development survive the journey. The lows often come on the same journey, with delayed funding rounds, not hitting milestones and constant issues associated with growth.
What has given me great satisfaction recently is my appointment as a trustee of the University of Liverpool - the original red-brick University. I am truly in awe at the abundance of talent and opportunity for innovation coming out of the higher education system in the UK.
All of this is a far cry from my early career as a cost accountant and consultant for Pricewaterhose working in the North of England.