Meet The Team

Simplifying Founders’ Lives

Adam

Ben

Allan

Tom

Ian

Sameer

Simon

Stephen

Rachel

David

Alex

Adam Brodie

Partner & Co-Founder

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Challenge, variety and working in a fantastic team at Ignition Financial and Ignition Law. No two days are ever remotely the same. It is rewarding removing entrepreneurs’ pain points, so they can invest their time on the business rather than in it.

Entrepreneurs I admire

James Watt and Martin Dickie. BrewDog thrives by thinking and acting differently in an old, established industry dominated by a handful of global brewers. Brew Dog’s founders are fiercely protective and loyal to their local roots, values and principles. Phenomenal success has followed.

Voluntary roles

Currently helping to fundraise for community sports clubs in Scotland. Previously, treasurer of a London community rugby club.

The fine print

  • Education and training: Oxford University (MA) and PwC London (ACA).
  • Prior roles:CFO, Valexa Technologies, a B2B SaaS FinTech business. Adam was recruited to Valexa to help grow the business and lead the strategic exit. Prior to this he worked as an M&A advisor in the FMCG sector, having previously qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC in London.
  • Deal Experience: Led the strategic exit of Valexa Technologies to Solera Holdings Inc., a $4 billion NYSE technology group. Worked on 15 strategic exits and acquisitions in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia.
  • Interests: Running, Rugby, (social!) Touch Rugby and periodically attempting to learn Spanish.
  • Adam is a strategic finance professional with uncompromising standards. His rigour, passion and energy are greatly valued by London Scottish as we continue on our Incredible Journey.

    Sir David Reid, Chairman of London Scottish International Limited and Chairman of Intertek Group Plc

  • Adam was instrumental in the successful exit of Sherwood Technology Solutions. I really valued his advice during negotiations and his project management and marketing materials during the process were critical to a successful completion.

    Paul Boyle, Founder & CEO of Sherwood Technology Solutions

  • "Adam is strategic and output focused in the advice and support he provides. At HPI Consumer, I appreciated his straightforward and pro-active approach to improving our strategy.

    Madhur Srivastava, Investor; Co-Founder of Madbid.com; and Co-Founder of Letshaggle.com

  • I really enjoyed working with Adam. He is clear and concise in his communication, and his advice is insightful. Moreover, Adam is adept at explaining financial matters to non-financial technologists such as myself!

    Stu Coates, CTO, Valexa Technologies

  • The teams at Ignition Law and Ignition Finance have provided Appii with exceptional service and advice. Knowing that Adam and Alex understand all of the pressures associated with starting a new business is very reassuring.

    Gary McKay, Co Founder at APPII

Allan McKelvie

Partner, Accounting & Tax

What gets me out of bed in the morning

The energy and enthusiasm of our clients. It is particularly satisfying to see clients grow from those pursuing a hobby to make money into extremely accomplished businessmen and businesswomen.

An entrepreneur I admire

Tim Waterstone. He had an idea. He put everything on the line. He won. Tim Waterstone was fired by WH Smith and then opened a book store in London. He believed that the best book stores should use literary authors in front-of-store displays and employ highly literate staff to advise customers on other books they might enjoy. After only 11 years, he sold the 100+ store group to WH Smith!

Voluntary roles

Accountant to London Scottish FC and the Caledonia Society of London.

The fine print

  • Education and training: Chartered Accountant (FCA), KMPG and 30+ years running his own accountancy practice for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Allan is a fellow of the ICAEW’s tax practice and holds Audit and DPB licences.
  • Deal Experience: Helped a number of clients achieve strategic exits, the most recent of which was For Goodness Shakes in their sale to Aurivo.
  • Interests: Time with family in London, France or in his ancestral homeland on the Isle of Arran. London Scottish – having hung up his boots, Allan is now a vociferous touchline supporter.
  • Allan is an invaluable sounding board on a range of financial, tax and other business or investment matters.

Tom Connor

Virtual CFO

What gets me out of bed in the morning

The variety of a working day and the businesses and business people one encounters, each with unique drivers and challenges. Some people have an idea with the primary objective of making money. Others start businesses not be a business person; they start it because of a passion. Working with Ignition provides an engagement across the wide spectrum of the business world, and an opportunity to support business and passionate people in finding solutions to their own unique problems.

Entrepreneurs I admire

Rhydian Lewis and Peter Behrens of Ratesetter, leaders in the P2P loan sector who saw an opportunity to improve investor and borrower rates by using technology to disrupt the traditional banking sector; Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva of Seedrs who developed their idea from an MBA project to become one of the UK’s leading crowdfunding platforms.

Voluntary roles

Board member of the Edinburgh International Book Festival since 2003, former treasurer of London Scottish FC.

The fine print

  • Education and training: Bachelor of Accountancy, Glasgow; Chartered Accountant, ICAS; Strategic Leadership residential, Templeton College, Oxford.
  • Previous Roles: CFO CrowdRunner (start-up), CFO, McCarthy Motor Group; Interim CFO, Waterstones Booksellers; Board member of HMV Group Pension Trustees Ltd; part-time finance support to Thomson Reuters Foundation.
  • Interests: London Wetlands Centre, London Scottish, Chelsea, Celtic and Glasgow Warriors.

Ian Brodie

Advisor

Entrepreneurs I admire

Sir James Dyson. Britain has a long history of outstanding engineers and inventors. Sir James Dyson is one of them, and he is also an exceptionally skilled designer and businessman to boot. The vacuum-less bag and airblade hand dryer were ground-breaking for their innovation, convenience and design. Like all great entrepreneurs he is a great philanthropist too, and his Foundation supports engineering and design education.

Voluntary roles

Treasurer of a number of local community organisations.

The fine print

  • Education and training: Chartered accountant (ICAS) and 30+ years in senior finance and leadership roles.
  • Previous Roles: Ian has more than 25 years’ experience as a CEO and CFO in the technology sector, most recently as CEO of Intelek Plc where he successfully negotiated and led the group’s sale to Teledyne Technologies Inc., a $3 billion NYSE group.
  • Deal Experience: Ian is one of the few London Stock Exchange CEO’s to achieve an exit for investors of >100% premium on both the pre-announcement closing and the last twelve month average share price. Ian also has experience of strategic acquisitions and non-core divestments.
  • Interests: Golf, rugby and gardening.

Alex McPherson

Advisor & Co-Founder

Alex is a qualified solicitor (not an accountant!) with significant M&A experience. He advises on fundraising and exit engagements, and leaves the finance work to the accountants! Alex and David Farquarson co-founded Ignition Law and were instrumental in the formation of Ignition Financial.

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Variety, learning and overcoming all manner of challenges in a highly commercial way for clients that I care about deeply.

I hugely enjoy the close proximity to clients and delivering legal advice in a way that has a “can do” approach. Our advice has to be realistic, but is highly pragmatic and commercial. It adds huge value, which is hugely fulfilling and stimulating!

An entrepreneur I admire

A cliché maybe, but it has to be Richard Branson; the ability to see a huge opportunity and then drive momentum towards it – break rules, effect change and go against the grain.

I hugely relate to the concept of ethical business and millennial values in entrepreneurs; Branson has, in effect, been championing these concepts for some years now, before they were well defined and in vogue.

The fine print

  • Education: Oxford University (MA Hons), BPP and Nottingham Law Schools
  • Legal roles:Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells (10 years’ experience)
  • Client secondments: Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil and Tesco
  • Organisations: Fellow of the RSA, Member of LexisNexis Corporate Content Board, Member of Tech London Advocates and panelist at the Saïd Business School, Oxford
  • Awards and nominations: CSR Programme of the Year Award at the Legal Business Awards; Best Contribution by an Individual at the LawWorks Awards
  • Other interests:Founder of www.sucedo.com, a leading online portal for university education, and founder of various successful (and less successful!) start-ups and SMEs

David Farquharson

Advisor & Co-Founder

David is a qualified solicitor (not an accountant!) with significant M&A experience. He advises on fundraising and exit engagements, and leaves the finance work to the accountants! David and Alex McPherson co-founded Ignition Law and were instrumental in the formation of Ignition Financial.

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Meeting great people and working with them. Part of our vision with Ignition was, so far as possible, to work with great people (and by that I mean brave and passionate, with great ideas). We have been fortunate to come across so many of them already. It’s a total privilege to spend time with them, learn about their businesses and, hopefully, impart some of our own wisdom along the way.

An entrepreneur I admire

I work with entrepreneurs, who I would describe as ‘change agents’ (in the best sense of that phrase!). Someone who, if the status quo isn’t delivering, has the bravery to take personal risks and to change things for the good of the community and, consequently, themselves. It has to be that way around and there are many I could mention. People like Rosa Parks, Nicholas Winton or the self-educated first tech entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, who fought through significant adversity to achieve so much.

The fine print

  • Education and training: University of Nottingham (BSc Psych), College of Law
  • Legal roles: Herbert Smith Freehills, Osborne Clarke, Swan Turton
  • Speaking roles: Regular guest lecturer to the MBA Class at the London Business School; panellist at the Said Business School, Oxford
  • Memberships: TechLondon Advocates; Hospital Club
  • Other interests: Chairman of Africat UK and Board Member of Africat Namibia – a charity focusing on conservation, education and community enhancement

Sameer Patel

Virtual CFO

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Working with a variety of truly disruptive businesses. I love solving business problems and enjoy helping businesses scale. Most importantly it gives me a total buzz to work with such inspirational entrepreneurs be they clients or colleagues!

An entrepreneur I admire

Reid Hoffman co-founder of LinkedIn. A true visionary who has had a profound impact on professional networking globally. He has also made significant contributions to society through both philanthropic activities and supporting entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

Voluntary roles

Pro-bono work for the Private Equity Foundation. Helping young people to make the transition from education into work.

The fine print

  • Education and training: London School of Economics (BSc), London Business School (MBA), PwC London (qualified as Chartered Accountant)
  • Prior roles: CFO to a portfolio of high growth businesses. CFO for Big White Wall, a digital platform for mental health. Over 3 years helped scale the company from startup through Series A funding.
  • Deal experience: 10 years as a private equity portfolio manager for 2 US asset management organizations. Transaction Support at PwC London. Providing financial due diligence to private equity firms.

Simon Frost

Virtual CFO

What gets me out of bed in the morning

I may be an accountant by profession, but at heart I am an engineer and like to fix things.

So nothing gets me up in the morning like a problem to fix. Whether it’s getting my hands greasy fettling with my motorbike, negotiating with my children or helping a business out with a problem.

One of the great aspects of being a hands on CFO is that rarely is there an average day. Each day brings a new problem or challenge that needs to be analysed, understood and then solved.

Working with start-ups is fascinating. The CFO role is very wide ranging, from HR to capital raising & mentoring the management team. But the real pleasure is watching a start-up grow from an idea to production.

An entrepreneur I admire

John, a very good friend, client and motorcycle trip support driver, aged 80+.

Started his business on his own with nothing after he finished national service. Seeing that the post-war era would involve large amounts of rebuilding he chose the provision of civil engineering plant as his business.

In order to differentiate himself from his competitors he chose to compete on quality of service over price, quite a novelty in the 1950/60’s. John realised that a contractor would pay for guaranteed up-time, and if that up-time could be delivered, you would have a client for life.

John, and his team, have built the business up over the next 60 years into an international business with a multi-million pound turnover.

Voluntary roles

As a proud Englishman, somewhat strangely, I have found myself as Treasurer of Friends of Scottish Rugby (fundraising for grassroots rugby clubs in Scotland) and the Caledonia Society which fundraises for two London charities.

The fine print

  • Education and training: FCA Approved Person, (Shipleys London (FCA), Camborne School of Mines (BEng)
  • Prior roles: Keith, Bayley Rodgers & Co. Ltd (corporate finance subsidiary of Walker Crips Group plc) – held a number of corporate finance and business development roles over a 21 years with the group including Managing Director. Managing Director of Transdean Corporate Services.
  • Deal Experience: Lots! Especially advising and taking SME clients to IPO in London
  • Interests: Clay pigeon shooting, watching most sports, particularly motor racing & rugby

Stephen Lake

vCFO and Coach

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Working with entrepreneurs, learning something new every day, sharing my experience of working for 25 years with growth technology businesses. Then seeing companies I work with succeed and make a difference in the world.

Entrepreneurs I admire

Any entrepreneur who made it the second or third time around. They never gave up, believed in themselves, probably put everything they owned into it and were rewarded for their faith and hard work. A little known fact: Steve Jobs become a billionaire from his third company not his first (which was Apple) - that company was Pixar. bought by Disney for $7.4B...

Voluntary roles

I am an active supporter of impact businesses & social enterprises that explicitly aim to deliver meaningful social & environmental benefit to society as a direct result of their activity.

The fine print

  • Education and training: MBA in Technology & innovation (EDHEC), ACA (Deloittes)
  • Prior roles: MD New Business Accelerator, QinetiQ; CFO iVillage (one of the first publicly listed digital media companies), SVP Reuters NewMedia and Reuters Greenhouse Ventures (first investment was a pre revenue Yahoo)
  • Exits: Lots! Yahoo, Sportsline, iVillage, Stingray, QinetiQ, ...
  • NED: I am NED and Chair of Audit & Risk for Ordnance Survey, GB’s national mapping agency. Check out our location services business accelerator: https://geovation.uk/
  • Interests: Skiing, astronomy, craft ales…

Rachel Tillen

Bookkeeper

What gets me out of bed in the morning

Bringing simplicity to complexity! Improving clients’ accounts so that they can easily and quickly understand their business’s financial position and performance.

Entrepreneurs I admire

Start-up founders – having the courage to start your own business is an extremely admirable trait.

Voluntary roles

Governor at Ewell Grove Infant & Nursery School. All of my children attended Ewell Grove, and I am passionate about the school being at the heart of the village.

The fine print

  • Education and training: Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (Associate Member) and UCL (LLB Law)
  • Prior roles: Commercial Property Lawyer with Mayer Brown and Baker & McKenzie. Business Manager and Company Secretary at Unique Pictures Limited.
  • Interests: Reading, gardening, cycling and sailing.

Ben Rule

Partner

What gets me out of bed in the morning

I look for my day to be interesting, challenging and fun. Working with entrepreneurs and start-ups at Ignition Financial provides this in abundance and means I spend my day with intelligent and driven people. Being in a position to offer them expertise as their businesses succeed is incredibly satisfying. It keeps me loving what I do.

Entrepreneurs I admire

Duncan Sambrook, founder of Sambrook Brewery in South West London. He trained as an accountant and worked in professional services but at the age of 30 decided to launch a brewery at the start of the craft ale movement. The timing of this decision coincided with the 2008 financial crash but the business overcame this and other challenges to become a thriving brewery. Whilst he wasn’t a brewer, Duncan saw an opportunity. He had faith in his ability and the courage to leap into starting his own venture. The ‘leap’ that entrepreneurs take is inspirational.

Voluntary roles

British Heart Foundation fundraising events including the London to Brighton bike ride and Brighton half marathon.

The fine print

  • Education and training: University of Exeter (BA) and PwC London (ACA).
  • Prior roles: Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at BUPA Global. Overseeing the transformation of a £1bn revenue business from a centralised platform to a multi-regional operating model. Previously worked in Abu Dhabi as the Financial Controller for the launch of Sky News Arabia as well as at Sky’s B2B and Supply Chain business units.
  • Deal Experience: Sky’s acquisition of its outsourced installation business (700 installation engineers, support equipment and back office staff in-house).
  • Interests: Family, Squash, Rugby (touchline rather than on the field), Cricket.

Giving back - voluntary work

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School
Edinburgh Book Festival
Impetus - Private Equity Foundation
London Scottish Football Club