|Date of birth||3rd January 1964|
I am a deeply experienced technologist and technology manager. I’ve worked in organizations from startups to international investment banks.
My core skills are pushing a project in the best technical direction to ensure early and repeatable successes but I also like to get my hands dirty with code.
Senior Engineer (2017-present)
I joined OpenCorporates to help them develop and launch some new features that were being asked for by clients and potential clients. In addition, I have taken the lead in developing a more mature change management process for technical changes with greater awareness of separation of duties. An additional focus of mine has been on managing technical debt, leading to a greater awareness of the volume of debt that the organization is carrying.
For the development work we use a test-driven approach using RSpec. The app is written in Ruby on Rails and uses a MySQL database with extensive indexing in Elasticsearch. Asynchronous jobs are managed by Resque. For the new features I chose a micro-services architecture and developed the new code outside the legacy monolithic app with a clearly-defined interface to it. This is the approach we will take from now on, gradually reducing the amount of functionality delivered by the legacy code to a minimum while developing new features in a more maintainable way.
Anthemis Group is a London-based fintech VC with a diversified portfolio of 35 best-in-class, high growth, digitally native financial services companies based across the globe. Anthemis are also investors in my own startup, Xenapto.
Technology Director (2015-2017)
I took Anthemis Group from spreadsheets to an automated investment pipeline supporting multiple portfolios. To do this I built a platform for Anthemis’s investment activities allowing them to collate information from many sources into the selection process. Rapid gathering of all available data enables a smooth, automated funnel from initial interest through to Investment Committee documents.
I enhanced the platform to support Anthemis Group’s advisory activities, allowing us to efficiently assess and shortlist investment targets on behalf of clients with diverse investment theses.
I integrated Slack, Podio, Evernote, Mailchimp and email into a coherent data flow that allows the Anthemis team to share information efficiently and get notified about actionable changes immediately.
I designed, built and launched the Xenapto platform.
Xenapto is a publicly-available service that manages investment data and integrates modern productivity tools into a flexible workflow. It is used by several VCs and individual investors as part of their investment workflow.
I raised £550,000 from investors to create Xenapto using Xenapto’s own bookbuilding features to manage the capital raise. I won a place on the MassChallenge 2015 accelerator programme in competition with 2,275 startups from 67 countries.
As the founding technologist I set the technical direction for the platform, opting for a straightforward combination of Ruby on Rails and Postgres hosted on Heroku. These vanilla choices have allowed me to easily hire developers when greater velocity was needed. Similarly I ensured that the developer toolset was a widely understood combination of Github, PivotalTracker and CircleCI, allowing incoming staff to quickly get up to speed. Prior to the wide adoption of Docker I had developed deployment scripts that allowed me to use inexpensive virtual machines for non-critical tasks such as background scraping. This kept costs dramatically lower than simply spinning up additional Heroku dynos.
Although I re-used third-party components wherever possible there are some “secret sauce” elements to Xenapto that I designed and built from scratch. A good example is an adaptation of the Aho-Corasick algorithm that gave me a 10x efficiency gain in text parsing. It’s this that forms the basis of the smart matching of incoming emails and news stories to particular contacts.
I acted as an independent consultant for a number of financial services institutions in London.
A sample role was as Programme Director for the definition phase of Royal Bank of Scotland’s credit exposure consolidation programme, designed to give the bank a 360-degree view of their exposure to a credit event in any given market, country or region.
I successfully oversaw the initial contact with the business lines up to the final scoping of the programme before the delivery phase.
Commerzbank (then Dresdner Kleinwort)
Global Head of IT, Investment Banking (2001-2008)
I oversaw the integration of the Investment Banking IT infrastructure into the Capital Markets equivalents. I halved the Investment Banking IT spend along with a 75% reduction in headcount.
As a result I also acquired other portfolios including Global Head of Desktop Strategy and Global Head of Reference Data with teams of 87 people. As part of my Desktop Strategy role I oversaw the termination of a worldwide contract with a desktop virtualization provider by agreeing measurable objectives and documenting their failure to deliver against them. This agreement ultimately avoided costly legal action from the vendor.
I also led the rollout of IT Service Management practices in the investment bank and was Process Architect for the wider Dresdner Bank IT Service Management project. My process designs built on the best practice established by the investment bank and replaced the sometimes naive workflows used in parts of the retail bank. Overall the IT Service Management project allowed Dresdner Bank to harmonise IT practice globally and monitor adherence to good practice.