Speakers



Venturefest South West hosted nearly 80 speakers and 40 different sessions and activities over the day,
here is a selection of some of the expert speakers from the day.



Darren Westlake

Co-founder & CEO – Crowdcube

Named by Debrett’s as one of Britain’s Most Influential 500 People, Darren Westlake is co-founder and CEO of Crowdcube – the world’s first, largest and most active investment crowdfunding platform. A serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in the internet and telecoms industries, Darren launched and exited two companies before starting Crowdcube with Luke Lang in February 2011. He was Financial Services Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2014. Darren will be delivering a keynote talk as well as judging Pitchfest and taking part in the Access to Finance panel.

Professor Roy Sandbach

Director – National Centre for Ageing Science & Innovation, at Newcastle University

Roy is Director of the National Centre for Ageing Science & Innovation, at Newcastle University. This is a Northern Powerhouse initiative, and reflects national confidence in the world-leading ageing science skill & capability within the University. Previously he has acted as Chair of the Innovation Board for the North East LEP and developed the region’s innovation strategy as part of the Strategic Economic Plan. On an international level until 2012, Roy held senior global R&D positions with the Procter & Gamble Company, developing innovation programmes across the world. He is a global expert in open innovation.

Neil Bellamy

National Head of Technology, Media & Telecoms – RBS/NatWest Bank

Neil has been a front line Banker for 22 years, joining Midland Bank as a Management Trainee before moving to RBS Group. He has been an active supporter of Europe’s largest Tech Cluster throughout his career & is applying this passion to his UK role. He is responsible for the top to bottom strategy, proposition & risk in the TMT sector for RBS in the UK & Western Europe. In 2015/16 he delivered a nationwide road show with Microsoft to help SMEs protect, value & leverage their IP and launched four unique Tech specific banking products. Neil will be speaking about “The role of bankers in the tech ecosystem – get the 3B’s (get BACKING, get BIG, get BOUGHT)” at 13.00 in the Exeter Suite.

Elizabeth Kavanagh

Head of HR and Research & Innovation – Stride Treglown

Elizabeth is Head of HR and Research & Innovation at Stride Treglown, one of the UK’s top architectural practices. Elizabeth has founded Behaviours4Collaboration which is a partner to the BIM task force and focussed in the development of a culture of collaboration in construction. She has significant knowledge in Building Information Modelling and co-founded the South West BIM region in collaboration with the University of the West of England. An experienced strengths-based and career coach and university lecturer she also enjoys working with charities including her current role as Non-Exec Director of Oasis Talk.

Paul Garner

Head of Future Business Technology Research Practice – BT Research & Innovation

Paul is head of BT’s Future Business Technology Research Practice where he leads a team of researchers and developers accountable for setting the ICT innovation agenda for BT’s enterprise customers. The team’s current research topics include the Internet of Things and the future of IT services. The team lead a range of collaborative projects including IoT proof-of-concept deployments in cities and other environments. Paul is an Executive Board member of the MK:Smart Smart City project, and chair of the Technical Experts Group. A chartered physicist, Paul joined BT in 1984 and has published more than 30 scientific papers.

Mark Hedley

China Business Adviser and ICT Director – China-Britain Business Council

Mark Hedley is China Business Adviser and ICT Director at the China-Britain Business Council. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Mark holds a Masters in Chinese Business and International Relations from the University of Sheffield, and has spent 14 years living in and travelling to China. Mark previously worked for a China-based market entry consultancy, carrying out market research and business development for foreign companies looking to enter the China market. Mark has assisted hundreds of companies with their China market entry strategies, working with clients in advanced engineering, education, energy, healthcare, ICT, manufacturing and retail sectors.

Mark Roberts

Managing Director – Ashwoods Automotive

Mark Roberts joined Ashwoods Automotive as an investor and Managing Director in 2008 having previously sold a business in a related sector and worked for several years as an investment banker. He has helped the company become, firstly, one of the largest suppliers of hybrid vans in the UK and then to focus as a cleantech engineering business helping vehicles around the world become cleaner, greener and more efficient. Mark will be providing the case study in the Access To Finance panel discussion at 13:30 in the Exeter Suite.

Bruce Colley

Access to Finance Manager – Innovate UK

As the Access to Finance manager at Innovate UK Bruce’s role is to help SMEs and early-stage businesses to connect with sources of private sector debt and equity finance (and other forms of business support such as coaching and mentoring). Thus in turn enabling them to commercialise their innovations and grow their businesses. Bruce has over 6 years experience as Investment Director of a business angel network and from directly brokering angel / VC deals has a clear understanding of what makes a business attractive to investors and VCs. Bruce will be representing Innovate UK as one of the judges for Pitchfest.

Monika Radclyffe

Director – SETsquared, Bristol

Monika Radclyffe is responsible for the Bristol SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre, where she manages the Centre’s strategy and delivery of incubation activity to the 65+ high-tech ventures. Monika’s career includes facilitating open innovation programmes between corporates, academics and startups as well as global innovation events at Fortune 500 firm Cognizant. She led delivery on fintech innovation programmes at ENTIQ, set up a student incubator at the University of Westminster and ran an entrepreneurial community of 6,000 members at Dreamstake in London. Monika will be judging Pitchfest and taking part in the Access to Finance panel.

Richard Cobb

Head of Corporate – Michelmores LLP

Richard Cobb is an Exeter-based corporate finance lawyer who specialises in acting for Entrepreneurs and technology companies. Richard has helped new and early stage companies in London and the South West for over 20 years, and advised businesses all the way from start up to stock market IPO or Exit. He is also co-head of Michelmores’ private wealth sector, acting for high net worth individuals across the UK in business angel and crowdfunding activities. Richard’s talks will be providing insights on the journeys of business start-ups and how to use your equity wisely.

Tom Torkar

Head of Technology, Media and Communications – Michelmores LLP

Tom Torkar is a commercial and intellectual property lawyer with particular expertise in advising suppliers and customers of technology-based products and services. Tom advises businesses in the South West and nationally, ranging from start-ups to large corporates on contracts, intellectual property and regulatory matters, including data protection and privacy. Tom will be delivering a seminar on why intellectual property matters in your business at 14.00 in the Baxter Suite.

Dr Liz O’Driscoll

Head of Innovation – Exeter City Futures

Liz is responsible for developing an innovation programme that will maximise the opportunity for Exeter City Futures to deliver impact on our energy demand/supply and achieve the goal of zero congestion and energy independence. She joined from BAE Systems where she held a variety of senior management roles developing complex systems capabilities, defining technology strategy and leading transformational change. Liz will be delivering a session introducing Exeter City Future’s first challenge in their startup accelerator program at 12.00 in the Baxter Suite.

Peter Beech

Marketing Manager – WITT Ltd

Peter is responsible for Marketing and PR at WITT Ltd. WITT is a unique energy harvesting technology that creates electricity from all six degrees of motion. The WITT is scalable from a small personal unit to grid level power and will work with any form of movement, whether on land, in the air or in water. Prior to working for WITT, Peter worked for several large corporates, developing markets for new technologies. Peter has a keen interest in clean energy, in particular minimising it’s visual impact on the environment and will be speaking in the Marine Technology session.

David Elson

Lead Technologist Marine & Maritime – Innovate UK

David Elson is a Chartered Naval Architect and has been the Lead Technologist for the Marine & Maritime Industry at Innovate UK since 2013. After graduating with a Masters in Marine Technology he practiced Naval Architecture in yards and design offices internationally before joining the British Marine Federation as Technical Director. At Innovate UK David has been responsible for the development and delivery of the programme supporting UK marine business research and development, along with the coordination of the UK Marine Industries Technology Roadmap.

Richard Eckley

Senior Investment Analyst- Crowdcube

Richard joined Crowdcube in 2014 from Lloyds Bank where he worked as a Senior Banking Advisor. After joining as an Investment Analyst, he was promoted to Senior Investment Analyst in July 2015. Richard has personally overseen the funding of a number of £500,000 + deals notably including Field Candy, Grippit Fixings and Crowdfunder. South West born and bred, Richard has an extensive business knowledge and his commitment to crowdfunding as a funding revenue is second to none, he will be delivering the session: What is Equity Crowdfunding and how can it benefit my company?

Simon Walker

Head of Campaign Strategy – Crowdfunder

Simon is Head of Campaign Strategy and over three years in the industry has coached some of the most high profile Crowdfunding campaigns in the UK, including individual projects such as eFoldi and What a Melon, WITT energy, and multiple project campaigns such as VOOM and Hugh’s War on Waste, collectively raising millions of pounds from the crowd. Simon will be running a seminar on how effective Crowdfunder can be in helping raise investment for your business as well as publicity around your venture.

Ellen Vernon

Economic Development Manager – North Devon Council

Ellen Vernon leads on economic development and regeneration for North Devon Council, supporting the growth of the North Devon economy. Ellen’s background includes a 10 year career within the advertising industry, before spending the last 10 years working within regeneration, and she has just completed an MSc in Urban Planning. Ellen will be speaking about the unique tidal device demonstration zone opportunity located off the North Devon Coast within the Opportunities in Marine Renewables session.

Dr Deborah Watson

Consultant & Director of Gradsouthwest

Deborah builds partnerships, especially between universities and others; she supports innovation and economic development and gets graduates great jobs. Deborah currently does this as a consultant and Director of Gradsouthwest Ltd. Her consultancy work included the delivery of the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit; working for a consortium of Universities, research organisations, businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities. Deborah will be discussing the results of the audit in Understanding our science and innovation excellence for business growth

Dr Khalid Mahmood

Business Development Manager – Rothamsted Research

Khalid leads the business development role at Rothamsted Research, the longest running agricultural research station in the world. He took lead in establishing various partnerships for translation of research & innovation for the benefit agriculture food supply chain in UK and played a pivotal role for an international project offering food security challenges in Africa. He is also industry focal person from Rothamsted for the new agri. tech center- CIEL (Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock). He is supporting development of the Rothamsted campus as an internationally attractive cluster for agri-tech start-ups and SMEs.

Jack Gill

Managing Director – So Good Studios

After graduating from Plymouth University’s Computing & Games Development last year, Jack immediately went into business alongside two friends and course mates, forming their start up elearning game development company, So Good Studios. Jack is first point of contact at So Good, and likes to stay strongly involved with the local community, whether that’s through organising events for local game developers, presenting to the University’s Game Development Society, or taking part in outreach to local schools. Continuing in this vein, Jack organised the Games For Better game jam event and will be leading the presentation at the 15.30 session in the County Suite.

Lloyd Brina

Business Coach – Oxford Innovation

Passionate about business, Lloyd has been actively supporting the South West’s innovators and innovative enterprises for over a decade. His diverse, complementary skillsets span Business Strategy, Marketing, Law, IP, Coaching, Commercialisation and Innovation Support. Following a career in marketing Lloyd went on to work for Ashfords, Serco (Business Link), Business West and latterly, Innovate West, his own innovation practice. Currently as a Business Coach with Oxford Innovation, he is enjoying helping to deliver class leading Business Support to ambitious Cornish businesses. Lloyd will be co-delivering the Crowdsourcing Innovation session. Photo: Matt Jessop.

Matthew Porter

Business Coach – Oxford Innovation

As a business coach with Oxford Innovation Matthew has a wealth of experience and enjoys helping businesses understand how to identify and solve important problems in new ways. Matthew joined Oxford Innovation in 2014 to work with SMEs facing innovation led challenges and is now part of a fully funded transformational programme of support for SMEs in Cornwall. Matthew has 20 years’ experience in a range of commercial roles, most recently with AstraZeneca, and has owned and run a number of businesses from start-up to £5m turnover. Matthew will be co-delivering the Crowdsourcing Innovation sessions.

Professor Toby Mottram

BBSRC Enterprise Fellow / Royal Society of Edinburgh

Toby Mottram is the founder of eCow and a prominent figure in the UK agricultural engineering sector holding the position of Douglas Bomford Trust Professor of Farm Mechanisation at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, where he teaches wireless sensor data capture and analysis in farm situations. During his career has co-invented robotic milking, developed cow breath sampling, in-line milk progesterone analysis and in 2003 the rumen telemetry bolus. Toby will be speaking in the Agritech session at 11.00 and exhibiting eCow and Milkalyser in the Innovation Showcase.

Dr Vicky Pope

Head of Integration and Growth – Met Office

Vicky is responsible for maximising the benefits of the Met Office’s science capability, both for Government and the Met Office’s partners. This involves identifying opportunities for innovation, integrating the MO’s cutting edge science capability with that of partners, and providing new and improved services. Vicky obtained a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Reading and has focused on the provision of climate change advice to underpin policy development. In New Developments in Environmental Big Data, she will focus on the Met Office’s plans for partnership working with the business community.

Dr George Brighton

GP Registrar – Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow – NHS England
Founder & Director – Technical Health

George qualified as a Doctor in 2007 and has spent the last nine years working and training across the South West in orthopaedics and emergency medicine. He now continues in a clinical role as a GP Registrar in Exeter, and as a nationally selected NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur supporting his Exeter based digital health technology start up Technical Health. He has a wealth of experience of innovation and medical app development and will take part in various Digital Health sessions throughout the day in the SW AHSN’s breakout room 2.

Paul Gilbert

Manufacturing Specialist – SWMAS

Paul has supported hundreds of businesses across the South West to innovate and grow. His role at SWMAS is to provide hands on support to manufacturers, helping them to develop their business strategy and launch new products to market. Sustainability is a key driver for Paul. He has worked on a number of significant projects to help business access new opportunities in the low carbon sector and develop innovative products. Paul will be co-delivering How to back a winner: Strategy for success when launching something new, an interactive workshop at 14.00 in breakout room 15.

Lars Sundstrom

Director for Enterprise and Translation – West of England Academic Health Sciences Network

Lars is responsible for developing new partnerships between companies and healthcare providers. He is also Professor of Practice in Translational Medicine at Bristol University and an honorary Professor of Medicine at Cardiff University. Lars has over 30 years experience working between industry, academia and has held several executive and board level positions in companies and local health sector groups. He has also been an advisor to several UK and Local Government task forces as well as an advisor to the European Commission. He will deliver the afternoon sesion; Digital Health – The Opportunity For Innovators.

Martyn Pearson

Manufacturing Specialist – SWMAS

Martyn is an experienced Industrial Engineer, Production and Plant Manager. In his role at SWMAS Martyn works closely with businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, helping them to develop their strategies, improve their operations and access new markets. Developing and supporting innovation amongst Cornish hi-tech businesses, is a key part of the current support on offer from SWMAS. Martyn will be co-delivering How to back a winner – strategy for success when launching something new, an interactive workshop on developing a strategy for success when launching something new.

Karen Anderson

Associate Professor – Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter.

Karen is a leading researcher in her field of ‘remote sensing’. Her work is focused on the analysis of spatial data from satellites, aircraft and, increasingly, lightweight drones. She leads the University of Exeter’s DroneLab: a research group who are pioneering the use of lightweight drones to improve scientific understanding of ecosystems and landscapes, and using the information captured to make recommendations on environmental management. Karen will be taking part in New opportunities in a fast changing and developing agritech sector

Mark Bainbridge

Marketing Director – Black Swan Data / CEO and Founder – Bainbridge Cooper Associates

Mark specialises in delivering a step-change in comms, marketing, supply, distribution and commercial business processes. He is ruthlessly focused on reducing costs, creating effective business delivery models and harnessing modern technology and best practice and getting the best performance from people through inspiring leadership. He has an enviable track record in cutting through bureaucracy to achieve outstanding performance. He has built his career and reputation as one of the UK’s leading people-change, business transformation and network marketing consultants by tackling the most demanding organisational challenges.

Stuart Nicol

Founder – Reboot Ventures

Entrepreneurs and investors often ask Stuart for his advice. Most of the time he just listens for a bit and that does the job. Sometimes he gets more involved and acts as a business coach or NED. Often he works as a venture capitalist and invests in their companies too. He’s invested in over 30 companies in the past 15 years and has had success in investing in sectors as diverse as taxis, solar panels and satellites. Stuart has worked with a number of firms in the South West to enhance entrepreneurship most notably Crowdcube, Crowdfunders and Oxygen House. He will be a panelist in the afternoon Access to Finance panel.

Dr. Matthew Goodman

Chief Medical Officer – Mapmyhealth Ltd

Matthew studied medicine in the UK, qualifying as a doctor in 2000. He began his career in industry by joining Sanofi, soon moving to Global positions with Novartis in both Switzerland and the US. In 2009 he returned to the UK to lead the Clinical Research programs of Prosidion, an Oxford-based biotechnology company breaking new ground in the treatment of diabetes and obesity. In 2012, Matthew founded Mapmyhealth, a company dedicated to the use of innovative technologies in the treatment of long-term conditions, from diabetes to cancer.

Annette Benny

Managing Director Delivery – NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Annette commenced her career as a podiatrist, joining the NHS in 1988. She has since held roles in operational management, leading capital projects, consultancy, commissioning and performance management in both the NHS and Department of Health. As the programme manager, she helped set up the largest CCG in England, NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, which was established with no conditions in 2012. She is currently the Managing Director of Governance and Chief Information Officer and is proud to have worked with her fellow Chief Information Officers across Devon and Cornwall to produce a jointly owned Digital Roadmap covering 1.7million population.

Patrick Hartop

Head of City Deal – Plymouth City Council

Patrick is an experienced senior local government officer who has worked for Plymouth City Council since 2000, in that time he has secured over £200m regeneration funding for Plymouth including £50m New Deal for Communities funding for Devonport. More recently Patrick was responsible for securing a City Deal for the south west peninsula and has gone on to manage delivery of the City Deal programme which includes creating a major marine hub at South Yard in Plymouth. Patrick will be speaking in the Marine Technology session at 12.30.

Dr Michael Jarvis

Associate Professor (Reader) in Virology and Immunology – Plymouth University

A native Californian, Michael received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California at Davis in 1996. With nearly 2 decades of experience in virology and the use of state-of-the-art technology, Michael is regarded as a leading expert in methods for vaccination against infectious disease and cancer. Michael will be speaking in the session: New opportunities in a fast changing and developing agritech sector.

Dr. Ignat Drozdov

Managing Director – Bering Limited

Dr. Ignat Drozdov (MB ChB, PhD) is the Managing Director at Bering Limited. Ignat works in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), with special emphasis on machine learning in very large datasets. At Bering, Ignat and his team develop a sophisticated AI Platform, which allows clinicians and analysts to easily identify complex patients, prioritise co-morbidity profiles, plan future care, or predict the impact of an intervention using an a fully data-driven environment. Ignat will be contributing to the Digital Health: The opportunity for innovators session.

David Calder

Knowledge Transfer Manager, Health – The Knowledge Transfer Network

David Calder has a background in Engineering, Manufacturing, NPD and R&D. His experience includes a cross-sector portfolio of roles in the private sector leading to his current role as Knowledge Transfer Manger in support of UK Innovation. He joined the newly formed KTN Ltd in April 2014 where he is lead for health and care, this includes digital health and independent living agendas. David will be speaking in the Digital Health session: The current “state of play”.

Lerryn Ryall and Lucy Cox

Founders – Halto

Lerryn Ryall and Lucy Cox are the sisters and mumpreneurs behind up and coming swimwear accessory brand, Halto, launched in July this year following a successful crowd funding campaign. Developed for the global market, the sisters are in the early stages of their export journey, with a particular focus on national retailers across Australia and the USA. Their unorthadox journey has resulted in a national listing with lingerie giant Bravissimo, and global representation with a lingerie and swimwear agent.

Murray Reed

Chief Technology Officer – Gooch and Housego

Murray Reed joined Gooch and Housego in 2012 to lead the development of their new products. He has spent the last thirty years in Silicon Valley developing a wide range of laser and photonic technology for microelectronics, telecommunications, aeronautics and the life sciences. At G&H he is helping to transform a bespoke optical component company into one providing custom system solutions for emerging applications as diverse as global communications and low cost healthcare. Murray will be speaking in the morning session: Driving innovations through enabling technologies in our everyday lives.

Chris Evans

Head of Regional Impact – University of Exeter

A labour market economist, Chris is the Head of Regional Impact and joined University of Exeter in 1999 as the founding Director of the Marchmont Observatory, a research centre supporting evidence based policy and practice in the field of skills and learning. She has worked closely with economic development and skills agencies, supporting the development of plans and strategies at local, regional and national level. Prior to joining Exeter, Chris had held senior management roles in a range of national organisations. Chris will be co-delivering the session Working with your local universities.

Martin J Attrill

Director – Marine Institute, Plymouth University

Prof Martin Attrill has been Director of the Plymouth University Marine Institute since 2009, responsible for representing all the extensive marine and maritime expertise across the University, including supporting PU’s internationalisation and commercialisation agendas in marine. He is a marine ecologist, with a wide portfolio of interests in biodiversity patterns and how human activity can influence these, he will be speaking in the Marine Technology: case studies of excellence and opportunities session.

Stuart Monk

Project Manager for Commercial Development – SW AHSN

Stuart focuses on developing commercial and third sector partnerships to support innovation in the health and care system. Prior to joining the SW AHSN Stuart worked as a business engagement manager for a University, providing business development and project management support services. Before that he worked as a product development and quality manager for a mobile phone manufacturer, and a research scientist for golf’s governing body. Stuart has a PhD from the University of Birmingham and is also a PRINCE2 Practitioner and an ISO9001 Lead Auditor.

Oli Raud

Strategic Funding Manager – Plymouth College of Art

As Strategic Funding Manager for Plymouth College of Art, Oli Raud actively supports young people, local communities and businesses in the Creative and Cultural Industries, in Plymouth, the wider South West and across Europe through the development of partner networks, project consortia and funded projects in key themes such as creative and artistic education, innovation and business growth and the promotion of social cohesion. He brings with him a background of languages, translation and interpreting, European funding and transnational project management, working closely with many different sectors across Europe.

Jon Siddall

Director of Innovation – South West Academic Health Science Network

Jon is Director of Innovation at the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), one of fifteen AHSNs set up by NHS England to spread innovation, improve health and generate economic growth. Prior to joining the SW AHSN Jon worked as a strategy consultant with a specialist interest in health and social innovation, working with public and private investors such as One Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, UnLtd, ASB Community Trust, The UK Department of Health and The New Zealand Ministry for Social Development. Jon is a University of Exeter Business School alumni with an MBA with distinction gained during an IBM-funded scholarship. Jon also holds a BA (Hons) in Human Geography from the University of Southampton.