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Growing into the new reality: introducing our expanded team.

15 Oct 2020 By Octopus Ventures

2020 has been an eventful year for any and every business: an existential struggle for many, a transformational turn around for others.

For ourselves, we’ve followed our intent to expand our team. The more we can add to our breadth and depth of experience, collectively, the better we can serve our portfolio companies and bring in the next generation of world-changing pioneers.

So if you’re wondering if it’s possible to grow a team virtually, then we hope to provide a case study here that others can follow. We’ve welcomed seven new joiners in the last couple of months, each one recruited through our unbiased hiring process, and it’s our pleasure to introduce them here.

Caitlin Wale

Caitlin sits in the Deep Tech pod, focusing on robotics, applied AI and low carbon technologies. She is particularly interested in innovations that solve climate change problems. Prior to joining Ventures, Caitlin worked in mine waste facility designs, energy and water modelling for sustainable homes, data centres optimisation and renewable energy investments. “Growing up in South Africa gave me exposure to varying standards of living and an appreciation for nature. I am passionate about helping companies create solutions to problems facing society today.” Caitlin holds a MSc Engineering with Finance from UCL and BSc Civil Engineering (Hons) from UCT. Caitlin enjoys the outdoors and takes any opportunity to dance.

Lucy Clarke

Lucy will be focusing primarily on later stage investments, both within the current portfolio and with regard to new opportunities, particularly in the fintech space. Lucy is passionate about backing pioneers who are making financial services more inclusive and transparent. “Technology presents us with opportunities for making the world a better place. I am so excited to be spending time working with founders at the forefront of these changes, those who are every day challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries”. Prior to joining OV, Lucy worked in the Investment Banking division at Goldman Sachs covering a range of sectors, spending time in both the UK Corporate Broking and Equity Capital Markets team and within M&A Advisory. Her experience across almost four years included advising private and public companies on their options for raising capital and M&A transactions. Lucy studied Classics at Oxford University and outside of work, Lucy loves travelling, prioritising the best scuba diving spots. She has also volunteered in conservation and sustainability. 

Mason Sinclair

Mason sits within the Deep Tech team, focusing on AI and machine learning, robotics, quantum computing and human-computer interfacing.  Mason holds degrees in both Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to venture capital, he gained industry experience working as an engineer, startup founder and technology advisor. He also holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge. “Rapid advances in science and technology have given entrepreneurs the opportunity to build solutions to some of the world’s most interesting and complex challenges. I am passionate about backing entrepreneurs with bold ambitions to build companies that harness these technologies to fundamentally improve the world we live in.”

Natasha Jones

Natasha joined the Future of Money team bringing with her a keen interest in financial services, insurance, blockchain and climate risk. She worked as an algorithmic trader at Credit Suisse where she gained a deep understanding of the trading infrastructure involved in capital markets equity trading as well as the various data, regulatory and administrative systems used in large financial institutions. Natasha also previously worked in two fintech startups in London and Paris and set up her own sustainable retail business whilst at university. “With every transaction we shape our economy and society. Fintech presents a great opportunity to build a fairer, more efficient society for individuals and businesses alike.” Natasha graduated from UCL with a MSc in political economics focusing on green energy entrepreneurship and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from Oxford. 

Matthieu Vallin

Matthieu focuses on sourcing and qualifying early stage investments that will transform healthcare and life sciences. From consumer health through to advances in drug discovery, he liaises with entrepreneurs who have a drive to bring the most benefits to the delivery of care and patient outcomes. “The boundaries between biology and technology are blurring, and healthcare is entering every aspect of our lives. This opens up opportunities for improving the prevention, interception and cure of disease.” Prior to Octopus Ventures, he worked in management consulting, advising clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Philips, Carl Zeiss Meditec, and Fujitsu on innovation strategy, start-up partnerships and acquisitions. He also created a consulting practice and a startup to improve the business travel experience. Matthieu maintains close links with academic and research institutions such as London Business School and Imperial College London, from which he holds a degree in Civil Engineering. Outside of work, you will likely find Matthieu surfing, reading niche design magazines, or drawing. He also volunteers with The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network to advise refugees on developing their own venture in the UK.

Millen Wolde-Selassie

Millen joined us to focus on investment opportunities in the consumer space. She is particularly interested in the transformative power of consumer companies on society at large. Prior to Octopus Millen bootstrapped a retailer offering gifts for expecting mothers and new parents for several years. Before this she covered large corporates and regional governments across Europe on derivative solutions for Citibank. Millen is German with East African origins and speaks six languages. She holds a BSc and MSc in Management from the London School of Economics, an MSc in Management from CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, and attended HEC Paris. Outside of investing, Millen loves meeting new people and hearing their life stories, listening to podcasts, exploring new places at home and abroad, and learning new skills, most recently, pasta and bread-making.

Conor Scanlan 

Conor sits in the Consumer and Growth pods, focusing on deal origination, execution and due diligence activity as well as portfolio company development. Prior to joining Octopus Ventures in 2020, Conor was a Principal at Frog Capital, a European scale-up stage technology investor, where he led UK deal origination and worked with several companies including Azimo, SHE Software and Vulog. He also spent 4 years at Arma Partners, where he advised on several high-profile European technology transactions, including the sales of Momondo, CarTrawler and Metrologic. Conor graduated from the University of York with a degree in Economics. Outside of work, he is a keen sports fan, and while failing miserably at rekindling his former sporting mediocrities, you can now find him attempting to watch football and rugby in as many countries as possible or falling over on his snowboard too many times to count.

We always say that good people hire even better people, so we’re particularly proud to have attracted this level of talent to our team. We look forward to reaping the rewards, for ourselves and the companies we back, today and into the coming decade.

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