Azini Capital’s partners are experienced investment professionals who have led or participated in over 100 rounds of funding. It is, however, our business backgrounds and operational experience that make us a little different.
Michael has a First Class BSc degree in Electronic Engineering from Southampton University where he was a National Engineering Scholar.
He was sponsored at Southampton by British Telecom and returned for 4 years latterly as Account Manager responsible for IBM.
Michael was awarded an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School in 1993, where he was a Baker Scholar, a Fulbright Scholar and was winner of the Loeb Prize in finance.
He spent 4 years working for McKinsey and Co. in London in their telecommunications, technology and industrial practices.
Michael joined LMS Capital in 1998 to establish their UK venture capital operations and, over the following 8 years built and managed a £120 million portfolio of technology investment assets. Former board positions include ProStrakan [PSK.L], DMATEK [DTK.L], Ridgeway (sold to Tandberg [TAA.OL]), Corizon, Entuity, First Index, Cityspace and 7 Global.
Nick has a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering (M.Eng) from the University of Bristol and was sponsored through university by GKN plc. He subsequently worked for Twiflex Ltd. – a leading manufacturer of industrial disc brakes – in a product management / business development role.
Nick spent 6 years with Mars Electronics International -the world leading manufacturer of coin and bank note payment systems. He lived and worked in Italy for a number of years and established MEI’s sales and support presence in Italy and Spain before moving back to the UK to become the Director of Marketing and Product Management.
Between 1996 and 2000 Nick was the Chief Executive of MAOSCO Ltd – a company and industry consortium formed by Nick and backed by MasterCard and a group of leading banks to promote and license the MULTOS smart card operating system. More than 500 million MULTOS cards have now been issued in over 45 countries worldwide.
He joined LMS Capital (venture capital division of London Merchant Securities plc) in 2000 where, with Michael Bennett, he built and managed a £120 million portfolio of technology venture assets.
Paul is an MBA graduate of Henley Management College in the UK, has a degree in Physics from Nottingham University, and has over 20 years experience in General Management and Board level positions in technology and engineering enterprises.
Paul’s recent experience includes CEO and Founder of Bluefish Technologies, an innovative supplier of smart card solutions to the Wireless Telecommunications Industry. He led the business through its growth phase including raising capital and establishing operations in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Paul was a key member of the management team at ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH in Germany that restructured the business under Private Equity ownership, ultimately leading to the successful sale of the business to a large French multinational.
In 2006 Paul joined C-MAC MicroTechnology, a Private Equity LBO from a large multinational, as a key member of the leadership team that transformed the business into a market leading supplier of system critical electronics and successfully divested its frequency control products group to a listed international business. Immediately prior to joining Azini, Paul was General Manager of C-MAC’s Aerospace and Defence business.
Board positions include Antenova, ClusterSeven, Keronite and Onespin Solutions.
Keith is a finance professional with 20 years of experience in the financial sector and has gained his expertise from working with respected names such as Lloyds TSB, Credit Suisse and Robert W Baird.
Keith’s most recent experience saw him establish and maintain all finance, compliance and administration functions associated with a start up private equity firm, investing in renewable energy in Asia.
Prior to this, he spent 7 years as part of the Robert W Baird Group, a mid-tier US investment bank, culminating in a board position as European Finance Director. The role focused upon both the M&A business, and a Private Equity business with over £500 million in funds under management.
Keith is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
All of our investment professionals have strong technology / engineering backgrounds – having spent considerable time (up to 25 years) working in industry in senior operational and general management/leadership roles.
As a team we have significant experience in building boards and management teams, setting management incentives, restructuring complex capital structures, mergers and acquisition activity, corporate finance, corporate governance, public market transactions and with dealing with US investors and acquirers.
We have taken companies through IPOs on the London Stock Exchange, completed ‘bolt-on’ acquisitions, sold more than $1.25 billion (enterprise value) to trade and private equity acquirers, sat on the boards of public and private companies, started our own business and even defended a publicly listed company against a hostile take-over.
We don’t present ourselves as sector experts – that’s management’s job. We come as bright, experienced business builders, who can quickly develop a strong understanding of your business, technology, product set, competitors, customers, market opportunity, fund raising challenges and exit opportunities.
We seek to build a strong relationship with the CEO and management team and to actively participate and contribute to the key discussions, debates and decision making that goes on in and around the board meeting.
Azini expects management teams to be sector experts and to provide the vision and strategic direction for the company. We expect managers to be committed and ambitious, and to provide the leadership, belief and energy required to develop and grow the business. However we aim to work with management to identify and recruit individuals into executive and non-executive roles, who can bring the additional skills or experience required to support the growth and development of the company.