What does David do?

Well, you could use my AI personal assistant to arrange to phone me to find out, arrange to meet, or read this blog post

So much more than an Interim CFO.

An expert in structuring and strategy, I find the pathways and components of unexpected solutions to enable founders, investors, and property owners to fix the hardest of problems. I help them to unblock and accelerate growth; unlock and realise value rapidly; and invest wisely for maximum gain.

For founders and SME owners, I am a well-respected and sought-after mentor and advisor, delivering wise counsel, actionable advice, paths to new finance, and innovation acceleration. Equally happy to help as Interim CEO, Interim CFO, NED, or strategy consultant.

For growth companies that have already overcome the roadblocks, I bring an evidence-based innovation acceleration methodology that can boost the pace of innovation dramatically and lift revenue by over 100% a year. Proven on hundreds of start-ups in Europe, and at Enterprise scale, the Eicorn OPTIMAL methodology is already transforming how companies operate.

For investors, I can reduce investment risk and supercharge investee companies. I am very familiar with UK Private Family Offices (having worked in one), UK and EU Angel investment (multiple due diligence engagements for UK angels), VC financing (I advise 2 funds), PE backed exits, growth capital (I have helped to place around £36m into smaller companies), and business turnaround (with direct turnaround experience for 2 UK funds).

Underpinning all of that is an encyclopaedic knowledge of the operational realities of corporate governance, financial regulation, business law, litigation, insolvency, and funding. Extensive networks of experts in all those areas mean that I can bring in other amazing people in accounting, finance, project management, product development, marketing and technology rapidly.

I’m a generalist, but with a deep skill set. Currently operating in property finance, SaaS, and technology. My historic sectors are business services, video games, animation, film, television and music.

That breadth of skills is based on deep roots: Oxford educated, then a Chartered Accountant with 10+ years at Deloitte (financial services and forensic accounting), then 10+ years’ board experience at Board Director level (CEO & CFO). International experience gained in 12 countries. Participation on the boards of 19 companies including 12 start-ups, 2 turnarounds, 5 company purchases, 3 company sales, and 4 property deals helped me complete my business education.

When I am not working directly to help clients (usually as Interim CFO, Interim CEO, or NED), I can be found lecturing to start-ups on preparing to raise finance, on the finance committee of a major Local Enterprise Partnership, helping charities, or volunteering to help young adults.

How do I work?

I ensure founders and investors set off in the right direction to maximise their chances of reaching personal and corporate objectives. I make sure that they proceed together at pace, without breaking anything or anyone irreplaceable on the way. If they hit a block, I can help them turnaround and refocus with renewed energy.

I can find the best available financial strategies and then get things started and moving fast from a library of proven answers, technologies, methods and a network of top-quality contacts.

Then I work with the executives and investors to ensure the financial support functions at the right level, and that cash is delivered at the right time to balance risk, growth, and returns. That means understanding the exit objective and pathway, as well as the valuation model and scenario plans from both sides (investable and company).

  • Delivering financial rewards to founders and investors is always a balancing act, but all parties benefit if the finance function is committed to supporting the same plan.

What’s in the box

A creative, general-purpose problem solver providing “sheer intellectual horsepower” (that’s a client quote). Serious depth of analysis and rigour in following the (quantitative) evidence. Technology savviness and an understanding of what technology can and cannot do. I won’t be the smartest person in the room, but I hope to make everybody else smarter. Some people call it “IT moxie and data foo added to EQ and common sense”. Unlike many accountants, I also have a tiny smattering of creativity. I am broadly and deeply connected in media, finance, politics and technology. With effort I can be presentable at the highest levels of business and government.

Extensive commercial experience and a powerful operational skillset at Chair, CEO and CFO level help me empathise with boards. Board can use my solid theoretical and strategic analysis skills, deep and powerful analytical skills, all underpinned by a pragmatic understanding of professional finance, compliance, regulation and best practice. Good HR and team building skills, based on practical experience of teams and a broad and deep personal network ensure I bring the right people to the right table.

  • While the team moves forwards, I help the team navigate around obstacles and open doors. If there is an answer, or a person, or a resource we need? I can normally find it.

Drivers and motivators

Solving complex problems for founders and investors is what gets me out of bed. I enjoy turning potential failure into success and making something out of nothing. Carrying a preference for capital gains over short term rewards means I align with executives and investors quickly. I am a strong believer in creating empowered teams that don’t need (or create their own) leaders and am committed to the values of democracy, inclusion, collaboration, diversity, social impact and ecological sustainability. I remain convinced that companies are more sustainable, more rewarding, and easier to run if they do good rather than evil.

  • Wherever possible, I try to give more than I take, and leave things better than I found them.

Can I prove this?

As CFO, took a start-up from £0 to £82m revenue in 30 months. Wealth managers, ultra-wealth individuals and international corporates have used my skills to solve their problems successfully. I took a group of nerds and released a No.1 Computer Game into a tough market. I’ve been interim CFO on a dual listed (AIM/NASDAQ) company, and several VC and PE financed growth companies. On a project basis, I’ve resolved a problem with 3,000 suppliers and 30m invoices that had defeated two previous teams. I’ve helped the World Bank, HSBC, and a Spanish merchant bank, each recover £millions of stolen cash. I probably learned as much from a business that crashed into the ground 4 years after raising £3m and watching a promising technology fail for want of capital. I have a sound professional attitude after 13 years of training at Deloitte helping me put 19 years of business learning into context.

What is the quickest way to learn more?

Contact details are in the first paragraph. There are three things I can do today to help immediately:

  • short telephone call to understand your objectives – free
  • discuss what you are limited by – coffee
  • set out a plan to move forwards that you can act in in half a day – up to you

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