About Ian

Ian has over 35 years hands-on business strategy, leadership, finance, consulting and technology experience, at start up and plc board-level.

I have worked with plcs, high-growth entrepreneurs, startups, incubator centres, universities and their spinout companies, primarily in professional services and technology sectors.

Graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Accounting & Mathematics from Sheffield University, I started my career with Price Waterhouse, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. After eight years with PW, I founded my own management consulting firm specialising in corporate finance for SMEs.

I sold this business to an IT Services business, and became Group FD, taking the business to an AIM and then FTSE listing, and latterly spent five years as CEO. In my 16 years with the business, it grew from £14m to £250m turnover organically and by acquisition. I left the firm in 2007 to focus on startups and high growth ventures as an investor, advisor and non-executive director. I have been involved in raising £60m+ funding in my career to date.

Previously, I was an accredited High Growth coach having worked on the NWDA High Growth programme, the National Growth Accelerator and Access to Finance programmes. I have also worked with the Technology Strategy Board and Innovation UK. I was a Course Tutor on the Goldman Sachs 10000 SME Programme with Aston University and Said Business School, Oxford University.

I have a research and teaching interest in entrepreneurship, and delivered entrepreneurial learning modules as curriculum designer, lecturer and tutor on MBA programmes at Manchester, Lancaster and Sheffield University Business Schools. I was founder and tutor on the Roadmap Innovation Optimiser programme, and co-creator of the MEnt programme at Manchester University

Today, I am founder and leader of thestartupfactyory.tech, https://thestartupfactory.tech/ a startup incubator business, and a non-executive director/investor of a number of business service and technology organisations:

  • Hiring Hub (a recruitment agency marketplace) hiring-hub.com
  • Nivo (a fintech providing an encrypted instant messaging app) nivohub.com
  • Invertase (software engineering, tooling and integration solutions) invertase.io
  • FreeUp (IoT, device and data) freeup.world
  • Spokd (smart online cycling coaching app) spokd.com
  • Sphonic (an api and SaaS platform fintech providing regtech) sphonic.com
  • Winning Pitch (high growth advisory) winning-pitch.co.uk

I was a founder Trustee and Governor of Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (Part of The Aldridge Foundation) where the specialism is Entrepreneurship. I have also been a volunteer Arts Council NW Board Member, a member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, and a Freeman of the City of London – but haven’t yet taken up the opportunity this affords to drive a herd of sheep across London Bridge.

Outside of work, I enjoy a hectic and rewarding family life with two grown up children and a manic border collie. My sporting passions are Burnley FC and Sale Sharks. My personal ambitions are to walk to the South Pole with the spirit of Shackleton as my guide, and to make a living playing the bass guitar role of Paul Simonon in a Clash tribute band. Until then, I’m determined to master the saxophone, where the consequences of my rugby playing days (clumsy, wonky fingers) means enthusiasm sadly fails to compensate lack of ability.

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