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Octopus Ventures appoints Jo Oliver as Investor Director

12th May 2009

Octopus Ventures appoints Jo Oliver as Investor Director

Octopus Ventures Ltd (“Octopus”), specialist investors in early-stage and expanding companies, is delighted to announce the appointment of Jo Oliver as Investor Director with immediate effect.

Jo, 40, will oversee management and growth of the Octopus Investor Group, Octopus Ventures’ network of over 100 'independent investors' who provide insight and support during Octopus Ventures’ investment process, and add value post investment by providing both knowledge and industry contacts.

Jo will also be involved in the identification of attractive investment opportunities with strong growth potential and work closely with the rest of the team on portfolio management in order to ensure investor returns are maximised. He will report directly to Alex Macpherson, Chief Executive of Octopus Ventures.

Jo has extensive experience as a successful entrepreneur in his own right. In August 2005, he founded Oliver Woodworth Ltd, an award-winning contemporary design and property development company where he oversaw all aspects of the business, including design, financing and marketing. The company’s Cedar House high-end residential development, located in South West London, won a special commendation at the prestigious ‘Evening Standard New Homes Awards’ in 2008 and has also been featured on the Channel 4 show ‘Grand Designs’.

In February 2007, Jo founded COG Developments Ltd, a South Coast property company that combines cutting edge design with the use of sustainable materials in order to transform neglected older buildings into luxury homes. One of the company’s core projects to date has been the £5 million, 14 apartment conversion of Gresham House, a former Nursing Home based in Eastbourne.

Jo also has substantial financial expertise having spent his earlier career as both an Equity Research Analyst specialising in the telecommunications market, and a Chartered Accountant.

Between August 1999 and February 2002, he was an Executive Director at Lehman Brothers, responsible for overseeing the European Mobile Equity Research team.

He joined Lehman from Merrill Lynch where he was a European Mobile Telecoms Analyst (August 1997 – August 1999), having previously worked as a telecoms analyst at Natwest Markets (June 1995 – August 1997). He started his career within Arthur Andersen’s European Corporate Tax Division (September 1991 – June 1995).

Additionally Jo has held a number of non-executive directorships at a variety of companies since April 2002. These include Haggards Brewery Limited, a London-based brewing company and bar operator, The New World Assembly Limited, an online gaming company and community, and Wavefinder UK Limited, the UK subsidiary of Wavefinder, the world’s leading publisher of guide books and online media for adrenalin adventure sports.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Alex Macpherson, Chief Executive, Octopus Ventures, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Jo to Octopus Ventures. His impressive blend of financial expertise and track record as a successful entrepreneur make him the perfect fit for our interactive approach to investment and will no doubt be extremely valuable to the companies in which we invest.”

Jo Oliver, Investment Director, Octopus Ventures, said: “I have been highly impressed by the level of support that Octopus Ventures provides to investee companies and the opportunity to work with the team was extremely compelling.

“Having started my own business ventures, I believe that the access to skills and contacts that Octopus and its Investor Group offer is not only unique but plays a crucial role in ensuring young, dynamic businesses meet their full potential. I am really looking forward to playing an integral part in helping the companies in which we invest grow and, in turn, generate significant returns for our investors.”


Media Enquires:

Octopus Investments Ltd:
Celestine Cheong, Communication Manager Tel: +44 (0) 20 7710 2840

The Millbrook Partnership Tel:+44 (0) 20 7520 9455

Notes to Editors:

About Octopus Ventures (
Octopus Ventures, a subsidiary of Octopus Investments, is a venture capital company that focuses on identifying early stage business opportunities that show significant potential for explosive growth.

Octopus Ventures has access to a network of over 100 independent investors that make up the Octopus Investor Group. The group backs UK entrepreneurs and aids in their success by providing both knowledge and industry contacts. The majority of group members are highly experienced leaders in their field who have built or are building businesses. Their time and experience, given alongside that of Octopus, provides companies with the type of developmental assistance and resource that is usually beyond the means of most small businesses.

Over the past eight years, the Octopus Ventures team has invested £26m into 30 companies and generated a realised return of 3.5x cash on cash (equivalent to 49% IRR). Across the entire portfolio (including those investments not yet realised), Octopus Ventures’ IRR is 20% (IPEVCG guidelines 31st December 2008).

In October 2007, Octopus Investments launched Octopus Titan VCT 1 & 2 which raised more than £30 million. Octopus Ventures is the Investment Manager of this Fund. The focus of the Fund is to generate real returns on investors’ money over the long term by investing into unquoted companies with strong growth potential.

The typical deal size ranges from £0.25 million to £2 million and the portfolio is expected to encompass investments in 20-25 unquoted companies. The Fund is structured as a twin VCT to enable it to make investments of up to £2 million per company, twice the amount possible for single VCTs. To date five companies have received funding.

Following the strong investor demand for Octopus Titan VCT 1 & 2, Octopus Titan VCT 3 plc was launched in May 2008. Like the previous Titan VCTs, Octopus Titan 3 is designed to deliver strong returns to investors through investment into 20-30 smaller UK companies.

Octopus Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS. Registered office: 8 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HP. Registered in England & Wales under No. 03843058.

Publisher Contact Information:

Octopus Ventures (,
020 7520 9455

Company profile of Octopus Ventures
Past press releases of Octopus Ventures.


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