GTS Ventures Ltd: Gains to Shareholders
 

GTS: Gains to Shareholders - About

Grahame T Sewell Grahame T. Sewell

Born 1950, Sydney Australia. Joint British/Australian nationality
Married, 2 sons aged 36 and 33. Languages: French and Dutch
grahame@gtsventures.com

PROFILE

FCA, with Chairman, CEO, CFO and NED experience. Specific skills:
• Entrepreneurial, with proven track record of creating shareholder value in large and small companies, both listed and unlisted.
• Management of growth, strategy and completing high value Exits.
• Range of industry sectors, including technology, financial services, health and retail.
• International experience – including 7 years resident in continental Europe and wide US exposure.
• Active involvement in the City, creating good corporate governance, completion of IPOs, knowledge of private equity and venture capital sector.

APPROACH

As this page explains, I have been involved in a range of companies and invested in many. With early stage companies, there is a high degree of risk of losing one’s investment. As with many individuals who have invested in early stage companies in a range of sectors, it is likely that most companies will either fail or provide a poor financial return. The good ones can of course be very good. You will find difficulty in finding a text book or investment manual which will provide much help. It really is a case of learning “on the job”. It can often be a long and tedious process to achieve a satisfactory financial return when eventually an Exit is achieved, and I have the bumps and bruises to show for my experiences.

The good news is that anyone with a reasonable level of intelligence should learn from their unsuccessful companies and use these experiences to improve the quality of company selection and decision making with companies in the future.

I believe that my experiences with a range of companies in different sectors and in a whole variety of different cultures, provides me with a much stronger ability to work as Chairman with early stage companies now than, say 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Through GTS Ventures Ltd, value can be added and success can be accelerated.

CAREER HISTORY

Since 1995 - GTS VENTURES LTD – Founder and CEO
• Private equity business focussed on executing strategy, building shareholder value and completing successful Exits.
• Active involvement in launch and development of businesses in technology, financial services, health and retail - £50m raised through Company or through partners.
• Chairman, CEO or Director of these companies, two having listed.
• Working with companies to raise finance, dealings with investors and plans for flotation.

GTS Ventures Current Assignments include:

Simplexo Group Ltd, www.simplexo.com, Chairman and investor, “Next Generation Search and Cloud Security”. Managed funding rounds and shareholder relations. Strengthened management team, developed partnerships and played leading role in commercial launch. The Company now operates in the USA as SYC - www.searchyourcloud.com and has recently been granted a new and highly valuable patent covering federated search.

Osmo Data Technology Ltd, www.osmodatatechnology.com - Osmo. Chairman, investor, market leader in invoice discounting IT solutions to global banks. BlueChip customers include Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Close Invoice Finance. From start-up now contracted £10m+ of revenues.

Vzaar Ltd, www.vzaar.com, NED and investor. Global leader in development and supply of video platform to facilitate sales and marketing of products and services on the web. From start-up to current rapid expansion of revenues of 10% per month.

Edge Case Games Ltd, www.edgecasegames.net. Investor and Chairman. Lead initial investment round and the Company has since then attracted a UK instituional investor and Chinese investor. The Company has launched the initial version of its game, Fractured Space, and has already signed up 500,000 players. 

Intelligent Health Limited, www.intelligenthealth.co.uk. Director and investor. Introduced new Board members, private and VC investors, and have been key part of initial team which will triple revenues in first year post investment.The Company has developed a successful formula to encourage large communities to participate in "games" to encourage the inactive to become active - leading to significant health benefits for participants and cost savings for health authorities and councils. 

Sage Partners, www.sagepartners.net, a US based consultancy. As Head of London office, I am involved with venture management, in particular helping US companies gain a foothold in the UK and making introductions for UK companies wishing to have a US base. Retired 2016.

Southampton Solent University, Chairman of Board of Governors. 15,000 students, annual budget £100m, role encompasses building links with commercial organisations. Rated as one of the premium universities within the “new” university sector. Retired 2013. 

Past Assignments:

Get Me In Ltd, (2006-2008) A Sage Assignment, I was Chairman, Europe’s leading secondary ticketing company to retail and corporate, sold January 2008 to Ticketmaster at substantial profit for shareholders.

CMR Ltd, (2003-2006) NED, Global leader in pharmaceutical metrics, joined the Board to commercialise the Company and led the Exit Team that successfully completed a $10m sale to Thomson Corporation.

Synigence plc, (1996-99) an AIM listed IT/healthcare company. Director and investor, then CEO, directed process leading to Company’s listing in June 1998, resulting in increase in share value of up to 100 times, and rise in capitalization from nil to £40m.

1st Dental Laboratories plc, (2002-2010) NED and investor, joined at flotation on AIM. UK’s largest and only listed dental laboratory group. Revenue growth from start-up to £11m. Appointed Chairman in 2009 to drive turnaround strategy.

Occasional speaker at IOD, University and Academic Events on entrepreneurship, private equity and the skills required to provide gains to shareholders through successful Exits.

PREVIOUS CAREER HISTORY

1992 – 1994 ALLIANCE UNICHEM PLC - Joined at flotation on LSE, FD + Head of European Operations
Pharmaceutical wholesaler and retailer, sales £1.2 Bn.
• Coordinated strategy, directed acquisitions and played key role in growing earnings from £21m to £38m, and saw market capitalization double
• Directed Board level organisation and systems review to enhance profitability

1989 – 1991 REEBOK INTERNATIONAL LTD - CFO International Division
$2 Bn Anglo-American major sportswear company.
• Part of new international management team which doubled revenues to $500m and tripled profits to $50m, and directed acquisition of new subsidiaries and joint ventures. Involved in launch of new apparel range.

1984 – 1989 LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION - International FD
$1 Bn leading US PC applications software company.
• Member of management team in total start-up which grew revenues from zero to $200m in five years. Improved profit and exceeded plan targets in each year

1977 – 1984 AM INTERNATIONAL INC. - Divisional Controller
• Intl auditor, Brussels, followed by FD Netherlands, then FD UK.

1968 – 1977 ERNST & YOUNG - Articled Clerk, then Audit Manager.

EARLIER LIFE AND THEN SOUTHAMPTON SOLENT UNIVERSITY

I was born in Sydney, Australia, of British parents, but brought up from the age of four in the UK, living in the Bournemouth area and completing my education at Canford School. Before embarking on a career as a Chartered Accountant, I spent several months serving Community Service Volunteers in Peckham, south east London, on an adventure playground. This provided me with the experience of spending time with some of the toughest, most undisciplined and violent young people in London. It was a very valuable experience in helping me to better understand the minds of the less privileged people in our society.

Since 2008 I have been Chairman of the Board of Governors of Southampton Solent University. The vast majority of the students at the University are the first member of the family to attend a University. In fact the University makes a very strong effort to recruit individuals from less well off backgrounds, but who are determined to obtain a good degree and to be successful.

The University includes the renowned Warsash Maritime College, whose reputation is second to none and whose facilities for training mariners are world class. The University has an increasingly strong reputation for its media, fashion and sports courses, with a strong ethos to provide the best opportunities for employment after graduation.

The Board has a responsibility for working with the Executive Team to manage a £100m budget, and has an excellent track record in recent years of generating a good operating surplus. This has helped to fund a major expansion of the University’s facilities, work which is now ongoing.

Besides being responsible for the Board, presiding over graduation ceremonies and being active in a number of the University’s activities, the role has enabled me to meet, amongst others, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Grade, Charles Morgan (boss of Morgan Motor Cars), Lord Fellowes and Dannii Minogue (who was awarded an honorary degree in 2011). Lord West is the Chancellor of the University.

The University sponsors Southampton FC and provides its innovative sports facilities to the football players. My strangest moment was standing in the centre of the pitch in front of 30,000 people, representing the University at a presentation immediately prior to a game with my team AFC Bournemouth in League 1 in 2010. Southampton won 2-0.

ASSOCIATE COMPANIES AND OTHER INVESTMENT ACTIVITY

Besides being an active investor/director where I hold Chairman or other Board positions, I have a number of investments or associate positions in other companies in the technology, financial services, healthcare and retail sectors. I frequently work with the Boards of these companies on strategic issues, assisting with funding requirements, making commercial introductions and providing other advisory activities.

Recent examples include:

www.phynova.com – developer and marketer of natural medicines developed in China
www.ceravision.com – revolutionary and patented low-energy lighting systems
www.amplience.com – innovative interactive retail technology to build brand sales
www.numecent.com - innovative cloud paging technology

OTHER

When not working with one of these organisations, I spend time with my family, play tennis, golf (badly), go cycling and walking, and support AFC Bournemouth. I enjoy travel, good eating and wine.

I am a member of:
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Institute of Directors
Home House, London
ITNEA, London
Octopus Ventures, Partner
Leatherhead 41 Club (formerly Leatherhead Round Table)
Aston Martin Owners Club