James Henderson 60 second interview
James Henderson is Fund Manager for the Welsh Government’s
Wales Technology Seed Fund managed by Finance Wales. The fund
was set up to take advantage of the rapidly expanding tech start-up
community in Wales by offering equity investment.
What is your role at Finance
As the Technology Seed Fund Manager working in the TVI team, my
role involves finding exciting tech start-up companies with big
ideas and trying to turn them into successful businesses. It’s a
busy role which I enjoy as I get to work with a wide range of
entrepreneurs and angel investors within the technology sector. I
also manage some of our existing investments to help them achieve
commercial traction and follow-on funding.
How long have you worked at Finance
I joined Finance Wales over six years ago from
a Corporate Finance background. I initially joined the Equity
Portfolio team and as Finance Wales’ representative on the boards
of some of our portfolio companies, I managed follow-on Investment
rounds, mergers, acquisitions and also a number of successful
exits. Prior to managing the Wales Technology Seed Fund I spent a
couple of years working in our New Investments team investing funds
across a number of sectors largely consisting of equity but also
with some debt or mezzanine leverage.
Have you enjoyed working in different
teams at Finance Wales?
Yes, it’s been great to be able to work across
teams and get a much broader range of investment experience. Often
you find you pick up different skills from different teams, whether
it’s structuring deals for new or existing clients, building
effective management teams or creating and nurturing relationships.
It’s also allowed me to build strong networks in a range of sectors
which, as an investor, is vital.
Having worked in the company for over
six years, what changes have you seen at Finance
One of the biggest changes has been the number
and diversity of the funds that we manage. When I first joined we
only managed two funds which were fairly general in their remit. We
now manage six investment funds that cover a range of specialist
areas like technology, property, micro loans and short-term
How would you describe Finance Wales’
approach to investing in technology start-up
We’re very open-minded and are not sector
specific. Typically we look for ideas that can have a big impact on
industries and fast-growing markets. We take time to get to know
management teams and try to connect them with the right
co-investors and support network of industry experts to help
identify and fill any skills gaps. For us, the people around an
idea are as important as the idea itself. Once we’ve agreed terms
and structured a deal we work with the client to build a road map
towards commercialisation with clear milestones along the way. But
the journey doesn’t end there, once a company has commercial
traction we have other funding available and teams which can then
support their growth journey with follow-on investments.
Finally, what has been your highlight
My highlight since joining Finance Wales was
the successful investment and subsequent exit from Unite
Technologies. I helped restructure the board, support a number of
investment rounds and we exited the business for a 2.7x return
which was a record for us at the time. Seeing the full journey from
initial investment to successful exit was tremendously satisfying
and the company has remained and prospered in Wales, now supported
by a large American corporate.
If you are looking to raise funding for your
venture or are a Co-investor wishing to invest alongside us contact
Finance Wales at firstname.lastname@example.org