I rather surprised the faculty at my secondary school entrance interview when I told them that my ideal job would be an astrophysicist. So science was already a childhood dream. In the short term, that developed into keeping aircraft in the sky, as I had a flying licence at age 16 before I could even drive. However, I discovered that I had green-red colour blindness, so I couldn’t pursue that particular dream.
I received a finance degree from Loughborough University, and then became a JP Morgan Finance Program graduate. For more than 20 years, I have been active in the financial sector, working on every continent. After starting my career as an investment banker at JP Morgan, I founded my own company, which focused on scaling, turnarounds and complex project financing for SMEs. Notable transactions included the GBP 50 million restructuring and MBO of an accessibility products manufacturer, and the refinancing of a USD 1 billion aircraft loan portfolio.
A minor existential epiphany led me to Ananda. I had a deep desire to do something different, more tangible, and practical. At some point, I realised I had ended up in what turned out to be the dark side of commerce. So I asked my friends and my insightful daughter for advice. They put it differently, but the message was the same: ‘Do something that uses your skills positively’.
Social innovation, sustainability and the challenges of early-stage enterprises. I want to use my skills to fund technologies and ideas that will potentially change the way we do things in a positive fashion. This is a massive gift that makes me happy every day, because I feel directly involved with creating these new things. That gets me up every morning and makes me open the laptop.
I love technology and making my latest tech gadget work. However, I am not just passionate about the tech field for its own sake, but about every enthusiastic start-up trying to make a difference.
It’s more important to think about what you want to do and what you’d like to do, and forget about whether you’re going to be the best at it. Doing something with care and passion is what counts.
Outside my day job, I mentor, innovate and educate myself. I’m also a passionate cook. My signature dish would probably be crab and smoked salmon linguine. But baking? No. I was deeply scarred by the River Cafe Cookbook and its famous chocolate cake that is impossible to reproduce. That was my official last attempt to bake a brownie!
And I’ve always wanted to write a book; that would be an exciting achievement. But the big project I’ve got in my mind is to give proper guidance to my children. To help them go in the right direction in life.