Doug is an experienced and successful businessman who has spent his entire career investing in and operating businesses. A Scotsman by origin, Doug graduated in business studies from Glasgow University in 1985. He then went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte Haskins and Sells in 1988.
Age 22, his first venture was to open 3 paintball sites in Scotland. Awards followed, and his success resulted in international private equity group, 3i, recruiting him to their investment team. In 1992, he decided to branch out on his own again, setting up and developing a successful corporate finance practice which he exited in 1999 to concentrate on his private investment vehicle, Aston Ventures.
Over the next 10 years, Aston Ventures made 13 acquisitions of old economy businesses with a total turnover in excess of £400million. In recent years Aston has focused on technology investments and in 2017 led the acquisition of former tech unicorn VE Global. Since 2008, Doug has built the Knox group of companies and, as Founder and Chairman, he oversees a diverse and successful collection of companies whose business activities include Private Equity, Property and Wealth Management. Knox employs over 350 staff across a number of international locations and has funds under management and administration approaching £3billion.
EQUI is the brainchild of Doug’s embracement of Blockchain technology and a passion for what the cryptocurrency market can achieve. In 2017, Doug successfully launched the first large scale property development to be available for sale in Bitcoin. EQUI will be another first; offering venture capital opportunities backed by leading entrepreneurs to the crypto community.
Michelle is one of the UK’s most influential businesswomen and an award-winning entrepreneur. She is the appointed Start-Up Business Tsar to the UK Government and a leading advocate for female equality in the workplace.
Michelle came from an underprivileged background to found and manage Ultimo Brands International. Her lingerie empire spanned the globe and in 2000 she won the coveted title of World Young Business Achiever at the Epcot Centre in Florida. In the same year she also scooped Business Woman of the Year Award at the Corporate Elite Awards in London. In 2010 Michelle received an OBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her outstanding contribution to business, and she was further honoured in 2015 with a Life Peerage to the House of Lords by the UK’s Prime Minister.
Having built Ultimo into a global success Michelle decided the time was right to exit the business and in 2014 sold to MAS Holdings. She has a number of other business interests including both jewellery and interior design, global speaking and mentorship programs. Over the past few years, she has invested in technology businesses and pursued her interests in the cryptocurrency market. In 2017, she was pivotal in the launch of the $250 million development of two residential towers and a retail complex in Dubai to the cryptocurrency community.
Tim qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1996. His early career focused on advising owner managed businesses and he successfully led a number of high profile acquisitions and disposals. In 2001, Tim joined the venture capital company Aston Ventures as a Partner. Over the intervening years Tim has been heavily involved in sourcing, completing and managing investment opportunities.
Having gained a Chartered Accountancy qualification at PwC Mark spent time in a corporate finance advisory practice advising entrepreneurs and business owners. In 2007, he joined the venture capital company Aston Ventures and over the years has been actively involved in acquisitions, disposals, fundraises and working alongside innovative, growing companies.
Luke is a qualified UK lawyer. He trained at Nabarro LLP before moving to City based stockbroker Oriel Securities followed by a period at the London Stock Exchange as a senior regulator in charge of the AIM market. Luke has extensive experience of working for funds and family offices in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His experience spans M&A, Legal, Fundraising, IPOs, start-ups, direct investment, corporate governance and project management.
Andrew is a Chartered Accountant who qualified with PwC, specialising in banking and finance. He previously completed a Masters in Chemistry at Oxford University. Andrew joined the Aston Developments team in 2016 and was involved in the completion deal for Aston Plaza and Residences, which in 2017 was the first property development in the world to offer purchases in Bitcoin.
Andrei is a software engineer with extensive experience at international corporations such as Motorola, BetVictor and Coral. He is a specialist in software architecture and design and builds robust and scalable solutions for a variety of concepts with a particular focus on blockchain related technology. He is a champion of the crypto community, organising CryptoMarbella Meetup bringing together the Southern Spain community.
Nerys is a Chartered Marketer and has spent 30 years marketing services, specialising in banking, insurance and finance. She has a Masters in Business Administration and a Diploma in Digital Marketing. Nerys joined the Knox group of companies as Group Marketing Director in 2013 and in 2017 she was involved in the launch of Aston Plaza and Residences, which was the first off plan property development available to purchase online in Bitcoin.
Nicholas has been working in the financial tech area for nearly 20 years providing support for stakeholders worldwide including Santander, Barclays, Jupiter Asset Management, Legal & General and Virgin Money. Growing from a global trouble shooter at Standard & Poor’s to software test manager; to running a client operations division for IRESS UK. Nicholas has strengths in developing a seamless user experience and building a culture geared towards customer success.
Sim has worked in the financial services industry for over 16 years with experience spanning banking, real estate, finance, investments, pensions and funds. Sim’s responsibilities at EQUI include undertaking financial and qualitative appraisals, marketing, due diligence, project management and client relationship management.
Anthony is the Managing Director of Knox House Trust, a leading corporate services and trust company. Anthony has played a key role in the growth and development of the company since inception with a particular focus on the private client and family office divisions. He is on the Board of Trustees of CasinoCoin, an open source, peer to peer cryptocurrency that has been specifically designed for the regulated online gaming industry.
Mark is an award winning digital entrepreneur having achieved multiple successful exits over the last decade. Establishing Fuel Ventures in early 2015 – an early stage technology investment fund focusing on high growth businesses. Along with the fund and his personal investments, Mark has 18 companies in his portfolio including fast growth Paddle a platform for software companies that was recently names the UK’s #1fastest growing software company by Deloitte and Moteefe which was awarded best Angel – VC scale up Investment at the UKBAA awards. Prior to Fuel Ventures, Mark built a European discount network, Markco Media from a back-bedroom business to a multi-million-pound company which sold in 2014 for £55million, making it one of the largest UK exits that year.
Duncan started out at an early age founding his first business at the age of 14 and exiting in his early twenties. A true entrepreneur at heart, Duncan has always been interested in technology from a young age and it is no surprise that most of his investments and exposure is in the technology sector. He has been an early stage backer of some of the greatest technology success stories including Facebook and Deliveroo. In 2004 he founded one of the largest financial arbitrage companies and still continues to provides direction and innovation to that company. His 465 Investment vehicle now has 53 companies in its portfolio with a heavy weighting to technology, but also covering the property, financial services, restaurant and crypto spaces.
Morten is CEO of advertising and marketing technology giant Ve Global, which works with over 10,000 corporate clients and has 18 offices across the world. Prior to Ve, Morten was Marketing Director of the leading online gaming company Pokerstars where he was instrumental in growing global revenues and leading communication, data and investor relations. Morten has extensive commercial experience with a technology bias and holds a Masters Degree in Business from Copenhagen Business School.
Jonas is a co-founder of the Nordic Blockchain Association and the founder of AmaZix, the world’s leading community management and engagement firm. AmaZix has been instrumental in major successful token sales such as Bancor, Stox, BANKEX and Sharpe Capital. Jonas has more than 20 years of commercial experience working with some of the world’s largest brands, and now leads a global team of 70 people as CEO of AmaZix.
Duncan was an early crypto adopter, purchasing his first Bitcoin in 2011 and has worked on solutions that integrate with the popular Blockchain API. Since then, Duncan has worked on various crypto projects to support the global adoption of the technology. More recently, Duncan is the founder of the CasinoCoin foundation which has brought the cryptocurrency CasinoCoin to the regulated online gambling industry.
In 2004 John became CEO and Editor In Chief of PokerNews.com and over the next five years he helped grow the company from a three person to over 70 personnel. John then took up a position as a Directorat PokerStars.com, serving on both the executive and marketing leadership teams. John is currently a partner at Narus Advisors, a boutique gaming consultancy advising on new technologies and regulatory matters relating to the gaming industry. He is a staunch advocate of blockchain and is involved in ventures built around the utilisation or promotion of cryptocurrency.