Paddy MccGwire

Innovative and energetic, Paddy MccGwire brings over 25 years’ experience in the technology sector to the Silverpeak management team.

With hundreds of millions of pounds worth of deals under his belt, Paddy specialises in private equity, software/SaaS, digital and tech enabled services. His entrepreneurial spirit and pragmatic approach allows him to tackle a wide range of “complicated” or “difficult” deals with ease, in addition to more straightforward situations.

Paddy’s extensive experience in the sector includes seven years at private equity group 3i after a stint at electronics group STC plc. Prior to co-founding Silverpeak, Paddy founded Cobalt Corporate Finance in 1996 which he led until the merger. He has also acquired a software business, so understands the real issues in growing a tech business.

Over the years Paddy has crafted a reputation for being open, honest and frank with his past, present and prospective clients. His eye for detail is never compromised despite his passion for chasing the deal. Known for his ability to distill vast amounts of detail into key salient points, Paddy prides himself in communicating clearly all options available to his clients.

“When doing deals and investigating options for our clients, our own entrepreneurial spirit is key. I’ve run my own business since I was 29, over 25 years ago. I’m used to taking risks, we treat every deal as if it was our own business.”

“Having had direct experience on all sides of the equation, we understand the key issues for shareholders, management, investors and acquirers – and so can identify and resolve issues before they become a hindrance.”

Paddy is a founding member of the international M&A network Globalscope, with active members on every continent. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences from the University of Manchester (UMIST), and is a Liveryman of the Information Technologists.

In his free time Paddy is often found in Swanage, loves playing on any boats, skiing off-piste and recently doing a triathlon. He is rather passionate about England rugby and lucky having two great kids who are now young men making their own way.

Pietro Strada

Dynamic and passionate, Pietro Strada brings over two decades experience of investment banking in the technology sector to the Silverpeak senior team.

Pietro’s extensive experience encompasses the successful completion of many transactions of all types: trade sales, growth financings, public takeovers, mergers and divestitures. The majority of these were cross-border deals spanning the globe from Europe (UK and most other countries), North America and MEA.

Best known for his upfront, straight talking style, Pietro believes in developing solid relationships with his clients through the reliable delivery of great results, preferring to focus on high quality deals rather than flamboyant marketing speak.

“We’re obsessed with quality and with the service that we provide, so we don’t take shortcuts and we work very hard to deliver the highest quality results for our clients. We are a very technical company, we deep dive into the technology and business side, understanding the products and how they would fit with the counterparties’ strategy.”

His deal-making track-record was built over two decades in various senior roles: as Principal at Jefferies Tech team (formerly Broadview), as Managing Director at Torch Partners, and as founder of his own boutique firm, Centreboard Partners.

Pietro’s other professional experience includes roles as Corporate Development Director at LexisNexis (a division of RELX), consultant at Bain & Co. and an electronic design engineer at OHB System and Italtel. Pietro holds an MBA from INSEAD and a MSc in Electronic Engineering from Politecnico di Milano. He speaks fluent English, Italian, German, French and some Spanish.

In his free time he loves to practice sports (tennis, sailing, skiing, running and cycling), spend time with his wife and children, and support his charitable interests.

David Bell

With more than 15 years of experience in investment banking and law, Silverpeak Director, David Bell, continues to enjoy advising some of the most innovative technology businesses.

Based in the London office and with experience across industrial software, health technology and media technology, he advises firms from across Europe, with specific country coverage for the UK and Nordic regions.

For David, Silverpeak provides the opportunity to advise entrepreneurs and investors in some of the most exciting technology firms. He points out that “Silverpeak is exclusively focused on advising technology firms, including those with perceived ‘complex’ technologies, such as AI, health-tech, and silicon chips”.

He comments further, “Our team has the background and experience to understand the technology – and follow this with the transactional, financial and commercial expertise to provide an unrivalled service to the midmarket, advising on both M&A and fundraising”

“It’s about listening, understanding, advising and executing. We work hard to be a seamless extension of each client – doing what we say we are going to do in the manner we say we are going to do it. Integrity is critical”

The application of technology within the health sector is one that David sees advancing quickly.

“It is an exciting, fulfilling but challenging field with a proliferation of medical and non-medical applications – from medical research through to clinical workflow, imaging and diagnosis, connected care models and patient engagement. My partner is the neuro-radiology medical lead at a leading London trauma centre, one of many seeing rapid advances in the benefits that adopting new technology can offer – literally life changing.”

Having formerly worked at Goldman Sachs, Evercore and ING advising on mergers & acquisitions and fundraising, David came to Silverpeak to continue his focus on advising fast technology firms.

David studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and law at Nottingham prior to qualifying as a lawyer at Linklaters and advising on private equity structuring and fundraising.

Away from work he enjoys the more adventurous travel destinations, Saturday league football and time with his family.

Alexandre de Gandt

Alex joined Silverpeak in 2014 from US-listed advisory firm Duff & Phelps, where he was a Director and played a leading role in setting up their M&A operation in France.

Prior to this experience, Alex worked in the Corporate Finance team at KPMG (Europe’s most active mid-market M&A advisor) and at HSBC, where he advised an array of clients, including private equity funds, large corporates, growth companies and government agencies. His advisory experience is further enriched by hands-on experience managing innovative businesses.

Alex holds degrees from the University of Bristol and La Sorbonne (Paris I), as well as an MBA from INSEAD. He is fluent in both English and French.

David Ford

With more than 10 years’ experience in Corporate Finance Advisory roles, Silverpeak Director, David Ford, also brings a unique perspective thanks to more than 12 years operational involvement in tech companies.

Understanding the investment world and the knowledge of what opportunities technology can bring to the table, enables him to assess the business and the potential of the business.

He explained: “My engineering background is useful to understand real potential competitive advantage – though technology itself is frequently only a small part of the overall value; it’s the business model that makes the money.”

David joined Silverpeak in 2018 after working with Cobalt and Clearwater Corporate Finance. His most recent operational role was as Managing Director of Magnetic North Software, a proprietary Cloud Contact Centre and Cloud Unified Communications solution, which he sold for $39m to West Corporation (NASDAQ:WSTC) following three years of 30%+ growth.

He worked with Silverpeak’s predecessor, Cobalt, but believes that Silverpeak has the right mix of people and experience to provide unparalleled advice from a technology investment bank.

“Our culture means that these deals get personal for us,” said David. “We have a real focus on all of our clients at all times, with a senior team that revels in the details.”

David knows that it is a case of reflecting that same focus on the people and organisations he works with.

“With my experience equally split between operational and advisory roles, I can relate to the challenges that our clients have every day as they grow,” he said.

Of the many deals David has been involved in, a particularly memorable one at Silverpeak was the most recent one.

“This was a growth financing round for a public transport ticketing and payments technology business,” he explained. “Despite entering a 100% penetrated market, the business had become the #1 player in the UK within only seven years from startup – an exceptional feat – and the deal both gave some liquidity for the original angel investors, but also put the business on a much better footing to accelerate growth into Europe and the US.”

Based in Silverpeak’s London office his ethos is that it’s not just the ‘big league’ that can achieve great things. “Just because you are a smaller business it doesn’t mean that you can’t beat the big incumbents, which usually translates into ‘don’t take no for an answer’.”

David accumulates and holds dear advice, including one piece that is relevant for everyone. “Listen – you get a lot more out of people from listening and asking intelligent questions.” And, he has one business lesson that he sticks to: “Make sure you read the detail – because few other people actually do.”

Outside of work David has a range of interests: “These days I am on the wrong side of the touchline; but do like running, sailing and occasional kitesurfing.”

But business is never far from his mind as David is also an angel investor in his spare time.

David’s operational experience is within the telecoms, satellites, location services, sensors and precision engineering sectors. He has a first-class degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and an MBA from INSEAD.

Patrick Gao

Patrick brings over a decade of experience in corporate finance advisory and PE investing in China and Europe, focusing on the technology sector. 

Among other areas, he has in-depth knowledge of artificial intelligence, robotics, fintech, healthtech, IoT and electronics.

Previously Patrick was Head of UK at CENTI (China-Europe Networks of Technology and Innovation Ltd). His professional experience includes tenures at London Bridge Capital, Shanghai HYHD Capital, Shanghai HUIHE Capital and Shanghai Estate Guaranty.

“I am passionate about connecting cutting-edge technology companies with high-growth markets, such as China”

“Brilliant technology requires a brilliant business model and a suitable market to succeed. An ideal transaction, therefore, should not only bring financing support but also strategic planning and market knowledge.”

Patrick has a Bachelor in Economics from Fudan University (in the top three universities in China according to QS), and an MBA from China Europe International Business School (in the top five business schools globally according to the Financial Times).

In his free time, he loves travelling and hiking to be inspired by nature. He is happiest when cooking for his family.