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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.