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.

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.