Visiting Business Fellows & Coaches
InnovationRCA is supported by a visiting team of business and start-up experts
Entrepreneur in ResidenceStephen Rockman
Stephen has been investing in, advising and mentoring startups for more than ten years. Previously he spent 25 years in commercial and strategic roles with technology corporates and startups. After some years as an angel investor, he founded Merism Capital in 2010, to invest in seed and early stage impact businesses.
Stephen is a Trustee of Shift Ventures Trust which researches, designs and builds social businesses that solve social problems. He sits on the Advisory Boards of Ada, the National College for Digital Skills (a new HE College providing vocational education opening in September 2016) and CW+ (the charity supporting Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by funding pioneering research, innovation, art and design.)
Stephen actively champions entrepreneurship, innovation and social impact through his participation in various conferences and investment competitions which include: British Council Culture Hack in Johannesburg & Nairobi, Tech City Challenge, Global Social Venture Competition, Big Venture Challenge, Creative Britain and ITU Telecom. He is also an assessor for Innovate UK and was a member of the Department of Health and Design Council’s Advisory Board for the ‘Living Well with Dementia’ Challenge.
Jan Miller brings to InnovationRCA a wealth of creative and cultural industries business experience. With a foot-hold firmly in fashion where she has over 30 years experience in management roles, Jan now also regularly ventures into strategic business development and finance advice for interiors, product design, artists, and cultural & tourism businesses, organisations, sole traders and charities.
Jan is part-time Finance Director at London Fashion Week brand www.marquesalmeida.com , and is an experienced business mentor to over 100+ emerging designers in recent years across womenswear, menswear, accessories and ecommerce, notably : Craig Green, Erdem, JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Raeburn, Molly Goddard, Faustine Steinmetz, Grace Wales Bonner and Peter Pilotto.
Jan's experience in innovation, enterprise and creative industries is regularly drawn on to judge entries for awards and funding through InnovateUK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) and the European Commission. She is also a member of the Pool of Assessors for the European Capitals of Culture, and is a judge on the New Business Award panel at Graduate Fashion Week.
Designer in Residence
Social entrepreneur and social impact service designer, Judah Armani, joined the InnovationRCA team as Designer in Residence in late 2020. In his role he helps the founders of InnovationRCA start-ups, spinouts and creative brands with specialist advice on developing, delivering and capturing impact through their enterprises. A multi-award winning social impact designer whose practice, Public Service Design, has enjoyed an internationally recognised track record of creating positive impact and social transformation since 2009, Judah gained a first class Masters in Service Design from the RCA.
Judah is also founder of InHouse Records, a multi-award winning, rehabilitative service, operating a record label in multiple UK prisons and on the outside too. Increasing positive behaviour in prison by 428% and significantly reducing recidivism with a 0% re-offending rate. Past initiatives include working with those in super challenging circumstances and reducing homelessness. His 2020 Awards include London Design Spotlight Winner and iF World Design Guide inclusion for “Aux” a Covid19 response for prison rehabilitation. He was shortlisted by Big Issue and The British Entrepreneur of the Year as Social Entrepreneur for 2020.
Judah’s practice is headquartered in Brighton where he provides over 500 hours of pro bono work a year. He is a network member of the British Design Council & The Royal Society of Arts and his practice has been B Corp certified since 2013. Judah is a trustee for the internationally acclaimed Brighton Festival.
Visiting Business Fellows
With over 25 years’ experience in the creative industries, Jan Casey has substantial expertise from both a business and consultancy perspective. Previously a board director of branding agency Lambie-Nairn, Jan now works independently combining her experience as a brand consultant, project director, business adviser, coach and psychotherapist to build brands, implement projects and facilitate organisational change.
Jan's business clients include Land Securities, BBC Broadcast, HM Revenue & Customs, Sky, Royal Mail, the NHS, British Heart Foundation and Red Cross. Jan’s design consultancy clients include hat-trick, Pentagram and David Collins Studio. Jan also chairs seminars on the creative industry and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Jan has been working with InnovationRCA since 2008.
Áine is a communications specialist with a strong understanding of communication and engagement trends, emerging practices, digital communications, and a track record of promoting innovation and design. Having led on communications and marketing for the RCA for over a decade and supported a generation of InnovationRCA start-ups, Áine is now head of external communication for the London School of Economics. An experienced coach and mentor, Áine is also a trustee of Chisenhale Art Place and Chair of Duckie.
She has a background in publishing and holds a Master's degree in Media and Communications.
Steve has been working with InnovationRCA for a number of years, providing expert mentoring and coaching to our incubated start-ups. With extensive experience in a wide range of technology and media industries, especially within engineering, sales and marketing, Steve provides broad advisory support. His knowledge and support extend to board governance, organisational design and succession management, remuneration, strategic planning, marketing and sales focus, fund raising and exit.
Steve also provides an external vantage point on business to analyse opportunities and maximise its economic growth.
In 2012, Elizabeth joined the board of Aurum Holdings Ltd, the largest prestige and luxury jewellers in the UK, as Director of Mappin & Webb.
Elizabeth has built a first class reputation as one of the major talents within the jewellery industry. Before her appointment to the Board of Aurum Holdings, Elizabeth served on the Board of Links of London as Creative Director. Elizabeth steered the company through stages of growth and design evolution; carving a distinctive reputation while maintaining Links of London’s originality and heritage. Elizabeth comes from a highly creative family, her grandfather was a photographer for Time Magazine with work in the National Portrait Gallery and her mother is a graphic designer who worked with Vogue’s Grace Coddington.
Nina is an entrepreneur and leading expert in customer strategy, data insight and innovation having worked predominantly in this field for over 20 years. She has co-founded, built and sold two companies: one in fashion; and one in customer insight consultancy, so understands first-hand the challenges involved in running and growing a start-up.
Nina’s experience spans from working at dunnhumby in the late '90s as part of the ground-breaking team who pioneered Clubcard for Tesco, to co-founding Myla, the international luxury lingerie brand and retailer, in 2000. These two quite different career choices led her to co-found Zinc Retail in 2010 which specialised in integrating some data science into its fashion-forward clients business decisions (such as Chloé, KaDeWe and Mulberry)
Nina now owns Sideways Consulting, where her love of pragmatic problem solving means she is most often described as 'the glue' by her range of retail and data insight clients. She also takes time out to mentor a few chosen start-ups in the retail/tech space as she loves to see innovative ideas come to fruition.
Bradley Hardiman started his career as a life scientist working for the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and from there moved into technology transfer and business incubation. His previous roles include that of Head of Business Incubation at Design London, the RCA's joint venture partnership with Imperial College. Bradley has a BSc in Medical Biochemistry from Brunel University, a Research Master's degree in Molecular Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge and an Executive MBA from Cass Business School.
He has been an active supporter of InnovationRCA's entrepreneurship programmes since 2010.
Nick Hedley was partner at top-tier patent and trade mark firm Kilburn & Strode LLP until retirement in 2013 and continues to provide consultancy services for the firm.
He has a Master's in Chemistry from Oxford University, is a qualified solicitor, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and a European Patent Attorney. Nick is also a certified Patent Agent Litigator. Nick has provided patent attorney services to the RCA for over ten years. During this period he was also a generous supporter of the College’s students and alumni, providing informal guidance and talks on intellectual property rights and helping them understand the fundamentals of protecting their work.
In 2013, Nick became Visiting Business Fellow at InnovationRCA.
Melanie recently rejoined Future Foundation – the consumer and social think tank she co-founded in 1996 following a successful MBO. Melanie's role as part-time Chair explores new ways of disseminating the Foundation's work in the wider world and lead innovation both internally and through working with clients.
With nearly 20 years of social trend analysis and forecasting experience both at the Henley Centre for Forecasting and the Future Foundation, she has extensive knowledge to bring to client projects and is a popular speaker and facilitator for events. In Melanie's visiting role at InnovationRCA she applies social and consumer insights in order to inspire to better innovation. Her other roles include being a trustee of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, a non-executive director for Band and Brown communications and an adviser to on-line social business hub www.clearlyso.com.
Professor Andy Penaluna
Following what he describes as a career swerve from his design background, Andy discovered that his research and design thinking skills enabled him to challenge established thinking on enterprise and entrepreneurship education. He subsequently formed the Higher Education Academy's Entrepreneurial Learning Special Interest Group and was elected to chair Enterprise Educators UK, a network of over 70 Universities, for 2010–11.
Andy's roles include working with the Enterprise Directorate at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and developing educator training on behalf of Welsh Government. He sits on a United Nations expert panel that is developing an international enterprise policy toolkit and also chairs the Quality Assurance Agency's Graduate Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Group.Andy is Professor of Creative Entrepreneurship and Research Director at the Centre for Creative Enterprise, Swansea Metropolitan University.
Pauline Watkins is an Intellectual Property (IP) specialist with a strong understanding of the legal challenges and opportunities for academics, students and the creative industry.
Pauline has been supporting RCA students, staff and InnovationRCA start-up businesses for over a decade – managing, curating and delivering intellectual property support programmes, workshops and 1-1 advice opportunities at the College from 2008–19. During her time at the RCA, she managed InnovationRCA’s patent support offer to graduating students, filed numerous patent applications and managed the College's IP portfolio.
Pauline holds an honours degree in Business Organisation from Herriott-Watt University, Edinburgh. Her early career was spent in information technology at 'magic circle' city law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, progressing from software developer to Project manager and IP Operations Manager.
Pauline is a Fellow of the RCA.
Jonas is a creative entrepreneur and design strategist. As Managing Partner at Social Fabric, for 20 years he has helped organisations adopt new technologies and launch commercial ventures. Jonas has over 20 years’ experience in the creative sector as a design strategist. He has worked with clients including Google, Sony Music and The BBC. Jonas is also an adjunct professor in entrepreneurship and innovation, conference speaker and author.
He curates the Future of Work event series together with Soho House, where he invites leading thinkers to share their stories. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Huffington Post writing on all things business, design and innovation.
Damon is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience of building product design and manufacturing businesses in the UK and China. Damon is active in the start-up space and through the British Design Fund, which he founded in 2017,
Damon continues to support and fund enterprising product businesses based in the UK. Damon is specialised in launching brands into the retail sector and developing sales strategies for growth stage and scale up businesses.
Damon maintains a strong interest in the creative sector and works with numerous not-for-profits providing mentoring and workshops to help start-ups turn their ideas into reality. He joined the RCA as a mentor in 2019.
Russell has been described as the 'Grandfather of mobile marketing'. Russell has been Global Chairman of the Board of The Mobile Marketing Association, a founder of Mobile Monday in Germany, is a regular speaker on mobiles at conferences throughout the world and has published many articles. In 2006, he was the first employee of mobile ad network, AdMob, which was sold to Google for $750m and Russell became VP of Global Alliances at Google focussed on mobile advertising. Russell has overseen thousands of campaigns since 2000.
Before specialising in mobile, he spent over 15 years working in marketing, including advising leading brands such as Coca-Cola, Diageo, Texaco and Mars.
Professor Bart Clarysse
Bart is a founder of several high tech start-ups in businesses such as digital cinema, mobile internet and venture incubation. Bart joined the Business School's Entrepreneurship Hub in 2007 from Nottingham University business school and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, where he taught innovation and technology management, entrepreneurial marketing and entrepreneurship. Bart has over 50 publications in the field of high tech start-ups including his latest book The Smart Entrepreneur: How to Build for a Successful Business, authored with Sabrina Kiefer.
Bart holds the Chair in Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London Business School.
Trained at the Architectural Association, Max Comfort spent 20 years in the field and his extensive portfolio in design includes mansions for Mick Jagger and recording studios for the music industry.
Since the eighties, Max has used his diverse expertise in community planning and personal development to deliver training schemes, including workshops for Deutsche Bank and mentoring over 170 students seeking to launch creative enterprises, before becoming one of the UK's holistic business consultants and adapting his philosophies to methods and strategies for achieving business goals.
Geoffrey Drage is a graduate in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol, and having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, worked as an investment banker in the City of London, advising companies on their corporate strategy and undertaking IPO and M&A transactions. He is now actively involved in technology commercialisation, corporate governance, finance and strategy.
Geoffrey is a co-founder and chairman of GKD Technologies, a Dorset, UK, based engineering company producing systems for machine control and personal safety for construction, logistics and other industries. He also co-founded CXR Ltd., a spin-out from the University of Surrey specialising in solid state X-ray tomography and was its chairman until it was acquired by OSI Systems Inc., an American NASDAQ quoted technology company. In addition Geoffrey chairs Fourth State, a specialist in atmospheric pressure gas plasma for dermatological and surface treatment purposes; and Bodytrak which has a high accuracy real time on-line human life-sign physiology monitoring technology. He is also a director of Bio-Sep Ltd, developing a clean technology for the conversion of ligno-cellulosic biomass to high value chemical intermediates.
Stefan is an experienced electronic engineer who specialises in working with artists and designers to help bring ideas to life. After gaining a 1st class degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, Stefan studied Industrial Design Engineering at the RCA, developing his interest in design and interaction.His diverse CV includes designing the hardware behind a number of digital artworks across three continents, developing sophisticated open source sensor hardware, running a trans-Atlantic test team in charge of the world's highest performance high voltage power supplies, hacking induction cookers for fun and profit and developing off grid power solutions with BuffaloGrid, an InnovationRCA start-up.
Jeremy has worked in digital publishing, marketing and strategy for more than 17 years, first as Digital Publisher at Penguin Books, then as Creative Director at celebrated agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and most recently as a freelance consultant. Over the years he's launched the first line of ebooks from a UK publisher, paired authors and game designers to tell digital-only stories, created the world's first (and hopefully last) wikinovel and made films, digital experiences, interactive documentaries and social campaigns for brands including Johnnie Walker, Clarks, Christie's and Barclays.
A frequent writer and speaker on digital culture, behaviours and marketing he remains a passionate believer in the power of the web to drive communication, commerce, experience and creativity.
Ex ad-man, now angel investor, Richard has invested in PeerIndex, Admedo, Adludio and many more. Richard spent 16 years in the ad industry and is the founder and director of Friday Club London. In 2013 Richard was named in BIMA’s ‘Hot 100’ list which comprises of those who have had a big impact on the digital industry in the past 18 months. Richard was also named again in the 2014 list.
Duncan is an industrial designer and founder of 7TH, a London based design & invention studio. 7TH work on projects covering any situation where people interact with technology, with the aim of creating new products and new ideas that go beyond the norm of everyday design. Duncan’s work spans both home-grown invention and design consultancy work, often for some of the world’s best known brands, and he has been a judge for both the D&AD and James Dyson Awards.
His design for the world’s first foldable wheelchair wheel has been a finalist in the Saatchi & Saatchi World Changing Ideas Awards, has won Transport Design of the Year at the Design Museum, Icon Magazine Product Design of the Year and also the Institution of Engineering Designers Alex Moulton Award for Innovation.
Duncan is also a director of Salar Surgical, winner of both MediWales and Medilink Startup of the Year awards.
After graduating from UCL and gaining an MBA in Milan, Massimo spent 15 years in finance running large pan-European trading teams that focussed both on the client and profitability. In 2005 Massimo left finance to pursue a career where he could make use of all the skills he’d acquired in a more rewarding and philanthropic way. Massimo runs his wife’s furniture design studio, Bethan Gray Studio London, and coaches and consults for creative companies looking to grow.
Mike Greatwood has been leading, coaching, mentoring and supporting business leaders and senior managers for over 20 years.
Having acquired, grown, led, rationalised and turned around a number of small and large businesses and divisions, Mike has always focussed on the development of people within the organisation. Mike is a member of the British Psychological Society and Association of coaching, having delivered over 5000 hours of executive coaching and is MBA educated.
Since graduating from the School of Furniture at the RCA, John has worked extensively in the Design, Manufacturing and Retail industries.
For over 30 years, his work has taken him to many countries from the Baltic to the Balkans, extensively throughout Europe and from the Caribbean to the Far East. He currently works independently as a design consultant to manufacturers, retailers and development agencies. John’s extensive and wide-reaching skill set aids his role as a Mentor to the Crafts Council of Ireland and a number of start-up companies. He has been a visiting Professor and Lecturer at the Cleveland Institute of Art (USA) Kassel University (Germany), the RCA and the Sotheby Institute of Art.
Hazel is an international marketing specialist with experience across luxury, fashion, tech and premium goods. Currently Head of Admissions and Marketing at ACS International Schools Ltd, she previously held the post of Head of Marketing at Selfridges and has significant experience gained working with luxury brands. Past roles include Global Marketing Director at luxury mobile phones company, Vertu, and Global Brand Director and International Marketing Director International for De Beers.
Professor Emeritus Clare Johnston
Professor Emeritus Clare Johnston, Senior Research Fellow Textiles, is the Project leader and 'Scientist in Charge' of the ArcInTex European Training Network at the RCA. Clare set up her own textile design studio in 1979, collaborating with many UK and international labels including Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Cacharel and Diane von Fürstenberg. In 1990 she joined the Marks and Spencer Womenswear Design team as in house Colour and Textile consultant. In 1998 she became Head of Design at Liberty of London Directing all Liberty Brand products including Fashion collections, Liberty of London Print, Gift and Homewear products.
Clare joined the RCA as Visiting Professor to Textiles in 1999 and was appointed as Professor and Head of the Textile programme in 2000.
Gareth Jones is the founder and director of The Product Works design consultancy. After graduating from the RCA's Innovation Design Engineering in 1991 he worked for Dyson Engineering where he held various posts including Design Engineer on the award winning DC01 duel cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaner, Design Manager and Group Product Development Director.
In 2004 Gareth founded The Product Works, whose clients have included BP, DePuy International, Targetti lighting and ACCO.
Gareth is a Design tutor at the RCA and Queen Mary UCL and Visiting Professor of Creativity and Innovation at Bath University.
After securing a mechanical engineering degree at Imperial, Alex Kalogroulis set up Kalogroulis Design in 1990 whilst half way through his IDE Master’s degree at the RCA. Alex has worked with numerous clients in the UK and Hong Kong/China as well as creating subsidiary companies for specific projects. With a wide knowledge of production techniques, extensive factory contacts and access to UK and overseas distributors, Alex can design a product, protect it, have it manufactured and launched into markets.
Alex is a visiting tutor on the Imperial/RCA Innovation Design Engineering Master’s programme and – from January 2014 – a visiting coach at InnovationRCA.
Rob is currently a founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm investing across Europe. He is an active board member at Campanja, Immunio, and Raptor Supplies. He was also an adviser to Jaycut (acquired by RIM) and SocialMedia.com (acquired by LivingSocial).
Prior to Hoxton, Rob was formerly a member of the investments team at Fidelity Ventures in London, focusing on consumer internet and software as a service sectors. Prior to Fidelity, he was on the new business development team at Google and was previously a lead product manager for AdSense's front-end systems. While at Google, he also launched the AdWords pay-per-action (PPA) product and was actively involved in the acquisition of Feedburner in 2008.
Alice is an executive level marketing professional with more than 20 years’ experience working for companies in the heart of Silicon Valley and Europe.
In September 2011, Alice joined Friend2Friend, as Chief Marketing Office where she directs corporate marketing strategy, specialising in brand marketing on social platforms. Friend2Friend's client base includes leading global consumer and business brands including Universal Pictures, Nickelodeon, Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce, New Belgium Brewing and many others.
An early Silicon Valley settler, Alice has had a long career in product development and marketing, originally as a founding member of an early IBM/Macintosh software startup in 1985, sold to Symantec Corporation in 1988. Since then, Alice has worked at Apple Computer UK and at a variety of large and small high technology companies in senior level marketing roles.
Alice holds a degree in History and Art from the University of Leeds.
Johnny Martin is an experienced Finance Director who now passionately explains business numbers and jargon. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book Understanding Your Business Finances and his workshops have been awarded “High Impact” status by Global Entrepreneurship Week.
He is a British Library Business & IP Centre partner and Mentor for the School of Communication Arts arguably the world’s best advertising school. He is a Panellist for Imperial Business School and a regular speaker for the Startup Loan Company, Enterprise Nation and London Accelerator.
Chiara Medioli is Director of Product Development and Marketing at Fedrigoni (papers and films for graphic arts), and chairs also its retail operations Fabriano Boutique.
She is on the Board of Directors of Fedrigoni in Italy, of G.P.A. in the United States, of the Bodoni Museum in Parma and the ISTOCARTA Foundation in Fabriano, and a lecturer at Politecnico di Milano.
Chiara started her career at Vodafone in Italy, then worked for Bertelsmann in Germany and London. With Bertelsmann she has developed and started up the company Booktailor, first example of a molecular offer for reference content, combining the potential of web choices with digital printing delivery.
She is the author of Botteghe Oscure – Research on traditional stores in Milano (ed. Hestia, 1998), Scripta Manent (Cartamano Press, 2004), Roma (Touring Club Italiano, 2006) and Rags, Rabbits and Invisible Watermarks (Corraini, 2014). In the last few years, her projects have won the Red Dot Design Award and the German Design Award.
Chiara holds an MA in Economics from Ca' Foscari-Venezia (with research grant at the University of California Berkeley), and an MBA from INSEAD.
J. Paul is a designer leading Neeley Worldwide, a studio helping organisations create meaningful impact through service design and speculative design, with recent projects on happiness, healthcare & wellbeing, future mobility, AI, synthetic biology, and issues of complexity and computational irreducibility in design and business. J. Paul was designer number 4 at Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation and has over a decade of healthcare experience creating new models for experience and delivery. He has worked in radiology, tele-medicine, nursing, A&E, ICU & Hospital settings, primary care, and community works on projects from personal care and wellbeing to the world's first virtual hospital.
J. Paul is a tutor in Service Design at the RCA, and has guest lectured at Imperial College (Computer Science), the RCA (Design Interactions), NYU, ITP, Köln International School of Design, RISD, and SVA: Design for Social Innovation. J. Paul holds an MA in Design Interactions from the RCA, and is a graduate of Northwestern University where he studied Communications Studies and Economics.
Raj has experience in strategy, marketing, business development, and as a CEO. His work to-date includes being involved in an IPO, trade sales, building cash-cows, creating and building brands advertising on primetime TV and founding a start-up investor brand with over 50 investments. Raj founded and funded a start-up studio/foundry as well as funding and starting a co-working space in Soho, London.
In February 2015, Raj was included in the Maserati 100 list for the first time. Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs produced a definitive list of Britain’s most successful business leaders actively supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Christina is a marketer, an entrepreneur and an all-round make-stuff-happen type. She spent much of her career managing brands worth in excess of £100 million at Nestle, Britvic and Mercedes, then turned her hand to start-up brands and has never looked back since. Her mission is to make start-up innovation flourish and to support other entrepreneurial teams navigating this journey through practical training and support.
Christina co-founded two technology start-ups herself so knows first-hand what it is like to launch and grow a new business. Her first technology business launched in 2012 and was acquired by Enterprise Nation in 2015; her second was a Cannes Lions Innovation award winner and used by brands like Samsung, Vodafone and Expedia. As well as this, she teaches Entrepreneurial Marketing, and Entrepreneurial Wellbeing and Mindset for UCL, is an active start-up mentor and is a trustee for the grass-roots charity Breadwinners.
Dr Lisa Smith (Entrepreneur in Residence 2014-15)
Lisa is an entrepreneurial venture capitalist with a diverse business background, predominantly in the healthcare and packaged goods sector, and an impressive list of qualifications: she is a chartered engineer, has received an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MSc in Bio-Mechanics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Natal.
Lisa began her career as a design engineer, before becoming an ops engineer building factories in South Africa. She was appointed chief engineer for one of these factories, which was built just after apartheid had ended and led by the first multiracial management team in South Africa.
Lisa was the first woman to write the legal safety exam required in South Africa to be a chief engineer, which for some, she explains, came as ‘a big shock to the system’. From this experience she learnt a lot about building relationships and discovered new ways of working collaboratively: ‘It really taught me that with creativity you can achieve almost the impossible. People use the word impossible a little bit too easily.’
Communications coach Wendy Smith has been working with entrepreneurs and innovators for the last 15 years in both start-ups and established ventures. She helps people develop more succinct and effective ways to get their message across to different audiences. For the best part of a decade she has coached student innovators across several RCA programmes, including Design Interactions, Innovation Design Engineering and Design Products. Wendy has also trained shortlisted RCA designers for the Deutsche Bank Awards.
She has a background in media, journalism and publishing, and holds postgraduate qualifications from Brunel and Kingston.
Lynsey is CEO and founder of SocialB, an international digital agency whose clients range from start-ups to impressive global clients such as Elsevier, the United Nations and Microsoft.
Lynsey has been described as 'frighteningly knowledgeable' and 'the best social media trainer ever' by some of the world’s leading brands. With over 15 years’ experience, Lynsey specialises in helping businesses to use digital marketing successfully in line with their wider business objectives. Lynsey is regularly called upon for industry insights and comment by the media including CNBC, the Guardian, BBC News and Bloomberg and also is regularly invited to speak at international conferences. Lynsey works alongside other key influencers as part of the social media council at the DMA where she is Vice Chair.
Peter Town has an extensive career background in the entertainment, broadcast, and financial industries, and has served in creative consultancy for over 30 years as a design consultant, and then Managing Director at Town Group Consultancy Ltd before stepping in as Art Director at BBC Worldwide.
Peter is now a Partner at Town & Town Ltd where he's managed projects for over 120 clients including BT, American Express, Honda, IBM and Time Warner.
Mark was formerly a Managing Director of UBS Investment Bank in London and held senior positions in the industry throughout his 20 year career in the city. Mark has been working with, and investing in, early stage companies for many years and was formerly a Board Director of Burgopak Holdings Limited, a packaging and design company, which he was instrumental in helping grow from its early stage development in 2004 to a company which was named the 6th fastest growing UK private company, as noted by the Sunday Times Fast Track Awards.
Mark is a partner in a London based Private Equity firm and is also an adviser to several SME companies across a variety of sectors. He joined the RCA as a consultant in May 2014.
Kristien De Wolf
Kristien De Wolf is a professional venture and business development coach, and has a long-standing history with the incubator, contributing significantly to its set-up in the early years, and in structuring the selection process. Until very recently Kristien offered her skills as an in-house venture coach for the unique Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design Course (IE&D) which runs on all MBA programs at Imperial College, and as a freelance entrepreneurial market research and business development coach for individual entrepreneurs and business students.
At present, Kristien co-heads Clientonomy, a joint venture that focuses on sales and business development of innovative products and services in emerging and fast growing industries.
Andy Yates is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor.
Having successfully exited his own fintech business, he has helped a portfolio of early stage growth businesses to scale and create well in excess of £100m+ of value. Andy's portfolio includes everything from Perkbox, the employee perks SAAS platform, to Oomph! which is transforming the quality of life for older adults, to fast growing global event tech business Wildgoose - as well as a range of technology fuelled businesses.
After training as an accountant with Deloitte, Andy went on to become a national newspaper senior financial journalist and editor, before helping set-up and establish BBC News Online.
He is a Head Business Coach at InnovationRCA, as well as advisor to a range of key tech accelerators and social impact accelerators including Accelerator Academy, Start up Funding Club and Seedcamp.
InnovationRCA welcome inquiries from potential business coaches and business focused interns. Please contact us for more information: [email protected]