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Biographies

Craig Clark

Craig is a technology entrepreneur regarded by many as a pioneer of the ‘Newspace’ revolution that is currently changing the face of space industry.  After tucking 11 years space industry experience under his belt in Surrey, in 2005 Craig and his wife, Lynn, returned to Glasgow and founded Clyde Space Ltd.  10 years on, Clyde Space is now considered one of the most innovative and highest potential technology companies in the UK, with a brand that is now a ‘household name’ in the space industry. 

Craig’s focus maintains on growing the company through the development of cutting-edge products for the space market, in particular in the area of tiny satellites called ‘CubeSats’; this includes the design, launch and operation of Scotland’s first satellite, UKube-1. 

From early on, Craig predicted that the then very niche market for CubeSats would grow exponentially, with constellations of these tiny spacecraft delivering commercial, military and science applications.  In 2010, Craig secured an investment package of £1m from Nevis Capital, Coralinn and Scottish Enterprise, supporting the development of key technologies for this market.  The company has since experienced year on year growth of 50-100%.  With revenues of over £3m in 2015 and an open order book that should see the company reach £6m+ in 2016, Craig aims to take the company to £20m by 2018.  This will be achieved through further expansion into the US defence and commercial markets, as well as expanding its global reach further into developing markets such as South America and Africa.

With 50 highly skilled staff already working at Clyde Space, the company expects that it will have over 100 staff by end 2017; the vast majority will be degree level engineers and scientists.  One of Craig’s motivations with Clyde Space was to establish the space industry in Scotland; now Glasgow is considered a hub for Newspace companies and recently attracted Silicon Valley funded SPIRE Global to establish their European headquarters in Glasgow, creating a further 50 local high skilled jobs and tasking Clyde Space to build over 20 spacecraft in 2015.

Craig puts the success of Clyde Space down to high levels of innovation throughout the business, from product development through to marketing.  Clyde Space is almost 100% export to a Worldwide customer base with 100% of products being sold to the space industry.

Chris Gauld

I’ve been with Spark Energy since its founding in 2007 and took over as CEO in March 2014. I’m now leading the company in its next phase of growth and diversification. Previously I was the Sales Director and then Managing Director with Spark. Before joining, the company I was Sales Director with Grant Property so I know a thing or two about the property industry too!

Here’s some more info::
• Born in 1978
• Grew up and schooled just outside Aberdeen
• Graduated in Business with Hospitality in 1998 after studying in Edinburgh
• Spent three years working and travelling abroad (with a long spell in Australia)
• Returned to the UK in 2001 and set up a recruitment business servicing the hospitality industry
• Moved to Grant Management in 2004 - an Edinburgh based property investment, renovation and management company - which was growing rapidly in the boom market;
o I headed up investor sales and letting teams and rolled out the service to eight cities across the UK. This is where I experienced tenant move in hassles and saw the opportunity to offer a better utility solution that was ‘ready when you move in’
o I then led the Property Management division with c.3000 properties under management where I experienced the pain and cost in administrating tenant utilities
• I joined newly formed Spark in 2007 as Sales Director where I developed the product offer and sales channel (initially with local agents and then with bigger regional and national groups) before becoming Managing Director in 2009
• My personal interests include being a regular Triathlon competitor, I’d claim to be a relatively good skier and I have a real passion for Italy

James Pirrie

James is a Chartered Accountant who, after completing his training, worked for two years at Ernst & Young.  However all his spare time was spent helping his brother John establish LCH Generators, until the company could support him as a full-time employee. He and John turned their hands to everything that needed done, from workshop to sales. As financial director his structuring of the company’s finances provided the funding which allowed it to achieve its phenomenal growth.  He evolved financial controls and information systems that provided the tools required to control a successful nationwide multi-location business.  By 2006 the company had 200 employees operating from Glasgow, Wigan, Coventry, London and Portsmouth.  In May 2006 LCH Generators was sold to Speedy Hire PLC for £62 Million.

James is a strategic thinker and entrepreneur with ideas and vision. In 2004 he and John were finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards and in 2006 they were finalists in the Entrepreneurial Exchange’s annual awards.

In 2007 James helped set up a private equity business, Nevis Capital LLP.  He is in partnership with John Pirrie and Brian Aitken, ex Corporate Finance Director in PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  Nevis has established a track record of successfully growing businesses in different business sectors.  He is also active in the property investment market.  He is a volunteer mentor for The Prince’s Trust and is chairman of the University of Glasgow Trust.
 

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Venue information

Blythswood Square, Glasgow 11 Blythswood Square
Glasgow
G2 4AD

0141 240 1605

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Chairman

James Pirrie, Nevis Capital, www.neviscapital.co.uk

Speakers

  • Craig Clark, Clyde Space, www.clyde-space.com
  • Chris Gauld, Spark Energy, www.sparkenergy.co.uk
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