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Speaker Biographies
Speaker:  Mr John Boyle Mr Geoffrey Thomson      

John Boyle – born in Hamilton 1952, brought up and educated in the West of Scotland.


1975 – went to London and commenced career in travel industry, firstly building up Falcon Leisure Group, a pioneer in cheap flights, subsequently sold to Owners Abroad plc in 1981.  John became Chief Executive of the Group.


1981-90 – John remained with Falcon increasing their holiday carryings from under 200,000 to almost two million passengers a year with profits of more than £20m.


1990 – John leaves Falcon.  After a year’s sabbatical, John sets up Direct Holidays in Glasgow.


1992-98 – Direct becomes one of the UK’s leading direct sell holiday companies and  in 1998 the business is sold to Airtours for £84m.


1999 – John sets up the Hamilton Portfolio Ltd, a major investor in Scottish businesses, actively involved in private equity investment, commercial property and residential property development.


2003 – John and his brother set up Zoom Airlines which will operate flights from Glasgow and Gatwick to five Canadian cities commencing May 2004 flying three Boeing 767 aircraft.


Geoffrey Thomson, CEO Braveheart Ventures.  Braveheart is an investment syndicate that invests in unquoted UK companies.  The syndicate was formed in 1997 by 4 investors.  Today it has 65 investors who are supported by an executive management team of four.  The syndicate has invested 26 rounds of funding into 19 companies ranging from high tech to medtech and the more traditional such as food manufacture.  The portfolio is currently returning an IRR of just over 29% (based on BVCA guidelines).  Two of the more successful exits achieved are Pro-Sports Promotions Ltd and Wolfson Microelectronics plc.  The syndicate co-invests with 3i, Scottish Equity partners, Yorkshire Fund Managers, Aberdeen Murray Johnston, Cambridge Gateway, Bank of Scotland Equity, Classic Downing, and other VCs.  Braveheart was one of the first partners to be announced under the Scottish Co-investment Scheme.  Last year the syndicate won a national award for ‘best private investor network’ beating six finalists, all from South of the Border. Braveheart is lead investor in the SMART Equity Scheme, an innovative approach to funding spin-out companies.  This Scheme was pioneered with the University of Edinburgh and the Bank of Scotland. Following authorisation from the FSA in February this year, Braveheart now offers a bespoke portfolio service for investors who wish to invest in unquoted equity but who wish to take a passive approach. 

Braveheart was one of the first syndicates to become established in Scotland and has worked closely with public sector organisations such as LINC Scotland to further the ‘business angel’ concept and to assist others to set-up additional syndicates.Geoffrey writes for two National newspapers and speaks regularly at public events on topics such as making and managing unquoted investments. More information is available at www.braveheart-ventures.co.uk


The Chairman for the evening is Mike Rutterford, Managing Director, Rutterford Ltd.  Mike is one of Scotland’s entrepreneurs and business angels.  He has been involved in a series of multi-million pound deals combined with a dossier of investments in UK start-up companies.  His mission is to create a culture of entrepreneurial success in Scotland. His busy working life is spent between his dual roles as co-founder of Archangel Informal Investments and as a private investor, board member and advisor to a number of Scotland’s most promising technology companies. Archangel began in 1992, as a private informal investment house, co-founded with Barry Sealey.  Over the last nine years, the syndicate has invested in approximately 50 start-up companies.  In 2001, Archangels will have a list of 30 live investments in the field of technology, medical science, retail and manufacturing. Archangels many investments include Data Discoveries, Waterside Television, Optos, Oregon Timber, Alpha Solway, Infinite Data Storage to name but a few. Mike is also a Founder and Director of the Entrepreneurial Exchange.

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