Technology Leadership Dinner

Our Technology Leadership Dinner is a peer-to-peer forum for CEOs and other C-suite leaders from across the growth technology sector to meet for an informal dinner and discussion on a topical issue.

The Technology Leadership Dinner is hosted by Bailey Fisher in partnership with Mills & Reeve and Grant Thornton.

We were delighted to welcome Martin Frost as guest speaker for our most recent Technology Leadership Dinner. Martin is CEO of robotics pioneer CMR Surgical, the latest Cambridge company to achieve unicorn status following a $240m Series C round in 2019. The Series C funding is Europe’s largest private financing round to date for a medical technology business, and will fund CMR Surgical’s global commercial scale up.  Martin shared the challenges and successes of the journey so far with CMR Surgical.

Attendance at the Technology Leadership Series is by invitation for CEOs and other C-suite leaders in the growth technology space. If you are interested in finding out more about future events, please contact Helen Poole or Kerry Linsey.

The latest in our series of Life Sciences Leadership Dinners explored the potential challenges and opportunities of scaling a growing healthcare business in the US.   This event was hosted in partnership with Penningtons Manches Cooper and Silicon Valley Bank.

Our guest speakers – Nigel Pitchford, Kym Denny & Paul Kinnon – initiated lively discussion on a diverse range of considerations:

Ensure you really understand commercialised healthcare
The US healthcare market is vastly different to that of the UK. It’s an obvious point, but it’s crucially important to understand how this system works, as it is not necessarily intuitive. The differences are numerous, however perhaps most important is an understanding of the payer model, and therefore who exerts the real influence when driving new technologies into practice; unlike the UK, healthcare in the US is ultimately paid for by employers and insurers, and it is therefore these parties who exert this influence, over and above the doctors and medical specialists themselves.

Strongly consider US VC involvement, but be realistic about what they can bring
In addition to the obvious differences between the US and UK healthcare markets, there are a host of more subtle nuances to be navigated as you grow. It is worth seeking investment from US VCs who have a more inherent understanding of the market and local knowledge networks, in addition to any US headcount you may choose to employ. British VCs will support this strategy, as the advantages are many and obvious, though ensure you remain realistic in your expectations; you will likely be entering unchartered territory with new technologies, and even local experts will be learning as they go. Be prepared to pivot, and adapt your strategy as appropriate.

Be ambitious, believe in the opportunity, and don’t be afraid of failure
An oft-quoted difference between US and UK VC funding is the sheer size of investment rounds. Whereas the UK mindset is more cautious, with local market opportunity restricted by the NHS’ own modest budgets, the nature of the US healthcare market means the commercial opportunities are huge, and US VCs therefore expect significant exit values, and early investment rounds to be aligned to this potential. US VCs expect to see boundless ambition, unwavering self-belief, and commitment to a US strategy, in addition to a clear commercial proposition. This ambition relates to both investment requirements and growth plans, so be bold in your attitudes.

Understand your value proposition, and communicate this early across all stakeholders
US VCs will be expecting significant exit potential if they are to fund your plans to expand, and as such their key interest will be your commercial plan and value proposition, rather than the science underpinning your product. However, the importance of this value proposition (essentially why customers will choose your product or service over others) extends beyond securing funding; the message needs to be clear and understood by all stakeholders (investors, payers, end-users, KOLs, patients, employees) as early as possible, and will require constant review and fine-tuning. This commercial value must sit at the heart of your strategy, and be understood across your organisation, as it is ultimately what will define your growth and success.

Know the key opinion leaders in your space, build relationship with them, and leverage them
Identifying and engaging with the US-based key opinion leaders in your space will be crucial to your company’s success, beyond simply providing guidance around market and product strategy; they are an additional guide through the intricacies of the US healthcare system, and are often the lynchpins linking the various relevant facets of your market; from payers (employers/insurers) to doctors to regulators and beyond, their influence will play a key part in your growth and success, so these relationships have to be a priority.

When the timing is right, consider relocating
Whilst a small local workforce is an important first step in growing your company in the US, the sheer size of commercial opportunity means that this may well become your most important market, and a time will likely come when it is worth considering relocating your company HQ stateside. Whilst smaller enterprises can be managed successfully from any location, a business that is scaling in such a key location will soon require more immediate and frequent access to a host of local resources, and positioning decision-making nearby is an obvious benefit; with rich technical, commercial and management talent pools, world leading technical authorities and knowledge networks, experienced and diverse investors, and significantly greater commercial opportunity, the advantages of a US-based HQ are numerous. The trick, however, is knowing the right moment to make the move!

Attendance at the Life Sciences Leadership Series is by invitation for C-suite executives from high-growth Life Sciences & Health Technology businesses. If you are interested in finding out more about future events, please contact Iain Hopper or Kerry Linsey.

Our latest Leadership Dinner for leaders of privately owned and family businesses focused on ‘Building & Maintaining Employee Engagement’  with guest speaker, Ian White.  Ian is CEO of a privately-owned investment management group known for their innovative approach to employee benefits.

Business owners from across the East Anglian region met to discuss the importance of employee engagement and retention as a crucial part of a company’s hiring strategy.

Inevitably, what constitutes employee engagement differs from business to business, and around the table it was apparent that investment was being made into a variety of objectives to offer a better employment experience. Training and development was a consistent theme, as was the opportunity to participate in charitable endeavour; clear and consistent leadership, direction and a sense of worth.

Business owners can of course benefit hugely from a happy and motivated workforce. Research shows that 39% of employees work harder if they are happy, and highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave than their less engaged counterparts. A challenge for the future appears to be understanding how to motivate current and future generations of workers where salary is already being seen as insufficient in itself to attract and retain talent. Workplace culture assumes greater importance, as does more frequent questioning of a business’s carbon footprint, its approach to flexible working and uptake of disruptive technologies. There is already a greater understanding and acceptance that people will change roles and careers more regularly, and this makes the case for having a strong sense of engagement and retention policies ever more important.

This event was hosted in partnership with Farrer & Co and C. Hoare & Co.

If you are an owner or manager of a growing privately owned or family business and are interested in attending future events, please contact Andrew Moore.


We are pleased to host Summer Drinks for Chair/NEDs of growth-focused businesses, to take place in the Drawing Room and Sunken Gardens at Downing College, Cambridge.

This event is hosted in partnership with Taylor Vinters.

Attendance is by invitation.


Our next Life Sciences Dinner will take place on 11 June at Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank and Taylor Wessing.  This is the latest in a series of events offering an opportunity for business leaders of life sciences companies to meet with their peers for dinner and discussion in a relaxed atmosphere.

We will be joined by special guests Jason Mellad (Start Codon), Karolina Zapadka (Accelerate@Babraham) and Nate Mayfield (Illumina) to discuss how to make the most of accelerators to fast track your business growth.

Jason Mellad is CEO & Co-founder of Start Codon, a new Cambridge accelerator backed by investors including Cambridge Innovation Capital, Genetech, Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Jonathan Milner & Ian Tomlinson, seeking to support the most exciting pre-Series A life science and healthtech companies globally.  Prior to Start Codon, Jason spent 5 years as CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix.

Karolina Zapadka leads Accelerate@Babraham, the bio-incubator and life science accelerator at Babraham Research Institute. A highly experienced biotech business developer, Karolina has been part of the Cambridge life science ecosystem for the past 8 years, including as a Facilitator on the Judge Institute’s Ignite Programme and as Chief of Staff for Innovation Forum.

Nate Mayfield is the Senior Director of Commercial Operations, Strategy and Inside Sales for Illumina business in the EMEA region, helping develop and deliver upon a multi-year commercial growth strategy.   He is also involved in the Illumina Global Accelerator, advising early stage genomics companies with their commercialisation and development of go-to-market strategy.

Attendance at this dinner is by invitation for business leaders in growth life sciences companies.  If you would like to find out more about this or future Life Sciences Dinners please contact Kerry Linsey or Iain Hopper.


We were pleased to partner with UBS Wealth Management to present a Global Economic Update.  We were joined by guest speaker, Paul Donovan, Global Wealth Management Chief Economist for UBS.

One of the first challenges in trying to understand the economy today is that the quality of economic data is not what it was. Most economic data was designed in the 1930s. The way economic data views the world is not well suited to the changes that are happening today. Patterns of employment are changing. The rise of self-employment, home working, and having multiple jobs confuses data. The difference between investment spending and consumer spending has become blurred. GDP measured a manufacturing based economy very well (it was, after all, designed to help maximise wartime production). It is becoming less and less useful, however, in a more service sector based economy.

The result is that we have to be careful in being too precise about economies. The broad trends are probably correct, but the details are almost certainly wrong.   There are, nonetheless, some things that we can see emerging in the world today. The trend of ever more trade taxes from the United States has upset the global trade system. Trade taxes hurt listed companies more than they hurt the wider economy, because the overwhelming majority of global trade is conducted inside companies (moving goods from subsidiary to subsidiary).  Large multinational companies tend to be listed companies.

Trade taxes are also more damaging to investment than to the consumer. This is because investment goods are a disproportionately large part of global trade. Trade taxes are thus a disproportionate tax on investment. It is also because the uncertainty around global supply chains seems to be causing companies to rethink their investment plans. So far, this has not really been noticed by the consumer. The investment slowdown is causing a global economic slowdown. Only if this spills over into labour markets and the consumer would a recession be threatened.

More on these and other topics can be found at – where you can also sign up for the daily podcast covering the key economic issues.

This event was hosted by Bailey Fisher in partnership with UBS Wealth Management and was attended by CFOs of UK growth technology businesses.

Attendance at Bailey Fisher’s Leadership Series events is by invitation. If you are interested in finding out more about future events, please contact Kerry Linsey at Bailey Fisher.

Andrew Moore was pleased to host dinner and discussion for Chair/NEDs on ‘Seed, Series A & Beyond’ in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank and Taylor Vinters.

It was clear from the evening’s discussion that there are concerns surrounding the availability of liquidity. Certainly, the opportunity to use AIM no longer seems to be a viable alternative for the UK’s early stage tech sector. Perhaps the sweet spot for entry has changed to reflect a slightly more mature business type.

Private Equity continues to provide an alternative route for those with profitable growth, but it is the Series A to C companies that see the greatest challenge in securing funding to accelerate. There is a lot of money available but not from the traditional sources.  You need to look far and wide and at what price?

It was interesting to note that views as to the role of a Founder / CEO post-investment appear to differ widely. For the majority, the strength of the team continues to be one of the key factors in deciding on investment. For others, however, there seemed to be little patience for those who fail to meet the demands of new investors and are unable to drive growth as quickly as expected.

Attendance at Leadership Series events is invitation.  If you are interested in finding out more about future events, please contact Helen Poole or Kerry Linsey at Bailey Fisher.

Steve has 30 years’ experience in marketing for brand and business growth and has developed marketing programmes for the likes of Nestle UK, Adnams plc and Kettle Chips. Steve led discussion around ‘The impact of brand identity within family firms’.

Francesca Dickinson from the Bronfman Family Office where she is responsible for the origination of structured equity transactions in Europe. Previously, Francesca was at LDC, where she worked in the Value Enhancement Team, and at Lloyds Banking Group within the Financial Institution division focusing on debt financing transactions.