Women in Wealth Awards 2016

Women in Wealth Awards 2016 22 Best SME Financing Firm CEO - UK Funding London was established in 2004 by the then Mayor of London, with the specific long-term mandate of supporting the Economic Development Strategy for London through its SME funding activities. Since its foundation, Funding London has invested more than £45 million into nearly 600 SMEs through its equity and loan funds. We spoke to Maggie Rodriguez Piza, CEO, about the firm’s mission and how her own career has progressed in this exciting sector. Funding London’s vision is to be a catalyst for growth within the capital by providing strategic funding and independent support for early stage businesses within the London ecosystem. They also aim to enable the exploitation of sustainable growth opportunities for smaller enterprises. They achieve this by supporting best of breed fund managers to deliver investment. Funding London reinvest their returns into new funds; thereby fuelling the continuous provision of funding to the next generation of high growth businesses. Maggie believes that to achieve this vision, their strategy must be to grow their capital base, and by focusing on making the best commercial decisions when they invest. “I became the CEO of Funding London in 2010, with a mandate to transform the company from a Special Purpose Vehicle into an investment organisation, successfully managing around £50 million of investments with a focus on early stage and growth companies. I am responsible for the overall strategy of the company and the design, structuring and implementation of new funds. Under my leadership, Funding London has launched two very successful early stage equity funds; A ‘series A’ fund and a co-investment fund (the London co- investment fund), which is recognised as one of the most active early stage investors in the UK in 2015 and 2016. Going forward, we plan to double the size of our activities by securing new funding, plus recycling the returns from our current funds. “Before joining Funding London, I was a Corporate Finance Partner at Mazars LLP, based in London. My role was to advise clients on M&A and fundraising transactions. I have spent 12 years in the City, firstly at Hawkpoint, which is now part of Canaccord Genuity, carrying out mid- market M&A transactions and fund raisings and later at Mazars.” Working in M&A requires a high level of discipline, attention to detail and precise analytical skills. Maggie has had to develop strong arguments based on facts and intelligent analysis, in order to best advise her clients on the merits of particular transactions or how to achieve their objectives. “These skills have served me well as a basis to develop proposals for new funds in my current role. My experience of working with clients who were normally C-suite executives or NEDs of publicly listed companies has proven invaluable in the management of Funding London’s stakeholder base, which spans politicians, public sector managers, WW160025 Company: Funding London Name: Maggie Rodriguez Piza Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.fundinglondon.co.uk Address: 22 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD Telephone: 020 7043 0739 senior industry figures and European regulators.” Maggie tells us that one of the challenges that she has faced in her career has been the male dominated culture that exists in many organisations, which can make it difficult for women to inhabit senior roles. “Although this is changing slowly, there were very few women in senior roles in the organisations where I have worked, and I have found that it is a similar story for women in our client organisations. I found that there was a lot of sports talk in my time at previous organisations; whilst this didn’t affect my ability to progress, it meant that it was sometimes difficult to relate to the senior directors/partners. Owing to this, I’d like to believe that the respect that I have earned from my superiors has been based on my competence to deliver excellent work and advice for the purposes of our clients, rather than being based on external elements. “During my entire career in the City, I was raising very young children. The time commitment required in investment banking kept me from getting home at a decent hour the majority of the time, but I was fortunate as, more often than not, I could spend my weekends at home. That made a huge difference to me. However, my career has meant that I have arrived late to a few school performances, and that I have always shown up to sports day in my business suit. I managed this lifestyle as well as I was able, because I loved M&A, and I really enjoyed working with my colleagues and clients. It is also fair to say that as I became less junior in the organisation where I was working, I was able to manage my time more efficiently.” Looking to the future, Maggie feels fortunate to be able to move into the venture capital industry at such an exciting time of growth and progress. In particular, she feels positive about the efforts that VCs are putting into supporting more women entrepreneurs and increasing the proportion of women who are decision makers. “My aim is to continue to support the growth of Venture Capital in the UK, and longer term see it become a more important part, by value, of the private equity industry. The company as a whole are hoping to design and launch a new fund in the next 12-18 months, so it is a very exciting time to be involved with Funding London.”

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