Doug is an experienced and successful businessman who has spent his entire career investing in and operating businesses. A Scotsman by origin, Doug graduated in business studies from Glasgow University in 1985. He went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte Haskins and Sells in 1988.
Age 22, his first venture was to open 3 paintball sites in Scotland. Awards followed, and his success resulted in the international private equity group 3i recruiting him to their investment team in 1989. In 1992 he decided to branch out on his own again, setting up and developing a successful corporate finance practice which he exited in 1999 to concentrate on his private investment vehicle, Aston Ventures.
Over the next 10 years, Aston Ventures made 13 acquisitions of old economy businesses with a total turnover in excess of £400 million. In recent years Aston has focused on technology investments and property investments. Since 2008, Doug has built the Knox Group of Companies and, as Founder and Chairman, he oversees a diverse and successful collection of companies whose business activities include private equity, property and wealth management. Knox employs over 350 staff across a number of international locations and has funds under management and administration approaching £3 billion.
As a self-made individual, Doug is a keen philanthropist and, through The Barrowman Foundation, actively supports education and opportunity for young people. Recent projects include building multiple schools in Africa as well as a new Prince’s Trust Centre in the UK.
EQUI is the brainchild of Doug and embraces his belief in what blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can achieve. In 2017, Doug successfully launched the first large scale property development to be available for sale in Bitcoin. EQUI is another first; offering investment opportunities, backed by leading entrepreneurs to the crypto community.
Tim qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1996. His early career focused on advising owner managed businesses, and he successfully led a number of high profile acquisitions and disposals. In 2001, Tim joined the venture capital company Aston Ventures as a Partner. Over the intervening years Tim has been heavily involved in sourcing, completing and managing investment opportunities.
Paul is a graduate and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He was a founding partner of Aston Ventures and has over 30 years’ experience in corporate finance and private equity. As well as having made multiple acquisitions with Aston Ventures, Paul advises and mentors several businesses across a range of areas from strategic planning to change management. Paul continues to work closely with the wider Knox Group. His experience and skills will be invaluable to EQUI going forward.
A Chartered Banker and a former Area Director with HSBC, Ed has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of corporate finance and banking. He is currently Managing Director of Knox Capital Solutions, which is part of the Knox Group. As a debt specialist, Ed will structure the debt side of any investment opportunity presented to EQUI across corporate, real estate, and luxury asset sectors.
David qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young in 1993. Prior to holding directorships within Aston Ventures investee companies from 2006, David held a number of senior finance positions with public multinationals and private equity owned companies. He has over twenty years’ experience as a Finance Director, during which time he has managed investor, banking and advisor relationships. David has been involved in multiple investment opportunities whilst at Aston and in industry. He currently holds the Group Chief Financial Officer position at Knox and will also oversee the finance function of EQUI.
Andrew qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC. His experience gained whilst at PwC involved working with clients in the banking and finance sectors. He previously completed a Masters in Chemistry at Oxford University. Andrew joined Knox Group in 2017 and was based in Dubai for 12 months, where he acted as Finance Director on the prestigious Aston Plaza and Residences Development Project. This was the first real estate development in the world to offer purchases in Bitcoin. Going forward, Andrew will perform the role of Investment Manager and Analyst at EQUI. His science and accounting background will add a valuable resource to the team.
A Chartered Surveyor by training, Sarah has over 11 years of experience in the Commercial Property market, specialising in office, retail, industrial, and mixed-use property assets. Sarah currently manages the Aston Property Ventures Commercial Property Portfolio as part of the Knox Group. Prior to her current role, Sarah has held management roles on behalf of Ashtenne Industrial Fund, Norwepp, Hansteen and Spencer Holdings. At EQUI, her role will be to seek out value adding real estate opportunities, delivering on strategic asset management initiatives and working to enhance property performance.
BLOCKCHAIN TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
A blockchain expert and an early adopter of cryptocurrencies. Duncan’s early interest in the whole area originates from the Royal Navy where he was a cryptographer and communications specialist. After leaving the Forces in the mid 90’s, Duncan worked as an Applications Developer on the early internet. By 2011, he was buying bitcoin and getting involved in the blockchain space. He is the author of Bitcoin for Dummies and he has worked on many crypto projects to make blockchain more useable and accessible. His Crypto Wallet Cards under the brand Prypto represented a big step forward in offline storage. He has also developed a high frequency trading algorithm for cryptocurrency trading, which the Knox Group has utilised to great success. Duncan is also the founder of the CasinoCoin Foundation, which, through its CasinoCoin (CSC) brand, is starting to gain traction into the casino and on line gambling industry. Duncan is involved in other blockchain applications, including the development of a superfast blockchain capable of high transactional processing speeds.
Mark is an award winning digital entrepreneur having achieved multiple successful exits over the last decade. He established Fuel Ventures in early 2015 as an early-stage technology investment fund focusing on high growth businesses. Along with the Fund and his personal investments, Mark has 18 companies in his portfolio including fast growth Paddle; a platform for software companies and recently named the UK’s #1 fastest growing software company by Deloitte and Moteefe. This company was awarded best Angel - VC scale up Investment at the recent UKBAA awards. Prior to Fuel Ventures, Mark built the European discount network, Markco Media, from a back-bedroom business to a multi-million-pound company which sold in 2014 for a reported £55 million, making it one of the largest UK exits that year.
Stephen is an entrepreneur, executive and business founder who is passionate about creating companies that make a difference in the world. He has the ability to catapult an idea from pure concept to the creation of a functioning business. In the past 20 years, he has created, incubated and architected 9 successful technology-based companies. He founded Big Bamboo LLC in 2005 to serve as the incubator for ideas worth building a team around and bringing to market. He currently is CEO of MonetaPro.IO, which is a FinTech Blockchain company for Global Companies to participate in Corporate Trade. MonetaPro.IO recently competed in and won the Silicon Valley D10e Global ICO contest, which to date was the largest ICO competition in the World. In his earlier career, Stephen was CEO of Upper Street Marketing (Stock Symbol: UPPR); a boutique public company focused on technology around Media, Entertainment, and Influencers.
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