We are Octopus
We don’t think or act like most companies. Our ideas don’t always fit into little grey filing cabinets. We look at the world around us and we find ways to reimagine it. It’s an obsession. We call it ‘a brighter way’. Changing today for a better tomorrow.
For two decades we’ve been challenging convention, backing companies and turning bright ideas into game-changing businesses. And, as we get bigger we just keep evolving. Because there’s a whole world out there ready for change, and companies like ours, that put the needs of customers and society first, will win.
We started out in 2000 as an investment company, but today we do so much more. We make things, we build things, we scare the life out of complacent businesses and we shake up sectors crying out for disruption. For example:
- We create and manage healthcare premises, everything from GP surgeries to care homes and retirement villages. So, we’re emotionally invested in making them the very best they can be.
- We own and operate our own renewable energy assets, from fields of solar panels through to windfarms. And we supply renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of households across the UK.
- We have our own fintech arm, run our own start-up programme and we work with a vast community of UK and international entrepreneurs.
- And, because we believe being an entrepreneur is a brilliant thing to do, we encourage all of our employees to take the plunge and start their own business.
Across all Octopus businesses, we now have over 150,000 customers and our investments have put more than £8.6 billion into the UK economy (source Octopus, 30 September 2018). We want Octopus to be a group of companies we’re proud to tell our grandchildren about.
Our people and culture
The people who work at Octopus are unique, but they all share the same DNA. We get excited not by what money can buy, but what it can do.
If something doesn’t work, we challenge it, relentlessly, until we know what ‘better’ looks like. We’ll think smarter, we’ll go sideways. We’ll rebuild from the bottom up if we have to. And we won’t rest until we’re left with something we’re proud of. Because we don’t just want customers. We want advocates. And we do all this for one giant reason – we’re invested in making the world a better place to live.
When we started out we relied on the small number of people who gave us a chance. We never forget that. We launched Octopus Giving as our way of putting something back, by helping to give others their chance.
Since 2014, we’ve donated more than £1 million to nine smaller charities with big ambitions. But it’s not just about money. Everyone who works at Octopus spends ‘volunteer days’ with our focus charities.
So far, we’ve donated more than 10,000 hours of our time, doing everything from cooking meals for local communities, helping to deliver numeracy training to schoolkids and mucking out horse stables for Greatwood.
Our leadership team
Simon RogersonFounder and Chief Executive OfficerOctopus Group and Octopus Investments
Simon has overall responsibility for day-to-day decisions and for the strategic direction of the Group. Before founding Octopus in 2000, Simon spent two years working at Mercury Asset Management. He graduated with a first class MA in Modern Languages from St. Andrews University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Chris HulattFounderOctopus Group
Chris is responsible for the Group’s expansion into new areas. He is also on the investment committee of several Octopus funds. Before founding Octopus in 2000, Chris led one of the global equity research teams at Mercury Asset Management. He has a first class MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Helen CowingChief Financial OfficerOctopus Group
Helen has been chief financial officer for companies across a range of business sectors, most recently for American Golf, Fat Face and ISG plc. She lived and worked internationally for more than a decade during her time at PepsiCo Fritolay, Novartis and APM Terminals, Helen has served on numerous boards, both as an executive director and non-executive chairman. Helen qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant, studied for her Executive MBA at the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Directors.
Alistair SeabrightHead of Unquoted InvestmentsOctopus Group
Alistair oversees the unquoted investment businesses, having joined Octopus in 2010. He also sits on the Board of the Octopus Group. Alistair’s financial services experience includes ten years at SG Warburg (now UBS) in London, Tokyo and South Africa, managing an alternative asset management business investing in Japan, and co-founding an agency broking business for the Man Group. He has also worked for Chase Manhattan Bank, Phillips & Drew and James Capel. Alistair graduated from Cambridge University and has been a board member of several private companies.
Paul LathamManaging DirectorOctopus Investments
Paul joined Octopus 2005 and is part of the Executive Committee for the Octopus Group. He spends much of his time focused on tax-efficient investments. He is also the Chief Executive of Fern Trading Ltd, the UK’s largest commercial-scale producer of solar energy. Paul had extensive general management and internal consulting experience gained in companies including Brakes, Capital One, NatWest and Kingfisher. He graduated with a first class honours degree from Imperial College.
Mike AdamsChairmanOctopus Healthcare
Mike joined Octopus Healthcare (previously known as MedicX) in 2005. He began his career with St Quintin before working for KPMG Property Consulting, Ernst & Young and MEPC plc. He left MEPC in 1999 to become a director of Stonemartin plc, responsible for its property portfolio. Mike is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has over 25 years’ experience in the UK commercial property market.
Benjamin DavisChief Executive OfficerOctopus Healthcare
Benjamin is responsible for the management of Octopus Healthcare. He joined Octopus in 2010, leading the Intermediate Capital team and with responsibility for its Specialist Finance VCT product line. Before joining Octopus, Benjamin worked at YFM Equity Partners and was an associate director at the investment bank Interregnum, working across the corporate finance and venture capital investment teams in the UK and US. He has also worked as a consultant for blue chip companies in the UK and New Zealand. Benjamin has an MBA from the University of Cambridge and a BCom (Hons) degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Alex MacphersonChairmanOctopus Ventures
Alex founded Katalyst Ventures in 2000, creating the private angel network which would later be known as the Octopus Venture Partners. Before Katalyst, Alex worked for ten years at SG Warburg as a trade and risk manager in equity derivatives. Alex is also chairman of the Octopus Ventures Investment Committee, is a non-executive director of portfolio company Calastone, and a board member of Graze. Alex became Chairman of Octopus Ventures in September 2017.
Alliott ColeChief Executive OfficerOctopus Ventures
Alliott joined Octopus in 2008 and spent eight years making seed and early-stage investments in London before he moved to New York to set up the Octopus Ventures US practice. He was appointed Chief Executive of Octopus Ventures in September 2017. Before joining Octopus, Alliott spent four years working at international law firm Ashurst LLP, with stints at NM Rothschild and IBM in London. He holds a Masters in Classics from Oxford University and a postgraduate diploma in Law from BPP University, London.
Mario BertiChief Executive OfficerOctopus Property
Mario joined Octopus in 2010 as Head of Specialist Finance and became CEO of Octopus Property in May 2016. Mario is also Chief Investment Officer for the Unquoted division of Octopus Investments. Before joining Octopus, Mario was at Rothschild for nine years, where he was a board member of NM Rothschild Banking. Mario is a Qualified Chartered Accountant and read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.
Greg JacksonChief Executive OfficerOctopus Energy
Greg is the founder of Octopus Energy. Previously, he built and sold e-commerce company C360 and built HomeServe's innovation business. Greg is also a non-executive director of Zopa, Consultant Connect and an investor in several technology start-ups. Greg started his working life as a video games programmer before graduating with a degree in Economics from Cambridge University.
Richard WazaczChief Executive OfficerOctopus Labs
Richard joined Octopus in December 2014 and is the founder of Octopus Labs. Previously he held senior roles at both Prudential and Lloyds Banking Group. Richard graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class honours degree in Chemical Engineering. He also holds an MBA from Columbia Business School where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar and a Sainsbury Management Fellow.
The evolution of Octopus