#AskAboutFinance - Female Leaders Series

Feb 25, 2020 / Ambition Nation Media


In light of the current climate finnCap Ambition Nation has taken the decision to postpone this event, which was due to be held April 22nd, 2020, until Autumn 2020. 


What would you ask about finance?

  • What's the difference between PE and VC?
  • Do you know your EIS from your SEIS?
  • What exactly is institutional capital?
  • When selling, how much is enough?

Our next event in the Female Leaders Series invites our audience to ask the questions about growth that matter to you.

Submit your questions now via Twitter - @finnCap - using the hashtag: 



Register your place here


Bust the jargon

Busting the jargon of growth and making the entire funding process more accessible is, perhaps, a simple enough concept. But look closer and it’s a concept of many layers, depending on where you are on your business journey.
Finance made simple

As an entrepreneur looking to make the next step up, growing your business by choosing from an ever-widening array of financing options, the question is simple – what do you want to know?

Put your questions to our panel
Each of our three panels represents an incremental step in the company growth journey, featuring successful female entrepreneurs alongside the people that invested in them.
The questions are asked by you, the audience.

Ambition Nation: Female Leaders Series is YOUR opportunity to ask about finance and growth.

Ask on the day, or submit your questions via Twitter (@finnCap) using the hashtag:


Introducing our speakers confirmed so far:

Speaker biographies

HOST: Oli Barrett, Co-Founder, Start-Up Britain 

Oli Barrett MBE is a regular conference and awards host, for events across business, technology, education and entrepreneurship. In the past year, he has chaired events for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Tech London Advocates, The ScaleUp Institute, The Times Tech Summit and The StartUps Awards. He is on the advisory boards the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and Centre for Entrepreneurs, One Million Mentors and Troubadour Theatres, and is a Fellow of impact incubator and business builder Zinc. As a serial founder, he co-created Tenner (the UK's largest schools enterprise challenge), Volunteer It Yourself (the social venture which has helped thousands of young people to fix their own youth clubs) and the TOTS campaign to improve children's literacy. He co-founded StartUp Britain, which was launched by the British Prime Minister, leading to the creation of PitchUp Britain (with John Lewis and Sainsbury's) and PopUp Britain, with the opening of shops around the UK. Oli hosts The Lens podcast with Business in the Community, which pairs senior leaders with future leaders, to discuss the future of work. The Connector Unit, founded in 2016, forges valuable and creative connections across a range of sectors and industries. 

Sam Smith, CEO, finnCap Group

Sam Smith established finnCap in 2007, having orchestrated the management buy-out of a small broking division of JM Finn & Co Limited, a private client stockbroking firm. Sam is the first female chief executive of a City stockbroking firm and as such is a supporter of social enterprises designed to inspire and engage the next generation of female business leaders and entrepreneurs. Sam qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG and is an alumna of the University of Bristol. 

Amanda Thomson, CEO and Founder, Thomson & Scott

Amanda Thomson is CEO and Founder of Thomson & Scott, voted one of Business Insider’s Coolest People in Food & Drink 2019, is leading the global shift to alcohol-free drinking with her game-changing Noughty - the first top quality organic, vegan non-alcoholic low sugar sparkling wine.

Thomson & Scott is also driving the debate for greater transparency in wine production and labelling.  Thomson wants consumers to push to know what’s in their wine bottle.  To this end, the company produces limited edition no added sugar vegan Champagne, top quality organic and vegan Prosecco alongside its alcohol-free bottle - Noughty.

“I recognise that alcohol is the new tobacco. We are offering consumers the chance to make a change without disrupting their desire to party.  Sparkling wine is a celebration but it needn’t be alcoholic to be rock ’n’ roll.”

Raised on a plant-based, no sugar diet by her health-conscious mother, Thomson has always had a keen interest as to what’s in her food.  Formerly an Arts Broadcaster at the BBC, Thomson moved her young family to Paris and studied for her Diploma in Wine at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu School where she was Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 and an EY Winning Woman. 

Jane Sydenham, Investment Director, Rathbone Investment Management

Jane Sydenham is an investment director, specialising in the management of portfolios for individuals, family groups and their associated trusts, charities and pension funds.

She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. Jane is also a member of Rathbones Asset Allocation Committee responsible for communicating Rathbones' investment views and recommendations to clients and the media, appearing regularly on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, as well as Wake up to Money on BBC Radio 5. She also contributes to the FT, Times and other titles on issues relevant to private clients.

Jane started her career with mid-sized private client firm Montagu Loebl Stanley in 1987, before a takeover by Robert Fleming, in 1989. Jane became a director of Fleming Private Asset Management in 1999, and joined Rathbones in 2001 following a takeover of Robert Fleming by Chase Manhattan, and a subsequent merger with JPMorgan.

Merilee Karr, CEO and Founder, UnderTheDoormat

Merilee Karr is the CEO and Founder of UnderTheDoormat – an award-winning luxury short-term rental company. Merilee founded the company in July 2014 after a 13-year successful career at oil and gas giant Shell. Her vision for UnderTheDoormat is to enable modern travellers to enjoy the comfort of a home with the professional service of a hotel across major cities globally. 

As the elected Chair for industry body, UK Short Term Accommodation Association, she is passionate about helping professionalize and grow the industry in the most responsible way. Merilee has worked with BEIS and HMRC on sharing economy policies, Westminster Council and MHCLG to build regulation in the industry.

Merilee has been profiled in London’s Evening Standard and regularly speaks at events, including International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF), the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) and European Holiday Homes Association (EHHA). She has also participated at the UN Women’s Panel on Entrepreneurship.

Merilee has been recognised with several awards including the prestigious accolade of Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, and Business Woman of the Year.

Kevin Bone, Partner, LGT Impact Investment Advisors UK LLP

Kevin is currently co-leading investments across the UK and Europe at LGT Lightstone, the impact investing arm of LGT. He brings 14 years of fund management and private equity experience, most latterly as co-founder of a Bucharest based regional growth equity fund.

Kevin held CEO and Board roles in a series of turnaround and restructuring companies across the financial services, engineering and telecoms, media and technology (TMT) sectors. Having qualified as an accountant with Arthur Andersen in 1996, Kevin became a TMT investment banker, leading numerous debt, equity and advisory transactions globally

He is an experienced angel investor, bringing over 18 years of board experience to investees across eight countries

Kevin has worked for aid projects in Cambodia and co-founded a sustainable agriculture orphanage in Rwanda. He sits on the UK and England Committees of The National Lottery Community Fund, chairs the Advisory Group for the 10-year, £215m “A Better Start” strategic programme and the Decision Making Panel for the £100m Climate Action Fund and is a UK trustee of Generation, the youth employment focused not-for-profit founded in 2014 by McKinsey & Company.

Kevin holds a BSc in Japanese and Economics from Sheffield University. He also studied Aid Economics at Chuo University, Tokyo under scholarship from the EU.