Tom is the Chairman of SPARK Venture Management and has a long track record in backing, chairing and developing some of Europe’s most successful internet, technology, music, games and software businesses. Additionally, he has 20 years’ prior investment banking experience acquired at Credit Suisse, Bank of Montreal Nesbitt and Mitsubishi Bank, where he held various positions including Head of Corporate Finance, Trading and Syndicate.
In the mid-80s, Tom began investing in technology start-ups. The first, MAID Systems, which Tom backed from start-up, went on to be listed on the London Stock Exchange valued at £90 million in 1993 and on the NASDAQ in 1995. During this time, Tom held the position of Vice Chairman, overseeing its development into one of the world’s biggest online business information providers. Tom then went on to found his own private corporate finance business, NewMedia Investors, and a TMT fund, later renamed SPARK Ventures plc, which listed on the AIM market in 1999. NewMedia was backed by the Rothschild family, Henry Kravis, founder of KKR and Gilbert de Botton, Founder of GAM.
Tom was Executive Chairman of SPARK Ventures plc for 10 years until 2011 and now chairs SPARK Venture Management, which manages the SPARK Ventures plc portfolio and other significant technology and life sciences portfolios including funds from major institutions and 27 Oxford University colleges and the UK Government.
Tom has a long record backing successful start-ups, usually as the first or very early investor. These include Argonaut Games (IPO -£100mm), ARC (IPO - £400mm), lastminute.com (IPO - £370mm), System C Healthcare (IPO - £50mm), World Telecom (IPO - £30mm), mergermarket.com (sold to Financial Times - £120mm), Touch Clarity (trade sale - £60mm), Advanced Visual Technology (sold to Oracle), Libertas Capital (IPO - £15mm) and Wellington Investments (sold privately).
Today, he sits on the boards of Hardly Ever Worn it (online portal for buying and selling previously owned luxury items), Squawka (real time sport statistic web application), Elevate Direct (Online recruitment system), Eve Snow (British cosmetic company), Moshimonsters.com (leading children’s online game), notonthehighstreet.com (leading gifting site), Barmate (technology for hotel services), Mydeco.com (online furnishing and design), London Bridge Capital (investment banking advisory), Lucky Voice (chain of karaoke bars), and Kobalt Music Group, the world’s largest independent music publisher, where he held the position of Chairman for 10 years from start-up to 2011.
In total, the companies Tom has backed have exited for a value of well over £1 billion.
Tom has operated hands-on after his City days in many small and fast growing businesses from start up to IPO or trade sale. Thus, unusually, he combines awareness of the capital markets and the M&A environments with that of entrepreneurial, rapid growth companies with mould-breaking ideas.
Tom was born in Hungary, and completed his degree (Economics with Economic History) at University College London and the London School of Economics. He speaks French, German, Hungarian and Italian.