Praetura Ventures, the Manchester-headquartered venture capital investor, has appointed three new industry heavyweights as operational partners to mentor its growing portfolio of 37 companies.
Siobhan Almond, Mark Horncastle and Penny Attridge have all joined Praetura’s operational partner programme, which connects a team of experienced business leaders and former C-suite executives with the VC firm’s portfolio of tech and life sciences businesses to support their strategy and growth.
Siobhan is a senior law professional who spent over ten years at leading fashion retailer JD Sports (JD), including almost eight years as the FTSE 100 company’s general counsel and company secretary.
During her tenure, Siobhan helped steer JD to success across 32 countries while overseeing many of the firm’s pivotal mergers, acquisitions and minority investments in smaller brands, leading JD towards profits of close to £1 billion.
A pharmacist by training, Mark Horncastle was previously a partner and the UK head of healthcare at the multi-sector management consultancy PA Consulting, where he spent 12 years driving innovation and transformation within the health sector. He specialises in system design, digital transformation and utilising data to enable patient and service outcomes.
As well as leading on PA’s global health & life sciences strategy, Mark led the business’ Manchester office and was heavily involved in Greater Manchester’s healthcare transformation through its devolution plans, including the design of urgent and emergency services, integration of health and social care, and the scaling of primary care services.
The final operational partner joining Praetura is Penny Attridge, who was formerly the investment director for Liverpool-based investor Spark Impact, which was set up to back North West life sciences businesses and managed the £30m North West Fund for Biomedical.
Prior to her work with Spark Impact, an offshoot of Spark Ventures, Penny worked as healthcare consultant, a research clinical scientist and was the founder director of Id-Tech Ltd, a company dedicated to the prevention of sharps injuries in medical settings.
All three operational partners will support businesses within Praetura’s EIS Growth portfolio. Penny and Mark will also lend their expertise to businesses funded by the GMC Life Sciences Fund by Praetura, including Re:course AI and ScubaTx. The fund, which launched last year, is a partnership between Praetura Ventures, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech.
Colin Greene, partner at Praetura Ventures, said: “Our team of operational partners play an essential role in helping our founders build world-beating businesses, because the individuals we appoint have been at the coalface of renowned global companies themselves. The response from our founders, alongside the willingness of our existing operational partners to go above and beyond as mentors, has had a spectacular impact.”
“The operational partners programme is at the heart of our ‘more than money’ ethos and ensures our founders are receiving practical skills and advice from people who’ve been there and done it, therefore putting them in a better position to supercharge their growth. Continuing in this vein, we’re incredibly pleased to have Siobhan, Mark and Penny on board and know their support will be invaluable to our founders.”
The additions take the total number of operational partners at Praetura to seven. Current operational partners include former AO.com CEO Steve Caunce, former MPP Global CEO and exited founder Paul Johnson, ex-Dr Marten’s chief HR officer Helen Verwoert and current CEO and founder of OSTC Ltd Mark Slade