Keeping your trade secrets

Chris Smith, Managing Partner at Playfair Capital, angel investor and previous Head of Product Development at plan.com, where under his watch the company ranked #1 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Chris is passionate about investing and supporting tech companies where he is able to use his extensive operational and legal experience to best advantage. Chris takes us through his career from London Lawyer to investment manager and entrepreneur. Chris offers some particularly insightful advice including his take on the protection of unique methodology or trade secrets.

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Chris is Managing Partner at Playfair Capital. He focuses his investment activities in deep tech and B2B and has led deals in the UK and Israel. Playfair was founded in 2013 by serial angel investor Federico Pirzio-Biroli and launched a second $32m seed stage fund in March 2019.

Prior to joining Playfair, Chris held senior roles at plan.com including Sales Director, Head of Tech/BI and Head of Product Development. He was the 8th member of the team and over a 4 year period built an award winning sales team, introduced new products (organically and through acquisition) and lead the roll out of version 4 of the platform. Revenues grew to £50m in 2018 and the company ranked #1 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100.

In addition to his roles at plan.com, Chris worked on the re-launch/re-branding of Vannin Capital (another Bramden Investments' portfolio company which was acquired by Fortress Investment Group LLC in September 2019).

Chris has executed over a dozen angel investments across the UK and US in the past 10 years with three notable exits to date - Nearbuy Systems (acquired by RetailNext), MoPowered (LON:MPM) and Bidstack (LON:BIDS). He is passionate about investing in tech companies and supporting founders using his extensive operational and legal experience.

In his previous life, Chris spent nearly a decade in the City as a transactional lawyer in the private equity team at Weil and the corporate team at Olswang. He has worked with some of the world’s leading private equity and venture capital funds on predominately international acquisitions, disposals and restructurings. At Weil, he spent time on secondment to the Silicon Valley office’s patent litigation team, UK-based food manufacturer Premier Foods and the Asset Protection Agency.

He also setup a telecoms business offering discounted international calling from 14 countries in 2001 which he partially exited via an MBO in 2005. 

Produced by Mark Cotton, Twitter.

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