John O'Connell

Speciality: Entrepreneurship and business growth, organisational processes, serial chairman and investor capital raise
Sector Focus: B2B Saas


John O’Connell is a high-profile London-based technology entrepreneur and investor.

He has invested in/chaired c. 20 technology businesses, LSE & AIM Listed, VC/PE backed and startups. Exits include in 2023 Evotix a 6x return; in 2022 AVVIO ditto; in 2021 CloudTrade, an 8x return & AIM listed ActiveOps, 10x+ plus previously Portrait Software, InforSense & Opta Sports Data.

He co-founded, floated on the UK LSE and sold in 2004 for $200 million one of the then-leading Software companies in Staffware plc, which had achieved Unicorn status. John now chairs 2 UK businesses, ActiveNav & the ScaleUp Group ‘SUG’ which he founded 8 years ago & whose 33 entrepreneurs have raised finance for and exited from >100 companies globally, for more than £6 billion.

SUG is focused on creating Global Tech Champions, obtaining growth funding and investing personally – c.£50 million to date – plus helping with finding management talent; board development inc. Chairmen and business connections, internationally. SUG is a sponsor of the annual ‘Enterprise Awards’, ‘The Oscars for Technology Entrepreneurs’, which John created and hosts and which celebrated its 11th Awards Dinner on June 21st this year. (He has twice won the ‘Mentor of the Year’ Award.)

John has been recognised as a ‘Master of Information Technology’ by the US-based Trade Association, AIIM International. He was their first-ever non-US Chair. He has been inducted into the Smith & Williamson (now Evelyn Partners) ‘Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame’, as well as being featured in the ‘Archives of IT’.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists – the WCIT – whose Charity is the beneficiary of the surplus from the Enterprise Awards.

John’s philanthropy also included being founding Chairman of both the Ambassador Group of Co-operation Ireland (he was born in Cork) and also of the Technology Leadership Group of the Prince’s Trust, which has raised in excess of £50 million in the last 20 years and has also spawned other Leadership Groups, which have raised another c. £130 million to help the recovery of the lives of disadvantaged young people.

He is the past Chairman/co-owner of (London) Wasps Rugby Club at the time when they were the most successful professional rugby club in Europe.

John has co-authored a book ‘Mastering Your Organization’s Processes’, published by Cambridge University Press.

Still being very active in business he puts down to being a terrible golfer!

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